What better reason to throw a soirée than to celebrate the return of summer? Now that the dormant winter months have waned, your backyard is full of life again and presents itself as the picture-perfect backdrop for a party. Prepare for a season worth celebrating by arranging your own outdoor entertaining area. You’ll be ready to party in no time.
Positioning and Foundation.
Start by assessing your outdoor space, deck, or patio to determine the best location for your setup. Although you can position furniture differently for each event, start with a spot that provides plenty of room and a sturdy foundation. If you don’t already have a patio, consider laying outdoor flooring made of natural stone, wood, concrete, brick, or tile. It’s important to consider positioning relative to other features in your backyard. If you have a swimming pool, make sure your entertaining space is close enough to communicate with pool guests but far enough away to be out of the splash zone.
There’s no way to get around the weather when throwing an outdoor shindig, but you can be prepared for the atmospheric possibilities. Consider incorporating a pergola, patio awning, or shade umbrellas to provide respite from the elements. If you live in a particularly humid region, an outdoor ceiling fan on a covered patio will make comfortable entertaining a breeze. If you live in an area where evenings turn chilly, opt for a mobile patio heater or a fire pit.
Keep climate and durability in mind when selecting outdoor seating. For benches, chairs, and tables that will stay outside all season, select materials such as teak, redwood, cedar, or stainless steel. Indoor/outdoor fabrics are now available in plenty of stylish patterns. For additional seating, stash floor cushions in storage benches, set up retro lawn chairs around a fire pit, or introduce a few chaise lounges for complete comfort.
Photo: Outdoor Light
Because outdoor events often start or transition into the evening, it’s important to have adequate and appropriate lighting. Make sure that pathways are well lit by garden stake lights. Pool lighting or backyard uplighting creates a beautiful aesthetic, as do string lights or solar lanterns. Tiki torches are a classic summer addition, and battery-operated candles are a worry-free alternative. Light citronella candles around the perimeter of the seating area; this way neither the scent nor the pesky bug bites are too overwhelming for guests.
Take all the amenities of your indoor kitchen and move them outside. Suddenly your favorite gathering place just got a little sweeter. Instead of the confines of walls, you are enjoying lush landscaped back drops, the muffled sounds of the indoors are replaced by wind in the trees, the sounds of birds, or if you’re lucky enough waves breaking in the distance.
Outdoor kitchen can be as simple, as a barbecue grill and cabinet for the utensils. Or more luxurious and lavish to contain a full bar, all your kitchen appliances and utility lines. Most commonly, you will find a half-wall countertop for prep work and cooking paired with a higher bar-top supported by hidden countertop support brackets, for a relaxing setting for both the cook and guest.
Photo: Country Life