The weather is beautiful and this year I am finally getting the back garden to the next level of completeness with some new trees and grass (likely the green no-mow variety).  So for the first time in a couple of years I’m feeling like I’ll be ready to enjoy some back garden dinner parties once again!!

Here are a few of my favorite ideas I’ve collected over the years for creating a patio worthy of a party – whether it be for two or two hundred!


Bring the Beach to your back garden.  Use a colorful beach towel as a table runner.  Line a tray with sand and beach glass and nestle in candles in clear glass hurricanes or mason jars.

For a No Stress Centerpiece to enjoy all season long, fill a long low pot (with drainage holes!) with a combination of warm season annuals and place it at the center of your outdoor table.  Go for a color combination brilliant in both the color of the flowers and the leaves to make a really eye catching centerpiece.

Fill In the Patio with additional colorful pots filled with brilliantly flowering annuals – tuck these in between your existing year round plants.  With a little water they will look great thru the entire spring and summer season and can be replaced in the fall with different plants that will set the stage for the new season.

Light It Up:  Take your holiday string lights out of storage and run them along fences and deck railings and thru trees.  It adds magic to an evening spent outdoors!  And of course lanterns of all sizes and shapes look great tucked into the potted plant areas of the garden and can tease folks to go exploring in your back yard.

Comfort is just as important outdoors as it is inside – especially for dining chairs if you want your guests to linger.  Invest in chairs that will encourage your guests to do so.

Brighten Up!  A color palette is a great way of pulling together a look on the outside just as it is indoors.  And don’t be nervous about going bolder and brighter than you might indoors – it seems lively and natural in most outdoor spaces.

Don’t Have A Water Feature?  Use a galvanized drink bucket and fill it with floating candles, flower heads or glass balls.   It adds a cooling playful touch.

Set The Mood:  For a festive and summery table, mix and match linen colors and patterns.  I recommend cloth napkins in bolder darker colors that will help to camouflage the barbeque sauce and red wine…

Add some Summertime Scent:  We have so many scents we associate with fall and winter (gingerbread, berries…) but think about how the right scent can also impact us during the spring and summer seasons.  Think fresh and beach-y and begin a search for your summer scent to include at your next dinner party!

Right Party Music:  Take the guesswork out of choosing just the right party music by asking guests to tell you their favorite summer songs when they RSVP.  Download the tunes to make a party soundtrack.

Make Drinks Special right down to the ice cubes.  Depending on your cocktails of choice that you are serving, freeze orange juice or any other appropriate fruit juice in shaped ice cube trays.  Add to the cocktails to boost flavor as they are sipped.  If you have a back yard garden (of fruits and veggies) consider adding berries or mint leaves from your garden into the ice cubes as well!

It’s a Picnic!  Instead of crowding everyone around a table, put out a large picnic blanket or two on the lawn and eat picnic style.  Make sure to have some comfortable camping chairs available for those guests with troublesome knees.

Create a Signature Cocktail – Here’s a summer twist on one of my favorites - The Kir Royale.  This new version is called the Pink Diamond Bellini and includes Champagne and Chambord Liqueur, but for a summery touch you add a splash of Pecher Mignon - a peach liqueur!

Fragrant Grilling:  If you are lucky enough to have rosemary in your garden, throw some fresh stems on the charcoal when you’re grilling.  If your plant is old enough to have some stronger stems that could use trimming, cut and strip the bulk of the rosemary leaves off the stems and use them as shish kabob sticks.

Form & Function:  For an attractive table top that is practical too, decant condiments from their original packaging into small dishes and ramekins.  They can be miss-matched (I think that adds to the playfulness) but will certainly look prettier than the original condiment bottles.

No Bugs Here:  Running a fan near your dining area will keep mosquitoes and gnats at bay.

Break Out the Lawn Games!  At Christmas nephews had a great time of Bache Ball – though they had to go to the nearby park.  This year there will be grass in the back garden!!  Croquet and horseshoes are other fun options.

Cap The Evening with a whimsical dessert presentation.  Take a break on complexity by serving something simple – like lemon sorbet with a cookie – and deliver it in an unexpected colorful martini glass! 

Or make it something inspired by an item in your garden.  So many of the flowers and herbs we grow can at the very least make an attractive adornment to a simple bowl of sorbet or ice cream.  And sometimes it’s these little touches that make it memorable.

I hope this spring will offer many pleasant memories to keep from dinners and drinks on your patio.






Meet Sasha Witte


  • Facebook (Sasha Witte Design)

  • Google+

  • Yelp