Preparing for Outdoor Entertainment

When it comes to entertaining, your yard is an extension of your home. In good weather, it’s natural to want to have guests outside while you fire up the grill, pour drinks, or enjoy the pool.

However, keeping your yard guest-ready can be a challenge. You might do routine yard maintenance after work or on weekends, but if you want your outdoor space to look picture perfect so you can entertain at a moment’s notice, there are some things you can do.

Clean and Tidy

The first thing to do to get your outdoor space ready for guests is to take care of routine maintenance and cleaning. That means mowing and edging the lawn, raking up grass and leaves, and sweeping the walkways and patio. If necessary, you may want to hire someone to come power wash concrete surfaces to get them clean.

If you have a pool, you should clean it thoroughly and check the filters and pH levels. Any toys or other items that haven’t been put away should be stored or neatened as needed.

Provide Lighting

Unless you’re sure that your party will be over before the sun sets, you need to provide lighting for your guests. You probably won’t want harsh floodlights, but fortunately there are other options. Here are some to consider:

  • Outdoor floor lamps can add a sense of warmth and friendliness to your gathering. Use low-wattage bulbs in soft colors.
  • Tiki torches are a good choice for outdoor gatherings. If you get torches that burn oil, consider using citronella oil to keep bugs away.
  • String fairy lights on the trees or around the deck if you have one. Their sparkle can add a festive feel to any occasion.
  • Citronella candles are another good option to provide light and comfort for your guests.

Whatever lighting option you choose, make sure that everything is set up beforehand so you aren’t scrambling when darkness falls.

Create Gathering Places

Inside your home, you probably don’t need to do much to create places for guests to gather. However, outside you should give some thought to your guests’ comfort and ability to relax. If you don’t have much lawn furniture, consider renting some extra and grouping chairs and tables so that guests can talk.

If you have a fire pit or pool, it’s likely that people will congregate there. Make sure to make it easy for them to do so.

Serve Food & Drinks Strategically

It’s a safe bet that your guests will gather around whatever refreshments you serve. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to create multiple serving stations that will allow people to move freely. For example, you might set up folding tables at strategic places around your yard to avoid creating a logjam when people are ready to eat. You may have only one grill, but condiments, side dishes, and drinks can be distributed at convenient locations.

You should also make sure that you keep an eye on any food that needs to be refrigerated or heated. The last thing you want is your guests getting sick, so bring out perishable items at the last minute and put them away when guests have served themselves. Get plenty of ice beforehand and keep things like potato salad cold by resting them in bowls of ice.

Have a Contingency Plan

Finally, even if the weather forecast is good, it’s smart to have a backup plan in case you get an unexpected storm. Knowing what you will do in the event of rain will help prevent chaos and confusion on the day of your party.

Prepping your yard for a party doesn’t have to be difficult. Make a list and start doing what you need to do at least two weeks before the big day. Prepare storage in your home for items you don’t need.  If you take care of rentals and other big jobs ahead of time, you’ll be able to focus on your guests – and enjoy the party.

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