Photo Courtesy of Sam's Gazebo
The rainy season is almost done here in Los Angeles, and summer will be here before we know it. We are truly lucky to have such a temperate climate (and the real estate) that has given birth to the L.A. lifestyle’s staple of home entertaining- the backyard party- a very pleasant tradition, indeed.
Even the most special of occasions can be a backyard affair-think weddings, or milestone birthday or anniversary parties. Your own backyard can offer a very personalized experience. It also affords you some luxuries you may not have at other venues. You can decorate completely as you choose, and your style is already reflected in your own backyard. You're able to dress it up and down, as desired, or change its style with a few renovations. You don’t have to worry about having to leave by a certain time, and your florist, caterer, and any other vendors can get in the space according to your schedule, not the outside venue’s. Even after the main event has wound down, your closest friends and family can stay long into the night, chatting on the patio, or around the pool or fire pit.
If this sounds appealing to you (and why wouldn’t it), now is the time to start preparing your backyard for that special day. Here are some tips for getting your garden and yard in shape for that special day.
1. For starters, does the yard need clearing? Are there discarded pieces of old pots, wagons, tools, or whatever, that need to be disposed of? Is there a fence, gate or pergola that needs painting? Do large potted plants need to be moved, or do you need to rent or purchase more to fill in empty spaces?
2. Would you like to add an arch, gazebo or flower covered bower? For a very special effect, L.A. area landscape designer, Paul Borden, recommends a Monet arch (available at several online sources) “covered with lattice painted dark green, on the back side, and planted with climbing roses ( i.e. Lace Cascade, White Dawn or climbing Iceberg roses), or even jasmine if you like that scent.” He warns though, “roses need sun, so buy them from a reputable nursery, where you can get advice on when to plant, and on sun orientation.” If you want a gazebo, he recommends Sam’s Gazebos in Gardena which offers a wide selection of easy to assemble gazebos. “For a bit of creative stagecraft, you can leave two of the sides open for a wedding canopy. Covering it with roses, bougainvillea, or the new climbing hydrangeas in white could be spectacular, especially for a wedding.” Tip- Check Monrovia Growers for nurseries they supply with the new hydrangeas.
3. Borden adds “There is still time to plant bush roses, try pinks, whites, yellows for a fresh, vibrant look. If you have an existing flower bed you might want to add at least three to create a lush look in your garden.”
4. Borden also gives tips for the home’s entrances and exits. “If you would like to perk up the walkway into your house, think of widening the pathway with beach stones. It offers a more gracious entry into the house. Also, you can plant roses, hydrangeas, and calla lilies, but make sure to give plants enough room, so as not to catch garments as guests walk by."
5. Make sure to water a couple of days before the event, so that everything is fresh, but not still wet. Tip-Don’t forget to turn your sprinklers off if they are on a timer. You don’t need any surprises as guests arrive, or as a bridal party starts down a garden aisle.
6. A last minute tip from Borden- “Go to the flower market downtown a day or two before the event, and get some extra large vases. Buy large quantities of roses, lilies, tuberoses, whatever you think will work for the event, to add to the mix for their fragrance, and it will be a great event.”
For more info:
Gisele Perez, aka the L.A. Party Planning Examiner, is the owner of Small Pleasures Catering in Los Angeles. She can be contacted at: Gisele@smallpleasurescatering.com