Nothing beats long, warm summer evenings when it comes to inviting friends over. One of the best parts of the outdoor entertaining season is that a little effort goes a long way when sprucing up your backyard. If you're planning on playing host this summer, we've got a list of ideas on how to set up your backyard for easy summer entertaining. With these tips and tricks you can prep your backyard in advance to keep things simple during the event, so you can enjoy your time as much as your guests!
As with every task, it's always a lot easier to start with a clean slate. This is the time to start from the bottom and give everything a thorough cleaning. If you give your outdoor surfaces and furniture a good wash at the start of the season you'll only need small touch ups later on. Get out your power washer and spray down your deck or patio, using a scrub brush for those stubborn spot-treatments. Wipe down outdoor furniture and make note of any pieces that need replacing. Take the time to check over these surfaces and furniture to see if there's any refinishing or maintenance needed so you can get it done before summer really takes off. This is also the best time to look over the backyard and eliminate mosquito breeding grounds by overturning any containers with stagnant water in your backyard. Flower pots, saucers, and buckets should have extra water removed while your birdbaths and water features should have water changed out frequently or have recirculation systems installed.
Avoid the scramble for extra chairs during the party by taking an assessment of your seating options while cleaning. You can look for lightweight chairs that can be moved from within the house, or, if you're looking for some more permanent hosting options, we suggest considering low outdoor walls that can double as seats. If you're planning for big parties that will have you hosting more people than all your seating can accommodate, buy a stack of inexpensive folding chairs early in the season to have on hand. These are very easy to store when not in use during winter seasons and provide options for indoor parties as well.
Investing in a proper shade structure can really boost the comfort of your backyard entertaining area for those hot summer parties. Look into structures like sliding shade sails, pergolas with roofing, or perhaps some trellises with ivy for that natural outside feeling. These are great for controlling just how much sun or shade you'd like while still enjoying the feeling of being outdoors. Of course, if you're not looking to make an investment in a year-round set up, good-sized umbrellas can easily cast pools of shade over a sunny patio. Remember that, as the sun sets, evenings can become quite cool; especially after you've spent the day soaking in the sun! Have a couple of warm throw blankets on hand for draping over shoulders and invest in a lightweight movable fire pit. These pits come in a number of wood-burning and smoke-free options to match any aesthetic.
Make your backyard pop this summer with some quick and simple additions. String lights instantly transform your backyard into a space that really feels ready for a party. Although cheap twinkle string lights can be used in a pinch, we suggest investing in one or two strands of commercial-grade outdoor patio lights that are waterproof, much more durable, and can be used year after year. Throw in an outdoor rug to make your eating area feel more finished, or to creating a 'separate' seating area with big comfy poufs. Be sure to look for outdoor rugs made of recycled plastic, nylon, or polyester that are water-resistant and easy to hose down for a quick cleanup.
Setting up a low-key outdoor bar cart has two big pluses: it helps to get your guests out of the kitchen and frees up your time by encouraging people to serve themselves. You can invest in a proper cart with wheels and included storage areas or repurpose a small table you have for all your summer entertaining. Be sure to leave room for a cooler nearby and sort out a jug to hold ice for all the drinks. Buy basics like sparkling water, shelf-stable juices, sodas, wine, and some drafts to be prepared for any impromptu summer entertaining. If you're looking to simplify your drink cart grocery list, we recommend coming up with a signature punch or cocktail. If you have a garden with fruits, herbs, or other cocktail ingredients growing, consider centering around an ingredient you know you'll have on hand all summer!
Setting up your backyard now not only saves you a lot of headache later on, but really encourages you to get outdoors and see everyone you've missed while bundled away during the winter. We hope, with these quick tips, your summer entertaining schedule will be that much easier, allowing you to enjoy the time with friends and family. Be sure to follow Marina Homes on Facebook to keep up with our blogs.