Dorothy’s Open Gardens

It wouldn’t be summer without our green-fingered supporters throwing open their gardens to raise money for us. If you’ve always wanted to share your little part of the world, then Dorothy’s Open Gardens is for you.

And If your garden isn’t quite ready to receive the public then why not have a garden BBQ and invite your family and friends round for food, fun and laughter. You can make a day of it while helping us provide vital care in your community.

We have created a Dorothy’s Open Gardens pack to help you make your event a success. You can register to receive your free pack today. It’s full of materials you may find useful for planning and hosting your party.

How to choose the right date

Weekends usually work best – and Sundays tend to attract the best turn-out. Check with family and friends to make sure they can make your date and book it!

A couple of hours is usually long enough (e.g.: 10am – midday, 3pm – 5pm etc.) for most events. Avoid opening your garden over lunchtime unless you’re hosting a barbecue or will have a good selection of sweet and savoury food.

Also, it’s a good idea to have a contingency plan in case the weather is against you. If you have a covered space or a gazebo these are handy in case of an unexpected downpour!

First impressions

You’ll need to decide on an entrance fee. We normally suggest £4 per adult (although some gardens charge more). Ask a friend or neighbour to be at the entrance to collect the fees. It’s usually helpful if there’s a small table, chair and a box for them to keep the money safe in.

Decorate the entrance and include clear signage. You might like to use balloons, streamers, potted flowers or biodegradable confetti to make the entrance stand out and feel welcoming.

Let them eat cake!

Consider selling tea and coffee to raise even more money for the Hospice. This is also a great way to get friends and family involved! They will often donate a cake or come along and serve drinks.

Using disposable cups will cut down on the clean up and enable you to serve more people. We’ve even heard of local supermarket donating cups, paper plates and serviettes when they know you’re hosting a tea part for Dorothy House! It’ always worth an ask!

Always ensure any food you’re providing has been stored at an appropriate temperature, has been hygienically prepared and thoroughly cooked. (Visit for further guidance.) Also, if you want to sell alcohol at your event, you will need a licence.

A man's best friend

Decide before your event if you’re happy for visitors to bring their dogs. Making this clear, either way, will avoid awkward moments for you and your guests.

Just a note – encouraging ‘well behaved’ dogs is usually a winning plan. Dog owners are usually aware if their four-legged friend fits this category and will be respectful of your wishes.

Toilet talk

Do you have an outside toilet? If not, are you happy for people to access your home – this is entirely your decision. In our experience, equally as many people allow as don’t allow, so it has to be your decision. Just make it clear on all promotional material so that people can plan accordingly, especially those with small children.

Safety and safeguarding

Opening your garden and fundraising for the Hospice should be fun, but it’s important to stay safe!

  • Make sure you check your garden for health and safety hazards before your opening and take any necessary steps to remove or minimise the risks from any hazards that you identify. For example:
    • Water features – use signage
    • Trips and slips – use signage
  • Keep gardening tools/products/weed killer locked away
  • Check your garden furniture for any broken bits
  • Cover any pointed sticks/bamboo to prevent injury
  • Consider access to the garden for people with additional needs and make sure any promotional literature clearly states how accessible your garden is
  • If you are not a qualified First Aider, have a phone ready in case of an emergency

Safeguarding Children:
Make parents/guardians aware that they are responsible for the safety of the children they are accompanying.

How to pay in the money you raise

Bank Transfer

You can pay in your money by making a bank transfer. Use your surname and first initial, and the code DTP17 as a payment reference. This helps us trace your payments and attribute them to your tea party total.

Account Number: 73821358
Sort Code: 40-14-13
Account Name: Dorothy House
Bank: HSBC Bank plc
Branch: Bristol Cabot Circus


You can send in a cheque made out to Dorothy House Hospice – and don’t forget to include your GiftAid/Donation form.

Dorothy’s Tea Party
Fundraising Team
Dorothy House
Bradford on Avon
BA15 2LE

Register for your pack here