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Must-have accessories at a garden party

Summer is the perfect time for a garden party, as you make the most of the sunshine and blue skies. Having friends and family around to spend the day outdoors is a great way to celebrate the season – and it costs you very little to host such an occasion.

This year there have been so many excuses to hold garden parties: the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Euro 2012 and, of course, the Olympics. I hosted an outdoor shindig for the Jubilee by hanging Union Jack bunting and putting out a selection of cakes and snacks for my guests to dig into.

However, let’s be honest – when the weather is good you don’t even need an excuse to throw a party. You can just send your friends a text and fire up the barbecue, before enjoying a relaxing day chatting and eating al fresco.

You need surprisingly little to host a garden party, but there are some things it’s worth investing in to ensure your event is remembered for all the right reasons. Here are some of my top suggestions.

Furniture

It might be glorious sunshine, but if it has been raining for the last three days no one will want to sit on your lawn. Meanwhile, a patio or decking are not the most comfortable surfaces to sit on for a prolonged period.

That’s why it’s so important to provide your guests with a chair. There’s plenty of choice available, but a fold-up canvas chair is inexpensive and can be neatly stored away when not in use.

Alternatively, you could buy outdoor dining furniture so you can have people around for a meal served in your garden. A wooden table and matching chairs might be more of an expensive investment than canvas seats, but – if properly cared for – they will certainly stand the test of time.

Barbecue

Summer simply isn’t complete without hosting a barbecue – and in my house we have them whenever it’s a fine and dry weekend. Indeed, such is the unpredictability of the British weather that the first thing we do on a day that’s actually pleasant is light the barbecue – after all, you just don’t know how long it will last.

There are so many barbecues available you will certainly find one that matches your needs and budget. You can get a disposable charcoal one, right the way up to having a permanent brick structure where you can cook all manner of treats to delight your guests.

Shelter

To save you and your guests having to rush in and out of your house whenever a cloud passes, it’s worth investing in somewhere that provides shelter. Again, there is plenty to choose from depending on your budget.

A simple canopy is a great choice if you are limited for space in your garden, as you can erect it and place a table underneath to arrange all the plates of cooked food from the barbecue. Should it start to drizzle, your guests can simply move their chairs under the shelter and carry on eating.

At the other end of the scale, there are log cabins for sale that provide the perfect garden party venue. You can laze on the lawn outside or the veranda if it has one, and if the wind picks up or it starts to rain, you can step inside and continue the party in there. Remember, shelter is also important when it is extremely sunny and the heat becomes unbearable

These are a few of the accessories that I think are most integral to a garden party, but what are yours?

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