Garden style: 12 ideas for outdoor entertaining

Give your outdoor seating area a boost with these simple garden style injections

Get garden style with an outdoor screen to create privacy in a seating area
(Image credit: Screen With Envy)

These easy garden style tips will help get your garden looking its best when you have guests over for some socially distanced entertaining. Styling up areas can be fun and rewarding for you just as much as for your guests. Spending time being creative is great for our self esteem when we see our handiwork come to fruition.

Making use of salvaged materials by giving them a revamp will give you the perfect talking point at your parties and might even inspire your friends to get involved themselves. If you're not in the mood for a project, investing in a statement piece to style up a space can be just as worthwhile.

So take a look at these 12 great garden style ideas and see whether you can adapt them to your own outdoor space. Want more ideas? Head to our garden design ideas page.


Bowl of candles used as table centrepiece

(Image credit: dominic blackmore)

Not only will this simple centrepiece look great on an alfresco dining table, it has a practical element, too. Firing up the candles when the sun goes down will give you soft ambient lighting and if you choose citronella candles, you can keep mosquitos at bay. Fill terracotta pots with sand and push in some dinner candles. Use odd numbers as a rule so the display looks more visually balanced – try three standard-sized candles 
or seven to nine skinny ones.


Tiled effect table top with Annie Sloan paint

(Image credit: Annie Sloane)

Rather than throwing away an outdoor table and spending money buying a new one, why not go with the environmentally and budget friendly option of giving your existing one a makeover. With chalk paint, you can create a clever trick-of-the-eye transformation which looks expensive. Start with a base coat of white paint and leave it to dry. Then using a patterned stencil and a contrasting paint shade, create a tile-effect pattern. Finish with a coat of protective varnish, et voila! Try chalk paint in Old White (opens in new tab)and Graphite (opens in new tab) from Annie Sloan (opens in new tab).


A festival style outdoor space with bright bunting and floral colour pops

(Image credit: Sara Bird)

Festivals are pretty much a non-starter this year, so bring the colourful and chilled style to your garden instead. Celebrate pattern and colour with plenty of textiles 
in bold shades. For a true festival feel, fill a nook with a colourful cushions and rugs, perfect for relaxing on. Floral bunting strung up will add instant, low-maintenance colour. Fill up your pots with easy-to-grow pelargoniums for their bold shades.


Wooden crates upcycled into container planters

(Image credit: Dan Duchars)

It doesn't take much at all to transform old wooden crates into planters. All you need to do is to make drainage holes in the base and line the inside with plastic to protect the wood. Ensure you make holes at the bottom of the plastic sheet too so moisture can drain away. Fill up with your compost and add some bright plants which you can find in your local garden centres.

Love this? Take a look at more great garden planter ideas.


A wall mounted pallet used as a garden tidy

(Image credit: Dominic Blackmore)

Pallets are such a great starting material to work with for creating loads of great DIY makes for your garden. This shelving unit makes the perfect display and storage combo – hang tools, organise twine and keep small pots close to hand. Use S-hooks for moveable and fixed holders.


Pink roses and white flowers in a wooden frame hung on a garden gate.

(Image credit: David Brittain)

Create a flower display full of rustic charm. Apply a coat of paint to an an old picture frame and leave to dry. Wait until the next day to ensure it's dried completely and distress with sandpaper. Cut some chicken wire to a size just larger than the aperture and attach to the back with a staple gun. Fold the edges of the chicken wire back with pliers so there are no shape points. Hang the frame and thread flower stems through the wire. Use real cut flowers from your garden or choose fake for a permanent display.


Metal effect planters filled with low maintenance plants

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

Before your guests arrive, make sure your outdoor space is looking lush with foliage. This needn't mean hours spent slaving over pots and beds however. Opt for one or two large statement pots and fill with low-maintenance evergreen plants for an instant hit of shape and texture. We like these light grey concrete-effect planters from Garden Trading (opens in new tab), from just £25 each.


Rustic outdoor chair with cushions

(Image credit: Bloomingville)

Prepare a place in 
the sun with a luxurious lounger and cushions, so you take a break and slip straight into relaxation mode for a few minutes, or even a whole afternoon. Try 
this rattan daybed frame set with plenty of cushions and throws, 
all from Bloomingville. 


Painted outdoor decking with shade sail

(Image credit: Cuprinol)

Give your tired-looking decking a good clean-up. Sweep it over with a stiff bristle brush to get rid of any moss or debris. You could even go to town with a pressure washer to blast away any grime. When it's clean and dry give it a coat of wood stain, such as Cuprinol Anti-Slip Decking Stain 
in Silver Birch (opens in new tab). You could choose a different shade for a whole new look!


outdoor screen boosting privacy in an outdoor seating area

(Image credit: Screen With Envy)

Is your garden a little too on show? Instead of waiting for plants like hedging to grow and add privacy, why not try these beautifully ornate garden screens? They come in black, grey and a weathered cortex steel in a wide variety of designs and sizes from Screen With Envy (opens in new tab). The cut-outs in the panels allow natural light and air to pass through, creating a beautifully dappled shade whilst still feeling secluded and intimate. 


Painted outdoor table set with candles and runner

(Image credit: Dominic Blackmore)

It's possible to pick up some great secondhand bargains when it comes to garden furniture, but sometimes it can mean a compromise on what you want. But having a fixer-upper means you have a chance to challenge your creative side. A coat of pale grey outdoor paint will give an instant contemporary look. It’s also so easy to jazz it up with a colourful runner made from a strip of fabric. 

More garden furniture advice:

Teresa has worked as an Editor on a number of gardening magazines for three years now. As well as holding editorship of Easy Gardens magazine and Woman's Weekly gardening she has worked as the gardening specialist on a number of home magazines including Homes & Gardens, Country Homes & Interiors, Ideal Home, Living etc and Style At Home, so she is lucky enough to see and write about gardening across all sizes, budgets and abilities.

These years in the industry have meant that she has developed close working relationships with top garden designers and landscape architects having access to their projects and and expertise. Attending industry events such as Chelsea Flower Show and other garden openings and launches. Last year she was on the judging panel for the Society of Garden Designers awards and she continues to be this year too.

She recently moved into her first home and the garden is a real project! Currently she is relishing planning her own design and planting schemes. What she is most passionate about when it comes to gardening are the positive effects it has on our mental health to grow and care for plants. Keeping our patches alive with greenery is great for the environment too and help provide food and shelter for wildlife.