people enjoying a buffet outside

Last Updated on November 16, 2021

Looking for a simple and easy way to entertain your guests in the great outdoors but not sure where to start?

Well stress no more, we are here to help you create a truly fool-proof outdoor entertainment area.

As well as host a backyard party that the whole family, as well as your guests, will love.

These outdoor ideas are designed to help make entertaining in your backyard fun and as easy as possible so you can enjoy yourself as well as your guests.

Outdoor entertaining events

These will work for virtually any type of outdoor entertainment, simply adapt the number of guests to the space you have available.

  • Family get-togethers
  • Anniversary
  • Birthday Party
  • Fourth of July Celebration
  • Graduation Party
  • Engagement Party
  • Baby Shower
  • Christening
So, how do we organize a party outside, entertain guests and keep everyone happy without going insane?

 

Three little words: P.P.E. (no, nothing to do with Covid 19.)

Plan, Prepare, Enjoy

But first, go make yourself a coffee, grab a pen and a piece of paper, then come and sit with me and we will go through each step one by one.

 Step #1: Plan 

Write these down;

Decide how many guests you can comfortably entertain in your outdoor space.

Set a date and time for the event.

Send out invitations and request a reply.

You could also ask:

What is their favorite drink? and any special dietary requirements?

Doing this will give you the information to plan the food and drinks, the number of chairs, tables, plates, cutlery, and glasses you need.

Step #2: Prepare 

The most important thing we have to think about when creating an outdoor living space forsky clouds entertaining is of course the weather Yes, the weather;

Like unexpected wind, a heavy downpour, or relentless hot sun blazing down on your guests.

These conditions are no fun and can mess things up and spoil your party.

You can’t change the weather so; what can you do?

Keep reading; our insights and tips will help make sure you’re ready.

Tips to combat a windy backyard: Let the wind blow

Tablecloths can be held in place with clips or weights. It’s a good idea to use these even if it’s not windy prior to the party.

I’ve seen our tablecloths fly over the hedge into our neighbor’s garden leaving behind a total mess of broken plates and glasses with one gust of wind. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you).

If you happen to live in a very windy area you could simply forget about tablecloths altogether, no one will mind.

Outdoor shelter: Rain, rain go away

Providing some sort of shelter in the event of a downpour will be much appreciated by everyone, even if you don’t have room for a marquee in your garden.

Perhaps you have a garage, summerhouse, or shed that would work just as well.

These can be cleaned out and tidied several days before the party.

We squeezed 35 people into a gazebo on our patio when an unexpected thunderstorm hit us in the middle of a BBQ Party. It saved the day.

Sunshine: A blessing or a curse?

We all love the sun and hope it will shine down on us when we have our party.

However, blazing hot sun can be uncomfortable and spoil everyone’s enjoyment and fun if it’s relentless and there’s nowhere to escape except maybe leave the party.

You don’t want your guests going home as the party is just getting going.

If your backyard is in full sun and you’re hosting a large party, introducing some shady areas into your backyard will take care of that problem.

Setting up a few small seating areas with umbrellas will provide much-needed shade.

These little shady “nooks” provide the perfect place to encourage guests to mingle with one another.

Some popup gazebos are a simple but effective remedy.

Just remember to tie them down well, just in case itgazebo becomes windy and your gazebo becomes a flying kite.

If you have a tree or trees in your yard you could take advantage of their natural shade and place some chairs under them.

Well, I think that’s taken care of the weather, now let’s move on to our next consideration.

Time of Day: From sun-up to sundown

The Time of Day you’ve set for your outdoor entertainment can make a huge difference to how you set out your outdoor space.

A daytime party may need shady areas while a party held in the evening will need outdoor lighting and maybe some form of backyard heating which we will discuss in the section on evening entertainment below.

Give your outdoor space the once over

The week before you set out your beautiful outdoor living room, take the time to look around your backyard and get rid of any clutter, sweep the patio or deck, mow the grass, etc.

Recruit the kids.

No need to do all the work yourself, recruit the kids and their friends to help tidy up.

It’s probably their stuff anyway, bicycles, toys, lawn games, etc.

Now it’s time to transform your backyard into “Party-Land”

When it comes to decorating an outdoor entertainment area, a lot of people come unstuck, don’t know where to start, and panic sets in. So many questions they need answers to.
outdoor dining

Don’t you worry your little heart, stay with me and I will answer all these questions.

Then you can entertain both adults and kids, have a stress-free party everyone will love and, leave you free to join the party fun too.

FAQ:  Questions  

  •   Is it best to use a party theme?
  •   What colors do I use?
  •   Do I use one big table or several small ones?
  •   How do I keep the children amused?
  •   What about outdoor games are they necessary?
  •   What kind of food and drink should I provide?
  •     What kind of music is best?

Make use of all available space

Keep this in mind when you’re arranging any type of outdoor entertainment.

  • Make use of all available space including your patio no matter how small it might be.
  • For example, set up one table specifically for mixing drinks, and another for food.
  • Set up a kid’s corner just for them.
  • Decorate your entertainment area in a way that suits you and makes everyone feel welcome.
  • Make it super fun and bright, or sleek and sophisticated.

Party Theme: yes or no?

This is entirely up to you and will depend on,

  1. The outdoor entertainment space you’ve got available
  2. The number of guests you’re entertaining
  3. The time of year
  4. How much you like organizing

Creating a party theme for your outdoor entertainment can help focus your attention in one direction and make things easy to plan.

Or, you can just do casual where anything goes. Simply arrange a mixture of outdoor play for adults and kids then let the fun begin.

How do I choose a color scheme for a backyard party?

The easiest and simplest way to choose a color scheme for your party is; take a look at the seasons.

If you’re hosting your party during :

  • Spring-time: Go for spring colors like green, lavender, yellow and purple.
  • Summer: Use any bright color – pink, cream, orange, blue
  • Autumn: Rust, brown, yellow, orange.
  • Winter: Red, green, silver, white.

Do I use one big table or several small ones?

There’s really no set rule here and will depend mostly on how much outdoor entertainment space you have available and the size of your party.

If you’re entertaining up to a dozen people then one long table keeps everyone together. 

Several small tables spread around your yard and patio may be more convenient for larger parties.

How do I Keep the kids amused?

Create a special kids corner just for them, this doesn’t have to take up a lot of space.

Make it super fun.

Set them up with a play tent or wigwam, make it cozy with floor pillows, and a few board games for them to play with. I find kids love this.

A good supply of drawing books, crayons, and pencils will hold their interest and keep them playing until it’s time to eat. (no need to keep constant watch over them)

Tip,          thumbs up

Make sure you know your Wi-Fi password, believe me, they will keep asking.

Party games

What’s a party without games?

Outdoor party games are a great way to bring people together in a fun way.

Choose games that are simple, so all age groups can join in.

Make it so no one feels uncomfortable or pressured into something outside their comfort zone.  

Outdoor play brings lots of giggles as well as creates fond and lasting memories for kids and adults alike.

Here are a few backyard ideas for kids that are popular and great fun to play with.

  • Twister
  • Tug-of-War
  • Hula Hoop contest 
  • Tic-Tac-Toe
  • Corn Hole

Some old favorite backyard games for adults and kids to play together

  • Water Balloon
  • Egg and Spoon race
  • Sack Race
  • Three-legged race
  • Hop-Scotch

Kid’s water toys are always a big hit and will keep them occupied for hours.

Comfortable seating is a must

There is nothing more uncomfortable than sitting on hard chairs.

If you don’t have cushioned chairs already it’s worth investing in some weatherproof outdoor cushions that will keep your guests happy and comfortable.

Keeping the cost down

If you’re having a large party you can beg or borrow chairs, umbrellas, tables, glasses, etc. from family, friends, and even neighbors.

(Just remember to invite them to the party)

Make use of indoor furniture, no need to rush out and buy extra furniture for that one big outdoor party.

Use your indoor dining chairs and table, even your sofa or couch can be brought outside.

As well as pillows,  throws, and rugs to spruce up your outdoor living space.

thumbs upTip:

Remember to keep them covered or bring them inside when the party is over.

Outdoor entertainment bar: Essential

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B08R55KBGM&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=womensheal094 20&language=en USCreate a drinks station

No need to go overboard building a patio bar.

A bar cart on wheels is perfect, simply stock it up with a selection of alcohol and alcohol-free drinks.

Mixers, soft drinks, fruit punches, and ready-to-drink cartons and snacks for the kids.

Then simply wheel it into the kitchen if something needs to be replenished.

Or, a table will work just as well too.

A word of caution: please make sure it’s sturdy and placed on level ground; you don’t want your drinks splattered all over the floor.

 

Don’t have a wine chiller or outdoor fridge. A couple of cool bags or fridge boxes are essential and will give you extra space for chilling drinks.

If the weather is hot, keep stacks of ice on hand, the white wine chilled, and the beer cold.

Remember to stock up with lots of water too;

Keeping hydrated in summer temperatures is very important.

Be creative use disposables where possible

If you’re not hosting a formal party, then by all means use disposable plates, cutlery, glasses, tablecloths, and napkins, of which there are many environmentally friendly options.

No need to stress about someone accidentally breaking your best china plates, or crystal glasses.  And no washing-up afterward. Less work means you can enjoy the party too.

Mix up the dinnerware

colorful outdoor dinnerwareThere’s nothing technically wrong with bringing out your finest china.

Outdoor entertaining usually conjures images of bright colors and gloriously green flora.

With this in mind, don’t be afraid to mix up your serving dinnerware.

Try plates with bright designs and summer colors (light blues, greens, oranges, and yellows work nicely).

Create a table centerpiece in under five minutes, no design skills are needed

Grab yourself a large bowl and some fresh roses, peonies, or any type of flower that’s got a fairly flat head will do.

Fill the bowl with water, cut the stems off the flowers and float the heads on top of the water.

You could use a few drops of fragrant oil to add a nice aroma.

Or, if you’re using a glass bowl add a little food coloring to color the water.

Voila” you have yourself a beautiful centerpiece.

Your own backyard could serve as inspiration. Place twigs or branches in a large vase and use them as a centerpiece, at zero cost.

Sometimes, I like to use little posies of flowers on each table.

Add the above items to the list if you want to use them.

Don’t get carried away.
First, decide what you’re going to make and stick to the plan.What’s on the menu
?

Whether you’re hosting a get-together with friends on your patio, or a teenage Birthday Party.

Put together a menu based on the number of people, as well as the occasion.  Remember to cater to vegetarians and vegans too.

Keep it simple and fuss-free.

What we’re saying is, there’s a time and place for silver spoons and caviar, however, we’re not talking about these here.

table buffet

Go buffet style

The good thing about buffets is, food can be prepared beforehand.

Everyone can help themselves, as well as pick and choose the exact foods they want.

 

Tips, for keeping your outdoor meals light and fresh


 
Serve seasonal classics for a no-fuss backyard party,

  • Freshly washed and cut fruit (try to get in-season produce if possible)
  • Salads
  • Cold meats   
  • Cold liquid refreshments, beer, wine, juices, and most important water
  • Simple cocktails, mocktails, fruit punches
  • No-bake desserts
  • Fruit slushies and ice cream will satisfy adults and children and you won’t have to be stuck in the kitchen slaving over a stove.

Simple doesn’t have to mean boring – Create a BBQ area and encourage guests to help themselves.

You could grill up some burgers and hot dogs with corn on the side.

This will let you enjoy the party atmosphere and be with your guests.

Outdoor Decor: To Decorate or Not

If you’re just having a backyard get-together, decorating is of no real importance.

A few tiki torches and maybe some string lights for evening ambiance are all that’s needed.

popup food coverings for outside diningKeep the bugs away

This can be a bugbear (no punt intended) when dining outdoors.

It is easily remedied by keeping food covered with re-usable pop-up mesh umbrellas/tents.

These are readily available from your local stores Walmart, Home Depot, or Amazon, and come in packs of 2 to 8.

Tips for evening outdoor entertaining:

If you’re entertaining your guests outdoors in the evening there are a couple of considerations to bear in mind such as:

  1. Outdoor Lighting
  2. Backyard Heating

#1 Outdoor lighting ideas

Lighting up your garden with outdoor lighting can be as simple as stringing lights around a pergola, trees, gazebos, hedges, and walls, or use solar tiki torches, candles, and lanterns,

This won’t take long but will make a big impact and create a festival-type environment.

You can even re-purpose last year’s Christmas lights.

Just make sure they are indoor/outdoor lights. Indoor lights cannot be used outside.

If using spotlights, make sure they’re not facing directly at any of your guest’s tables.

(They won’t appreciate being blinded)

The important thing here is that there’s sufficient light for everyone to see clearly when moving about. Think safety

Placing tee lights, or candles on tables will create a glowing ambiance.

Use citronella scented candles to help keep the mossies at bay.

Keep some mosquito cream handy just in case.

Caution!!
If you’re having young children or pets running around your backyard,
battery-operated flame-less candles will create the same effect without the fire hazard, fear of wind, or dripping wax.

 
#2 Backyard heating: makes a cozy atmosphere

Depending on the time of year, evenings can become quite cool after the sun goes down.

Providing some form of outdoor heating like fire pits, or chimineas, will create a cozy atmosphere and keep your guests comfortable.

Having a fire pit in your backyard will not only give you the benefit of warmth.

It’s also great for socializing as everyone can gather around and toast marshmallows.

Keeping a few blankets or throws at the ready may be all that’s needed for your guests to cuddle under.

Socializing and relaxing can go on long after the sunsets.

Movies in “The backyard

Backyard Movie Party IdeasWhy not set up your own movie under the stars.

These days, projectors are fairly cheap, and you don’t need any fancy screen setups.

You can just use the side of the house, or drape up a spare white sheet.

Try stringing up some lights to create a warm atmosphere, or go fully dark like a drive-in film.

Worried about what kind of film to show? It’s important to consider your guests.

Whatever you do, try and keep the films light-hearted – movies about war or other violent topics probably won’t be best for outdoor entertaining.

If necessary, you can even set up a little poll online to see what your guests want to see!

What’s the best type of music for outdoor entertaining?

Music: Is the food of love, no party is complete without music.

It’s important to think about setting the right vibe for your specific party, the people attending, and what will get them talking or dancing.

Have a mixture of upbeat and mellow tunes that suit all generations.

Volume, if you don’t want your guests to have to shout at each other over the music, make sure to keep the volume low so that it recedes into the background.

Consider your neighbors, don’t annoy them with loud music blasting into the night.

Or, invite them to the party, they will appreciate it.

Almost there, now all you have to do is set everything up the night before, or as much as possible, so all that’s left to do on the day is put out the food.

Step #3: Enjoy

Follow the above guide, make it your own.

Whether you plan to host one backyard party or several you will have a no-fuss no stress backyard party everyone will enjoy including you.

Go ahead and create those precious memories.

You will be the Hostess with the Mostess