Garden-Inspired Buffet Brunch

Host a brunch with a laid-back atmosphere by serving guests from a buffet table. Come rain or shine, evoke the feeling of a beautiful day with colors, textures and shapes taken from the outdoors.

Have a Plan

In the event of not-so-great weather, create one plan that works well for both for indoor and outdoor gatherings. Consider mixing interior furniture pieces which may work well outside with patio or garden furniture that may fit inside the house.

Create Zones

To determine the proper flow and setup for a successful buffet brunch, create zones with painter's tape. Measure each area of your space, marking off specific zones with tape pressed firmly onto the floor. Next, ensure proper traffic flow by placing furniture inside parameters of tape. If flow is unsuccessful, remove painter's tape and reposition placement of each zone.

Do-It-Yourself Buffet

No buffet? No problem. Create a custom serving station for your brunch with two sawhorses, one piece of plywood and a graphic table skirt. Pick up a piece of plywood precut to your specific needs from the home improvement store. Once sawhorses are in place, lay plywood on top, then add skirt, ensuring it's flush with the floor. Place any boxes or containers underneath for concealed storage.

Picnic-Inspired Vessels

Bring an outdoor picnic feeling to your buffet with serving vessels. Display food, napkins and silverware in woven baskets, apple baskets and gardening pots mixed with wooden bowls and rustic serving platters.

Simple Drinkware

Serve drinks in large mason jars garnished with rims of sugar and lime wheels.

Garden Pot Place Cards

Be unexpected. Identify seating assignments with place cards staked atop tiny pots of potted moss. These can also serve double duty, acting as party favors for guests.

Garden-Inspired Table

Create a dining space with a green and white color scheme. Start with a toile table cloth depicting natural, outdoor scenery, and add layers of texture with woven grass place mats and rustic vessels for floral arrangements.

Rustic Centerpiece

Incorporate garden statuaries into your tablescape as centerpieces. Bring in crisp pops of white with ceramic dishes, metal garden chairs and flowers.

Water Can Vases

Bring the actual act of gardening to each table by arranging white tulips in weathered watering cans, then placing in the center. Tulips are often the best choice, because they're affordable and evoke an elegant, garden feeling.

Faux It

If throwing your party indoors or on the deck, introduce green on the floor with a precut piece of faux turf used as an area rug. Faux turf can be purchased at home improvement stores or rented from event companies. Secure the end with double-sided tape to keep it in place during the party.

Mix-and-Match Seating

Create an unexpected seating arrangement by mixing indoor and outdoor chairs. Upholstered indoor armchairs work best at each end of the table while weathered garden chairs can be placed on each side.

Designer Detail

Add a designer touch to basic burlap with a band of decorative trim adorned to the bottom — resulting in a one-of-a-kind tablecloth. Trim can be attached quickly and easily using a hot glue gun and glue sticks.

Picnic-Style Kids' Table

Create a separate dining space for little ones by draping a coffee table with a burlap table cloth; however, raw burlap will work as well. Instead of chairs, lay out floor pillows and cushions for kids to both lounge and brunch on.

Activities for Kids

Add an interactive table runner down the center with a roll of white craft paper cut to size for coloring and drawing. Place crayons inside small tin flower pots.

Playful Cupcake Presentation

Present edible treats to children in a whimsical way. Tint cupcake frosting to your buffet's palette with food coloring, and arrange cupcakes on the table as something graphic and recognizable, such as a caterpillar. Add decorative eyes with icing; create antennae and legs with pipe cleaners.

Mason Jar Pudding

Serve pistachio pudding in small mason jars with whipped cream added to the top. Stick a spoon in each jar before placing it on your buffet table.

Strawberry Treat

Another option is to serve strawberry shortcake in small mason jars. Top each concoction with a strawberry and whipped cream.

Coffee Cake-Style Apple Pie

Add good old American flair to your favorite coffee cake recipe with apple and/or blueberry pie presentation. Slice apples, and fan each slice out along top. Add a grouping of blueberries in the center, and then drizzle with icing.

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