Summer is the ultimate season for outdoor entertaining. While spring and fall offer pretty scenery, summer is when people prefer to be outdoors, soaking up the sunshine and enjoying the gorgeous weather.
But, not all outdoor entertaining areas are created equal. Here’s how to create the perfect summer-ready space for outdoor enjoyment — and how to ensure the space stays perfect all summer long.
If your guests don’t have a place to sit, you can be sure they won’t stay. Outdoor seating is critical; if you ignore every other piece of advice on this list, you need to be sure you have some comfortable place for guests to get off their feet.
Seating doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate. In fact, as long as you have a lush lawn and a few big blankets, you can create an appropriate amount of seating. However, it’s more advisable to choose more traditional seating, where guests can sit upright, enjoy food and drink and socialize with one another. It’s best to have an outdoor dining set, with table and chairs, as well as benches or weather-proof sofas for extra comfort.
Even in summer, the sun eventually sets. Unless you expect all your warm-weather get-togethers to end in the afternoon, you will need exterior lighting to keep the party going. While bare-bones exterior lights will do, they don’t always provide an attractive look or quite as much illumination as your guests prefer. You should try to layer your light, offering different intensities and locations of illumination for a more fabulous feel.
Some of your lighting layers should include:
• Pathway lighting:
Close to the ground, this helps guests find their footing when navigating from one part of your yard to another.
• String lights:
These provide overhead illumination in a whimsical way. Often, string lights generate a party atmosphere, which is exactly what you should be aiming for.
• Fire pit:
As much an activity as a light source, an outdoor fire place provides warmth, fun and illumination all in one.
Placed around your yard, resting on and around seating areas or hanging from trees and shrubs, lanterns also add light and atmosphere to the environment.
Eating and Drinking
No party is complete without food and drink. Even if your home’s kitchen is just a few steps from your outdoor entertaining space, it’s a good idea to move some of the eating and drinking options outside, so your guests don’t have to break up the party to seek sustenance.
Since summer is grilling season, it might be wise to invest in barbecues and grill accessories. That way, you can continue to cook while entertaining your guests, and you can also indulge in tasty treats that you can’t get any other time of year. You can also install a wine chiller, beer dispenser or general-purpose mini fridge outside, so there will always be cool beverages for guests to enjoy.
Summer means sun, and sun means heat. While some direct sunlight is good for you, most health professionals advise against lingering in the light and heat for too much of the day. Thus, you should be able to provide your guests with some shade. If you don’t have a covered patio, you might want to construct a simple pergola or gazebo somewhere in your yard to give some kind of covering. If nothing else, a large shade umbrella will give your guests some temporary relief from the sun.
While you might not get two months of summer vacation anymore, the gorgeous summer weather still tends to bring feelings of freedom and fun. To build off those natural inclinations, you should give your guests a place to play during your summertime gatherings.
Lawn games are simple and fun; almost everyone can pick up and play a lawn game without getting injured or hurting anyone’s feelings. There are dozens of DIYs for building your own lawn games, like ladder toss, corn hole, horseshoes and more. For a bit more vigorous competition, you can always install a basketball hoop on your eaves or buy a football to toss around.
When the lawn is mowed, the flowers are blooming and the sun is shining bright, it’s time to invite people over for a summer get-together. With the right seating, some lights, food and drink and plenty of fun, you can’t fail to have a good time.