A warm welcome… outdoors
It’s easy to forget about the garden over winter, but with a little planning and a few top tips, it can be a great place to host a small get-together. And with natural ventilation, it’s perfect for catching up with people who are close to you – while not getting too close.
Wrap up warm
Sitting around in the cold is no-one’s idea of fun, so let’s start with the basics – staying warm. Snuggling up together might have worked last year, but in today’s current climate that’s not possible. So keep a bunch of blankets handy – the more brightly-coloured the better. And remember to wash them after your guests have gone – it’s a great excuse to add some wonderfully fragranced fabric conditioner to add to the outdoor scents.
Fire your imagination
A fire pit or chiminea not only pumps out heat, but adds a great focal point to your garden. And dancing flames add an atmosphere to any occasion. But take care if there are children around. If you don’t have space for these, try a humble candle. If it’s scented all the better – this can even deter unwanted guests like midges and bears. Ok, perhaps not bears.
Colour and light can also add warmth to your garden. String fairy lights close to where you’re entertaining for some festive winter sparkle. Choose warmer, yellower bulbs as bright, white lights can be somewhat stark. With a little planning – and no need for electric floodlights – you can set the scene for an afternoon and evening to remember. Try tea-lights, candle-lit lanterns and solar-powered fairy lights – but don’t forget to hang your solar lights a few days before your party, so the battery has time to charge. These simple ideas will make sure sunset won’t put an end to your evening.
Whatever the weather
Our not-so-great British weather is predictably unpredictable – so hope for the best, but plan for the usual. Big, bright golfing umbrellas are a simple solution if you don’t have a covered area outdoors. And windbreaks will add a corner of cosiness to your garden. Tall, potted plants make great screens – and the rustling of leaves can mask the city sounds of passing traffic.
If your guest is staying for food, think hearty stews and thick, nourishing soups. You can prepare these beforehand then simply heat them up indoors – or you can pick up a small camping stove for around £20 and cook outdoors like a celebrity chef. Serve in bowls that can be cupped in your hands for added comfort – and warmth.
Marshmallows can be toasted on a candle – or your shiny, new camping stove. Finish the alfresco dining experience with hot chocolate topped with any leftover marshmallows. You’ll all feel toasty warm inside – outside.
And one last thing…
We hope we’ve given you some inspiration for your garden. But if you’re planning on giving it a makeover and buying any expensive items, check your home insurance policy covers contents in your garden.
This Money Matters post aims to be informative and engaging. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions. Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this post. Some links may take you to another Sainsbury's Bank page. All information in this post was correct at date of publication.