The Insider: Turn your garden party into a festival of fun


I recently went to the launch of Josie da Bank's new picnicware range (very pretty, see it at As you'd expect from the creative director/producer of the Isle of Wight music festival Bestival, the party was gorgeously decorated – particularly the unusual bunting; its lavish garlands of different textures and shapes and dangly bits were the opposite of OTT jubilee. Josie shared her tips for good-looking outdoor festivities at home…

Flying high

"I get bunting from and add to it. Sometimes we send it to a guy in Jaipur who adds garlands, printed fabric, tassels and plastic marigolds. Try Brick Lane or Southall. Then add fairy lights."

Water works

"Having a big party? Hire a hot tub! It's a really nice feature; I've got a wood-fired one at our place on the Isle of Wight and I love it."

Inside out

"I use indoor stuff outside –it's pointless buying a special garden set in this climate. I'll drag the sofa outside, rugs and cushions…"

Pitch up

"Buy colourful little teepees for children, and buy a cheap gazebo from Argos and disguise it by draping fabric around the sides, winding fairy lights up the legs and hanging bunting."

Light up

"Lanterns can transform a garden; I get lots in Chinatown in colours such as neon pink – not the traditional red and gold. They're really cheap."

Seating plan

"I hire in lots of furniture. I recommend for beautiful day-beds or themed tents. They deliver, put it up – then take it away when you're done."

Find Kate's blog on affordable interiors at