Hosting a party requires ample planning and creativity. Hosting an outdoor party in your backyard requires even more. If you’re planning on throwing an outdoor dinner party, it’s imperative that you have a plan.
Make Your Backyard Party a Success
During the late spring, summer, and early fall, outdoor parties are a great way to get people together and enjoy the company of others amid beautiful weather. But when it comes to a backyard party, you have to spend a little more time thinking through the details to ensure everything goes smoothly. Here are some pointers:
- Prepare the Backyard
One of the first things to think about is the backyard itself. You’ll need to strategize about how you want to set things up, which areas will be used, and which areas (if any) will be excluded from the festivities.
The first thing to do is remove any backyard clutter that won’t be needed for the party. This includes toys, tools, lawn equipment, brush, etc. Not only does this make room for your guests, but it also cleans up the look of your property.
Based on your rough plan for the layout of the party, you can prepare the backyard. A couple of days before the event, have a landscaping crew come to the house and weed your beds, prune bushes, put down fresh mulch/straw, plant flowers, and mow the lawn. On the morning or afternoon of the event, you can then address any areas that need to be touched up and use a blower to perform a nice “once-over.”
- Select a Menu
Plan your menu as far in advance as you can. Whether you’re catering or cooking, it’s helpful to have all of these details fleshed out so that you can turn your attention to other issues.
The menu should have enough options to satisfy a variety of palletes, but doesn’t need to be so overwhelming that guests are unable to try everything. The ideal spread is simple, yet sufficient.
- Plan for the Elements
With any outdoor event, it’s important that you plan for the elements. Not only will this ensure your guests have a good experience, but it’ll also provide you with peace of mind in the days leading up to the party.
Stay on top of the forecast in the days and hours leading up to the event. But even if there’s a 100 percent chance of sunshine, it’s smart to have some contingencies in place for bad weather. Having tents and canopies on hand will allow you to offer shelter if storm clouds do roll in.
If mosquitoes are prevalent in your backyard, stock up on some repellant to ward them off. You can also use fans to create airflow. (Mosquitoes are weak flyers and the slightest bit of airflow will keep them away.)
- Incorporate Entertainment
Depending on the type of event you’re hosting, you may want to incorporate some entertainment options to keep guests happy and occupied.
For casual backyard barbeques and small gatherings, yard games like corn hole, washers, and croquet are easy to set up, yet provide hours of fun. You may also bring a TV or projector outside to put on a big game. For formal parties, consider hiring a musician to play some background music. Ironically, the more you give people to do, the more your guests will engage with one another.
- Prepare the Neighbors
If you have neighbors, it’s always a good idea to let them know that you’ll be hosting a party. This prevents them from being alarmed when they hear noise or see people parking on the street. It may also help you get on their good side and prevent any hard feelings. If it’s a casual gathering with a variety of friends, consider extending an invitation.
If you’ve done a thorough job of preparing for the backyard dinner party, you should be able to relax a bit when it actually begins. Sure, as the host there will be plenty for you to do, but you shouldn’t feel overwhelmed. You’ll know exactly what needs to happen. Grab a drink, mingle with your guests, and enjoy yourself!