Warm temperatures and sunny skies mean it’s time to get outside. When summer arrives, invite your friends for an outdoor cookout. Barbecues are a great way to spend time together. You’ll have tasty food, fun games and lasting memories.
Use these nine tips for setting up an epic cookout.
This article is sponsored by Long Fence
Crank up the Tunes
A party is as good as its music. Set things up with jams from your favorite artists. Get outdoor speakers so everyone can hear the beats bumping. Find high-performance speakers durable in hot and humid summer conditions. Then, you’ll need a playlist with upbeat tunes. Create a mix including Dua Lipa, Funkadelic and other favorites.
Upgrade the Patio
It might be time to do a little work and get that old patio or porch updated. Before we get too deep into the summer, it is always a good idea to get those old boards fixed up, create that outdoor oasis you have been planning all winter, and set your backdrop for the perfect outdoor living space.
Bring on the Games
When you think of cookout games, what do you picture? Cornhole and darts are just two crowd favorites. Set up games around the yard for all ages to enjoy. Do you have a large backyard? Organize a fun scavenger hunt for the kids.
Nowadays, you can take fun games and make them life-sized. For example, you can play oversized chess. This game includes enlarged pieces for outdoor fun. There’s also life-sized foosball, Monopoly and many more fun games.
Fire up the Grill
What’s a cookout without the food? Set up your outdoor space to fire up the grill and serve mouthwatering and savory dishes. Burgers and hot dogs are the classic barbecue foods. You could try slow-roasting brisket and larger cuts of meat. Assign themes to your offerings and let guests decide their favorites. For example, use barbecue recipes inspired by cities like Memphis.
Think outside the box and serve grilled vegetables on the side. Vegetarians and vegans will love artichokes, okra and more. They’re tasty, lower your blood pressure and reduce cancer risk.
Set out a Dessert Tray
The entrees are the main event. Did you save room for dessert? Cookouts are the time to bring out the classics. Peach cobbler is only the tip of the iceberg. Make cold and warm options for everyone to enjoy. Let ice cream sit in a cooler until ready to eat.
However, desserts aren’t the only cookout treat. Barbecues are ideal for breaking out wine glasses. Food and wine go together seamlessly. What’s your favorite pairing? The flavor combinations of dessert and sweet wine are delicious. Try serving apple pie with prosecco at the cookout. Apple pie is sweet, balancing the wine’s acidity. You’ll love prosecco’s citrus taste with a slice of pie. Champagne’s dryness pairs spectacularly with lemon meringue.
Pour Bottomless Lemonade
Imagine walking down the street in the summer. A couple of kids are selling lemonade. This is a terrific refreshment to beat the heat. Make a lemonade stand at the cookout for nostalgia. You don’t have to charge your guests to drink.
Build or shop for an adult-sized lemonade stand. These booths are great for outdoor parties.
Set up a large pitcher with homemade juice. All you need is water, sugar, lemons and ice. Put them together and make a tasty summer treat.
Watch the Bonfire Blaze
Eventually, the sun will sink below the horizon. The darkness brings cooler temperatures, ideal for a bonfire. A blazing fire is the center of attention for the party. You can build fires from logs, use the fire pit, or install the perfect setup for one. Either way, you’ll have warmth and aesthetics for the guests. Bonfires are terrific for singing songs and telling stories.
Use Ambient Lighting
Bonfires provide terrific light, but you can do even better. Ambient lighting sets the mood and creates a party mood. Being outside gives you numerous options. Start small by hanging string lights with solar power. These fixtures are low-maintenance and energy efficient.
It’s hard to go wrong with outdoor lighting. Tiki torches bring brightness and fight off mosquitos. Your guests will love walkways decorated with path lights. If you have a pool, get floating ball lights. These lights look brilliant at night when they illuminate pools.
Get Comfy Furniture
Will your party have 10 guests or 100? No matter the number, seating will be essential. Ensure your backyard has enough places for everyone to sit comfortably. Include picnic tables, pool chairs, lawn chairs and more.
Think outside the box with picnic blankets and large blankets. Some guests can sit on them while they eat. Patio furniture would be terrific, such as couches and loveseats. Keep comfort in mind as people may sit for hours.
Decorate by Theme
One fun part about throwing parties is assigning themes. Use one to plan your cookout this summer. For example, think about your Independence Day party. Deck out everything in red, white and blue colors. Memorial Day comes on the last weekend in May. Use this time to honor military veterans. Alternatively, take inspiration from the Indianapolis 500 from that Sunday.
What do you look forward to in the summer? Many people take vacations, go swimming and have backyard barbecues. The kids are out of school and want to have fun. Give them a blast with these nine party tips.
Rose Morrison is a home living writer with over five years experience. She is the managing editor of Renovated.com, a home living site where she loves to cover home renovations and decor to inspire everyone to live their best DIY life. When she isn't writing, you'll find her baking something to satisfy her never-ending sweet tooth. For more articles from Rose, you can follow her on Twitter or check out her portfolio.