The backyard barbecue is the perfect summer get-together. Everyone loves relaxing outdoors in great weather, and the casual atmosphere of a barbecue lets people unwind and enjoy each other’s company in a way that fussy indoor gatherings rarely do. For the perfect summer celebration, you’ll want a casual decor with pops of festive color, easy no-fuss foods, plenty of seating, and good lighting so the party can go on past dusk.
Set Up Your Space
Start by pondering your backyard and setting up the space for maximum safety and mingling. First, define a space for children to play that’s well away from your grill and stock it with outdoor toys and activities. You may want to set aside a safe space for guests with pets, too, that’s removed from both the food and the kids. Make that space welcoming by setting out water bowls and baskets filled with treats.
Guests will inevitably gather around the grill area. Make sure they’ll be safe by verifying that you have tightened bolts on your grill setup and proper storage for fuel. If you throw many barbecues, consider building a more permanent installation such as a barbecue island with a patio in your backyard.
Arrange for Decorations
Barbecue decor should be simple and colorful. Imagine a picnic table set with blue denim placemats, red cotton bandanas as napkins, and a bunch of yellow and white daisies in the center. A DIY condiment station made of mini-buckets is the ideal place to display your creativity and bring a sense of abundance to the food.
Prepare Some Awesome Food
Your brisket, ribs, or pulled pork may be the star of the show, but some of your guests will no doubt appreciate having chicken, fish, or vegetarian options. Variety is the key to side dishes as well; assorted colorful sides and salads always looks tempting. Add chilled pitchers of lemonade or fruit-infused water for those who are not indulging in alcohol and soda.
Apply Pest Control
If your party will be going on into dusk, you’ll be at risk of mosquito bites. Scent draws mosquitoes to humans, so if you can bring out some fans and keep the air moving, this tactic may slow them down. Repellents that contain DEET are most effective for keeping mosquitoes off your skin. Discourage bees by keeping the tables clear of empty dishes and cans that may have sugary residue.
Add Some Lighting
As the evening progresses, the children go home, and the party will take on a more intimate adult feeling. For a romantic evening glow, hang glass lanterns filled with candles from tree branches overhead. Fill glass containers such as jugs or wine bottles with battery-powered LED lights and cluster them on tables around the yard to create conversation hubs.
A backyard barbecue is a delightful, low-pressure way to entertain. Guests love to bring food to share and will linger to relax under the blue sky — or the stars — with a cool beverage and good friends. All you need to do is bring your guests together and offer a welcoming space.