Graduation season is on the horizon! Soon, eager graduates will be opening a new chapter in their lives, but first… it’s party time. Time to celebrate all the hard work, time to relive memories, say some goodbyes, and dream of the future.
For the party host, this can mean a lot of planning and prepping. While you’re busily choosing cake plates and party favors, sending invitations and planning the menu, are you neglecting the bigger stage where the gala event will be set?
We’re talking about your landscaping – the yard where guests will gather, play, engage, laugh, dine, relax.
Go ahead and plan down to every last balloon, but don’t forget to plan your space. And we’re not talking about popup tents and folding chairs! We’re talking about making beautiful, functional changes to create something that will honor your grad and live on to be enjoyed for many seasons to come.
Set The Stage
Planning a graduation party is the perfect opportunity to spruce up those planting beds. Create a celebratory atmosphere with plenty of seasonal, colorful blooms. Accentuate them with bold greenery, tall grasses, or a small garden bubbler for an extra splash of personality. And don’t forget a fresh layer of mulch or some natural stone.
While you’re at it, pay extra attention to your container gardens. Choose containers in various sizes and shapes and cluster them together for a mobile garden that can look as great on a front porch as on a back patio.
Container gardens are great for photo backdrops, and can add an extra festive feeling to tables, steps, benches, walkways and patios.
Beautiful plants, trees and shrubs – whether in the ground or in containers – set the backdrop for any outdoor event and they’ll be there long after the party is over to continue bringing you beauty and enjoyment.
Conversations, memory-building and memory-sharing are central to graduation parties, so use great seating to create an atmosphere that facilitates easy, comfortable connections.
Think long-term and include soft chairs, loungers, seats-for-two and other inviting seating that will welcome guests to stay a while, and inspire you to get outdoors more often after they go home.
Combine comfortable seating with plenty of pillows and blankets to get cozy, with functional seating like dining chairs and hard benches so guests can easily enjoy a meal.
Keep in mind that parties are group activities, but the best ones have an ebb and flow between smaller, intimate groups. Your seating should accommodate that – gather chairs into circular formations, place a few arm chairs across from a sofa, even throw in a hammock!
Varied comfortable and functional seating is the foundation on which you can literally rest your enjoyment, during the party and long after.Bring The Fun
If you’ve been thinking about adding a pool to your yard, graduation season is a great time to do it! From water volleyball to sunbathing, a pool area offers a perfect entertainment space.
There are plenty of options for pools, whether you want a wading pool or diving pool, a lap pool or even a pond that doubles as a pool. Pools can include spas, waterfalls or slides, and of course should always be surrounded by great landscaping. Patios, cabanas, lounge chairs – all add to a summer vacation and party feel that you can enjoy all season.
Whether you’re adding a pool or already have one, don’t forget the underwater lighting. It’s a great way to enhance the appeal and functionality of a pool, allowing guests to safely enjoy it long after the sun has set. If you really want to bring a little extra fun, try color changing lights that will take water from blue to green to purple and other shades of the rainbow.
Keep It Going
Don’t rely on that bulb over your back door after the sun sets. A great party doesn’t end at twilight, so make sure your space is well lit for both beauty and safety.
Light pathways, walkways and steps wherever guests will stroll. Choose lighting options that will look great all year, for years to come. That may be lighting placed at strategic intervals, lighting nestled in gardens or embedded in patio pavingstones, and even bold spotlights that showcase special features of your landscape at night, like a great piece of artwork or a unique tree.
Add moonlighting in trees to create a beautiful, natural glow that will compensate for even the cloudiest evening. Place lanterns, globes or stake lighting around patios for a sense of cozy warmth. And if you have a water feature like a pond, fountain, waterfall or bubbler, be sure to light it up for nighttime enjoyment.
And what better way to create a year-round party atmosphere than with string lighting? Whether strung above a patio, wound through a pergola or gazebo, or hung between trees, string lights help to define a space and set a tone – playful, whimsical, soothing, romantic, celebratory, or whatever mood you desire.
The most memorable experiences evoke an emotion and create a sensory impression. As party host it’s up to you to create the atmosphere where graduates can enjoy old memories while building new ones. If you’ve provided gathering spaces, set the tone, and given guests the opportunity to relax and have fun, you’re well on your way to success!
If you really want to make an impression, add a fire pit to your space, whether a permanent one of natural stone, or a portable patio fire pit.
Talk about memories! What’s better than reminiscing around a cozy, crackling fire, and what will your grad remember more than the light, sound, warmth and togetherness of spending time with friends in such a community atmosphere?
Throw in a s’more and you’ve got yourself a party that will be enjoyed as well as remembered – and a space you can continue to enjoy well into the future.
Build In Privacy
Everyone needs some private time, one-on-one or with a small group of special friends. Just because there’s a big party going on doesn’t mean privacy is lost. With strategic landscaping, you can create visual and auditory privacy for your party guests and your own personal use as you continue to enjoy your outdoor space.
Water features are a great way to create auditory privacy and add multi-sensory beauty to your yard. The white noise of a waterfall, bubbler or fountain will mask conversations as well as set a soothing tone.
Bamboo screening is an excellent choice for year-round privacy, whether you want to create a quiet space for partygoers or a barrier between your yard and the neighbor’s.
Other options include tall grasses, enclosed spaces beneath arbors or pergolas, or a standalone gazebo entwined with blooms and strung with lights.
These are a few ways that you can prepare your yard for an exciting and memorable graduation party – with the added benefit of creating a space for you and your family to enjoy season after season, year after year.
If you’d like to explore any of these ideas, or others like curb appeal to impress your guests, contact us for a consultation. We’re here to design and build an outdoor space that will become a favorite party spot and your own personal paradise.