Note: I’m still redecorating My Sweet Cottage, so please pardon the dust!
Recently, we decided to invite a few friends over for dinner. We wanted to have one last party on our back patio before the weather changed.
But we didn’t stop to think about how early the sun goes down this late in summer. The patio sits in the far corner of the garden, and there is no lighting there. So once it got dark, candles alone would not be enough. We had to set something up – quickly.
If done right, outdoor lighting can be gorgeous. I was inspired by the magical, romantic lighting at the garden concert we attended earlier in the summer.
But of course we didn’t have time for anything that elaborate. At this point, all I could hope for was lighting that was adequate but not glaring.
I had a strand of Edison-style filament bulbs that I use during the holidays. We attached one end of the strand to a long bamboo pole. The pole was then anchored to a tree.
We ran the lights above the table. On the other end, we attached the strand to a tree branch because that was our only option.
It wasn’t elegant, but it would get us through the night.
Once the sun goes down, so does the temperature. So we made sure we had plenty of fuel for our heat lamp.
Right after we bought this heat lamp, a few years ago, we lowered it by about 8 inches. Now it’s a good height for keeping things cozy while we’re sitting at the patio table.
Note: Please have an expert assist you if you decide to lower your heat lamp! Also, altering a heat lamp probably voids its manufacturer’s warranty.
I momentarily considered setting out some blankets in case anyone got cold, but with the heat lamp it really wasn’t necessary.
I used all the little bug-proofing tricks that I shared in this previous post.
The citronella centerpiece took me about 10 minutes to put together. I set a tall glass candle holder in the center of a small clay saucer, filled the saucer with water, and added some leafy twigs from the garden.
It was compact enough for the small round table. Flowers would have attracted bees, which is why I used only the fresh twigs to add some interest.
No matter how hard I try, by late summer my garden looks like an overgrown monster. I used to let this keep me from entertaining, but I’ve come to realize that no one really minds the monster but me.
Still it’s nice to create a diversion. Chris set up his mid-century bar across from the patio. This was where the party would start.
I tossed a few blossoms into the bird bath,
Tucked a few citronella candles around the patio,
And we set up our iPod player for music.
As neglected as it was, the patio still had some charm.
Goodbye to Summer
Everything worked out.
We were warm, the bugs stayed away, and we could see each other.
It’s raining today. We really needed the rain, and I hear it’s going to stick around for a while.
But at least we enjoyed the last warm day of summer.
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We used the Vickerman lights, which I love. However the bulbs are glass, not plastic, and the filaments are delicate. The globe string lights are perhaps sturdier, although I haven’t tried them. The heat lamp is very similar to ours.
You might also enjoy:
- A (Mostly) Bug-Free Dinner Party
- Flower Arranging with Hydrangeas
- Flower Frogs 101
- Fall Dinner Party: Setting a Festive Table
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