With the Fourth of July looming, we’re taking a break from the camping series to provide you with all you ever needed to know about throwing the ultimate backyard party! There is nothing so fun as an outdoor party and you can really take your party to the next level by following a few simple steps.
Grown-ups are going to have the most fun if the kids are able to self-entertain. Set yourself up for success by intentionally inviting families who have similar aged kids to keep each other occupied. Summer is a busy time of year, especially over holiday weekends, so expect that only 50-70% of invited guests will be able to attend.
Get your big picture
Start by thinking about your party from a bird’s eye view. First, focus on how you’re going to layout your backyard to accommodate extra people. To avoid bottle necks and crowded areas, separate your key areas in different parts of the yard. Start by putting your drink station close to the entry and your food more towards the back. It’s also great to think about how kids are going to use your back yard. If you identify a space to be kid friendly in advance, then you can think of activities to fill it out. Just make sure it’s within easy view of where the adults might be chatting.
Shade and seating
Hunt around your home and yard for creative seating. Stools, benches and indoor chairs add interest and seating.
Two of the biggest challenges to outdoor entertaining are seating and shade. Consider the time of day your party will be taking place and the shade that will be available. If most of your yard is going to be in full sun, you may want to consider borrowing some pop up shelters to provide much needed relief. Next, get creative with your seating. Garden stools, indoor chairs, stumps and benches can add variety to your party as well as amp up your seating space. If you still don’t think you’ll have enough seating, don’t feel bad asking guests to throw in a collapsible chair or two.
Create an atmosphere of play
Thinking ahead can ensure that no one, kids or adults, get bored at your party. Try and supply a variety of activities that are suitable for multiple ages. Bean bag tosses, croquet and water activities can be enjoyed by kids or the whole family! Just make sure you let your guests know they will be getting wet. As you invest in your home overall, consider adding items that bring long-lasting fun like swings and climbing structures.
Bring the inside out
Rather than investing a significant amount of “outdoor décor” to bring your backyard up to Pinterest standards, take a good look around your house to see what might be able to be used temporarily outside. Things like throw pillows and blankets you already own can may your back yard feel high-end without breaking the bank.
To create a versatile food table that keeps traffic moving, consider an arrangement that allows the food station to be accessed from all angles. Add some visual interest by using overturned boxes and crates to create multiple levels. With summer temperatures reaching into the 90’s and 100’s, you can also use long shallow trays filled with ice to keep food cool and safe for eating – especially things like salads and fruit. Clear under bed storage bins are great for this!
Kid friendly fare
Encourage kids to be self-sufficient by putting individual drinks like Capri Sun and juice boxes on ice in a red wagon within easy reach. Create a kid height snack station full of healthy kid favorites. Remember, kids won’t self-regulate, so it’s best to keep sweets and chips up out of kid reach. Parents will thank you!
Dishes that make a statement
For smaller parties, you may want to invest in a set of melamine dishes and acrylic glasses in bright colors to reuse over and over. They are break resistant, dishwasher safe and lighter than your indoor dishes. For bigger parties, disposable is the way to go! Check out party supply sites online to find unique, playful designs that bring a little flare to your party beyond the traditional Dixie brand plates at the grocery store.
Create your own approach
After taking all this into account, start developing your own approach to entertaining in your backyard. If you can develop some standard best-practices that work well for your space and the people you entertain, it can save you a lot of stress for future parties. For example, whenever I host a party, I have a metal cart I use for drinks. I know where to put it and how to arrange everything on it so it’s pretty and easy to use. I also know what tables and chairs I have and which have to stay on concrete and which can go out on the grass. My husband and I have set up so many times for these types of parties that they are a breeze to set up! We hardly even need to discuss the “bones” of the party.
Do you like to entertain outside? Do you have some great tricks you’ve developed for making best use of your outdoor space? I’d love to hear about them! Share your thoughts below!