New This Month

How to Host a Stylish Backyard Party

Here's everything you need for a relaxed but refined outdoor party this summer.

It’s summertime, and the entertaining is easy when you enlist a few clever strategies (and we don’t just mean making the guacamole ahead of time). Follow our five steps to a stylish backyard party, and the only things you’ll have to worry about are keeping your own glass full.

drinks opener
Photography by: Kate Mathis

1. Raise the Bar

 

The ideal drinks setup is streamlined, well stocked, and self-serve. Case in point: A batch of freshly squeezed lemonade will please practically everyone. Ice it down in a four-gallon stainless-steel dispenser and no one will get stuck manning the bar. Kids can help themselves; adults can punch theirs up with vodka and citrus and herb garnishes, which double as decor.

 

Supplement with an easy-to-sip aperitif (we like floral Lillet) and sparkling water, and you’ll have all the refreshments you need. Don't forget to update your cooler: An oversize resin Champagne bucket has al the appeal of a galvaanized-steel one, but will look chic storing supplies in your kitchen, too. As for quantities, here’s our rule of thumb: Plan two drinks per guest for the first hour, then one each per hour after that; one gallon equals 16 eight-ounce drinks.

 

 

THE DETAILS
Sansone Fusti dispenser and spigot, $147, gourmetitalian.com. March Oaxacan glasses, $8 each, marchsf.com. Kinto Baum canisters, from $28 each, amazon.com. Tina Frey Champagne bucket, $380, shophorne.com. Restoration Hardware French Beam teak console, $1,995, restorationhardware.com.
outdoor tablescape
Photography by: Kate Mathis

2. Refine Your Table

 

Dinner outdoors can be just as gracious and comfortable as one you’d host inside. To encourage guests to sit back and stay awhile, set a table with sturdy ceramic plates and flatware, hefty (but unbreakable) glassware, and colorful linens. To anchor your tablecloth in a breeze, clip a fishing sinker onto each corner (see our how-to). Echo the natural surroundings with wooden accents, floral prints, and statement-making palm leaves, which won’t wilt in the heat.

 

 

THE DETAILS
Kerry Cassill Tropical Fiji table linen, 67" by 98", $136, shop.kerrycassill.com. Williams-Sonoma Italian washed-linen napkins, $50 for 4, williams-sonoma.com. Homenature resin-handled cutlery, $195 for a 4-piece set, homenature.com. Cost Plus World Market Reactive Glaze Muir dinner plates, $32 for a 4-piece set; Reactive Glaze Muir salad plates, $28 for a 4-piece set; and Driftwood chargers, $20 for 2, worldmarket.com. Terrain Picnic wineglass, $8, shopterrain.com. Sur La Table Wooden Pinch bowls, $35 for 4, surlatable.com.
bug repellent deflector
Photography by: Kate Mathis

3. Uninvite Pests

 

Run an electric fan and cover food with mesh domes to keep bugs away. This artistic deflector, inspired by a Mexican street vendor trick, shoos flies naturally: Sunlight reflecting off the water-filled glass bulb confuses and repels them.

 

De La O Anti-Fly Sphere 3.0, $85, delao.mx.
sound lantern music
Photography by: Kate Mathis

4. Turn on Tunes

 

Connect a few Bluetooth speakers via wifi, and anyone with a smartphone can DJ. This sleek model with surround sound emits a warm, campfire-like glow. Queue up a few songs, or get our playlist.

 

Deganello & Pardo UMA Sound Lantern, $479, store.moma.org
cb2 natural lantern wooden
Photography by: Kate Mathis

5. Light the Way

 

Once the sun sets, create ambience (and prevent twisted ankles) with generous, well-placed lighting. Oversize lanterns lit by flameless LED candles can hang or perch along any path that needs brightening. String battery-powered, outdoor-safe bistro lights between trees for extra illumination sans outlets.

 

CB2 Kini natural-rattan lantern, from $50, cb2.com.

 

Now, see how you can give your backyard a stylish upgrade with these simple tips: 

Advertisement
Advertisement

Don't Miss…