I'm writing this story while sitting at my home desk, desperate to be outside in the sunshine. Ahhh, the joys of summer. I'm thinking of all the ways to transform my garden into the ultimate post-lockdown party place. Ready to inject some fun into your backyard?
Tokyo Olympics celebrations
The Tokyo Olympics will be absolutely epic, and you might be looking to host friends in your garden. For that you'll need some Team GB bunting, plenty of booze in the fridge and a big TV screen in the back garden all set up for kick-off.
TV projector, £76.49, Amazon
Team GB bunting
Get in the spirit with some bunting...
Team GB bunting, £3.49, Amazon
An outdoor bar for your garden
Yes, we might be able to go to the pub, but you might well get faster service at The Mi Casa Inn.
Wooden bar for your garden, £379.99, Robert Dyas
Bring some fun to your garden with colourful decorations.
Pom pom decoration set, £12.99, Amazon
Stylish patio heater
Brrrr, don't let the blue skies fool you. It can be chilly out there. A patio heater is a must if you're looking to socialise through the night in your garden.
Neo Electric garden patio heater, £99.99, Amazon
An impressive BBQ
A BBQ is a must for any summer garden party. I'm dreaming of owning the egg-shaped designs that all the celebrities own.
Big Green Egg MiniMax BBQ with ConvEGGtor, £780, John Lewis
MORE: Don't forget the BBQ tools so you at least look like you know what you're doing even if you've got no clue
An LED ice bucket
I know you don't need it but you want it, don't you?
LED Ice bucket, £22.99, Amazon
Outdoor hot tub
An outdoor hot tub would be the perfect pick-me-up after a long day at the (home) office.
Lay-Z-Spa Hot tub, £350, Argos
SHOP: The best hot tubs for your garden
Outdoor pizza oven
We've watched enough episodes of Jamie Oliver cooking in his garden to feel inspired, so now we want a pizza oven on our patio, too.
La Hacienda BBQ Pizza Oven, £129.99, Amazon
SHOP: The best pizza ovens you can shop right now
Pretty outdoor lights
You can't neglect lighting - no one wants to be sat outside in the dark, so definitely check out lots of lighting options online. You could opt for festoon lighting, solar lights, a curtain or even starburst lights.
Fairy lights for the garden, £25, Lights4Fun
Be warned: These might be hard to get out of, but they'll make people laugh when you attempt it.
Bean bag chair, £29.99, Amazon
The ambience is key when it comes to hosting outside, and a pop of colour will make it stand out from the rest.
Rainbow festoon lights, £49.99, Lights4Fun
If you're celebrating a birthday, spell it out loud and clear with these lawn signs. Simple, yet effective.
Lawn signs, £9.95, Amazon
I'm counting on Marks & Spencer to bring colour to my outdoors this summer with the delightful rainbow picnicware that's in stock right now. From picnic plates to wine glasses, prosecco flutes and gin glasses, this set will no doubt brighten anyone's day.
Rainbow picnicware, prices start at £17.50, Marks & Spencer
Or if you're going with a tropical theme, what about these pink palm tree glasses from Urban Outfitters?
Sunny Life Cheers Champagne Flutes, £14, Urban Outfitters
Ok, the last time I put bunting up in my garden was when Prince William and Kate got married, but hey, we've got to amp up the celebrations now we can see friends and family.
Multicoloured bunting, £8.99, Amazon
There's just something sweet about a teepee, and they don't have to cost the earth!
Smoby teepee, £191.17, Etsy
It's a fact: You need to document all the fun you're having on Instagram and that sometimes involves a lovely glass of sparkly pink wine. With that in mind, The Emissary should be on your wish list for your garden get-togethers. The premium, vegan rosé will be ideal for toasting the start of rosé season.
The Emissary Prosecco DOC Rosé Treviso Millesimato 2020, £14.99, The Emissary
Go big or go home, isn't that what they say? Garden get-togethers night could be extra special in one of these cute transparent globes for the garden.
Astreea igloo, £1299, Amazon
INTERESTED? Get inspired with the best igloos to buy with speedy delivery
A stylish outdoor speaker
Finding a fun outdoor speaker is like looking for a needle in a haystack, but I think I've found the perfect one. This is the 'unicorn' version of the Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2 Bluetooth Waterproof Portable Speaker.
Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 3 Bluetooth Waterproof Portable Speaker, £149.99, John Lewis
Who wouldn't want an outdoor movie night? We've spent months on our sofa watching the TV, now we're all desperate to kick back and relax in the garden and watch some old classics on a projector. Note to self: It probably looks more fun that it really is.
Outdoor cinema, £269.99, Amazon
RELATED: The best outdoor lights to make your garden truly magical
A chic garden parasol
If you're hosting friends in the garden you want to give them some shade so they don't get too much sun. Opt for a parasol that moves, or even has a built-in sound system. I am rather partial to this bright yellow one.
Yellow parasol, £74.99, Wayfair
GET INSPIRED: The parasols for the garden to elevate your outdoor space
Discoball plant pots
Ok, I know this is pretty niche, and your get-together will still be awesome without it but how fabulous are these handmade plant pots? FYI, technically these are for indoor use only, so you'll need to take them back in the house afterwards, but still: Super cool.
Mirror Ball Planter, from £40, Etsy
MORE: Best garden furniture to shop now
An outdoor rug will just give your outdoor space a little wow factor and can hide a patio you've not been bothered to jet wash yet.
Outdoor rug, from £12, Dunelm
RELATED: More of the best outdoor rugs for your garden
Hammock big enough for two people
Channel your inner bush tucker and get to grips with a hammock in the back garden. And yes, it's all fun and games until someone falls out after one too many vinos. A crash pad could be an option?
Double hammock, £42.99, Wayfair
MORE CHOICE: Cool hammocks to transform your garden into the ultimate summer paradise
Tiki party accessories
I know I might be daft, but fetch me a Hawaiian shirt and whip me up a cocktail because this is just what the doctor ordered. Amazon has some really cheap 'n' cheerful options and this tropical party decoration set includes a table skirt, pineapple fruit sticks, flamingo fruit sticks, medium-sized turtle leaves, hibiscus syriacus, small umbrella fruit sticks and fruit straws. What more could you need?
Hawaiian party decorations, £14.99, Amazon
These lights move with the music - genius!
Outdoor disco lights, £17.99, Amazon
Probably more for the kids, but that should keep them occupied for a while.
Flamingo pinata, £15.99, Amazon
SHOP: Fun wooden Wendy Houses & luxury garden playhouses
Mini assault course for the dog
Don't forget the pooch, ok!?
Agility dog course, £24.99, Amazon
Outdoor table tennis
Not sure where I'm going with this feature but if you want a real party, you can get competitive with a game of table tennis. The one linked below is foldable so you can put it away when you're not using it, or when you get bored of using it.
Foldable tennis table, £79.99, Argos
RELATED: Easy ways to transform a small garden
When the heatwave comes, you'll be thankful you beat the masses. Trust us!
Inflatable outdoor pool, £114.99, Wayfair
SHOP: Best paddling pools to give kids a summer to remember
If you want to really have fun, well, it's as simple as taking off your shoes and jumping on a bouncy castle.
Bouncy castle, £1,599, eBay
Have fun and be safe! Follow me on Instagram @LeanneBayley.
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