By: Peyton Lambton
Summer is finally upon us, and now we have the opportunity to entertain outside! I live in New England, and we had a very long winter, so any opportunity to open the windows and get out is enough to excite us. Below are my tips for successful outdoor entertaining, so you can maximize your summer.
Seating | If you plan on having friends and family over, they will definitely need a place to sit. There are so many options when it comes to outdoor furniture, so choose something that you love, because it can be an investment. Outdoor collections often come in wicker, teak and outdoor metals that can withstand rain or shine.
Many fabrics also come in weather-resistant versions, as well, so you won’t have to worry about running out to bring in the cushions after an unexpected afternoon rainstorm passes through.
Look at your space and plan for what you have. If you have a large patio, start with a dining table, then create conversation zones with different types of seating that you can enjoy after a meal. This can be done with a sofa or chairs arranged around a cocktail table.
If you have a smaller space, try a sectional that can be moved around, if necessary. Adirondack chairs are also great around a fire pit, and if you have a patio corner, you can add a bar top for enjoying morning coffee outside. The options are endless!
Lighting | Don’t forget to keep a light on, especially if you want the party to go late into the evening. String lights are a great option, and they can be attached to your house or to stakes in the yard very easily. These come in various designs, so it won’t look like you forgot to take down your Christmas lights. If you have giant trees, Japanese lanterns look great and create a soft glow once the sun sets.
Dining | I get really nervous about bringing glass and other indoor serving pieces outside, since I don’t want to break or damage them. Plus, cleaning up glass outdoors can be tricky, and it can even get dangerous if you like to walk around barefoot, like my husband does.
I recommend having a set of outdoor dishes, serving platters and cups, so you can entertain, stress-free. This is also a great idea if you have kiddos running around. There are some really stylish pieces that look exactly like indoor items, and they’re a bit more festive and formal than paper plates. Opting for outdoor serveware can also add a fun pop of color and personality to your dining table.
Temperature Control | We still get some cool nights early in the summer, so it’s nice to think about a source of heat to ensure your guests are comfortable. I like to provide blankets in a basket on the patio, so anyone can grab one if they get chilly.
We also invested in a built-in fire pit, but if you aren’t ready for that kind of commitment, you can purchase a fire pit that will sit on top of the grass or patio. If you aren’t into fire, consider heating lamps that are propane-powered. All of these options will keep the party and your guests going well into the night!
Games | Outdoor games are all the rage, and I have a competitive family, so this is something we always have available in the yard. Corn Hole (or bean bag toss) and Kan Jam seem to be very popular right now, and they’re always crowd-pleasers. Games like these are also great for an afternoon barbeque, and they’re perfect for all ages.
Let the games begin!