Summer's here and it's time to party! Take your backyard bash to the next level with my 25 easy tips for entertaining outdoors.
Take the Indoors Outside. Don't be afraid to move your comfy and easy-to-move indoor furniture and décor outside for the party. You'll make the party space look cooler and feel comfier all at the same time.
1. Use a mobile cart or console table to set up an impromptu drinks station near your seating area
2. Situation couch cushions and poufs on a large blanket to create a cozy conversation area
3. Build a backyard living room with a throw rug, a cot or futon layered with pillows, and side chairs
4. Cover your picnic table with a pretty patterned tablecloth and mismatched dishes for that shabby chic look
5. If you need extra seating, mix dining chairs with patio chairs and use small throw pillows as seat cushions
6. Add that special touch by hanging a small chandelier above your outdoor table. Lit or not, it's sure to impress.
How to Handle Wind & Insects. You know they're gonna be there ... best plan ahead.
7. Surround the eating and seating area with citronella torches or candles to keep mosquitoes at bay
8. Pin a sandwich baggie filled with beans to the corners of your tablecloth to keep things from blowing about.
9. Upside down mesh colanders are a perfect way to protect dishes from bees and flies
10. Provide bug repellant wipes and sprays in a pretty pail for easy guest access
Embrace the Elements. Use touches of nature to add a pretty, casual feel to your décor .
11. Summery sand pails and cute flower pots are great containers for floral arrangements, dining utensils on a buffet, or lined with wax paper, for tall snacks like breadsticks or pretzel rods.
12. Decorate place settings with sea shells and use river rocks to weigh down napkins
13. Fill a shallow dish with water and float garden flowers inside for an inexpensive, bright centerpiece
14. Use twine to tie up rolls of silverware in napkins
15. Create a long centerpiece with greens, moss, stones, and flowers from your garden
Let there be light ... to keep the party going after dark:
16. Hang lanterns in the trees surrounding your outdoor space or seating area
17. String plenty of plain white party lights under the table umbrella, in trees, along fences and throughout your foliage for a fun, festive feel
18. Cluster battery powered “candles” on decks, buffets, tables and around seating areas for a beautiful glow
19. Hang a plain white sheet as a movie screen against a wall then project your favorite flick for a backyard drive-in feel
The Best Time Had By All. You can make your party fun and comfortable for your guests, while being sure to have a great time as well.
20. Buy rolls of brown or white craft paper to use as table coverings for a casual look and easy cleanup
21. Don't have enough chairs for everybody? Stick with skewers, finger food, pre-buttered corn on the cob, and one-handed desserts like cookies, brownies and ice cream sandwiches.
22. Organize your party essentials on trays for easy set up at stations: empty glasses near the beverage dispenser, mixers and garnishes by the bar, and condiments on the buffet
23. Chill drinks, dips, and other small items in a slightly larger bowl filled with ice
24. Take advantage of your space. Spread the sitting area, dining area, buffet and drinks spot in different locations around your yard to keep the party flow going
25. Don't have outdoor speakers? A cordless Bluetooth setup and an iPod playlist are all you need for keeping the music hopping all night long.
Ready to squeeze every ounce of outdoor fun you can out of backyard entertaining this summer? Use these tips to have a blast through the warm months and beyond until the winter forces you back indoors.