All your questions answered

No matter how big or small it is, when you open your garden for the RNLI this summer, you’ll be making a lifesaving difference.

Your Open Garden can be anything you’d like it to be. Maybe you fancy holding a driveway plant sale. Or perhaps hosting an afternoon tea with friends on the lawn is more your forte. Here you can find answers to any questions you might have. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, please email the Open Gardens Team on

And remember, whatever you decide to do, by opening your garden for the RNLI this summer, you’re a lifesaver too.

With the situation changing rapidly, we ask that you check the latest government guidance on Covid-19 in your area with regards to social distancing and group gatherings.  

We sincerely hope that by the time you open your garden, things will be back to some semblance of normality. Our priority is your safety so, most importantly, stay safe. 

Anyone can sign up! No matter how big or small your garden is, you’re welcome to open your garden as part of the RNLI Open Gardens fundraising event.

An Open Garden can be anything from a driveway plant sale to afternoon tea in your garden. It can be any shape or size from a small courtyard to a grand hall garden. If you’re passionate about plants and the outdoors, chances are your garden will be well worth a visit!   

Invite your neighbours to open their garden too and you could do a village trail of open gardens!


When you sign up to the RNLI Open Gardens fundraising event and pledge to open your garden, you’ll receive a fundraising pack and access to the Garden Shed, which is full of downloadable resources to help promote your Open Garden event.  

Our Open Gardens Team are also available for any help you may need. You can contact us at, or by calling 0300 300 9990 (from the UK) or 1800 991802 (from Ireland). 

Volunteers and staff can also seek help and advice via their local RNLI community manager or branch volunteer. 

You can open your garden any time between April and October. It could be for just 1 day or multiple days/weekends - whatever suits you!

We have provided some resources to help you publicise your event, such as posters and social media graphics. You'll find these in the Garden Shed once you've signed up to the RNLI Open Gardens event and pledged to open your garden. There'll also be some top tips in your fundraising pack.

Here are some ideas to get your started:

  • Invite your friends, family and neighbours to attend, or even to open their gardens too!
  • Share our Open Gardens social media graphics on your personal Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter accounts. You can also share them within other appropriate Facebook groups or pages.
  • Put posters up in your local area, such as in local stores, community centres, newsagents and tourist information centres.
  • Use an online event listing site for your area.
  • Share your Open Garden event with local gardening groups and societies.

We recommend you have a suggested donation to enter your garden, around £4-£6/ €4-€6 is a good start.  

Think of ways you can add extra value to your Open Garden fundraising event such as entertainment or refreshments to raise additional funds for the RNLI. Here are a few suggestions:  

Include a plant sale

 Approach local garden centres for donations or begin growing from seeds months before. 

Offer refreshments

Everyone likes tea, cake and scones. Our lifeboat cake toppers would look great on fairy cakes! Or if the weather is warm and dry, why not host a BBQ?

Entertain the kids

Encourage young gardeners to explore and have fun by using our Where's welly cut out or by setting up a colouring station.

Include a tombola

Running a tombola is a great additional booster to raise extra funds at your event. See if your friends and family can donate some prizes.

It’s easy to pay in your fundraising money!  

If you have set up a JustGiving page for your Open Garden event, all the money you have raised will come to us directly so there’s nothing to worry about!  

You can also pay in any money you have collected online, by post or by phone.

It is best practice to write a risk assessment for any event. You can find information on how to write a risk assessment from the Health and Safety Executive (UK) or Health and Safety Authority (Ireland).  
Please see our advice for safe and legal fundraising.  

If you are a registered RNLI volunteer, please contact your community manager for more information on safety resources. 

We want to ensure your event is safe and legal – getting insurance for your fundraising event can be simple to arrange, often it’s included in your own insurance or can be arranged to add on. If you’re organising your own Open Garden fundraising event in aid of the RNLI you will need to arrange your own public liability insurance as you will not be insured under the RNLI policies. Check with your home insurer as it might be included on your own insurance or you can arrange to add on. Alternatively, there are a lot of insurance providers who can arrange a policy for you. 

Please remember that the RNLI cannot accept any liability for your own Open Garden event, related accidents, damage or any losses, even when the event is run to raise money for the charity. If you are a registered RNLI volunteer, please contact your community manager for more information. 

We have taken steps to make sure our fundraising pack is as environmentally conscious as possible. All our printed paper items are recyclable. Please print responsibly and recycle used materials where possible.

We’d love for you to support the RNLI Open Gardens fundraising event. Here are some ideas: 

  • Encourage your family, friends and neighbours to open their gardens instead.
  • Assist someone who can open their garden. 
  • Attend a local RNLI Open Garden between April and October.
  • Donate seedlings or plant cuttings to a local open garden event.
  • Donate to support our RNLI lifesavers
For other ways in which you can support locally, please contact

Anything you do to support the RNLI Open Gardens will help to save lives at sea. So, thank you for being a lifesaver too!

Ready to open your garden?