Warm evenings and longer nights call for eating outdoors, pool parties and drinks on the patio. Whether you hope to throw a big backyard bash to celebrate the summer or aim to entertain as many intimate gatherings as you can, the right menu, a little ambiance and some advanced planning can make for a summer of happy memories and satisfied friends.
Enjoying the outdoors will be easier if you’ve got the right space and seating for your needs. Will you be eating? Just indulging in a few quick drinks? Hope to lounge around all evening? Make sure that you provide your guests with options for dining, mingling or relaxing, depending on what type of entertaining you plan to do. By grouping your seating into a series of conversation pods, you can help facilitate the natural circles that occur when small groups mingle, reports Style At Home.
A late-morning brunch with a few friends may mean that you move your dining room table outdoors. The temporary change – and a few mimosas! – may be enough to make the meal a special one.
“Make sure your patio furniture is presentable after a long winter by checking frames, straps, cushions and fasteners,” say the experts at The Home Depot Garden Club. “Planning on entertaining a crowd? Look at adding a new dining set or extra chairs to accommodate larger groups.”
While it may seem silly to worry about the sun when you’ve waited all winter for it to come out, you’ll want to consider ways to beat the heat. Having people over for an afternoon party or a jump in the pool may require umbrellas or shaded spots to skip any sunstroke come summer months. A great host may also supply the sunscreen for the scorching days to come!
No matter what type of entertaining you plan to do, your guests are likely to get hungry. Having simple meal options will make it easy for you to have fun as a host while leaving your guests satisfied. Grilled foods are essential for a backyard barbecue as they allow you to cook outdoors with your guests, but they aren’t the only option for your fiesta. Serving easy-to-eat appetizers that guests can pop into their mouth as they mingle are perfect for passing around while keeping up conversations. Trying to balance a paper plate full of foods that require cutlery isn’t always an appealing option no matter how delicious a feast you’ve prepared!
If you’re eating under the sun or lingering late in the evening, it’s best to include menu options that aren’t heat sensitive. If a dish is best served cold, it may be better to save it for an indoor gathering or share it with a small group when you know it will be eaten immediately.
Keep your drinks close by with a variety of small ice buckets on display or a small cooler off to the side. This will leave you more time to mingle so you’re not hopping back and forth into the kitchen every time you have a thirsty party-goer. Pitchers of water or water bottles in bulk will keep your guests cool throughout your summer soiree.
If your evening is all about one theme, picking and presenting a signature drink in a large beverage dispenser allows guests to help themselves, letting your drink add to your décor all while saving you the hassle of having to be the bartender.
Plan to party long after the sun has set? You’ll have to consider what lighting will look best in your space. Avoid anything too bright or florescent – you don’t want to attract bugs or kill the laid back vibe you worked so hard to achieve. Globe bulbs are adorning pretty patio spaces all over right now as they add the perfect amount of light for a late night soiree, while showing off your impeccable taste in accessories.
“Outdoor lights are a perfect way to set the mood for entertaining,” The Home Depot Garden Club reports. “Install them along dark walkways to add brightness and increase safety.”
While space doesn’t always permit, games like bocce ball or horseshoes are good ways to get guests mingling before dinner or keep the party going after dessert has been served.
Whether you’re dining al fresco or dancing under the stars, as a host you want to have a good time, too. Entertaining doesn’t have to be draining and with a few simple steps, you’ll be free to enjoy the outdoors right alongside your friends and family.