For most people summer doesn’t officially begin until you have that first garden party or backyard BBQ.

To make sure it’s a stress-free and memorable event, here are some simple decorating and food tips...

Most importantly, stay cool and casual and your guests will as well…


String fairy lights, paper lanterns or place tea lights around the garden so that when the sun goes down the whole area will glow.

Hanging baskets and planters filled with flowers from your local nursery are quick and easy ways to add colour and interest.

Be prepared for uninvited guests... mosquitos and flies. Have insect repellant on hand or burn citronella candles around the perimeter.

Simple decorating and food tips


Make a large part of the menu no-cook such as salads and fruit, or items that can be served cold like deli meats, seafood, dips, cheese and ice-cream which means that most of the preparation can be done ahead.

Serve food “family style” in the centre of the table or as a buffet where everyone can help themselves.

Don’t be afraid to cheat. Even supermarkets these days carry high quality food geared towards entertaining. A good place to start is the deli where you can get dips, antipasto, cheeses and pre-marinated meats.

Desserts can be just as simple. Use a combination of simple butter and chocolate cakes with store bought ice-cream and seasonal fruits, and you have an instant dessert.