Despite our unpredictable weather, garden entertaining with friends and family is an enjoyable way of putting your garden to good use. Here are a few suggestions to ensure your garden is prepared.
Lawns, decks, and patios
If you have tended and fed your lawn by summer, your grassy areas should be in tiptop condition. However, it will suffer if too many pairs of shoes are allowed to trample over all of your hard work. Decked or paved areas that are more suitable for areas likely to get a lot of foot traffic.
Surround the deck or patio with planters or hanging baskets. Summer flowers will help to draw the area into the rest of the garden. Solar lights draped over surrounding fences add interest and are environmentally friendly.
Protection from the weather
It is only on rare occasions that those of us in the UK are able to enjoy a garden party without having to rush indoors because ‘rain has stopped play’. One way of ensuring that you are able to enjoy the great outdoors without having to rush inside when it starts to rain is to invest in some protection from the weather.
A permanent veranda is a classic and elegant addition to any garden. Alternatively, the wide range of temporary installations currently available offer a more flexible and cost effective solution. Pop up gazebos, for example, can prove invaluable for a successful garden party. Pop up gazebos offer shelter from both the sun and the rain. Food and your guests will remain fly-free when kept in this structure.
The furniture that you place in your garden is another important consideration. Garden furniture comes in all shapes and sizes, from ornate wrought iron tables and chairs to simpler pieces constructed from wicker. Before you entertain make certain that all garden furniture is clean and ready to use. You can find out more about the different types of garden furniture available here.
Use lamps with insect repellent oil and candles to add atmosphere, table cloths add luxury.
Cooking outside is part of the fun, but take care to avoid poisoning your guests! Make sure all surfaces and your barbecue are clean. Keep food refrigerated in hot weather. Clean tools that have handled raw meat. Cover food to keep out insects.
Cook slowly to ensure thorough cooking, check using a thermometer.
Plants and flowers
Trim all the borders surrounding your flowerbeds often to keep them looking neat. Any flowering shrubs should be pruned, and any old growth should be cut back in order to allow new shoots to take their place. If your roses are starting to bud look out for aphids and either buy a commercial product or make your own pesticide from rhubarb leaves to keep these perennial pests under control.
If you intend to decorate your garden with plants in hanging baskets, consider planting some fruit among the flowers: there are numerous types of strawberries, for example, that have been cultivated for this purpose.
You might also consider making use of aromatic plants and herbs, as many of these produce beautiful flowers. Lavender, for example, is especially fragrant, and honeysuckle and jasmine planted in the border hedges will provide a heavenly scent.
Inspect your water features for invasive algae, and regularly clean out any leaves or other debris that may have fallen into them. If you have children on your guest list, ensure that there is adequate fencing around any ponds or pools.