How to Host an Outdoor Party in a Small Space

outdoor party in a small space

So you’re looking to host the perfect garden party for you and your friends? Whether it’s a Birthday, New Year’s Eve party or baby shower, garden parties are always good fun. But how do you host an outdoor party in a small space?

There are several ways to maximise your outdoor space to make sure you can still have a large party in a small area. 

First, you need to consider exactly how many guests you’re going to invite. Although there are ways to help you host a big party in a small garden, you still need to be realistic about the size of your guest list. Then you need to creatively rearrange your furniture to ensure you make the most of the small space.

Preparation is key. You can prepare all your food and drinks before hand to ensure your kitchen is free for guests to go in and out. It’s also good to think about spreading out the arrival time slot to avoid a big rush of guests. We’ll go through all the best ways to make sure you can host a large garden party in a small backyard area. So let’s get started!

How Many Guests Should you Invite?

The first thing you need to do when planning how to host a large party in a small garden or outdoor area, is how many guests will actually be arriving. You can maximise your outdoor space to fit people in, but you won’t be able to work miracles.

Be realistic about the size of the area and the amount of people you can actually fit in it. It’s better to have a smaller guest list than have people crammed in and unable to move about and enjoy the party. Having around 10 guests per 100 square feet of floor space is usually okay for an outdoor party.

You don’t just have to consider the size of your outdoor space when choosing the amount of guests. You should also be thinking about your budget. 

How many people can you afford to cater for? How many drinks do you need to serve? These are questions you need to think about as well as how big your outdoor space or backyard is. Once you’ve got the size of your guest list sorted, you can think about how you can host your party in a small area. 

Remove Clutter to Make the Most of a Small Area

There are plenty of ways you can maximise your outdoor space to host a large party in a small backyard. 

The first thing you need to do, is get rid of all the clutter. Anything in your garden that doesn’t serve a purpose in your party needs to go somewhere else. This includes any kid’s or pet toys, gardening equipment and you can even move statues or water features if you are able to. Throw everything you can into the garage or even inside temporarily to create more room in your outdoor area.

Strategically Arrange your Garden Furniture

Next, think about how much seating and standing space you need for your guests to enjoy your party and be comfortable. You also need to figure out how much food and drink you need to serve and where to put the tables.

Stackable chairs are a great space saver. You can have them inside to keep your outside space free, and bring them out if more of your guests want to sit down. 

If your backyard is square-shaped, rather than rectangular, it’s best to have all of your furniture on the edge of your garden and your food and drinks tables in the middle to maximise the space. Your guests are likely to congregate around tables, so dot them around to spread people out. You can have a few different small tables to ensure your guests can move between them without creating a queue. 

If your outdoor space is narrower instead, it can be a good idea to have one long table in the centre with all your food and drink. Then you can place chairs around the edge. This will create a flow around the area that prevents congestion when your guests are moving about. 

If you don’t have enough room for many chairs, you can always throw down some pillows and blankets if it’s dry. It’s a good space saver because more people can usually fit on a blanket than a bench and it’ll take up less room. 

baby shower at home

Other Ways to Maximise your Outdoor Space

Another way to maximise your small outdoor space, is to make sure your kitchen is always open. Although you might be hosting a garden party, it doesn’t mean the inside of your house has to be off limits. It’ll definitely increase the amount of guests that your outdoor party can manage to hold. 

Another point worth mentioning, is to make sure there are enough bins at various places in your backyard. It’ll make the cleaning up process the next day a lot quicker. Plus it’ll stop more people getting up and moving around creating congestion if there is a bin near them. Having a lot of people moving about is what makes your area seem smaller. When people are sat down and settled, you’re likely to feel the effects of a small space a lot less. 

Every great party needs some cool decorations. But with an outdoor party in a small space, you shouldn’t have many decorations taking up valuable floor space. Instead, hang them up so your guests still have plenty of room to move about. 

Food Preparation is Key

Like with anything, preparation is the answer to hosting a large outdoor party in a small space. 

Prepare all your food ahead of time. This way, your kitchen will be free for your guests to go in to increase your party area. It’ll also help you to be less stressed during the actual party. Make large batches of food to cut down your cooking time. Our favourite batch party food dishes are pasta bakes, curries, casseroles and salads. 

It can also be a good idea to have buffet style food instead of large dishes if you have the time to prepare it. You can usually get away with giving people smaller plates for finger food. It doesn’t mean you are being stingy, because your guests can always go back for seconds. But having smaller plates works best for parties in a small space. It’ll stop your guests from elbowing each other if they’re eating close together! Our favourite small party food ideas are sliders, pigs in blankets, bruschetta, deviled eggs and mini tarts. 

Serving Party Food in a Small Area

Spread your food out on mini tables that have tiered plate stands on them is a good way to increase the amount of food you can fit in a small outdoor space. Don’t serve all your food at once either. Keep some back inside if you don’t have much table space. You can keep topping it up if any tables get a bit bare. Check out our guide that’ll tell you everything you need to know about party food, from the best ideas to how to save money. 

Create a Bar Area

Creating a mini bar area is a great way to maximise your outdoor space. It can also be a good idea to make drinks in batches too. You can serve them in drink dispensers to avoid having loads of cups spread across your table taking up a lot of space. Take at look at the 10 best party drinks for ideas on what to serve to your guests at a garden party!

Stagger the Arrival Time

Another thing you can do that’ll help you host an outdoor party in a small space, is to stagger the arrival time. Having a large window for your guests to arrive, stops a massive influx of people at one time. This will make it seem like your outdoor space is larger, because trying to cram everyone in at once will highlight a small backyard even more. 

More Outdoor Party Tips

Hosting a garden party can be challenging, especially in a small backyard. Here are some more tips to make sure your outdoor party is a success!

Noise Level

When hosting an outdoor party in a small space, it’s likely that the noise level could get quite high. If you’re living in a residential area this could become an issue. So if your neighbours aren’t guests at your garden party, make sure they are aware of your plans. If they have any concerns about the noise level, reassure them that you’ll be considerate and that they can contact you on the day if there are any issues. 

Activities and Games

Every great party has some games and activities to keep everyone entertained. Some ideas for an outdoor party in a small space include charades and pictionary but you can also go for some card games made for parties too. What do You Meme, Joking Hazard and Cards against Humanity are all great games to consider. 

Check out this list of the 10 best outdoor party games!

Dealing with Insects

Pests are something you may have to contend with if you’re having a summer garden outdoor event. But there are some ways to deal with insects at your backyard party. Make sure there is no standing water in your outdoor party area. Keep all your food covered and consider having fans near them, this will help keep insects away. You could also have some fly spray available to your guests if the bugs get too annoying. 

Getting Everything Ready

Make sure that on the day of your outdoor party you mow the lawn and trim any hedges or plants to neaten up a small outdoor space. Make sure all your furniture is clean and free of cobwebs or any mildew. If you need more party planning advice, don’t forget to take a look at our ultimate party planning checklist to make sure you’ve got everything covered! We’ve also got a list of the 20 best party themes that your guests will love!

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