Dress up the backyard for summer soirees

IT'S no secret that flowers and candlelight provide ambience for a lovely dinner party.

Sometimes it's nice to add a little something extra to your summer decor. Here are a few ideas that may help make your next summer soiree a little more festive.

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The iconic Mason jar can be used for so many simple summer decorating ideas. I just love the versatility of these jars. I use both small and large to create unique candlelight settings as well as tabletops that are fun and relaxed.

If you visit your neighbourhood grocery store you may be able to pick up a box of small Mason jars. These are great to use as little lanterns hanging in the trees around your outdoor dinner table. Simply use a small tea light and place it inside the Mason jar. Wrap the top edge of the jar with soft gauge wire and secure a handle with another larger piece of wire. Hang the jars in the tree branches around your table when you are ready to sit down. (Remember to never leave a lit candle unattended.)

Another simple idea for these Mason jars is to fill the bottom five centimetres with sand. Add small seashells and a tea light and place four or five of them down the centre of your table.

I love to cut summer flowers from my garden and place them on the table during the summer months. Hydrangeas and roses work beautifully together. For extra drama try lining the inside of your vase with fresh lemon slices and then add your flowers.

If you happen to have a swimming pool then this idea is for you. A quick visit to your local dollar store will allow you to pick up a few packages of white balloons and glow cubes. Simply place the glow cubes inside the balloon once you have activated them. Blow up the balloon and tie off. Place the balloons on the surface of your pool and watch them glow throughout the evening. Quick tip: If the balloons move around in the wind simply place a small rock inside a balloon that has not been blown up and tie a long ribbon or string to the end. Tie the other end to the glowing balloon and drop the rock into the pool so it submerges.

Lastly, I've found that leftover wallpaper makes a wonderful table runner. Measure out your outdoor dining table length and cut a piece of wide wallpaper so that the edge can be secured with masking tape under the table.

Barb Lunter is a freelance writer with a passion for home decor, entertaining and floral design. Contact Barb at barb@lunter. ca or follow her on her blog at lunter.ca.

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