The 4 Essentials of Outdoor Entertaining

During the warm weather months, there is nothing better than inviting a lively group of friends into your backyard for some alfresco dining and fun enjoying the balmy evening air. As you’ve been searching for the things that make the perfect outdoor entertainment space, you’ve probably created a long list. Well throw out the list right now. There are only four essentials required for the perfect backyard party.

bright patio

One, you need a patio space. Entertaining on grass can be difficult, especially for your lady acquaintances who wear heels to parties. Two, you need seating space. Obviously guests will need someplace to sit and enjoy their glass of wine. Three, you need table space. Having a table, big or small, will give you the option to serve food outdoors or play a rousing game of cards. Four, you need some kind of lighting. A bright backyard enables the party to go on and on.

cheery patio

Now before you sink into an unimaginative despair, take a look at these ideas that will inspire you to create your very own outdoor entertaining space and see which would look best in your backyard.

1. Patio

deck patio

Patios are probably the most time consuming of all backyard entertaining essentials. So if your house already has a deck, you’re already half way there! And I envy you. (via Nalle’s House)

pavers patio

Concrete pavers are a great and affordable solution to the patio-less of us. They come in several shapes and sizes and you can style them so many different ways. Fill the cracks with grass like the picture above or go for something a little more sophisticated like gravel or mulch. (via Apartment Therapy)

stone patio

Using stone for a patio is always a good option. It has an old feel to it, even if you just installed it the year before  and it promises to charm anyone you invite into your backyard.

gravel patio

While it might not come to mind immediately, gravel is a wonderful patio option as well. Its affordable and will give you and your family an easy maintenance patio that you’ll enjoy using all summer long. (via BHG)

2. Seating

couch seating

If you have the big bucks to spend on outdoor seating, then go for the gold with some outdoor chairs and a couch. They certainly bring the living room feel out onto the patio and gives you a chance to show off your outdoor pillows. (via Inspired By This)

bench seating

Looking for an affordable outdoor seating solution? Find a little bench that will still hold a pillow or two and you will be surprised how big a change it can make. (via All For The Everyday)

swing seating

Have you ever thought about putting a porch swing in the backyard? Hang one from a pergola or even the back porch and I guarantee that you’ll have to turn out the lights to get your guests to leave. (via Better Living Patios)

3. Table Space

dining set table space

Obviously the best kind of table space is an actual table and chairs. With a full size table, you can serve a full size dinner and enjoy a delicious meal under the setting sun. (via Shift Ctrl Art)

bistro table space

If your patio doesn’t have room for a full size table, there’s nothing stopping you from going mini. Bistro tables are an elegant and space friendly way to add some table space to a small patio. (via Popsugar)

coffee table space

You can serve appetizers from a coffee table just as well as a full size one. Buy or DIY a coffee table or two and suddenly an alfresco dinner party just went casual in the best sense. (via Domaine)

4. Lighting

string lighting

Globe lights are probably the most popular outdoor lighting around nowadays. And it’s easy to see why. Strung across a patio, they make a lovely romantic setting for a dinner for two… or twenty. (via One Kind Design)

firepit lighting

Nothing beats roasted marshmallows over a fire. Not only does a fire pit provide light to your patio, it also provides the best entertainment plus food! That’s definitely a win win for everyone present. (via My Life At Playtime)

tiki torch lighting

Tiki torches may have gone out of style, but they still make a good outdoor lighting option. You can even make your own that will look classier than the store-bought Hawaiian luau ones.