In the summer, there’s nothing better than sitting outside on a warm evening, sharing food and drinks with friends. And creating the perfect outdoor space for entertaining is easy. Casual reigns when the months heat up, so don’t panic if you feel your yard is too rough around the edges. With a few quick touches, such as the ones listed below, you can turn your backyard into a delightful garden party.

  • Protect your food from bugs with mesh food covers or even just by placing mesh colanders atop your bowls. Add some citronella candles to the area for evening light and mosquito-repelling power.
  • Don’t forget your umbrella. For one, you’ll need it to shelter your guests from the heat and sun, but secondly, if you pick one in a fun colour or pattern, it’ll set the tone for your entire dining area.
  • Hang gauzy, white curtains for a romantic, breezy mood. You can hang them along the sides of a porch, deck or gazebo.
  • Throw some cushy pillows on hard metal chairs for a more comfortable seating arrangement.
  • Use wicker seating instead of traditional plastic lawn chairs. Wicker is cozy and charming, and much more visually appealing than typical plastic or metal furniture – it’s also perfect for curling up with a book in the sunshine once your guests are gone.
  • For an easy centrepiece, place a large bowl with water and floating flowers in the middle of the table. Alternately, fill a bowl with fresh fruit and place it front and centre. Both options are simple, pretty and perfect for summer.
  • Add artwork outside? Sure! Why not? If you have a sheltered space, hang some framed pictures (just make sure they’re not valuable ones that could be damaged by rain or other elements – tip: head to the flea market for cheap art). It’ll offer an unexpected pop to your space.
  • Invest in outdoor speakers that can wirelessly connect to your indoor entertainment system. That way you can have music without having to drag a portable stereo outside with you.
  • For casual evening lighting, add some candles in glass mason jars to your table or hang paper lanterns from nearby tree branches. If open flame worries you too much, you can always use battery-powered faux “candles.” As well, tiny white Christmas lights draped from trees and wrapped around trunks make for a charming summer evening space, as do solar-powered lawn lamps.
  • Campfires aren’t just for camping; you can buy residential-grade fire pits for use in your yard. Grab some marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate and the kids (and adults) can make backyard s’mores.

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