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The moment we have all been waiting for is finally here…summer time! For those that have been fantasising about BBQ’s since January we have put together some top tips for the perfect garden get together.

Six Top Tips for the Perfect Summer Soiree - by Tracey Mayne

 Whether you are the family that holds the annual summer bash or this year is your BBQ debut, with these tips you’ll be the best host of 2017!

1. Be prepared for the English weather

Everybody knows the constant struggle that us Brits face when heading in to summer. Will we even have any sunshine this year? Don’t let the fear of a wet summer get in the way of your BBQ plans - always have a backup plan. If you are happy to host indoors then why not have a games evening instead?! The family homes at Springhead Park in Ebbsfleet Garden City have large living rooms - plenty of space for guests to go head to head in a board game battle.

2. Clear and concise invitations

Whether you prefer a card through the letter box or an online Facebook event, you should carefully consider the information that you will be passing on to your guests. What should people wear? Even if you aren’t bothered about a dress code then make that clear. Suggest what kind of footwear will be appropriate. If you have a lawn, you may not want all of your female guests turning up in heels. If you have a pool, be sure to remind guests to bring their swimsuits. Within the invite, it is important to clearly state what time food will be served – to hopefully save you firing up the BBQ twice!

3. Let it shine

If the weather holds out and you end up having a fabulous hot day in the sunshine, make sure you remember to have lighting at the ready in case the party continues into the evening. Fairy lights and candles always create a very pretty atmosphere and aren’t too overpowering. Another idea is getting small solar powered lights to line your garden – once they’re set up they’re good to go so you won’t have to be running around searching for matches come night time.

4. Set the Mood

Music is a must at any get together or BBQ. Before guests arrive, take a minute to listen to some tracks to discover the most appropriate volume. You don’t want guests shouting over the music or upsetting the neighbours. Having a pre-made playlist will prevent guests from taking control and becoming the unwanted DJ for the evening. Be sure to have a mix of classic crowd pleasers for all age groups. The show garden at Mandeville Place in Saffron Walden, has a large decking, an ideal set up for a music table.

5. Keep the kids happy

If a lot of young children are due to attend your BBQ, you should provide a few things to keep them entertained. Happy kids means happy parents (even happier when they can enjoy a relaxing evening with a chilled drink in hand!). If a little paddling pool is too much of a risk for an impromptu kids vs. parents water fight, then try traditional garden games that can be found at most garden centres. Beaulieu in Chelmsford, has a large amount of green open spaces and parkland which would be the perfect setting for kids’ playtime!

6. Food, glorious food.

Refresh your memory of the basic BBQ rules:
• Coals must be white hot before loading on any food.
• Check that the heat is right – as recommended by Jamie Oliver, you can do this by timing how long you can hold your hand 3 inches above the fire. 1-2 seconds is high, 2-4 seconds is medium-high, 4-5 seconds is medium, 6-7 is medium-low and 7-9 seconds is low.
• Ensure you have the correct tools / equipment to safely manoeuvre the food around the BBQ and onto your guest’s plates.
Your side dishes are just as important as the meats. Provide a good selection to keep both parents and kids happy. Potato salad and corn on the cob always go down a treat. Remember to check before-hand to see if any of your guests are vegetarian!


Now that everything is in hand, we hope that you can have a fun and stress free BBQ and embrace whatever the British weather throws at you! Not only are our show homes dressed to impress but the gardens are too! For more garden inspiration, we have some fantastic show gardens at our developments in London, and the rest of the UK – why not pay us a visit soon and follow our Instagram account for further inspiration.


Tracey Mayne,
Associate Director of Sales

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About this blog

Here you’ll find property related blog articles from the team at Countryside as well as independent experts. Expect regular tips and advice on topics such as buying a new home, interior and landscape design, setting up home, mortgages and finance, plus articles on architecture, the property market, regeneration and more.

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