Tips for Flawless Outdoor Entertaining


Candle and string lights outdoor dinner

 

Summer will be here before we know it, which means longer nights and warmer weather. What better way to spend a summer day with family and friends than at an outdoor gathering? If you’re hoping to host a backyard soirée, here are some tips that will help things run smoothly.

 

Prepare your yard

Tidy up your yard before hosting guests. Mow the grass and pick up any tools, hoses or toys.

 

Choose the right seating

Patio furniture with thick, comfy cushions are the best option for homeowners who frequent their outdoor space. When hosting a gathering, make sure you have enough seating. Benches and tree stumps are a casual, rustic way to add seating to your outdoor space. Make sure all the seating is clean of debris before your guests arrive.

 

Keep guests comfortable

Guests will be more inclined to stay for the duration of the party if they are comfortable. Have ample shade coverage and consider running a fan near the dining area to keep guests cool. You may also want to set out a basket with warm-weather essentials for guests to grab — think sunscreen, insect repellent, handheld fans and iced spray bottles.

 

Plan a simple menu

Opt for recipes that can be prepared in advance and will withstand crowds and heat. Fresh grilled vegetables, pasta salads and guacamole are all popular (and colorful!) choices.

 

Add lighting

Outdoor globe lights, lanterns and LED candles are all great options for setting a relaxed summer atmosphere. Setting out candles with an open flame is a bit riskier — instead, use hurricane lanterns or jars to shield the flames.

 

Play relaxed tunes

Set the right tone with a playlist that is easy and laid-back. You don’t want to overpower any conversations among guests. Create a long enough playlist to avoid repeating songs too many times while guests are there.

 

Display fresh cuts

Use flowers and foliage from your own yard as centerpieces. Arrange your fresh cuts in jars or buckets and set them out to brighten up your display.

 

Offer activities

Providing lawn games like cornhole or croquet will keep your guests occupied and happy. Use butcher paper as a tablecloth and set out crayons for creative people of all ages.

 

Keep pests away

Be sure to protect food with mesh food coverings and light citronella candles to keep bugs away. Eliminate any standing water in gutters or the bottom of flowerpots to keep mosquitoes from breeding there. Offer guests bug wipes and insect repellent.

 

Create a beverage station

Make sure your guests are hydrated by preparing a beverage bar or cart stocked with the essentials. Include straws and plenty of ice.

 

Opt for melamine

Melamine is an affordable and durable option for outdoor dinnerware. Using the break-resistant plastic will help you reduce waste and also keep the area clear of lingering paper cups and plates.

 

Visit ebby.com to view all of the extraordinary outdoor patios on the market that are begging to have you as a host.

How to Style a Bar Cart


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If you’ve been keeping up with home décor trends, then you’re likely aware of the resurgence of the bar cart.

 

Originating as tea trolleys in the Victorian era, these beverage carts became a home for alcoholic elixirs after Prohibition ended. It wasn’t until the 1950s that these carts gained popularity, when entertaining and cocktail hours became a cultural norm.

 

When home architecture began to include built-in wet bars and spaces for entertaining in the 1970s, the bar cart became an image of the past.

 

But alas! Bar carts have made their way back into mainstream homes, pleasing cocktail lovers, Mad Men fans, and home décor enthusiasts alike.

 

Bar carts can not only be used to display your apéritifs, but also as a side table, nightstand, art easel, and more.

 

Want one in your own home? All it takes is a little creativity and a few must-have items.

 

1. Liquor
A variety of classic cocktails can be made with just these items:  vodka, gin, rum, tequila, whiskey, and bitters. Vermouth should also be at the top of your list: dry is a must for martini fans, while sweet allows you to make other drinks, like Manhattans. If you still want more variety, brandy and Aperol are great additions, as well as any flavored liqueur you enjoy (i.e. Cointreau, Frangelico, St. Germain).
 
2. Mixers
Must-have mixers for your bar cart include tonic water, club soda, ginger beer, and cola. In fall and winter, you may consider adding apple cider to the mix. These mixers give you the ability to create a drink for virtually any taste preference.
 
3. Citrus
A few lemons, limes, and oranges in a bowl are both a functional and decorative addition to a bar cart. Use them to make drinks, garnish, and add a pop of color to your cart.
 
4. Barware (glasses and tools)
A bar cart is nothing without the tools. You’ll need a cocktail shaker, measuring unit (like a jigger), stirring spoon, strainer, bar board, pairing knife, corkscrew, and a variety of glasses. Additional options are an ice bucket, muddler, zester, and cocktail picks. Bar tools come in a variety of styles, so you can easily find something that fits the aesthetic you’re aiming for.
 
5. Plants
Adding a plant or flower is another way to bring an air of freshness to a bar cart. A simple clear or white vase never fails, but you can also pick something colorful or quirky.
 
6. Trinkets
If your cart isn’t too crammed by now, it’s time for the fun stuff. Adding a random object that speaks to you is the best way to complete your bar cart. Books, clocks, candlesticks, artwork, etc. are all great pieces to add that finishing touch.
 
Feeling inspired to decorate your own bar cart? These ones are the perfect blank canvas.
 
Bar Carts
1. Velma Mirrored Serving Cart – $134.99
2. Victoria Serving Cart – $115.99
3. Dante Bar Serving Cart – $292.99
4. Metal, Wood, and Leather Bar Cart – $129.99
5. Renee Bar Cart – $499
6. Wood and Gold Bar Cart – $129.99
7. Healy Acrylic Kitchen Cart – $195.49
8. Hobbs Bar Cart – $269.00