Home And Garden Party – 5 New Party Ideas, Themes And More

If you’re a home and garden party consultant, helping your hostesses come up with ideas for their parties can be a win-win situation for both of you. For the hostess, having a printed list with ideas, themes and even recipes can take a big part of the stress off her shoulders, and make her more motivated and enthusiastic about the party. For you, the consultant, having a happy hostess means happier and more relaxed guests, and everyone having a wonderful time at the party. This also can translate into more sales for you.

Although a garden party may make you think of elegant women in large hats, sipping tea out of tiny porcelain cups, in reality it doesn’t require a home in the country with a large lawn, beautiful grounds and lots of outdoor furniture. Successful garden parties can happen on small patios in the city, in the backyard of the suburbs or even in a living room or dining room. In fact, some of the most successful garden parties don’t even happen in the hostess’s home – we’ve had successful garden parties at the local park, at a family member or neighbor’s home, and once, even on a mother-daughter camp-out!

Garden parties can range from the elegant to the casual: from large affairs to cozy, intimate gatherings. The most important thing when planning a garden party is to decide on the theme, and then use it to create the atmosphere you want.

Of course you’ll have to take into consideration the time of year, the time of day the party is being held, the number of guests expected and the location. But here are some fun themes that have resulted in successful parties with better-than-average sales and party bookings. Feel free to adapt them so that they work for you!

Tea Party: Get elegant with cloth tablecloths and napkins, fancy napkin rings and place settings. The centerpieces could be glass bowls, decanters or bottles filled with flowers, fruit or candles. Serve tea, finger sandwiches and elegant little desserts on stacked trays.
Use flowers or potted plants if the party is on the patio, or set it up in the garden itself, if the time of year is right. Place your displays inside the house or around the outdoor area, and use the same tablecloths and elegant theme as the party. Light classical music, guitar music or new age would blend in beautifully.

Afternoon Delight: Set up a whimsical party with beach umbrellas or patio tables and umbrellas, a free-standing hammock, and drag out the kids’ plastic pool to fill with sand and use it to hold your outdoor display items. Serve icy margaritas or delicious mimosas with a little Jimmy Buffet in the background, and make sure your games are fun and that guests feel relaxed and at ease. Crackers, cheese and fruit make simple refreshments.

Bridal Shower: Although this idea is a little unusual, it’s actually a good marketing campaign and has been a surprising success. In your next marketing campaign – aimed at brides and maids (or matrons) of honor, mention that you hold garden party bridal showers. The guests get together, laugh, talk, eat and play games, just like at a regular bridal shower, but the bride can register for the gifts that she’d like for her new home, and guests can choose from her list, as well as picking up a little something for themselves. Themes can vary, but some nice touches include: stringing fairy lights and hurricane lanterns around the garden or patio (especially if the party is being held at night), using ribbons, lace and the bride’s wedding colors. Refreshments can be anything from a light buffet using fresh fruits and vegetables of the season (for spring and summer) to soups and a selection of elegant appetizers in the fall and winter months.

Bloom Where you’re Planted: This party is all about celebrating life and enjoying who you are. Table decorations can be tiny terra cotta pots with tea lights in them. You can use flower seed packets as place cards (write the guests’ names on the packets). Set up baskets or pots of flowers and plants around the tables. Use a wheelbarrow or garden cart for displays or refreshments, and if you have a trellis or standing metal archway, it makes a lovely setting for your display. Keep the games light and upbeat and the general theme about gratitude and how wonderful it is that we are all unique and different as flowers in a garden. Refreshments should be kept light – ice tea, lemon-aide or fruit smoothies and finger sandwiches with cookies or a variety of desserts works well.

How to Blend Your Home and Garden Decor

A wonderful addition to the ambiance of your home can be creating a lovely combination of home and garden decor. Beautiful plants and garden sculpture brought inside and comfortable furniture with tables and lamps taken into the garden expands and blends both spaces. Plants and flowers placed in colorful pots on a plant dolly can be rolled into the house to brighten the room with color and fragrance. A plant dolly will make it easy to move them outside as needed to re-pot them or give the plant a thorough watering.

An indoor fountain will add the sound of a waterfall which is soothing and maybe the fountain will be a welcome home for some goldfish. Add greenery around the fountain and you will have a little tropical area. Screens with birds and flowers can expand the area to whatever size you need. This would definitely add creatively to your home and garden décor.

Create a mural on your bare patio walls, hang mirrors in small areas outside to reflect a special hidden space. Consider indoor-outdoor carpet under the seating area with a small portable fire pit to warm the outdoor space. Even pictures can be hung outside. Treat your patio or garden area like another room. Continue the style from your adjoining room or create a completely different look. Use the same types of accessories for the outdoor area, taking into consideration the possibility of exposure to the elements. Add pillows and cushions to the chairs, a foot rest, use bowls with artificial fruit on the tables.

You will find a myriad of ideas in home and garden décor magazines. Keep a file to store pictures of your favorite sun rooms or patio and garden areas. You will be able to look over this file anytime to refresh your ideas and make additions and changes to your adjoining home and garden rooms.

If your budget allows, think of installing French doors to the entrance to the patio. This will bring light indoors and you will be able to see the garden from the inside even if the weather is not suitable for going outside.

Be sure to check out the internet and the many television programs that feature ideas created by talented designers for the use of their viewers. You will find any number of them will add to your home and garden décor. Just keep your goal in mind and you will see inspiration all around you.

Seasonal Pond Care For Your Home Water Garden

A home water garden need not be an overwhelming experience. In fact, other than some minor maintenance the pond should take care of itself. This article will guide you in the process of maintaining your water garden through the various seasons. Keeping your water quality, plant life, and fish in peak shape will allow you the most fulfillment from your garden.

Spring:

Spring is a crucial time of year for your garden.

1. It is important that the fall netting is removed and all debris and leaves are cleaned from the pond.
2. The heater may be removed and the pump may be reinstalled. Be sure that all electrical components are working properly and filters are cleaned.
3. You may start feeding fish as long as the water temperatures reach 50 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer. Be sure not to overfeed as wasted food will rot at the bottom of the pond. Also, overfeeding can cause fish to breed also tainting water quality.
4. “Algal bloom” may occur as the water warms leaving the surface of your water green. Patience on your part will allow microorganisms to eat it up within a few days. Large strings of algae can also be removed by hand.
5. Installing new plant material is always a treat! You can begin this process mid to late spring.

Summer:

1. During late spring into summer, plants will begin to flourish. Be sure to thin out plants and separate to keep your garden from overgrowing.
2. Check water levels frequently. As evaporation occurs be sure to top up the pond.
3. If you notice your fish panting at the surface of the water, your pond may need oxygen. The easiest way to oxygenate your water is to spray water along the surface. Having a fountain or waterfall installed will also oxygenate and enhance water quality.
4. Once again, be sure to check pumps and filters to prevent blockages.

Autumn:

1. Continual leaf cleanup may be necessary. Now is a great time to consider installing the fall net to help catch leaves before entering your pond.
2. Cutting back plants to surface level is part of winterizing your water garden. Bring plant material that may not make it through the winter inside.
3. As temperatures start to cool only feed fish on warm days. Feeding on colder days is not required. Fish may also require a higher protein diet to help them through the winter months.
4. Replace pond pump with a heater. This will help keep the pond from freezing solid.

Winter:

1. In the dead of winter the pond may freeze over. Be sure to create a hole by melting through with a pot of hot water. Do not hit the ice with a blunt tool, as fish may go into shock! A hole from the surface will allow a pocket of air between the ice keeping the remaining water from freezing.

Following these seasonal tips will help ensure that you receive the most benefits from your home water garden as well as the most time to enjoy it.