Texas Living

Host a Gorgeous Garden Party

By Abi Grise Morgan 3.22.24

After a long winter cooped up inside, a garden party is sunshine for the soul! Here’s everything you need to throw the ultimate alfresco get-together with family and friends this spring, from floral tablescape to finger foods and lawn games for all ages.

Set the Stage

There is no such thing as too many flowers at a garden party. From tablecloths to teacups, decorative platters, and wares — if it’s floral-patterned, it has a place at the table.

Create fresh floral arrangements for tables using whatever is in bloom. Snip tulips, daisies, or roses from your garden bed, or gather wildflowers like Texas bluebells and Indian paintbrushes from the yard. Consider using teapots or watering cans as vases for extra whimsy. Instead of traditional confetti, sprinkle tables with loose flower buds or petals.

Make Stations
Create a cozy outdoor space for your garden party with multiple areas for guests to mingle. Sunny day? Throw down a picnic blanket and large cushions in the shade for lounging. Cooler day? Place lawn chairs around a fire pit. Set up games, like cornhole or croquet, in various corners of the lawn with plenty of space for play.

Strike a Pose
No need for a photo booth backdrop: Nature has you covered! Find a shady, pretty space in your yard (a flower trellis or berried hedge, for example) and set up a phone holder on a tripod, along with costume props.

Themed Party Favors
Send guests home with a small token of thanks, like seed packets or a small potted succulent. At the end of the party, let guests take home parts of your floral tablescape, too!

Have Comfort Essentials Handy

  • Bug spray
  • Bug repellant candles
  • Sunscreen
  • Handheld fans
garden party

DIY Lawn Games

To help guests understand how each game works, set up easels with the directions and rules at each station.

Flamingo Ring Toss
A cheerful twist on a beloved classic! Stake pink flamingos on the lawn, then try to ring plastic or rope hoops around their necks.

Tablecloth Checkers
You can buy checkerboard tablecloths online or create your own using an old sheet and a permanent marker. Use big flower blossoms as checker pieces!

Beanbag Ladder Toss
Set up any old ladder. Tape a number to each step indicating the points players get for throwing a beanbag into that section. The higher the level, the higher the point value.

Backyard Bananagrams
Write the letters of the alphabet onto 144 pieces of square 12-inch cardstock (one letter per square). Divide the squares evenly among players. Each player takes turns spelling out a word in the grass that connects to another already on the ground. The first to run out of tiles wins!

garden party

Get Your Flowers In Formation (Using Floral Foam!)

Garden parties are best decorated with bountiful spring blooms! Wet floral foam can help you arrange unique bouquets while providing them with water to keep blossoms perky.

Step 1: Cut
Select opaque containers, such as a basket, to hide the foam from view. Alternatively, you can use a clear vase with enough space on the sides to obscure the foam with decorative pebbles or moss. Carefully cut the dry floral foam block with a sharp knife to fit inside.

Step 2: Soak
You want the foam to soak up as much water as possible to keep plants well hydrated. Put the foam block into a bowl or sink full of water. It will float at first, then slowly sink as it soaks up the water over time. You can add plant food to the mix to encourage longevity. The foam is completely saturated when it sinks to the bottom and air bubbles start popping to the surface.

Step 3: Stick
Place the wet foam into the vase. If you are using a container that isn’t waterproof, securely wrap tinfoil or saran wrap around the bottom of the wet foam. Then, remove leaves from the lower sections of the flower stems and cut them to length at an angle, which helps to pierce the foam. Start with your focal point — big blooms — and rotate the arrangement as you embellish to ensure every flower variety can be seen at all angles.

garden party
Photo by Elizabeth Lavin; Food Styling by Jenny Hajduk-Swiencki; Prop Styling by Jamie Laubhan-Oliver

Delightful Party Bites

Guests will want to eat while talking and playing games, so focus your menu on finger foods.

DIY Charcuterie
The trick to charcuterie boards is incorporating a variety of flavor profiles: salty (deli meats, pretzels, nuts), sweet (dried apricots, grapes, jam), umami (a mixture of cheeses), bitter (dark chocolate, horseradish, mustard), and sour (mini sourdough toasts, pickled veggies).

Mini Quiches
A fan favorite for brunch affairs! Use phyllo dough or frozen premade crust and fill with your favorite savory quiche recipe.

Triangle Sammies
You can’t go wrong with tea party sandwiches, like pimento cheese on white bread, chicken salad with fresh cucumber, or even PB&Js with a twist, like adding bacon or bananas.

Grilled Favorites
Celebrate the return of grill season with mini cheeseburger sliders or marinated kabobs made with your protein of choice and veggies, like zucchini, tomatoes, onion, and potatoes.

Photo by Imani Chet Lytle

Sip, Sip, Hooray!

Cheerful spring drinks set the mood for a festive party! Set up a beverage station with various bases and garnishes for guests to mix and refill on their own.


  • Lemonade
  • Iced tea (Sweet… this is Texas, y’all!)
  • Ginger ale
  • Sparkling water

Flavor Mix-Ins

  • Lavender sprigs
  • Mint leaves
  • Muddled berries
  • Lemon slices

Candied Flower Garnish
Ever think a blossom is so beautiful you could eat it? Sometimes, you can! Pansies, rose petals, squash blossoms, and chrysanthemums are all edible and simply precious in spring drinks.

Get your outdoor spaces looking their finest with the help of this outdoor spring-cleaning checklist.

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