5 tips for backyard entertaining on a budget

July 16, 2021

Summer is the perfect season for an al fresco gathering, but what if you don’t have the money to make over your outdoor space, or invest in pricey patio furniture or elaborate party decor? Here are five easy, breezy, and budget-friendly backyard entertaining ideas.

5 tips for backyard entertaining on a budget

[Photo Credit: BGStock72]

1. Create distinct entertaining zones
When it comes to backyard entertaining, it’s important to organize your space ahead of time to maximize your square footage. Think about traffic flow and how your guests will congregate within the area, then designate certain zones for specific functions like conversation, eating and games. If you don’t have a large set of patio furniture, bring your indoor side tables, chairs, and weather-proof decorative items outdoors to create a cozy setting that provides your party guests with plenty of seating and surfaces for their food and drink. You might even want to clear a space for a dance floor after the sun goes down.

2. Spruce up your space
You don’t have to blow your budget to create a beautiful outdoor oasis. Whether you have a sprawling backyard or a small-scale balcony, a little landscaping and decorative accessories can go a long way in creating a space to impress your guests. Remember, sometimes less is more; let the natural surroundings take centre stage. Skip the kitschy cocktail napkins and oversized balloons and beautify your backyard with minimal accents like simple string lights, candles, or a tasteful flower arrangement featuring fresh blooms from your garden or the local farmer’s market.
3. Design a potluck menu
Hosting a multi-course dinner for friends and family can add up quickly. Cut your costs by inviting others to contribute to the menu. Assign your friends and family-specific appetizers, sides, and desserts to bring along. You can even encourage guests to get creative by bringing a dish based on a theme, like grilled meats for a Southern BBQ or antipasto for an Italian-inspired Aperitivo Hour. Instead of stocking your bar with top-shelf liquors and wines, mix up a signature cocktail or a batch of sangria to serve as a welcome drink.

4. Create your own DIY lawn games
Whether your guest list includes young children or adults who are young at heart, lawn games are perfect for backyard entertaining and will keep guests amused while inspiring a little friendly competition. If you don’t have a budget for store-bought games, design your own creative outdoor activities using craft supplies and household items. Set up an oversized Tic Tac Toe board using chalk or paper plates, use plastic bottles for lawn bowling or a fun round of ring toss, or cool off with a homemade water balloon piñata. If your lawn is lacking, and you need small backyard entertaining ideas, look for tabletop or card games.

5. Throw on some tunes
Music is critical when it comes to backyard entertaining. Thanks to the magic of technology, there’s no need to hire a band or live DJ to create the perfect summer soundtrack for your outdoor get-together. Download a music streaming app on your smartphone to design a garden party playlist and hook up a portable speaker, so you can crank your favourite tracks. Don’t have an outdoor speaker? Get crafty and fashion a makeshift boombox using disposable cups and some foam.

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