Summer party in the garden decoration ideas pictorial tutorials

  • Whether you're throwing a backyard bash or an evening soiree, these party-perfect ideas are sure to leave a lasting impression on your guests.

    Plain or fancy, these straws decorated with baking-cup flowers make your summer drinks irresistible.

    Photography: Sang An
    How to Make Fun Floral Straws
  • summer party in the garden decoration ideas pictorial tutorials
  • Serve homemade treats in containers crafted from ordinary paper plates cinched with big, colorful rubber bands.

    Photography: Sang An
    How to Make Pretty Paper Bowls
  • These decorations really layer on the style. Any pale-colored paper lantern can be covered with tissue circles (buy them precut -- no scissors required) for a charming fluttery finish.

    Photography: Raymond Hom
    How to Make Decorative Paper Lanterns
  • Fashion a set of napkin rings in no time using grosgrain ribbon and D rings.

    How to Make Preppy Napkin Rings
  • These decorations really layer on the style. Any pale-colored paper lantern can be covered with tissue circles (buy them precut -- no scissors required) for a charming fluttery finish.


    Get the Decorative Paper Lanterns How-To

    Photography: Raymond Hom
  • Pretty pots can do more than hold flowers on an outdoor table. They can be used to protect dips and other dishes from party-crashing insects. Lift the pot by sticking one finger through the drain hole, or create a handle by cutting an 18-inch length of 1/4-inch cord and knotting the ends together. Thread the looped end through the drain hole in the flowerpot.

    Photography: Raymond Hom
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  • Dress up your hurricane lanterns in a hurry with pleated vellum shades to softly illuminate the party table.

    Photography: Raymond Hom
    How to Make Pleated Vellum Hurricane Shades
  • Offer homemade Italian ices with wooden spoons you've stamped with a toast.

    Photography: Sang An
    How to Make Stamped Spoons
  • Add a fresh, sunny surprise to your guests' plates with a sunflower place card. Trim sunflower stems short, so they fit into juice glasses. Cut paper into petal shapes and write guests' names on them. Then add the extra petal to the flowers with dots of tacky white glue.

    Photography: Raymond Hom
  • Instead of watering down your drink with ice cubes that are destined to melt, give the entire vessel its own ice bucket. Slip one glass container inside another (we found these multipurpose cylinders at a floral-supply shop,, and put the ice between them. The effect is dramatic and guarantees that your punch retains its punch.

  • Keep bugs, leaves, and other unwelcome guests ideas from joining you for drinks by topping glasses with these jaunty little hats (otherwise known as baking cups). Cut a small X into the center of each liner, poke a straw through the hole, and enjoy your beverage worry- (and pest-) free.

    Photography: Johnny Miller
  • There's no better way to celebrate a community vegetable garden than with family, friends, and these unforgettable seasonal dishes.

    How to Throw a Community Garden Potluck Party
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  • Add a cheerful touch to outdoor drinks with colorful paper butterflies.

    How to Make Butterfly Cocktail Straws
  • Give your outdoor table a laid-back feel with a nautical-inspired tablecloth, matching red napkins, and simple centerpieces.

    How to Make the Nautical Canvas Tablecloth
  • Celebrate summer with a colorful sundae party; set out toppings in fortune-tellers, those folded-paper staples of childhood.

    Photography: Ellie Miller
    How to Throw a Sundae Party
  • Personalize table settings and add a touch of seafaring mystery to dinner with message-in-a-bottle place cards.

    How to Make Message-in-a-Bottle Place Cards
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    Pretty Paper Lanterns

    Paper lanterns don't need to have lights in them to signal an instant party feel. String them above the deck as a festive decoration instead.

  • Freshly cut large leaves make natural waterproof anchors for summer drinks. Lush foliage, such as the hosta leaves we used, add color to table settings and act as reminders of tropical vacations. Cut leaves early in the day, and set them in water immediately, keeping them hydrated in a container until it's time to serve drinks. Dry before using.

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  • Got an assortment of paper napkins left over from parties past? To make a hodgepodge look festive -- and coordinated -- add a white doily band. Fold two napkins together. Cut a strip from a round or square paper doily; for a band that's lacy on both edges, accordion-fold a small doily in the middle. Wrap it around napkin; tape at back. Tuck in a plastic fork.

  • This bouquet of maroon cosmos and rich indigo larkspur -- cut from the garden and tucked into an ironstone vessel alongside a compote of blueberries -- is at once lively and serene, and is the perfect arrangement for outdoor entertaining.

  • Add a burst of patriotic spirit to summer sips with these festive umbrellas.

    How to Make Drink Parasols
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    Poolside Party

    Set up a low table and colorful plastic chairs by the pool so guests can enjoy small bites and cocktails by the water.

  • Colorful, casual, and altogether charming, this vintage-style tablecloth is ideal for outdoor entertaining.

    How to Make the Bandanna Tablecloth
  • Let a flock of colorful paper butterflies loose, and you'll instantly give party decorations a lift.

    How to Make Butterfly Party Lanterns
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  • Playful patterned cuffs spiff up paper napkins and make it a breeze for guests to grab their flatware at a barbecue buffet.

    How to Make Origami Napkin Rings
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    Form and Function

    For a prettier and more accessible tabletop at your next barbecue or picnic, decant condiments from their original packaging into small dishes, ramekins, or even mismatched teacups. Arrange them, along with homemade dips, salsas, and sauces, down the table, making sure each diner has everything within reach.

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    Splendor in the Grass

    For a summer dinner, place the picnic table underneath the shade of some trees. A white, full-length tablecloth and striped seat covers will give your table setting a fresh but rustic feel.

  • These lush bouquets have two roles: as centerpieces during a party and as favors for guests to take home after the celebration.

    How to Make Takeaway Bouquets
  • Embellish paper fans as favors for your next get-together. They'll create a welcome breeze for guests on hot, sunny days.

    How to Make Stamped Paper Fans
  • Give your outdoor table a lush centerpiece with a fun, graphic twist.

    How to Make the Moss Centerpiece
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  • Flowers and candlelight are nothing new, but together they create tabletop decorations fit for relaxed summer entertaining.

    How to Make Flower Votive Displays
  • Throw a Sunday morning meal outdoors that parents and their little ones can enjoy -- thanks to a kid-friendly, make-ahead buffet and some fun (read: distracting) activities.

    How to Make the Backyard Brunch
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    Bottle Beauty Hurricane

    Bars and buffet tables must be adequately lighted, but they're often located far from electrical outlets. An easy, inexpensive solution is to gather clear apothecary bottles and fill them with lamp oil and wicks. Arrange the bottles under a large hurricane for protection. We set these on a sturdy glass cake stand.

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    Southern Romance

    Hydrangeas snipped from the garden can echo blue linens that dress your outdoor table. Try mixing formal and everyday platters and serving bowls, flanked by sterling silver, to create an elegant counterpoint to hearty offerings.

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    Avoid a Bottleneck at the Bar

    Multiple beverage stations help ensure that guests can get a refill without waiting. Galvanized tubs, colorful enamel buckets, and planters work perfectly. Place an assortment of drinks in each bin if they're destined for different locations throughout the yard. Or fill each container with a single type, such as imported beer, white wine, or bottled water. With ribbon, tether an opener to a handle of each bin; drape a dish towel nearby to take care of condensation.

  • Decking your yard with tiki torches is an inexpensive, festive way to bring island style home -- and to light up the night without electricity.

    How to Make Tiki-Torch Anchors
  • Pretty paper goods are no match for an unruly summer breeze at an outdoor party. River rocks (available by the bag at garden centers) help keep plates and napkins where they belong, even after they've left the serving table. Pile them in a bucket on the buffet table for guests to grab along with their utensils; you'll avoid having to chase flyaways.

  • A bottle of icy vodka makes a dramatic bar decoration when it's encased in a frozen layer of colorful flowers and fruit.

    How to Make Frozen Vodka
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    Beach Bucket Centerpiece

  • With a few snips and folds, and a little imagination, you can turn humble paper bags into party-perfect decorations.

    How to Make Hanging Paper Flowers
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  • Cocktails at sundown are more memorable when you supplement the waning daylight with Asian-inspired lanterns. These tabletop ones consist of colorful sheets of vellum paper sandwiching tall votive candles in glass holders; chopsticks hold the paper in place.

    How to Make Vellum Shields
  • Salute guests at your next outdoor party with garlands made from ribbon in nautical-themed stripes and solids.

    How to Make the Nautical-Themed Garland
  • Match the informality of a summer buffet with rustic serving dishes fashioned from clay flowerpots and saucers.

    How to Make Flowerpot Servers
  • Set the table for a whole season of festive cookouts by giving it a new summer coat.

    How to Make the Striped Picnic Table
  • A few easy folds is all it takes to turn plain paper into cheery cups for servings of fresh fruit salad and more.

    How to Make Cheery Paper Fruit Pouches
  • Two glass vases and tinted water can be combined to create a unique and festive effect on an outdoor table.

    How to Make the Fire-and-Water Centerpiece
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    Romantic Sunset Party

    Consider bright and bold hues for the table that play up the summer sunset. Martha's Asian lanterns lend romance even when they're not lit.

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    Scalloped Sacks

    Seasonal fruits make wonderful (and delicious) favors. Each of these sacks holds a handful of juicy red cherries, perfect for an outdoor summer party. Buy glassine bags; trim tops with scalloped scissors. Fill bags with enough cherries, or other small fruit, so they peek out over the top. To help the bags stand up, turn corners under at bottoms. Display favors in wooden crates.

    Photography: Amy Neunsinger
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    Flash Freeze

    Here's a great way to chill beverages in time for an impromptu backyard barbecue. Place wine or other bottles in a bucket; add a layer of ice, followed by a layer of salt (coarse or table); repeat until you almost reach the top. Fill the bucket with cold water to just below the ice line. The water in the ice bucket will be colder than normal, chilling the libations in less than 10 minutes.

  • Light shines through these thin paper sheaths, creating a gorgeous glow.

    How to Make Origami Votive Wraps
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    Keep Candles Glowing

    Enjoy candlelight even on breezy evenings by using hurricane lanterns or jam jars to shield the flames.

  • In this casual centerpiece, a piece of driftwood stretches along the center of the table, accompanied by clusters of freshly picked flowers and ponderosa pinecones and needles.

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  • Party punch calls for festive ice: giant frozen cubes capturing bright slices of fresh citrus. To make the ice, thinly slice lemons, limes, and oranges, and layer the slices in muffin cups. Fill each cup halfway with water or nonalcoholic punch, and freeze.

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    Rosemary Coals

    Instead of making a marinade with rosemary for grilling, place the herb right on the coals. The smoke enhances food in the same way burning wood chips does. Once the coals are uniformly gray and ashy, loosely cover them with fresh rosemary branches (be careful not to burn your hands). Almost any meat or vegetable will benefit from this savory smoking.

  • These pretty tassels will keep the wind from blowing your tablecloth away during your next backyard dinner.

    How to Make the Weighted Tablecloth
  • Assemble cupcakes atop this woodsy cake stand for a nature-inspired touch.

    How to Make the Birch Cake Stand

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Summer party in the garden decoration ideas pictorial tutorials

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Summer party in the garden decoration ideas pictorial tutorials

Summer party in the garden decoration ideas pictorial tutorials

Summer party in the garden decoration ideas pictorial tutorials

Summer party in the garden decoration ideas pictorial tutorials

Summer party in the garden decoration ideas pictorial tutorials

Summer party in the garden decoration ideas pictorial tutorials

Summer party in the garden decoration ideas pictorial tutorials

Summer party in the garden decoration ideas pictorial tutorials

Summer party in the garden decoration ideas pictorial tutorials

Summer party in the garden decoration ideas pictorial tutorials

Summer party in the garden decoration ideas pictorial tutorials

Summer party in the garden decoration ideas pictorial tutorials

Summer party in the garden decoration ideas pictorial tutorials