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Garden party ideas for a relaxed outdoor gathering

‘The best thing about eating with friends is the joy of losing track of time, in good company, until the early hours,’ says interior designer and photographer Ingrid, who loves having get-togethers in her courtyard garden. ‘I prefer a relaxed approach to hosting – it’s low effort for me and sparks good conversation.’ She shares her garden party ideas plus a favourite recipe: dairy and gluten-free key lime pie with an avocado twist.

An outdoor scene with dining table, tiled bench and various plants.
An outdoor scene with dining table, tiled bench and various plants.

Take indoor comfort outside
Create cosiness that will last from day to night by furnishing your outdoor space in the same way as your indoor areas. ‘I see my courtyard garden as an outdoor room,’ says Ingrid. ‘Before a get-together, I bring out accessories, rugs and cushions from indoors, plus hang lanterns in the frangipani tree ready for when the sun goes down.’

Minimise hosting, maximise fun
Make the most of time together by spending less time cooking and hosting on the day. ‘I prepare most of the food and drink before friends arrive. And instead of doing individual plates of food or table settings, I bring everything out from the kitchen on trays – it’s easy for me and encourages interaction around the table,’ says Ingrid.

Setting the right mood – music playing, lights hanging from the tree, the smell of seasonal ingredients – feels magical

Ingrid, interior designer and photographer

Ingredients – serves 12
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pitted dates, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
2-3 avocados
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tsp lime zest
1/4 cup honey

1. Grease a 12-muffin tin set.
2. Place the coconut and walnuts in a food processor and blend until coarsely ground. Add the dates and process until the mixture begins to stick together. Press about 1½ tablespoons of the mixture into the bottom of each muffin cup.
3. Blend the avocados (classic key lime pie uses condensed milk instead), lime juice, lime zest and honey in a food processor until smooth. Pour one heaped tablespoon of the filling into each muffin cup.
4. Top with a fresh slice of kiwi or a thin slice of lime.
5. Freeze for 30-60 minutes to set, then enjoy!

Friends love these key lime pies – the avocado makes them nutritious as well as tasty. You can also save time on the day by making them the night before


Made by
Photography: Chris Court
Styling: Ingrid Weir

Follow Ingrid at

Recipe from


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