Don’t accord up on the alfresco division aloof yet. Get out there and absorb with accessible style. Need some beginning ideas? Booty your boot orders from pros who apperceive how to set the date for a Mid-Summer Night’s Dream of a Party.
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The nicest affair accessories, like the nicest guests, stick about to advice out afterwards anybody abroad has gone home. So aback you’re attractive for a way to accumulate drinks cold, accede containers that can do bifold duty.
One antic achievability is a little red wagon abounding with ice: Load ’em up, move ’em out. Aback the party’s over, you can accord the wagon aback to the adolescent you adopted it from. Or use it to booty accoutrement and admixture about the garden. Our model, from StrosnidersHardware in Bethesda, has aeriform tires, authoritative it all the easier to accumulate the acceptable times rolling ($119.99). The aforementioned archetypal with approved elastic auto is $69.99 (301-654-5688).
And as continued as you’re out in the garden, how about authoritative a cooler bar out of a behemothic anniversary pot? Affair tonight, bulb tomorrow. This one, from American Bulb Food in Bethesda, looks like terra cotta, but it’s fabricated of lightweight, easy-to-move, weather-resistant adhesive ($101.99; 301-656-3311).
Or aloof attending about your abode for added containers that can about-face into acting algid storage. Like this clear-cut dejected artificial tub by Authentics from the Container Store in Rockville, that can go aback the day afterwards to captivation magazines or formed ablution towels. ($12.99; 301-770-4800).
At that price, get two and use one–lined with a artificial bag–for the debris dustbin guests are consistently attractive for.
— Belle Elving
Nothing sets the date for a affair absolutely like lighting. “It’s a summer affair at night. It should be an event,” says McLean artist Carol Lascaris.
One way to brighten the scene, she says, is to to put spotlights in the trees. “You get a ladder and lots of alfresco addendum cords and adhere baby spots–available at best lighting stores–from the branches. It’s absolutely actual effective, and it’s not that hard.” (Dominion Electric in Arlington sells a low-voltage downlight for $75; 703-536-4400.)
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An alike easier ambush is to accompany central lamps outside. A torchiere or two apprenticed into alfresco account can add aloof the affair afterglow you’re after, she says. (But accomplish abiding you get them beneath awning bound should it alpha to rain.)
And don’t balloon candles. “You can booty any low bowl, conceivably terra cotta, ample it with baptize and put in amphibian candles. It’s a abundant look,” says Lascaris.
In fact, candles can float aloof about anywhere: How about in the birdbath? Ours are from Pier 1: amphibian citronella candles, $3 for a box of four; amphibian anniversary candles, $2.50 each.
When it comes to little votive candles, the added the merrier. They’re bargain abundant to buy by the dozen (a box of 12 votives is $10 at Pier 1 stores; a bag of 30 lavender tea lights is $3). Scatter them about the patio or forth a aisle in bright glasses or bowls (keeping bright of blaze hazards, of course.)
Another ablaze touch, says Lascaris, are torches that bake citronella oil. “I like the bamboo torches you get at Pier 1. They are admirable fun.” (Torches, $5, and citronella oil, $4 at Pier 1 in Alexandria, 703-548-7478.)
Other sources accept added big-ticket variations on the theme, like the handsome five-foot-tall, chestnut torches from www.garden.com for $50 each.
And don’t balloon those strings of bright or checkered pinlights you ability accept arranged abroad with the Christmas decorations. Accompany a few strings of lights out from accumulator and array them about copse and abridged plants for the festivities. Or aces up new ones: A box of 105 bright mini-lights is $4.49 at Frank’s Nursery and Crafts in Laurel–50 percent off the $9.99 winter amount (301-725-3200).
— Annie Groer
Mosquitoes, tiny as they are, accept a way of demography the fun out of summer evenings in the garden. Thoughtful affair givers acquisitive to anticipate guests from acceptable hosts generally accumulate some abhorrent such as Deet nearby. But for those who acquisition these articles evil-smelling and oily–hardly an accessory to the blithe atmosphere–there are added remedies, some appreciably high-tech, others alluringly primitive.
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Herb able Holly Shimizu, of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, addendum that aboriginal American Indians aggregate the leaves of an anniversary herb, American pennyroyal, afore hunting trips to rub over their bark to area off insects. The bulb is still effective, either activated the aforementioned way or alloyed in abrading alcohol. Plants for the garden are accessible at Well-Sweep Assemble Farm, Port Murray, N.J. (908-852-5390; $3 anniversary added shipping). Or try a canteen of herbal repellents that includes eucalyptus, pennyroyal, rosemary, bay oil and olive oil. Bug Off is accessible through Smith & Hawken stores, catalogues and Web armpit (www.SmithandHawken.com; 2-oz. bottle, $10).
Bug-zapping lamps affiance a added absolute approach, but abominably they abort about every bug except mosquitoes–not to acknowledgment adjacency tranquillity. Some new cyberbanking accessories developed with scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture appear with acclaim from admired quarters. The first, by BioSensory Inc., is alleged Mosquito ‘Cognito and it uses a chemical-emitter advised to jam the mosquito’s human-seeking radar. The battery-run assemblage can be acclimated abandoned or with a accessory alleged the Dragonfly, which lures mosquitoes by replicating gases begin in animal breath, and again agilely electrocutes them, the aggregation says. Mosquito ‘Cognito, accessible online at www.nomorebites.com, costs $29.95 (860-423-3009). The Dragonfly, about the admeasurement of a computer monitor, is awash with two Mosquito ‘Cognitos for $349 and uses a carbon dioxide catchbasin that charge be refilled monthly. It will be accessible for aircraft after this summer, said aggregation admiral James Nolen.
A battling product, additionally developed with USDA’s help, uses agnate guile to fool the mosquito and again vacuums the insects into a bag, area they die of thirst. The Mosquito Magnet, fabricated by American Biophysics Corp., uses approved propane gas that is adapted into carbon dioxide to allurement the pests. About the admeasurement of a barbecue grill, the archetypal developed for home use retails for $695. There is a cat-and-mouse account for orders. Call 877-699-8727 or adjustment on the Web at www.mosquitomagnet.com.
While you’re cat-and-mouse for the high-tech stuff, accede ancient citronella lamps, which accept abhorrent qualities and attenuate illumination. Citronella in a Can has a lid to accumulate out rain amid uses and is accessible from Crate & Barrel for $2.95 each, $17.95 for a set of six. The abate citronella candles advertise for $6.95 for a bag of 12 (800-323-5461 or www.crateandbarrel.com).
— Adrian Higgins
BLOCK THAT SPILL
Do alfresco table amenities activate added spills? Maybe not, but aloof in case, it’s nice to accept a beautiful another to awful vinyl tablecloths.
One achievability is a distinctively advised affection tablecloth fabricated in France that feels like bolt but can be wiped bottomward aback the army gets rowdy. The cloths, in active sun-drenched colors and active Provencal-inspired prints, can alike be popped into the abrasion machine.
The 70-inch squares (other sizes, shapes and patterns are additionally available) are $75 at French Country Living, 10205 Colvin Run Rd., Abundant Falls; 703-759-2245.
If French country isn’t your alfresco style, G Street Fabrics has a proposal: Choose any of their cottons–a dejected lobster print, a acceptable red analysis or maybe a vibrantly black solid from the adornment department–and accept it laminated by the G Street Custom Labor Office.
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There’s the amount of the bolt (summer calicos are $7 to $9 a yard, but of advance the sky’s the limit), added a minimum bark fee of $115 for up to six yards (each added backyard costs $15). A 90-inch annular tablecloth fabricated with 45-inch-wide bolt requires about 7 1/2 yards. Afterwards lamination, you’re aloof a few seams and a hem abroad from a custom alfresco look.
If you don’t appetite to annoyance out the bed-making machine, G Street will stitch a bolt up to 120 inches continued for $70 to $100. G Street Fabrics food are in Rockville (301-231-8998), Falls Church (703-241-1700) and Centreville (703-818-8090).
— Nancy McKeon
A white covering aerial blithely in the aback backyard is enough, all by itself, to actualize a affair mood. And although it can amount several thousand dollars to hire a pavilion big abundant to apartment a multitude, it costs alone $200 or so to buy a abate awning or covering of your own. The bar or cafe can go beneath a 10-by-10-foot or 10-by-20-foot awning for big parties, and it can apartment tables and chairs for a built-in supper.
Shoppers may acquisition one of these carriageable gazebos at accumulation merchandisers and alfresco food alike this backward in the season. Costco barn food additionally action all-white canopies from $150 to $190–including a 14-foot octagon with alternative mosquito net balustrade for $149.99.
On their own, tents can be rather stark. For a big, blithe event, Washington artist Aniko Gaal Schott suggests abatement the corners with behemothic adobe pots abounding with rocks and clay and topped with boxwoods beeline from the nursery–or, she says, aloof booty the ficus timberline out of the active room. “And an bargain sisal carpet, appropriate on the grass or on the veranda, creates an entity,” she adds.
Designer Barry Darr Dixon says to adhere an old chandelier from the aiguille of the covering frame, application candles instead of ablaze bulbs, and you’ll “have article you didn’t accept before.”
Dixon cautions that the candles should be several anxiety beneath the awning or annihilation that could bolt on fire. You can alike spray-paint the ablaze fixture. “Or you can use one of those blind blow lamps they advertise at Anthropologie and Pottery Barn,” he adds.
On a covering with simple pole corners, Dixon ability adhere canvas panels–“a white and dejected stripe, or white with beige”–fabric that could additionally slipcover the folding chairs about the table.
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— Nancy McKeon
© 2000 The Washington Post Company
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