One thing I am looking forward to is entertaining outdoors. We’re hosting a 50th anniversary party for my parents later this summer and it’s time to get our backyard into tip top shape. Summer parties can present unique challenges so it’s worthwhile to put some thought into how to keep your guests comfortable, especially as the festivities extend from day into night. Here are 5 outdoor entertaining tips to ensure a great time is had by all at your next summer party.
1. Create An Outdoor Dining Room
Moving the party outdoors can be as easy as taking your food out to the patio. But to really set the scene for a memorable summer party, consider creating an outdoor dining room. Treat your patio or deck as you would your finest interior space and outfit it with furnishings and accessories that are inviting and comfortable.
Start with a quality outdoor table and chairs. Chairs with armrests and cushioned seats allow your guests to dine outside and linger in comfort. To add softness underfoot, and to make it easier for chairs to slide in and out on uneven or rough surfaces, place an outdoor rug beneath the table.
If your space is large, create zones throughout your outdoor area, designating spots for dining and for lounging. Consider adding partitions or outdoor screens to bring a sense of privacy and to further define each room. In our backyard, I’ve used Philips Hue Calla Outdoor Bollards around the perimeter of our stone patio. The lights visually separate the dining area from the grass and make the patio seem more grand and special.
2. Decorate With Nature
Summer is a wonderful time to decorate with plants, indoors and outdoors. Though your outdoor dining space might already be surrounded by grass and trees, bringing additional natural elements into your decor can enhance the summertime feel. Here, I’ve used vibrant florals and leafy ferns to decorate the dining area. Their beautiful textures, gorgeous colours, and fresh scents make this outdoor scene come alive.
You don’t have to limit yourself to flowers or plants. Branches cut from the garden and simply placed in a vase can be a dramatic centrepiece, or use rocks, shells and driftwood to create a coastal inspired tableau. I’ve used the natural hues of the wooden lanterns and woven chargers to bring warmth to my table setting.
3. Add Vibrant Colour
Nothing complements the greens of summer better than bright, bold hues. Opt for outdoor tableware or table linens in happy patterns and vibrant colours. A brightly decorated table puts everyone in a party mood. I love a good party theme and outdoor entertaining is a perfect excuse to be creative and have fun with your decor. Think a spicy Mexican fiesta, an ocean blue Mediterranean banquet or Miami pastel brights. Use colourful accessories like hanging lanterns, outdoor pillows, or garden decor to add personality.
4. Use Lighting To Enhance The Mood
Outdoor lighting can play an important role in enhancing the mood of your party. As the sun begins to set, lighting can keep the energy high and the food and drinks visible. Smart outdoor lighting provides enhanced versatility, ensuring you can provide the right backdrop for any occasion.
Previously, I installed Philips Hue Lily Outdoor Spotlights in the backyard. They provide great accent lighting, up light the trees beautifully, and provide added security. With the addition of Calla Bollards, I now have a lighting system fit for entertaining.
Using the Philips Hue app, I’m able to control the lights separately or in tandem. Smart lighting is wonderful because you can adjust the ambiance to any occasion: a big party, an intimate dinner or a moment of relaxation on a late summer night. By adapting the colour and level of the light, you create the right setting to fully enjoy any moment outside.
5. Keep Guests Comfortable
Unlike an indoor party, the environment will have a huge impact on the success of your summer party. There’s two basic things every outdoor party guest wants: to be neither too hot nor too cold, and to keep the bugs away! The first goal is easily achieved by keeping the drinks cooler well stocked and having amenities available. Stock a small tray with sunblock, hand wipes, and stow a basket of throws and blankets nearby for guests to use at their convenience.
Keeping bugs away is a bit trickier. Citronella candles, insect-deterring lanterns, and natural repellants like lavender or peppermint oil can help to keep mosquitos at bay. You can also pre-treat the party zone with repellant sprays. But if all else fails, move the party inside for after dinner drinks.
Whether you’re hosting an intimate dinner on the patio or barbecues every weekend, summer entertaining can be a breeze. Follow these easy outdoor entertaining tips and your next summer party is sure to keep going all night long.
Disclosure: This conversation is sponsored by Philips Hue. All words, photos, and opinions are my own.