As the weather warms up, you may be itching to host your family and friends for an outdoor celebration. Entertaining in your backyard is an amazing opportunity to go all-out on beautiful decor to welcome your guests in style — but it doesn’t have to take a Herculean amount of effort. Here are six simple yet impactful ideas for backyard entertaining — or maximizing your backyard’s appeal, should you selling your home — that work great for any outdoor space. Prepare to wow your guest list — or potential buyers who come for an open house.
Get creative with your seating
Depending on how many people you’re planning to host, you might not have enough dedicated outdoor seating. Don’t let that put you off! You can create a beautifully casual and inviting atmosphere by mixing and matching the outdoor chairs, benches or couches you already have with chairs brought out from inside your home, as well as floor cushions and rugs. This will allow your guests to mingle in an informal setting. Alternatively, you could host a picnic-style meal with everyone sitting on cushions on the grass or patio around a long table — or some crates lined up to create a rustic-chic tablescape.
Hang strings of lights
Nothing brings out the wonder in people’s eyes better than some dreamy string lights in the evening. You could acquire some high-design bulb string lights for a sophisticated touch and some soft lighting, but you definitely don’t have to go shopping for this one. Why not put your holiday lights to good use? Simply wrapping fairy lights around trees creates a truly magical effect, for example.
Flowers are always a good idea — whether you’re planning an evening gathering or a daytime garden party. A simple bouquet centerpiece is a classic way to spruce up a dining table and you can never go wrong there. If you’re looking to up the ante on your decor, there are so many ways to play with florals. Do you own a birdbath? Floating some flowers and tea lights in the water will instantly upgrade your whole set-up. You can also add a sprig of lavender or some edible flowers to your signature cocktail, or if you have potted plants and flowers elsewhere in your home, arrange them around your backyard for the day (or night).
Set out a bar cart
A bar cart makes an elegant feature, as well as a useful one. Bring your indoor cart out if you don’t have a special one for outside, and make it part of your decor. Stock it up with drinks and essentials — such as glasses, ice and swizzle sticks — so that you don’t have to make unnecessary trips to the kitchen. Give it some extra oomph by decorating it with your most beautiful glassware, and flowers or plants, too.
Prepare a fire pit
For many of us, because fire pits can bring back memories of summer camp or long picnics on the beach, there is no lovelier way to create a nostalgic, mesmerizing ambience for your guests. If you already own a fire pit, lighting it up is a no-brainer, but if you don’t you could always try a little DIY! Don’t want to spend too long setting your backyard up for entertaining? Add some tea lights to your table instead, or use some candlelit lanterns — it’s so simple, yet so beautiful.
Mix and match your tableware
Matching tableware can look really spectacular, but if you’re hosting a more informal gathering, or setting the mood for a daytime open house, why not use all your favorite plates? Mixing and matching plates with different colors and patterns lends your event an informal feel, but also looks incredibly festive. If you have as many different plates as you have guests, you can also ask each person to choose their favorite one to eat on — this will get everyone chatting and debating, and you’ll know the festivities have truly begun.
Spring and summer backyard entertaining is always a memorable time shared with loved ones, but you can make it feel extra special with just a few simple touches that will dazzle your guests — or potential buyers, who could imagine themselves throwing memorable parties there, too.