The weather is slowly but surely improving, so you might already be eyeing up your garden for entertaining guests. (Lots of other countries are lucky enough to have their springtime weather in… well, spring, but here in the UK we take it where we can get it.) And if you’ve spent some time getting your space looking at its very best with composite fence boards and other features, it makes sense that you’ll want to show them off a bit! But whether you’re thinking of having a small group over or a full-blown garden party, there are a couple of golden rules that it’s always best to bear in mind. Here are the top five! Make sure you’ve got enough for everyone It might sound obvious, but it’s worth mentioning anyway as it’s a pretty fundamental rule. However many guests you’re planning on having round, make sure you’ve got enough food, drinks, seating and entertainment to account for all of them. And don’t forget, some guests might end up bringing a plus-one at the 11th hour – it’s not great form, but it’s been known to happen. If you’ve overcatered a bit, you can save yourself the stress with it! Plan your seating Once you’re sure you’ve got enough chairs for everyone, it’s time to think about how you’re going to arrange them all. It doesn’t need to be anything complex – ultimately, you just want to ensure that everyone can see and talk to each other comfortably. If you’ve just got a small set of guests on the way, then it’s simple enough to make sure that all the benches, deckchairs and outdoor furniture is in one or two rough circles. If you’ve got lots of people coming then, it’s worth thinking about setting up ‘zones’. We’ve detailed a bit more on how to do this in our post about how to get a sophisticated feel for your garden, but as a starting point, you can consider having eating zones, drinking zones, quiet zones and chatting zones. Just a few examples! Think about flow While you’re setting up your garden zones, it’s also a good plan to think about the flow of your garden – in other words, how people are going to move around it. Ideally you’ll want to create clear routes that go from the kitchen or indoors right through to the socialising spaces, without making your guests weave in and out of too many obstacles (especially if they’re likely to be carrying food or drinks). It’s not just about ease of movement, but safety too – you don’t want any of your guests to be tripping over trailing wires or steps, or bouncing off any of your furniture, or getting in each other’s way. Don’t forget to consider any pets or children or anyone else who might be prone to sprinting around the garden at terminal speed (perhaps even an easily excited spouse), and think about how you’re going to account for them – or even where you’re going to try and entertain them for the duration. Prepare for rain Let’s be honest, it’s a sadly necessary consideration. The good news though is that it doesn’t necessarily have to put the dampeners on your gathering, as long as you’re properly prepared. Having a gazebo or a pergola up is a great way to shield your guests (and yourself) from any wind or rain, and there are a number of heating solutions you can consider. Obviously though, when you’re looking at heating solutions then safety is always going to be a top priority, and you’ll want to be careful using it too closely to decking or flammable materials too. It’s not going to set fire to composite fencing or decking as composite doesn’t burn all that well, but it could certainly leave a nasty burn mark – and one that might be quite difficult to remove. And finally… enjoy yourself! This is a really important one, and a rule that’s most often underestimated by hosts. The whole point of having friends over is to socialise and enjoy yourself, and you’re not going to be able to do that if you’re zipping all over the place trying to make sure everything runs smoothly. Crucially, you’re also going to put your guests ill-at-ease if they feel they can’t properly talk to you. Try and give yourself as much time and breathing room as you can, both in the run-up and on the day. It’s supposed to be a pleasant experience for you too! Oh, and one final bonus tip – trust us, don’t serve courses. It’s not Come Dine With Me. These are just the essentials of course – you might well have one or two personal rules that work for you. We’ll leave the details to you; here at North Valley Composites, we’ll concentrate on supplying beautiful composite fence boards, fence panels and accessories, and even composite gate boards. We’ve got more than 30 years of experience behind us, so you can always count on our experts to be able to answer any questions you might have, or provide any advice you might need. Don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01282 677300 to talk to a friendly member of our team, and we’ll be only too happy to see how we can help.