Is your garden ready for guests? Five things to consider when creating a sociable outdoor space.

Is your garden ready for guests? Five things to consider when creating a sociable outdoor space.

Welcome friends & family for (socially-distanced) garden gatherings


Caroline from Armadillo Sun has kindly written a guest blog post on how to get our gardens ready for garden gatherings. 

Garden get-togethers are on the horizon as lockdown rules begin to lift. Whilst I suspect that the weather may not be favourable, I’m counting down the days until we can welcome friends over for a long overdue catch-up. However big or small your outdoor space, there’s plenty of opportunity to make it inviting and comfortable for this upcoming flurry of al fresco engagements. These are the five things I’ve been thinking about to get my garden ready for guests.


Set the scene

The word ‘garden’ has its roots in the concept of enclosure. Create a sense of refuge and escape from the outside world by bearing in mind the law of significant enclosure. This states that the vertical edge of a space should be, at the very least, one-third of its horizontal length. Without getting too mathematical about it all, you can help put your guests at ease by adding features with height, and create inviting nooks using existing trees, hedges and walls. You might use obelisks, or other planting supports, with sweet peas or morning glory. String fairy lights through trellis or arches, and maximise the feeling of height with low-level seating, like bean bags or a scattering of outdoor floor cushions.


In smaller gardens, where your space needs to work harder, I like to be able to move things around to suit the occasion. Perhaps plant your obelisks in pots – just don’t make them too big and heavy! At Armadillo Sun, I specifically designed our bean bag furniture to be lightweight and portable so that it is easily moved and re-arranged – whether that’s to create different moods, chase the sun around the garden, or just to follow the flow of conversation.


Create several seating areas

Draw your guests into different zones within your garden by creating defined seating areas. People tend to want to cluster in smaller groups - and this is appreciated by families where older kids might want their own sense of space. It works especially for right now by encouraging and enabling social distancing. You might use a pergola or gazebo to define a dining-type area with a table and chairs, or drinks trolley. Then a bean bag lounger with a pretty parasol might become a more intimate spot for a catch-up and gossip. Even in a small space, it’s often possible to arrange at least two seating areas with a small bench or a couple of garden pouffes. Don’t forget, if you have one, to make use of your front garden too – we’re all a lot more accustomed to bringing a deck chair out onto the street these days!


Adopt an inside-out vibe

Over lockdown our outdoor spaces have become an additional room to our homes, with outdoor kitchens, garden bars – even inflatable hot tubs – increasingly in demand. Embrace the inside-out feel with outdoor rugs, a chiminea fireplace, and garden furniture in soft textiles. Many modern fabrics resist the British weather well, allowing you to create a cosy living-room in your garden with a comfy sofa and weatherproof cushions – long-gone are the days of cold, clunky, rusting patio chairs!


 A place to plonk your plonk!

Don’t forget to set-up surfaces in your garden to avoid that juggle of plate, drink and cutlery. A table is of course useful, but you might want to consider a trolley on wheels brought from indoors, or an outdoor ottoman which can double up as an extra place to sit. I also like using logs for a rustic look, or placing a handy bean bag stool next to the cleared edge of a raised bed.


Add a splash of colour

There are so many options to add colour to your outdoor space now – and that’s without even thinking about the flowers! Whilst the Pantone of 2021 might be the combination of grey and Illuminating yellow, I’ve found it to be bright and fiery orange that is grabbing people’s attention. They’ve been choosing outdoor cushions in orange and navy stripe; loungers in retro orange patterns; and a more subtle pumpkin for throws. Orange certainly looks fabulous against a green backdrop and injects joy and warmth, whatever the capricious nature of our spring weather might be!


What about the plants?!

The cornerstone of any garden of course is the plants. With guests in mind, you might be thinking about colour, or fragrance, or shrubbery that you can add to your G&T.


And this is when I will direct you towards the expertise of Lizzie!!


Armadillo Sun are specialists in outdoor bean bag furniture. Each piece is made by Caroline in her workrooms in Kent and carefully designed to blend style with durability. Follow Armadillo Sun on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest.

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