Gather in the Garden: Essentials for Outdoor Entertaining This Summer

Article Written by Becky Dumais

The splendour of entertaining outdoors is all in the details. We want mood lighting and fireplaces for ambience; pretty serving pieces and drink ware; and sophisticated patio furniture where guests can relax. This list of outdoor entertainment essentials will help make any garden party a smashing success.


LIGHTS. OUT!Cleveland-water-feature-lighting
Solar lights and garden stakes are a nice way to light up pathways and highlight areas in your garden, but hanging fixtures bring a unique twist to any outdoor space. Paula Perdec of Concept Lighting in Oakville recommends gorgeous hanging fixtures, ranging from classic English and gothic style lanterns to modern ironwork. The range of finishes available is more than your basic black or brushed nickel: think rustic, hand-forged iron finished with Bronze, Graphite or River Valley Rust.

Outdoor, tabletop gas fireplaces make for luxurious, luminous additions to any backyard. An outdoor fireplace adds an extra element of coziness and warmth to a setting. It gives the feeling of getting away without having to leave the comforts of home.



What’s more refreshing than an ice cold drink on a hot summer’s day? Set up a drinks station in a colourful or galvanized tub to keep your concoctions chilled, and have glassware, bottle openers, straws and even garnishes ready for guests to serve themselves while they mingle. Not sure what kind of cocktail to serve? Check out our recipes on page 24! Remember to include non-alcoholic drinks such as juice, water or pop.photodune-1183458-herbal-tea-l

If you find yourself searching for a new set of acrylic dishware this season, you’ll come across a range of styles, including retro patterns and classic botanicals. You can find platters and salad bowls at In House Etc. in Burlington that look like real glass. They come in shades of frosted white, green and yellow.

If you revel in retro, Centro Garden in Burlington carries sets of melamine dishes that look just like old-fashioned paper plates! Clear acrylic pieces go with any existing tableware and several stores in Oakville and Burlington carry extensive lines of clear acrylic items including serving pieces, pitchers, salad bowls, wine buckets, trays, tumblers and glasses.


It’s the three Cs that are most important for backyard entertaining: comfort, comfort, comfort! Make your guests feel as contented as possible with the new lines of sofas and conversation sets that offer deep seating that’s second to none. Check out Cocoon Furnishings and Oakville Home Leisure for the patio pieces that suit your backyard décor best. If you notice your guests loitering on your loungers, you’ll know why!

All this talk about outdoor entertaining has me itching to invite people over! I’m picturing a lush garden, food and drinks, laughter, and soft lighting that sets the scene aglow.


8 ESSENTIALS:  A Quick List Of What Makes A Party Perfect

(for ambience – and so your guests can see one another!)

(create playlists for your iPod well ahead of time: Top 40, jazz, classical or Cuban!)

(especially if kids are attending: Think horseshoes, croquet or badminton)

(it’s easy to serve and easy for guests to help themselves)

(consider fabric instead of paper for an eco-friendly option)

(create a drink station with glasses, ice and beverage selections)

(designate a bin slightly away from the party for easy disposal)

(to keep guests warm long after the meal has been finished)


Local Source Guide

In House Etc.

Cocoon Furnishings

Concept Lighting

Centro Garden

Oakville Home Leisure


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