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Ideas for hosting during warm and lighter spring evenings

How to make the most of warm evenings when flowers are in full bloom

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By House & Garden | October 5, 2023 | Gardens

Winter can often feel interminably long and this one has been no exception, so it's safe to we could all do with a little more light in our lives at this point. For that reason we're particularly excited about the clocks going forward this weekend. The lighter evenings will coincide with warmer temperatures, so now's the time to fling open the windows and get out and about (even if it is a touch rainy at the moment).

Outdoor Entertaining at home

If you're lucky enough to have some outdoor space, whether it's a generous patio or just a bit of decking in a small garden or on a balcony, it's time to make sure you have somewhere appealing to sit outside and enjoy the sun. Set yourself up with some stylish garden furniture, a few pretty plant pots, and, given the notorious unpredictability of summer, perhaps a nice fire pit or patio heater while you're at it. Make the space as atmospheric as possible by stringing some festoon lights from trees and fences, pick up some hurricane lanterns for soft, glowing lighting.

Make sure you have somewhere appealing to sit outside and enjoy the sun. Set yourself up with some stylish garden furniture, a few pretty plant pots. Image via Unsplash.

Seeing as the weather is drastically warming up, it's time to start planning some outdoor entertaining. It may be earlier than is usual to start barbecuing, but let's make the most of it and these delicious barbecue recipes are enough to induce anyone to hit the grill. Why not also try a cocktail hour in the garden after work? More sunshine means it's the perfect time for a summery cocktail like an Aperol spritz or a Negroni, and if you're feeling particularly sophisticated, try these other aperitif liqueurs for aperitivo hour in true Italian style.

There may be practicalities to consider when setting up an outdoor dining room (make sure there's nothing on the table that will blow away, for a start), but our columnist Rita Konig has some helpful ideas. "There are a couple of looks that I like most for an outdoor table. One of them is to simply pick up the dining-room table, starched damask tablecloth, silver candlesticks and all, and take everything outside. The other is that lovely European terrace-lunch look, with relaxed linens and glasses." There's such a lovely variety of sturdy, cheerful picnicware out there that will brighten up your meals and create that informal look.

Even a quintessential indoor activity like watching a movie can be taken outside on a warm evening. All you need is a projector, a screen (a white bedsheet will do) and a source to stream from, like a laptop with a Chromecast or Fire Stick attached. Check out our guide to how to make an outdoor cinema for more ideas.

Out and about

If you can't nab a seat on the terrace of your favourite restaurant or bar, you can certainly find space to have a picnic, and there is a whole world of picnic hampers out there to explore, from Fortnum & Mason's classic hampers, to newer offerings from some of the best restaurants and delis in the country. Take along a good bottle of wine (these wine subscriptions will provide you with something interesting), find a park bench, and settle in for the evening. If you're in London and want to avoid the most crowded parks, have a look at our guide to lesser-known parks and gardens in the city.

With warmer weather and longer days comes a distinct inclination to get out and about again. Another feature Londoners shouldn't miss is our round-up of easy escapes from London. Outdoor swimming is also one of our favourite spring and summer activities, and we've chosen our favourite spots for wild swimming around the UK and lidos and pools in London.

If you're looking for somewhere to book in the capital to make the most of long, hopefully quite balmy evening, these are the best places for outdoor drinking in South Africa, and the best places to eat outside too.

This story originally appeared on House & Garden