Time for some sparkle & sheen

GREAT SPACES

Now that the festive season is here, consider sprucing up your garden. It could be the ideal setting for you to entertain friends and family. Surabhi Johri offers tips on how to bring some magic into your gardens.

The festive season is back. It is that phase of the year which brings happiness and cheer.

It is an excuse to do things differently and explore decor opportunities. Who knows, you could surprise yourself this time. This time of the year, we bring in new furnishings, install lights and bring in flowers and everything else that makes us feel the spirit of the season. This time, extend the same magic into the garden.

Eliminate all reasons that make people hesitate to spend time outside. Make the outdoors an inviting space, a space where you can spend cosy relaxed hours with friends and family.

Enjoy the meals and entertain with the same warmth as you would do indoors. Here are some tips to break the rules and weave memories full of pleasant surprises.

Start by sprucing up the garden. It depends how far you can go but a simple step can help you buy several pots of nice plants and put those between the existing planting.

Chose something which has a defined shape and of noticeable size. Flowers and fragrances are even better.

This will help tie up the garden even if it is not at its prime. Make sure the path is clearly defined and uncluttered.

Lighting matters

For evenings, nothing is more critical and mood-setting than tastefully done lighting. Don’t skimp here, plan for impact. Accentuate the path with covered candles. Put the lights through the greenery, not haphazardly but in a neat formation. Highlight strong shapes. See how the shadows are being created and bring out the beauty in shadows.

Add some extra lighting which will be indirect and still illuminate the area sufficiently. Eliminate dark corners.

Choose light strings which are simple and elegant. You can arrange those in myriad formations to create light art of your own. Pile in a cluster or wrap around tree trunks.

You can also have fun creating open air chandeliers with these strings of light. A shelter gives you a sense of cocooning. So if you have an existing one, then decorate it. Otherwise, add a quick canopy with bamboo poles and a colourful gauzy fabric. To go a step further, make this canopy out of strings of light. If you have larger spaces to play with, divide it into various functions. Furnish some as dining and some as lounging space.

Imagine spending an evening sprawled on a mattress under a tree with lamps hanging around. Invert or cover some empty pots to keep large serving trays on top. These will serve as low tables to keep drinks, etc. Arrange the furniture to create conversation-friendly space.

Take a walk around the house and pick up things that can make the seating more welcome and comfortable. Some soft cushions, pillows, throws and cotton rugs are easy additions.

Don’t think tablecloths are just for the interiors. Bring them out along with some candles and tea lights. Ever noticed how candle light makes people look beautiful and elegant?

Right there are some hidden magical moments. If there is a water body, float some candles on it or strew flower petals.

Make it a rich experience

Use your indoor cutlery and infuse richness to the whole experience. Decorate the table with creative centrepieces and remember there are no rules, it is all about beauty and surprises. Make some simple fresh flower arrangements in make-shift vases. It is the decoration that will set the ambience.

To deter mosquitoes, use repellents in the form of citronella sticks. Not only will it keep insects away but also fill the air with fresh fragrance. If possible, make a temporary fire pit and have low seating around it. 

A contained crackling fire has a tendency to draw people around it. Whether you sing around it or grill food, it is your choice. In case you want to go all the way, think of a theme for the party and assemble details around it. In general, day-time arrangements come out elegant with simpler colour schemes. Play within a range of few colours and outcome will speak for itself.

This season, use the same items that you always have, except in a different setting, in a different light. Pleasant surprises and beautiful memories are bound to follow.

(The writer is a landscape consultant.)

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