With the summer soiree season upon us, we spoke to our entertainment queens, Karen Howes and Jane Landino. They gave us an insight into how they will be dressing the garden table for the upcoming outdoor dining season. Read on for tip and trips on making the most spectacular tablescapes.
1. Embrace your garden’s natural bounty: I strive to create tablescapes that have a real connection to the garden. Using freshly cut flowers and foliage lends a relaxed and homely touch and there is nothing more satisfying than using your own, home-grown florals to enliven a lazy lunch or evening meal. During this time of year I use a lot of cow parsley, that grows abundantly in the hedge rows, to create a beautiful soft and frothy effect down the length of the table.
2. Choose a theme: This summer I am looking forward to using my favoured blue and white porcelain collection within my tablescapes. Encompassing traditional ginger jars, pagoda-style tea light holders and tiny bud vases, I like to mix and match these items with tiny preserved boxwood wreaths on each plate which I tie with a velvet ribbon.
3. Layer from the bottom up: Layering of tablecloths, placemat, chargers and plates add colour and interest – for texture I like to use a rattan placemat underneath a plate. Candle holders in a variety of colour and patterns are sure to bring both style and practical help whilst nothing beats using proper starched linens for that polished look. Don’t forget the little bits, such as pinch pots for salt and pepper, napkin rings and place card holders.
4. Comfort is key(!): The most important thing is that your guests are comfortable. I have replaced the cream seat cushions that came with my outdoor dining chairs with ones in a blue and white Ikat print. I found these cushions in Majorca and love layering them with soft blue throws on the backs of the chairs.
5. Create a mood: Planning your garden lighting is key, especially as the evening light begins to fade. Mix lanterns and small glass globes for a warming globe and utilise solar-powered stake lighting amongst the planting to create a magical touch.