Outdoor Hosting Tips for Your Summer Party

Publish Date May 10, 2023 5 Minute Read

Summer brings warm rays and long days – the perfect time for outdoor entertaining. So start prepping your deck or patio and check out these tips for hosting the perfect party.

Party Planning Ideas

First, you’ve got to decide what type of party you want to have. Are you thinking a picnic lunch, an afternoon grillout or evening cocktails? Will you have a pool party or a fire pit?

Think about your space and the weather forecast, and avoid scheduling during the hottest part of the day – particularly if your chosen location will be in direct sun at that time. Make sure there’s shade, or consider renting a tent for your backyard. And remember to have a plan for entertaining indoors if it rains.

Preparing Your Space

Once you have your guest list, you’ll need sufficient seating and dining spaces. If you need more, you can always bring out card tables and chairs (or borrow some from friends and family), and cover the tables with summery tablecloths.

Patio umbrellas can help keep the sun off you and your guests. And potted plants can help green up your space. String lights and outdoor candles are popular options for after-dark illumination, and a few citronella candles can help provide mood lighting and keep biting bugs away. And remember the music: Prep a playlist with upbeat tunes, perhaps with some summer favorites.

Avoid setting up food in direct sunlight, then look for ways to keep it at the proper temperature. Serving trays can be placed atop ice to help keep food cool, and placing those trays in the freezer before the party will buy you even more time. Keeping food covered can also help keep flies away.

Outdoor Games and Activities

Building your party around an event or theme can help you add extra entertainment. There’s certainly plenty of pizzazz you can apply to a 4th of July party. If you have an outdoor TV, you can create a game watch party for a big sporting event and have everyone wear team gear, or you can host an outdoor movie night once the stars come out. (Call it a “dive-in” movie if you have a pool.)

Yard games like beanbag toss (aka cornhole), badminton or croquet also add to the fun. If it’s a hot day, up the excitement (and laughs) with a water balloon game: Divide into pairs and stand close together when tossing, then gradually take steps back after each toss. The team that lasts the longest without bursting its water balloon wins.

Summer Party Foods

Grilling and chilling is an ideal way to spend a summer day. You can bring a little extra flair to hot dogs with our Pineapple Salsa Franks recipe. For an upgrade on burgers, pineapple also brings summery sweetness to Teriyaki Chicken Sliders, which grill up quickly.

Comfort foods like potato salad and deviled eggs are summer party staples. Garden Pasta Salad is full of fresh, colorful veggies that’ll catch attention. Fresh fruits and veggies on our Summer Party Charcuterie Board bring the tastes of the season to life.

Desserts and Drinks

S’mores are almost mandatory for all summer parties, especially if children are on hand. You can give those sweet treats a fresh twist with our Strawberries and Blueberries S’mores recipe.

If you’re hankering for brownies and ice cream, Cherry Ice Cream Brownies can be made paleo-friendly with our dairy-free recipe, and a Brownie-Ice Cream Bar is a fun way for guests to build their own dessert.

And to drink? Summer never tasted sweeter than Watermelon and Strawberry Cocktails, which can be made without vodka for an all-ages treat. Or bring vacation vibes to life with Raspberry-Rum Piña Colada Punch.

Summer Cookout Recipes

Outdoor Party Essentials

Start Your Party Planning

For additional inspiration, explore more summer party foods and party recipes and tips. Don’t forget to check out our Summer Shop.