4 creative ways to mark your picnic spot
Parks, beaches and pretty public spaces – South Africa has them all, and we’re lucky enough to be able to visit most of them for free. As good as it is to get outside into a shared space, it’s not always very private. With a bit of planning – and enough boot space – there are ways to make it feel a little more like your own private party. Here are four creative ways to mark your picnic spot.
Brolly good show
Create a playful border for your picnic area with a circle of umbrellas. Raid your coat-stand, cupboard and garage, or ask your friends to bring one of their own if you’re having a bigger gathering. Put each open umbrella on its side in a ring to create a screen from others or just to add pops of colour. If it’s windy, you can get creative by taping or tying the umbrellas to heavy things like cooler boxes or cooldrink bottles, but you’re probably better off saving this idea for a calmer day.
Fabric is a simple way to draw attention, establish a colour scheme and create atmosphere for a picnic in an open area. Tablecloths, blankets, lightweight rugs and even pashmina scarves can be draped over chairs, fences and trees for coverage. If you’re in a park, look for the nicest spot near the edge, or two trees near each other, and drape over some material to create your own space. Use thicker cloth for more privacy, or floaty fabrics for more ambience, and put down blankets and pillows for comfort. To make it feel even more luxurious, fill a few fancy bowls with chocolates and sweets and dot them around.
If you’re going all-out for a special occasion and can transport gear to your picnic (hello, friend with a bakkie), ladders are a handy way to create an intimate space for a couple. Open the ladder wide enough so that your picnic spot can fit between the legs, lock it in place, and drape some cloth (like a large tablecloth) over the top to create a teepee. If you’re having an evening picnic, you can weave fairy lights around the ladder. (Solar bulbs will light up when the sun goes down.) The ladder rungs will give you plenty of options to play around with, too: if you’re feeling really romantic, thread them with ivy or flowers, or place tealight candles in jars on the lower steps.
All tied up
No bunting and limited budget or time to prepare your picnic spot? No problem! Raid your gift cupboard for some ribbon or head to a fabric or craft shop, where they sell ribbon for a few rand per metre in every colour of the rainbow. Tie between four and 10 ribbons of varying lengths together on one end and throw them in your picnic basket. Then, choose a spot near a fence or tree, tie the ribbons up high, and let them wave in the breeze.