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Summer Entertaining

Making the Most of Your Outdoor Space

Summer is here! The days are warmer and longer, and the late fading light is perfect for outside dining and entertaining. Successful outdoor entertaining depends not only on a good setting but also on good food and good company and there are lots of ways to spruce up your existing outdoor space to create the perfect entertaining venue without breaking the bank. You’ve already got the patio furniture, so let’s get started on configuring the best outdoor living space for your needs and get ready to party!  

Nice outdoor table setting on the backyard on a summer day

Dining Area

Designate an area big enough for your dining table and chairs, making sure there’s sufficient room to get to and from the kitchen area (whether it is inside or out). Comfy guests are happy guests: get some all-weather cushions and chair pads that can bring a pop of color to the table as well as a level of comfort; if price is a consideration, then embellish your outdoor furniture with plush pillows and throws from inside your home. These items can’t withstand the elements long-term, but they’ll add an extra layer of coziness. Make sure there’s sufficient shade for comfort – if you’ve got some room in your budget, add a pergola or a retractable canopy, which will encourage dining al fresco in any weather. 

An upscale backyard terrace featuring perennials and with a custom designed shelter and fireplace.

Seating Area

Create an inviting and relaxing seating area using your existing patio furniture. For comfort, color and style, outdoor throw pillows are the perfect added touch. Consider adding an outdoor television for enjoying movie nights, watching sporting events, and entertaining friends. A dedicated outdoor home theater with a weatherproof TV and speakers in a protected covered area is great for this purpose. If that’s not an option, indoor modern flat-panel TVs are lightweight and easy to bring outside for special events.

Group of young men and women enjoying summer holiday at outdoor party.

Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting is both functional and aesthetically pleasing, serving as a guide for visitors and an accent to your outdoor space. A light source above your table or seating area will encourage parties to continue well after sundown. Depending on your budget, you can install built-in or mounted lights, hang an elegant chandelier or lanterns, purchase inexpensive string lights for a festive atmosphere or simply light some candles.

Serving Station

If you’ve got an old cabinet or hutch in the house that’s not getting a lot of use, upcycle it into an outdoor bar and buffet complete with a mini fridge. This versatile piece can hold all of your outdoor entertaining essentials: glasses, plates, drinks, snacks and more.

Outdoor Kitchen

An outdoor kitchen is perfect for hosting large parties or enjoying quiet evenings dining alfresco. If you’ve got the room and a sufficient budget, investigate such luxury options as an outdoor refrigerator, wine cooler, ice maker, sink, custom prep space and even a pizza oven! For more budget friendly options, a basic setup with a simple barbeque, a table for prepping, and stylish ice buckets can provide plenty of outdoor fun.

Serveware, Plates, Glasses and Tablecloths

Don’t forget to add elegant or festive dinnerware, table decorations, and napkins. Add a pop of color and style to your outdoor entertaining setup with everything from unbreakable glasses to bottle openers, outdoor seating and ice buckets. Plastic highball glasses are the perfect casual drinkware for indoor/outdoor gatherings. They won’t shatter, crack, cloud or discolor, and many are dishwasher safe. Melamine plates and other dinnerware are lightweight and colorful with the look of ceramic and can be used indoors or outdoors all summer long. An elevated ice bucket is the perfect holder for chilled wine, beer and soft drinks.

Fire Pit

Nothing draws a crowd more than a good fire pit setup. From open fire to propane, rustic to modern, budget BBQ can to high end glass fire table, there’s a fire pit option to fit every price point and outdoor living area.

Waterproof Speakers

Good music makes a great party, and an outdoor speaker is invaluable for setting the mood. Don’t worry about inclement weather when you’ve got waterproof speakers, which are easily obtained and fit every budget.