How to get your patio table ready for a garden party

It’s a well-known adage among chefs that you eat with your eyes first and a well-made table is a big part of that. If you’re planning a garden party this summer then Lazy Susan has the lowdown on how to get your patio table ready…

The summer party and BBQ season will be on us before we know it. The team here at Lazy Susan HQ can’t believe it’s almost March. It doesn’t seem like 5 minutes since we were writing our Merry Christmas post!

We’ve all got our fingers crossed for another great summer weather-wise, so this month we want to take a look at how to get your patio table ready for a garden party. 

From setting it to the perfect centrepiece, we’ve compiled our top 10 tips to ensure your garden party is the party of 2023.

Why getting your patio table ready for a garden party is important

Why getting your patio table ready for a garden party is important

Whether it’s a small intimate gathering for a few friends or a large family party, a well-dressed garden table is essential. It is a way to show your creative flair, introduce a theme and say to your guests that they’re special.

More than that though, how you dress your patio table directly influences the tone you set and the feeling people will get when they sit down to eat.

It doesn’t matter if it is an informal BBQ or a more formal-style outdoor meal too, it is always best to make a good impression, and it will directly influence the appearance (and therefore the taste) of the food you serve.

We like to think of ourselves as outdoor table experts, after all, we’re working with them every day, so for us, a well-dressed one should have at least 7 key components: 

  1. Planning
  2. Theme
  3. Dinnerware
  4. Glassware
  5. Tableware
  6. Linens
  7. Centrepiece 

Our top 5 tips for getting your patio table ready for a garden party

With those 7 components, you can take our top 5 tips to ensure that your table is perfect for your guests, whatever the theme or occasion. 

1. Plan it out

How to get your patio table ready for a garden party - Plan it out

A good garden party starts with good planning. Find your inspiration be it a particular theme or even something as simple as a colour scheme. Take it and build your patio table from there. 

Think about how you want your patio and the wider garden to look when your guests arrive and then how you want the party to go. By planning it out beforehand, it helps to ensure you have everything in place for the party to go without a hitch and for your patio table to be looking its best.

The starting point for formulating a plan is the occasion. The reason for the plan is to make your job easy and take the stress out of the day. The occasion, be it a baby shower or just friends over for a summer pizza party, will dictate the plan and influence the theme.

Integral to any good plan is to set a budget and stick to it. As a general rule of thumb, we tend to guesstimate that a good garden party should cost between £20 and £30 per head, which will cover all the food, drinks and any decor. Of course, it is very dependent on what the party is but a good budget will help you keep control of the costs. 

2. Focus on a theme

How to get your patio table ready for a garden party - Focus on a theme

When we talk about a theme, we are referring to an over-arching aesthetic. Basically, a party where all the food and decor are planned and designed to fit together. However, the patio table is always the star of the show and (should be) the centre of attention. 

Of course, a grand theme is not necessary, but it can be fun and memorable for everyone attending. But fun is the key word here, you want people to be relaxed and enjoy themselves first and foremost (and that includes you too).

A theme, when done well, makes your guests feel welcome, special and comfortable, leaving them with a lasting impression of you and the parties you host. It can tie everything together but we often find that simple is best.

Maybe choose a colour as your theme? It doesn’t have to be anything more complicated than that. It could be built from the flowers blooming in your garden. A good theme will help to tie everything together, and it should give your patio tablescape the “wow" factor.

If you need a little patio table theme inspiration, then there are some fab videos on YouTube such as those on the Your House Needs This channel. Their "55 garden party ideas you can make at home" video (below) is a great place to start:

3. Dress your table

How to get your patio table ready for a garden party - Dress your table

Once you’ve picked a theme you can plan how you want to set and style your patio table. Again, try to keep things simple, pick colours that complement the rest of the space. If you have our garden cushions and/or parasol, then you could use that fabric colour as the springboard (as the customer has done in the photo above). 

Think about what elements you want on the table to not only make it look good but to ensure your guests will have what they need, such as linen, fresh flowers, candles, flatware, etc. A well-set table should incorporate texture, pattern, scale and height to give it a good design-flow.

A well-dressed and set table, even if you’re hosting a laidback BBQ, will always impress your guests. If you don’t want a fresh linen tablecloth, use placemats to help frame each setting. Keep it garden-friendly too, think plates with a plant motif, fresh flowers, outdoor lanterns, etc.

Dressing your patio table will help to set the mood for your garden party and show your guests that you’re the host with the most. Carefully consider how your dinnerware, glassware, tableware, linens and that all-important centrepiece fit with the theme and food you plan to serve.

4. Set the table 

How to get your patio table ready for a garden party - Set the table

This is a subject we covered in detail in our how-to dress your garden table for a party article but for us, a well-set table starts with getting the basics right and building from there.

Start with the following and then you can move on from there to meet the theme of the party and the needs of your guests:

How to get your patio table ready for a garden party - Our basic patio table setting

  1. Start with a good tablecloth and/or placemats
  2. Bring in the necessary tableware and position the centre of the placemat
  3. Napkins go to the left of the tableware
  4. Place the forks on the napkins
  5. Knives go to the right of the plate with the blade pointing out 

For Lazy Susan, it doesn’t matter if the part is a more formal alfresco meal or a casual “picky food” BBQ, a well-set table is important. As we said in our how to dress your garden table article: 

“Formal or informal, a well-set table is still essential in our opinion. And by formal, we’re not necessarily talking best china and crystal. We are in the garden. However, a well-set table sets the tone of your party, presentation is important, and it says to your guests that they’re important. Even if you’re going down the eclectic boho-chic route, with mix-n-match china, vintage fabrics, etc, making sure your guests have what they need in the right place is always a good thing.”

5. Focus on your patio table centrepiece

How to get your patio table ready for a garden party - Focus on your patio table centrepiece

No patio table, in our humble opinion, is complete without a stylish centrepiece, especially when you are hosting a garden gathering. 

If you have a round or oval Lazy Susan table, then position it in the centre. If you have a rectangle table, you could also go central, or span the length of the table. 

A good centrepiece should have height but not too high that you spoil the flow of conversation across the table. If you have one of our Lazy Susans, then they make a great platform for a centrepiece and any items such as condiments or drinks that you want to share around the table.

For a garden party, we don’t think you can go too far wrong with a vase filled with fresh flowers and foliage. It is classic and stylish and can be easily created to fit with the theme of your party. 

You can add further interest by grouping other outdoor elements together such as garden candles and lanterns for when the sun sets. Think about the material too, anything natural such as wooden serving bowls or natural stone and ceramics is always a good thing.

How to get your patio table ready for a garden party

If you get your Patio Furniture dressed up for a garden party this summer, then we would love to see a few photos for our Do Some Good charity campaign. You can tag us @LazySusanFurniture on Instagram or Facebook or email them to us at [email protected].

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