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Beautiful Backyard BBQs on a Budget

With such a limited number of fair weather weekends and so many backyard get-togethers vying for space on the calendar, how do you make yours a must-attend event? By making it personal, says celebrity designer Amanda Forrest.

“There’s something humbling and heartwarming when you know somebody’s put effort into it and created something completely awesome on a budget,” says Forrest.

It’s a trend that’s showing up in interior design as a whole. Inspired by popular on-line sites like Pinterest, people are returning to a sort of “home-making,” she says, incorporating handcrafted, do-it-yourself (DIY) ideas that make people feel special at a fraction of the cost of custom decorating. And the same is true with event planning.

The easiest way to set the tone for your outdoor gathering is to send good old-fashioned invites. Simply print them on white card stock and decorate to match the colour scheme or theme you’ve chosen. Forrest suggests decorative tape from Scotch™ as a simple way to line envelopes or frame invitations. You might even throw in confetti or a pretty packet of seeds.

“Right away it makes your guests feel like they’re that much more of a VIP,” she says.

Once the date is set, colours are chosen (Forrest recommends two strong accent colours such as green and yellow, navy and pink, or black and gold) and invites are out, the following DIY tips will help set the stage for a memorable day:

  • Turn on the tape. Decorative tape is available in so many colours and styles, you can do just about anything with it, from decorating vases to adorning loot bags to adding personalized labels to glassware. It’s also handy for bundling napkins and cutlery together, and Forrest has even used it to create fun patterns on floors, tables and chairs, or folded it in half to make colourful streamers.
  • Recycle Christmas. String small white lights underneath a table and cover with a white cloth for a warm glow at night. Or, tuck lights among bushes to illuminate a yard or patio.
  • Bring interior décor outside. Accent pillows, painted furniture, cozy throws and vases from inside can easily be brought outdoors to help accessorize and pull together a colour scheme. Forrest collects a hodgepodge of clear, white or metal containers and uses decorative tape to make them temporarily match her colour scheme.
  • Create candles that last. If hurricane holders aren’t in your budget, clear glass vases will do. Fill the bottoms with stones, sand or seashells and place tea lights on top for ambience that won’t blow out. Forrest also uses mason jars filled with coloured water as the perfect holder for floating candles.
  • Fake them out. If you don’t have a green thumb, plant easy-to-grow greenery in containers. Then purchase fake flowers at your nearest craft or dollar store, separate them and tuck them among the real plants. “There was a time when I would say, “No way!’” says Forrest. “But they have come such a long way now … people are fooled every time.”

Author: Amanda Forrest

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