Five Effortless Outdoor Entertaining Ideas

Did you spend the last few years saving your pennies to buy the home of your dreams? Now that you're fully moved into a place that feels cozy and looks beautiful, chances are you want to show it off, especially if you have a great backyard.

Planning for entertaining outdoors is a lot easier than many people think. These outdoor party entertainment ideas will help you start the brainstorming process. 

1. Create a Comfortable Seating Area

People want to be comfortable when they're relaxing by the fire or grilling with friends, and those cheap plastic chairs just aren't going to cut it. When hosting a backyard party, choose comfortable seating that keeps your guests happy and mingling. If you're having an outdoor dinner, waterproof chair cushions in fun colors will keep people eating and talking through the night.

Maybe you aren't much for dinner parties and instead want to have a few drinks by the fire with your friends. Bench seating, outdoor swings, or even hammock chairs are a great way to create a relaxing environment conducive to keeping the conversation going. No matter how you choose to set up the seating options for your party, remember to put a few insect-repelling candles around the seating areas to keep pests at bay. 

2. Provide Things for Your Guests to Do

Even when guests know each other well and love spending time together, the conversation can lull after a while. Prevent people from finding excuses to leave by ensuring there is plenty to do. Horseshoes and cornhole are classic choices, or you can find or build giant checkers board, Jenga game, or Tic-Tac-Toe game.

If kids will be present, sack races, tag, and hide-and-seek are old favorites that require little preparation. If the days are long and warm, consider putting up a kiddie pool or a slip-and-slide that will keep adults and children alike happy.

3. Decide What You'll Serve to Eat and Drink

Refreshments are essential for outdoor entertainment. After all, the warm sun and all that talking are sure to make people parched. Set up plenty of coolers filled with ice, water, juice, and sodas and place them at different points around the party spots. If you plan to serve alcohol, mobile drink stations can be stocked with bottles, plastic cups, cocktail shakers, and everything else necessary for people to make their own drinks. For a classier feel, you can also add chilled wine to modern ice buckets and place one at each table.

Don't forget food, especially if you're serving alcohol. Easy-to-munch-on snacks near the drink stations are a great choice to get people through the night. Try nuts, pretzels, or potato chips. If you plan to grill, burgers and hot dogs are classic choices, or you can make kebobs, chicken, or grilled vegetables. Regardless of what you decide to serve, remember to keep plenty of ice on hand for cold side dishes, and ensure everything has a plastic or foil cover to prevent insects from snacking with you. 

4. Choose Lighting for Evening Entertaining

Lighting is important when learning how to decorate for a summer party, especially as dusk turns to dark and you want to keep the party going. If you're planning a sophisticated outdoor dinner party, tealight candles and rose petals in water-filled bowls are relatively easy-to-make lighting options.

For an even more effortless lighting choice, purchase white or colored holiday lights and a few tiki torches. Use the torches to string the lights up and hold them into place. You might also consider solar-powered lights that not only save energy but also look amazing as the sun lowers on the horizon. 

5. Know How to Keep Bugs at Bay

Bugs love a good party, too. Don't let them crash yours. While food covers and repelling candles are a good start to keeping mosquitoes, flies, and other insects away from your guests and your food, they will only be partially successful. If you want more control over how many insects are enjoying the festivities, you'll need to invest in more efficient repellents. If you don't mind the slight "zap!" sound during a casual bonfire, a mosquito-killing lamp is a good choice.

Perhaps you're worried about other types of critters. An ultrasonic animal repeller emits a sound that humans can't hear but that will keep stray cats, foxes, deer, rodents, and a range of other small animals from trying to sneak into your party.