Spring is here! Hooray! The arrival of warmer weather has us planning our outdoor entertaining. After many months of being stuck inside we cannot wait to start grilling and enjoying summer days and nights with friends and family. There’s an ease to outdoor entertaining that makes it so much fun. Jodie and I are casual entertainers, and we both firmly believe that if the host feels relaxed so will your guests. We’ve put together 12 easy and inexpensive tips for outdoor entertaining that we know will help you relax and enjoy!
Jodie and I are SUPER excited and honored be part of the BHG Live Better Influencer Network for 2018. We are compensated when sharing our favorite finds from Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart. As always our opinions are our own. Affiliate links for product sources are included for your shopping convenience.
This is Julie’s backyard in the suburbs of Seattle. Set amidst the evergreens it’s a great spot for outdoor get-togethers. Jodie lives in the East Bay of San Francisco. To visit her recent backyard makeover head to our blog post How to Create a Budget-Friendly Outdoor Oasis.
#1 Keep Food Simple
Easy and fresh is always best. Fresh seasonal fruits and veggies are simple, colorful and provide healthy choices for everyone. Salads, snacks and plenty of cold drinks and you’ve got a party!
#2 Add an Umbrella
Not only does an umbrella protect your food and guests from the sun and unwelcome weather it also defines your outdoor dining space. You can add color and character with the right umbrella.
#3 Use Rugs
I just bought this amazing indoor-outdoor rug from Better Homes & Gardens sold exclusively at Walmart. It is no exaggeration to say that adding this rug transformed my patio. I couldn’t be happier with the quality or the price. Once again the value of Better Homes & Gardens products makes me simply giddy! Why giddy? I can afford to buy more without any sacrifice. Hip Hip Hooray!
Rugs are so important. I might even say rugs are more important outside than inside! Don’t be afraid to put a rug just about anywhere, even on grass. A rug provides an instant room-like setting.
- define spaces
- complete the look of an area
- add color & style
- add coziness
- make your spaces feel like outdoor rooms
#4 Outdoor Pillows
If your outdoor furniture is looking faded or weather-worn don’t worry. Before you go out and buy new furniture try changing out the pillows and/or replacing the cushions. This is a great way to make your old furniture look new and can save you a lot! Every few years I buy new outdoor pillows and voila, it’s like a whole new look to my backyard.
My new pillows from Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart created the perfect refresh for my whole patio this season. Tons of stylish choices. I had fun mixing and matching patterns. And at such great prices I was able to replace all my pillows under budget! Woo Hoo!
#5 Use a Throw as a Table Scarf
Think outside the box for table coverings. I like to use colorful indoor throws and Turkish fouta towels to create a casual but festive table design. They are great to use on tables and also on the ground for a fun picnic feel that works well for almost all outdoor entertaining. Besides choosing less traditional throws and towels I also like to place them on angles to add a bit of dimension.
- add color & a bit of whimsy with your table covering
- make it messy to add dimension
- feels like a picnic
- casual beach feel
- place on an angle like a table scarf
- less traditional look
- tassels add interest and texture
- easily maneuver around umbrella pole
#6 Re-purpose Indoor Items
Get creative. Almost anything that works inside can be re-purposed outside for an event. Create outdoor rooms where people can gather, get cozy and relax. Create conversation areas, lounging areas, and provide plenty of seating. Grab chairs from inside. Lay blankets and use pillows and poofs to make comfy areas for relaxing. Or my example below, how about bringing your bar cart outside?
#7 Stock a Bar Cart
Create a serve yourself drink station using a cute and functional bar cart. Provide extra essentials so guests can help themselves. Less back and forth to the kitchen means more time to enjoy your guests.
Here are a few super cute options I found at Walmart.com:
#8 Fresh Flowers
Fresh flowers are a must, but don’t think you have to spend a lot or go fancy. Sometimes simple is just as lovely. Look around and try to cut blooms or greenery from your own yard. Or ask a neighbor if they don’t mind your taking a few (especially if they are invited 🙂
Music is the backbone to a great party. You’ll want yours to create just the right mood. Get your music ready in advance. Create a playlist with music that you know your guests will enjoy. Be sure to not play it too loudly. Then it will be the perfect backdrop to conversation and fun.
#10 Prepare The Grill
If you’re planning to cook on the grill do your prep work in advance. Especially if you haven’t used it all winter. Make sure it’s clean and ready to go. Do a dry run in advance. Nothing stalls a party like an empty propane tank!
#11 Ask For Help
Don’t be afraid to ask a friend or too for help setting up. Chances are they will feel special that you felt close enough to ask them! Make the “set up” party just as fun: start the music, get your drinks, and do some taste testing of the food. With the right atmosphere your early helpers will feel spoiled and will offer to come early to all your events!
#12 Make it Pot Luck
Why take on all the work and expense yourself? These days no one expects the host to handle everything. Friends and family are grateful to those willing to host, and everyone is aware of the work involved. So don’t be shy about asking for everyone to bring a dish. If you like to maintain control you can keep it organized in a variety of ways. You can ask for volunteers and suggest people get back to you with what they are bringing. Or the easiest is to assign people an appetizer, salad, or dessert. This frees you up to focus on setting the stage (which is my favorite part of course.)
Now if you’re a foodie, and you live to showcase your culinary talents, then You Go Girl!
Create Your Outdoor Entertaining Space
Set The Stage!
Your outdoor entertaining space is your chance to get really creative. Since you are creating an event you can have fun borrowing from inside your home. What normally is reserved for indoor use can be pulled outside and used temporarily. As long as the weather holds out you’re good. I absolutely love to see cute indoor furniture brought out to the garden. Create a casual, relaxed, festive atmosphere using:
- repurposed indoor items
- fresh flowers
- outdoor string lights
- pots with plants and flowers
- lanterns, for day and night entertaining
- garden stools
Let creativity be your guide. Better Homes & Gardens Brand sold exclusively at Walmart has so many stylish and well-priced options you can add just the right details to make your space complete.
Outdoor Entertaining Made Easy
- Prepare in advance
- Have no-fuss serving stations
- Simplify the menu
- Enlist help
When the hostess has fun everyone has more fun! If your guests see you working hard they feel like they need to work too. We think that if you follow these tips you will be able to create seemingly effortless outdoor entertaining. And the easier it is the more fun you’ll have. Do a little prep work, keep it simple, ask for help, and ENJOY!
Julie & Jodie
For more backyard ideas be sure to visit these follower favorites: