5 Last-Minute Outdoor Party Decorations

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If you are used to throwing parties outdoors–be they pool parties, formal garden dinners, cocktails on the deck, or family reunion barbeques–you know there’s a lot to get organized: outdoor dishware and cutlery, charcoal and covered dishes, coolers and serving tables, shelters for rain and shade. It can be easy to forget a detail like table decorations. But never fear: here are five ideas for quick and easy outdoor party centerpieces and other decorations that you can throw together at the last minute.

1. Buy a potted plant and replant it in a decorative container:

potted plant table decorations

Most garden centers have an array of gorgeous plants in a variety of colors and sizes. Pick a few up and replant them in your favorite pots or buy new containers that match your party’s theme. Large pots and plants work well as centerpieces while smaller ones can be scattered along a table like a nature-made runner. When the festivities are done, these decorations can stay outside as part of your container garden or move them inside to brighten interior rooms.

2. Bring your favorite houseplants outside to decorate:

houseplants decorating party tables

If you already have plants indoors in pots you love, bring them out for the table. Even larger houseplants, like indoor trees, can make dramatic outdoor design statements, framing entrances and walkways. The plants will enjoy a few hours in the fresh air and you’ll enjoy this cost-free, time-saving decorating hack.

3. Buy a new indoor or outdoor plant and place it in a basket:

rosemary, petunias in basket

No need to replant! Simply select a potted plant at your local garden center and set it in a basket. Bunch several smaller pots for a lush floral effect. When the party’s over, you can replant your decorations in the garden or repot them for inside the home.

4. Pick your decorations fresh from the garden:

decorations fresh from the garden-flowers, berries, herbs

Snip some flowers and put them in a simple, rustic container like a metal watering can or mason jars. Add fresh herbs to the bouquets for a fresh, culinary scent. Or pick fresh fruit and vegetables and scatter them on the tables amidst candles and flowers in small vases or jars. A box of berries, a couple of ripe zucchini, and a sunflower or two arranged in a basket make a stunning statement.

5. Buy plants and turn them into masterpieces by wrapping their plain plastic pots in fabric or paper:

flower pot centerpieces wrapped in fabric, paper

Burlap gives a rustic vibe to your decorations, and gingham creates that down-home feel. Look for wrapping paper with floral tones. Or use plain brown paper, and let your kids draw on it for a family friendly design scheme.

You don’t need a lot of time or money to decorate for your next outdoor party. Just try one of these simple DIY ideas for tables that look–and are–fresh and festive.


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