Summer patio parties!

March 31st, 2008 by Heather Dyer

Summer’s finally here and you can hardly wait to fire up that grill and serve up some burgers to your friends and family.  Patio parties are as American as apple pie.  Tanned kids run through the sprinklers while adults relax with good conversation and a cold beer.  Life doesn’t get much better.

Preparing for your next patio party is easier and less costly than you might think.  Here are a few ideas that won’t cramp your budget and can be used over and over during the summer months and repeated year after year.

Twinkle, twinkle little star – Use twinkle lights (or leftover plain white Christmas lights will do) to bring festivity and warmth to your patio.  Hang lights or lanterns from trees.  Line your fence or deck rails to create the cozy atmosphere of an enclosed space.  Wrap your yard umbrella’s spine and ribs to add light to your food table after the sun has gone down for the night.

Shoo fly, don’t bother me – Be prepared for summer pests, and don’t let them spoil your party.  Place citronella candles throughout your party area and especially near the eating tables.  Buy pop-up mesh food tents to protect your dinner and treats.

Hey baby, light my fire – A portable fireplace or fire pit is an excellent source of patio ambiance.  Before the party, arrange a large platter of marshmallows, chocolate bars, and graham crackers and once the sun goes down, let the kids gather ‘round for S’mores.

Roses are red, violets are blue – Flowers and plants bring style, sophistication, and a burst of color to your patio.  The more the better.  Fill in empty spaces on the patio with large pots overflowing with greenery and in-season flowers.  Hang baskets from awnings and deck rails.  Place small delicately arranged flower bouquets among the food and as romantic, elegant table centerpieces.  Consider purchasing artificial plants and silk flower arrangements for their hypoallergenic qualities, exceptionally lifelike appearance, and extremely low maintenance.  Especially if you entertain often, spending a few dollars more upfront is a wise and well spent long term investment.

I wanna rock and roll all night — You can create almost any atmosphere you wish with the addition of music to your patio party.  Preset a playlist to accommodate the type of evening you desire.  Exercise care with the volume and adjust according to the tastes and likes of your guests.

Get out there and enjoy summer to its fullest this year.  Spend time and create memories with your loved ones.  Even the smallest touches of preparation can make a huge impact on the success of your party or gathering – plus, it’s a great way to show your guests how much they mean to you!

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