Now we’ve entered the depths of winter (well sort of – I have yet to see snow, but the frost is definitely here), I’m starting to feel nostalgic for the warm, sunny days of spring and summer! They’ll be back in 3 months or so though, and I do like to plan ahead, so here’s my guide to the top 10 things to have at your next garden party – and if you’re in Australia, you can probably put these into use already!

1. String Lights

If your gathering is more of a dinner party than a late luncheon, and will go on well after the sun has gone down, then fairy lights or hanging lanterns make great lights for outdoors and can really set the mood.

2. Grill

BBQ food is perfect when you’re having a large group of people over because it’s easy to make and everyone gets something they like. Those who like it rare can have it rare, those who like it well done can (all too) easily have charcoal, and vegetarians can stick to the grilled corn and tasty potato salad.

3. Candles

Candles along with string lights create a great ambience at any party, especially an outdoor one where you don’t have to worry about setting the fire alarm off or your curtains bursting into flame!

4. Music

I’d suggest setting up a long playlist that will suit the mood of the party; you don’t want your guests hovering over the iPod speaker vying for their turn to pick the next song, and you also don’t want the latest Lil’ Wayne song blasting at your dinner party!

5. Napkins

Napkins are always necessary at a party, but if you’re looking to be more environmentally conscious then opt for fabric ones instead of paper.

garden party6. Drinks

When it comes to drinks you don’t need to create a garden themed drink for your party to be a success – wine and beer will be perfectly fine. If you have a large bucket or cooler, or a small kiddie pool, then fill it up with water and ice and pop the drinks inside. That way your guests can help themselves and you don’t need to hover over them checking if they’ve all got something to drink.

7. Finger Food

Along with the BBQ food, dips and snacks are pretty essential at a garden party. You should make sure to have some vegetarian or vegan snacks on hand if you know any of your guests are so inclined. There’s only so much food that can be made on a grill at once and finger food is a great way of making sure your guests aren’t waiting with rumbling bellies.

8. Trash Can

Litter bins are a necessity at any gathering. If you can, place your bin outside a bit away from the party but in clear sight so people don’t have to keep wandering into your home looking for a place to dump their trash. After the party use Jeyes fluid to clean your trash can in case any beer or food doesn’t manage to make it into the actual bin bag.

9.  Blankets

You never know exactly what the weather might bring and your guests don’t have the option of going into their closet and grabbing a jumper, so lay some blankets around and guests can cosy up in them if they get chilly. Or if that doesn’t do the trick, why not try getting a couple of portable heaters? That way, the guests will really feel well looked after.

10. Games

Lawn games are fun for when your guests are waiting on the food you’re still grilling, and card games or charades can be fun after everyone’s eaten to bring the whole party together.

Do you have any other essential garden party tips? Let me know…

Image by …love Maegan