Tips for making the most of your outdoor entertaining space.
Get the most from your backyard space this summer by transforming it into an outside oasis for entertaining. Let colourful flowers and fruits guide your inspiration. Here’s the low-down on how to transform your outdoor space into a vibrant garden oasis for guests.
Decorations & Accessories
Forget plastic garden gnomes, when it comes to garden decor, keep it clean and simple. Here are some tips to help plan your style and set-up:
- Use flower hues in your garden to help establish a colour palette for your accessories like umbrellas, unbreakable cups, dishes, seat cushions, placemats and tablecloths. Popular styles include pastels, bright primary colours or patterned accessories like gingham and polka dots. Add whimsy with bug patterns like ladybugs or bees.
- Look for weatherproof accessories that are durable enough to withstand unruly weather conditions and last more than one season.
- Keep a large sealable and rainproof bin handy to store all your decorations for easy use. Include essentials like tea lights, a lighter, votive holders, citronella candles, bug repellent, tablecloth weights, mosquito coils and retractable fly nets to cover your dishes. You may want to include a hat, lightweight blanket and spare sunglasses so you don’t have to dig through the house when you’re looking for them quickly.
Easy Summer Feasting
When it comes to summertime food, seasonal veggies and fruits add flavour and zest. Here are some great ideas for tasty summer eats:
- Use seasonal vegetables or fruits as a base for your summer salads – like a diced tomato or cucumber salad. Or try this refreshing watermelon-based salad that your guests are sure to enjoy, courtesy of Foodtv.ca.
- If you decide to incorporate an herb garden into your outdoor planning, your food fare will take its cues from the spicy flavours you grow. Fresh parsley and dill make salads and main dishes more savoury without adding extra calories that creamy dressings and sauces include.
- Become a grill master! Learn the ins and outs of barbecuing (whether you have a full-size range or a small coal apparatus) so you’re ready to impress on the grill. Arrange a kit with the necessary tools (include a BBQ brush, tongs, sauce brush and tea towels that you don’t mind getting dirty).
- Many dishes can be prepared ahead of time (potato and macaroni salad is delish), giving you ample time to mingle with guests.
Cool Summer Beverages
Serve thirst-quenching drinks quickly is a fantastic skill every host should enjoy. Here’s how to keep drinks light and refreshing:
- Maintain an ample supply of ice cubes. You may want to buy some cute new ice cube trays in fun shapes.
- Club soda adds instant bubbles to fruit juice and transforms white wine into summer spritzers.
Mint leaves are great for garnishing summer drinks, and the extras can be used on top of whip cream and berry desserts, too.
- Keep a ready supply of lemons and limes on hand to add zest to beverages. Practice your lemon rind swirl skills using a paring knife.
As afternoon soirees turn to early-evening fetes, keep the twilight going with lighting. Luckily, there are lots of affordable ways to infuse twinkling lights in your outdoor space:
- Candle votives grouped in odd numbers on tables or railings are great for illuminating food areas and outdoor perimeters. Try matching votives you’re your garden palette.
- Candle torches in citronella are a great way to ward off pesky bugs when the sun sets. Set-up couldn’t be easier — stick the torch in the ground!
- Candle lanterns are a great way to add a lot of light to tables and they protect flames from light winds, too.
Pulling It All Together
Ah, the final touch. Consider easy-listening music for hot summer events like Diana Krall or Feist. Test-run your music system and find ways to set up without leaving stereo cords loose where guests may trip.
Enjoy the fruits of your labour! Invite a few friends over to enjoy a summer barbeque or dinner party in your new space.