Garden Party

Vibrant decorations for the perfect gathering

Channel the warmth of spring and summer into charming outdoor party scapes that pop with bright colors, floral accents and shabby chic décor. First, decide which furniture pieces will comprise your entertaining area, and don't discount sturdy pieces from inside. “For a special event, you can bring indoor furniture outside,” says Tiffany Marus, a stylist at Liz Stewart Floral Design. A vintage tablecloth is casually draped over the small serving table, but pretty linens work just as well. To achieve the look of the blue mason jars, add a few drops of food dye to water, then adorn with fresh blooms.

Lighten the mood with string lights and paper lanterns, which are available in a variety of patterns and colors. Spruce up drab shrubs by plugging individual flowers amidst the leaves, like the white hydrangeas seen in the planters. Marus recommends attaching a water tube to each stem—doing so provides enough water to keep the petals looking fresh, and it also helps each flower stand upright.

Other flower varieties that make for an eye-popping scene include garden roses, parrot tulips, poppies, sunflowers, azaleas, hyacinth and ranunculus. “Bringing in those pops of pink, peach and red plays off of the pattern of the lantern and is appropriate for the colors from spring leading into summer,” Marus says. For finishing touches, adorn benches and chairs with throw pillows in a fun print, light a few candles and serve beverages and snacks from wooden trays.

Yellow wooden chairs shine amidst fresh flowers, a bright paisley print tablecloth and an intricately detailed fringed umbrella from Liz Stewart. Fresh lemons and limes highlight the large pitcher of lemonade. Marus says, “We love using an element that might be something you already have in a decorative way, and it's something fresh that can be eaten and enjoyed.”

The battery operated candles in the green iron lanterns are a safe alternative to wick candles. “We love to use them as a safety feature, especially for outdoor parties, because you don't have to worry about the wind blowing them out and they'll typically stay lit for at least eight hours,” Marus says. Regardless of the size and scope of your next seasonal soirée, budget enough time to set up the entertaining area. “Always plan setup time at least three hours before guests will begin arriving,” Marus advises. Deconstructing the area will take less time, but when the results are this pretty, you might want to leave the decorations up all summer long.

Written by Natalie Wearstler • Flowers, products and design by Tiffany Marus of Liz Stewart Floral Design • Shot on location at the home of Benham Purcell • photos by Bradley Stookey