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Tips for Outdoor Entertaining

Tips for Outdoor Entertaining

outdoor dining table set with flowers and summer watermelon and fried chicken

Eating outside is a perfect way to gather with friends or family in the warm summer months. Outdoor entertaining is also a fun opportunity to showcase an area that may not get as much attention during the other seasons: your outdoor spaces. No matter what type of outdoor area you are working with these tips will create a wonderful dining space for outdoor entertaining this season.

Spring garden party on table on outdoor patio
When it comes to outdoor entertaining, location is key. For hot weather, choose somewhere shady like this garden party. If you have a beautiful outdoor setting, set up your table there. Photograph by Bret Gum.


When picking where to set up your outdoor entertaining space, consider what the area has to offer. Perhaps you have a garden that would provide a beautiful backdrop to your summer luncheon, or maybe you have a less-cluttered grassy area that will allow your guests to move about freely. Pick your setting intentionally to best set up the outdoor entertaining experience for your guests.

lemonade stand luncheon
Setting a theme or color scheme (even just with a simple bouquet of flowers) will help get your guests in the mood for a party! This lemonade luncheon, complete with a darling lemonade stand for serving food, is a great example. Photograph by Bret Gum.

Set the Mood

Lighting is an easy and effective way to set the mood for outdoor entertaining. You can tailor it to your specific needs, too. If you’re doing an evening gathering, string lights or even a fire pit will add charm and atmosphere. If you’re working with a smaller area or don’t have a way to hang lights, add candles all over to set the mood: votives and tapers on the tables, pillars in lanterns and more tapers on the food serving table.

Firepit outdoors with white chairs and s'mores
Homeowner Maryal Miller's backyard is perfect for entertaining, with a firepit and classic white outdoor chairs to hang out after dinner. Photograph by Landon Wiggs.

Think Functionally

Your dining area doesn’t have to be fancy. Outdoor entertaining is meant to be fun, and that often means a more casual setting. A simple bistro table and chairs are lightweight and easy to move around if need be, and still fit the laid-back vibe.

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