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Tips for Outdoor Entertaining

June 11, 2021
Group of friends toasting over lunch

You’ve moved into your Brookfield Residential dream home and landscaped your backyard to perfection – now it’s time to throw an epic house warming party and celebrate with friends and family. Gone are the days of boring burgers on the barbecue. With the growing trend of outdoor kitchens and living rooms, backyard parties have been given a new life and there’s no better time to brush off your hosting skills than summer.  

Let’s explore the top five tips for outdoor entertaining:

1. Set the scene with inviting décor

Fire pit and string lights in the back yard of Residence 1 at Haciendas in Chula Vista CA

You’ve spent so much time designing the interior of your home, now it’s time to style your outdoor space. Let your décor from indoors carry outside so that inviting and comfortable feeling continues. Much like your home, your backyard will have areas that work better for specific functions.

Create an outdoor living room by using a sectional and coffee table. Throw in an outdoor rug and weather-resistant pillows and you have a cozy and chic setting for your guests to sit back and enjoy. Find the perfect dining table, anchor it with an outdoor rug, and elevate the space with a striking light fixture and you have a great outdoor dining room.

Have the table settings placed in advance so not only do you have one less thing to do on the day of the party, but the space becomes even more visually interesting. We’re all for embracing a green lifestyle so be sure to ditch the paper plates. Have a separate collection of dishware meant for the outdoors for an easy and stylish solution.

2. Keep your guests comfortable

Outdoor room in Residence 3 at Marigold at New Haven in Ontario Ranch CA

The last thing you want after putting all the effort into planning a party is for your guests to want to leave early, so make sure they are comfortable! Plan for the heat with plenty of options for shade. A patio umbrella is great for providing on-the-spot shade for dining al fresco. Choose one in a vibrant hue for an instant pop of color. Hanging curtains from your patio cover allows them to be closed to manage the setting sun and adds some softness to the space.

Install an outdoor ceiling fan above the dining table or misters to help get relief from the heat. Make sure your guests can not only sit comfortably, but can easily balance their plates and drinks. Decide if you’re going to be eating at a table, gathered around the barbecue, or seated on some lawn chairs. If you’re short on seats, spread blankets or some outdoor area rugs under some shade for a fun picnic vibe.

3. Set the mood with lighting & music

Music is the backbone to a great party and you’ll want to create the right vibe. Get your music ready in advance with a playlist you know your guests will enjoy or get them involved by asking for some favorites for you to include. There are lots of great outdoor speaker options that are waterproof, blend into the scenery, or both!

Guests enjoying drinks outside on a patio with string lights

Keep the festivities going even after the sun has set with the use of lighting. Not only is it functional, but you can choose what ambiance you want your space to have. Go big with a dramatic statement piece over the dining table or add some romance with twinkle lights in the trees. Classic string lights are a great option to weave across a patio cover or alongside a fence.

Candles are another great way to add some lighting. Double down and plan for uninvited guests like mosquitos by using citronella candles to keep them away or place some in hurricane lanterns so they stay lit even if it becomes breezy. If it starts to get chilly after the sun goes down, a fire pit is a great way to add light and a space for everyone to gather around. The ambiance and warmth is an inviting focal point for guests.

4. Choose the right food & drinks

One of the best parts about summer is the food. From tasty appetizers to indulgent desserts, there’s a great variety of summer recipes that are sure to make your guests drool. Be sure to plan a menu suitable for everyone – ask about any dietary restrictions or food allergies so your guests feel included and comfortable. Think about what food will fare better in the heat and maybe skip dairy-based dishes.

Simple and tasty options are always great. Fresh seasonal fruits and veggies are easy, colorful, and provide healthy choices for everyone. Add in some grilled kebabs, salads, plenty of cold drinks, and you’re ready to party.

Friends enjoying lunch outside in Dublin, CA

Prep as much as you can beforehand – marinade meat, chop veggies, prep a casserole to pop in the oven – whatever you can do ahead of time to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your guests. If you’re going to be grilling and don’t have a built-in barbecue with a gas supply line, double check your propane. Nothing stalls a party like an empty tank.

Have some pre-made drinks so your guests can easily serve themselves and take you off of refill duty. Try something fun like a lemonade bar with fruit, fresh herbs, and flavored syrup so guests can customize their own drinks. Just be sure to keep the ice in a separate cooler so it doesn’t dilute the beverage. For beer and wine, elevate the standard plastic cooler by using a galvanized metal bucket with an attached bottle opener for convenience.

5. Add some fun

No matter the age of your guests, everyone always seems ready for outdoor games. Lawn games like cornhole, giant connect four, ladder ball, and giant Jenga are a great way to spark some friendly competition and camaraderie.

If kids are part of your guest list, make them feel included too. Designate a “kids table” that is covered with white butcher paper and crayons so they can draw until their hearts are content, set up a chalk drawing station, or plug in a bubble machine. The fun doesn’t have to end when the sun goes down, stock up on flashlights for a game of nighttime tag while the parents sip some wine and savor the evening.

Friends enjoying a picnic

Get ready to become the designated home for backyard parties. Just be sure to plan ahead and keep it simple so you can enjoy your summer gathering as much as your guests. When you’re ready to find the perfect home for hosting the best outdoor party on the block, Brookfield Residential is ready to help. We’ll be expecting you!