Entertain With Ease: Get Set for Outdoor Parties

June 04, 2016

Entertain With Ease: Get Set for Outdoor Parties

One of the best things about the arrival of warm weather is being able to spend time outside. When it comes to entertaining, your outdoor space is the equivalent of gaining an extra room! Whether you have a tiny balcony or full backyard kitchen, it’s a great idea to give your outdoor space a thorough, preseason once-over. Follow our checklist to get set for parties, spontaneous gatherings, and everyday use.

Prep for Grilling

Light your grill to test it. Lighting mechanisms can get wet and give out. Give the grates and your grill tools a thorough cleaning, and replace your grill brush if it’s worn out. Most important, check the level of your propane tank—and if you have storage space, pick up a second, back-up tank. Nothing’s worse than running out of propane mid-party!

Take an Honest Look at Your Outdoor Seating

Pull out your cushions and give them a good cleaning (your dry cleaner can help here). If they’re looking a little shabby, consider investing in replacement cushions or adding a few small, outdoor throw pillows to spruce things up.

Stock Up on Serving Ware

Replenish your supply of disposable cups, utensils, plates, and napkins to be prepared for the season’s start. Tip: Invest in a caddy to corral and easily tote these in and out.

Organize Your Entertaining Gear

Pick a spot that’s easily accessible to stash items you’ll need to grab while outside. Think handled trays, candles, lighters, grill tools, plastic pitchers, bug spray, and cleaning supplies to quickly wipe down tables.

Assess Outdoor Lighting … at Night

Winter weather can be tough on light fixtures and party lights. Make sure everything is in working order and scope out your current set-up. It’s easy to remedy dark corners with the addition of small solar lights, strands of party lights, or inexpensive torches.

Designate a Drinks Station

There’s no need for a full outdoor bar (although we must admit they are pretty awesome!). Setting up a designated spot to serve drinks will make on-the-fly entertaining easier. An outdoor console table, small cart, or planting bench near your dining table will do the trick. Tuck drink buckets and coolers underneath so they’re ready to go.

Music Is a Must-Have

It really isn’t a party without some tunes! The proliferation of well-priced outdoor wireless speakers makes it easy to surround your outdoor space with sound.

And finally … Add some pretty little extras. A cheerful outdoor rug, hurricane candles, a bright table umbrella, or a set of melamine plates will make your outdoor space look party-ready.


Planning to do lots of hosting outdoors? Check out my “25 Tips to Take Outdoor Entertaining Up a Notch.”

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