How to Create the Perfect Backyard for Entertaining

The weather was absolutely beautiful at our house this past Easter weekend!  We spent a lot of time outside, and it made me excited for upcoming summer barbecues and outdoor entertaining. But, I also realized I had some work to do to get the backyard into shape for guests! So, I thought back to an old magazine article that I once read about making your backyard a great place for entertaining (back when I had time to read magazines).  So what makes the perfect backyard for entertaining? In this post I’ll share the key elements of that “recipe” with all of you:

1. Comfortable Seating

There’s nothing better than relaxing on a comfortable outdoor lounge chair with a good book in one hand and a cold drink in the other.  And the same is true for your guests – they will love to gather around in a comfortable seating area on your back porch or patio. Arrange your seating just like you would in your family room to encourage relaxed conversation  Use lots of outdoor pillows and provide blankets or throws to keep everyone warm during chilly evenings.

Here are some beautiful and inviting outdoor seating examples.

Pottery Barn outdoor seating area

Source: Pottery Barn

how to create the perfect backyard for entertaining, Pottery Barn outdoor seating area

Source: Pottery Barn

outdoor seating area


2. Fire & Candlelight

An outdoor fire in the evening is so mesmerizing – it just draws people in like moths.  Fire or candlelight is absolutely essential to creating a relaxing ambiance for your backyard party.  We have a gas fire pit that we use liberally during the summer months.  Not only does it create the perfect mood, but it keeps us warm and is perfect for making s’mores (which we do quite often at our backyard parties). If a fire pit is a bit too much for you, then consider a tabletop fire pit or an arrangement of candles in lanterns or mason jars to set the right mood.

tabletop firepit

outdoor lanterns, outdoor candles

Source: Pottery Barn


3. Outdoor String Lighting

Have you ever been to an outdoor evening wedding and noticed all the beautiful outdoor string lights?  String lighting creates an incredible ambiance outside.  A single string of lights can create an elegant setting for a backyard dinner party. 

outdoor string lights


backyard string lights


4. Outdoor Decor

This is the fun part!  Choose a theme or a color palette you love, and buy lots of outdoor pillows and accessories to spruce up your backyard.  Think of your backyard as an extension of your living space, and decorate away!  With the addition of some outdoor art, a boring outside wall can become an instant topic of conversation. There are tons of great beach themed accessories for outdoor decorating these days.  Hang outdoor curtains to define your space.  Choose a brightly colored set of pillows to add excitement to your seating area.  Have fun with it!

pottery barn circles wall art

Source: Pottery Barn

outdoor curtains

pottery barn outdoor pillows

Source: Pottery Barn


6. Outdoor Games

Lawn bowling, horseshoes, bocce ball, ladder ball, bean bag toss, volleyball, badminton…there are so many great outdoor games that are quick, fun, and easy to learn.  Of course, not every backyard party is suitable for lawn games, but it can be a fun diversion for adults and kids alike at a casual BBQ.

outdoor lawn games


7. Spruce up Your Planters

If your backyard is anything like mine, by the end of winter you have beautiful planters with ugly, dead plants in them.  Bring a little life back into your yard with some new plants and colorful flowers before your next outdoor gathering.  Have fun mixing a variety of plants with complementary colors and textures.  Use planters in all different shapes, sizes, and colors to liven up a dull yard.

colorful outdoor planters

Source: HGTV

outdoor planters

Source: Pottery Barn

By | 2016-09-12T20:16:30+00:00 April 23rd, 2014|Outdoor Living|Comments Off on How to Create the Perfect Backyard for Entertaining