Summer is all about embracing nature, spending time with family and friends, and hopefully enjoying some lovely food and refreshing drinks.

If you’re looking for new ideas to spruce up your next garden dinner party, or simply want some handy tips to make entertaining a breeze, then these suggestions from our wonderful Facebook friends are sure to tickle your fancy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Debra Macdonald Hainsworth suggests saving empty jars from cockles then lighting citronella tea lights in them. Not only are these ideal for keeping the flies away, but they look fantastic too.

 

2. Amanda Hooton is an advocate for “plenty of cushions and candles, good music, good company and good wine.” Simple and sweet.

 

3. Our competition winner Tracey Mackenzie contributed the very thoughtful idea of projecting a film onto a sheet for an open air cinema vibe.

 

4. Sophie Hanson commented that outdoor dining is “only as good as the outdoor drinking”, suggesting frozen pre-cut fruit like lemons, limes or whole grapes are great alternatives to ice cubes.

 

5. Lynsey Ruth commented that using mesh covers is the best way to keep food insect-free. She also noted that dropping the handle of a metal spoon in the neck of your prosecco bottle will keep the fizz in.

 

6. Linda Spevick is a fan of mood lighting, suggesting that “lots of lanterns dotted around the garden for a fairytale ambience” is the way to go.

 

7. For busy households with messy wee ones, Sarah Louise Thompson offered the handy idea of using “plastic everything” from plates and bowls to serving dishes and cutlery. This is also the safest way to ensure no broken dinnerware and no injuries.

 

8. Sammy Fairman commented that a bar cart “stocked full of essentials” is a great idea. You can simply wheel back to the kitchen once you run low on beverages.

 

9. “Fresh wild flowers in old fashioned milk bottles” was a charming suggestion from Neil Monaghan, who also noted that plates of all patterns, crisp white linen napkins, and hurricane lamps hung in trees all “makes for magic”.

 

10. John Lock offered a wonderful tip to make cleaning your grill a cinch. Once the BBQ is over, take the wire rack and cover it with kitchen roll before pouring water over it. Wait for 30 minutes, after which clean up will be no hard task.