Fireflies, moonlight, and a ceiling of stars: there’s almost nothing more magical than a backyard on a summer evening, which explains why we’ve been eating and socializing outdoors since practically day one. The Greeks created the first “patio,” when they combined a flat, paved walking area with benches and some shade trees. In the Middle Ages, the wealthy indulged in delicacies like swan, peacock, and crane during lengthy outdoor banquets (while their poorer counterparts scrounged for turnips). In the 1800s, the backyard became a social staple for families and their lawn games. And post WWII? Bring on the block party!
We’ve been celebrating friendship and community in the outdoors for centuries, and our get-togethers just keep getting better and better. Perfect the art of outdoor entertaining with these 5 tricks!
1. You can keep bugs at bay—without chemicals.
The scent of rosemary on the hot coals of your grill will ward off mosquitoes, while adding sage to your fire will help keep other insects away. Tonic water also contains alkaloid quinine, a natural mosquito repellent. One more reason to use it as a mixer!
2. You’re smarter than a bag of ice.
Fill up a plethora of small water balloons and freeze them. Use them to keep your drinks cold and then when they melt, have some good ol’ balloon fighting fun! You can pick glasses, too, that keep drinks quite cold. For centuries, beverage aficionados have known that chilled drinks in copper moscow mule mugs are your best bet during hot weather. The cold metal insulates the liquid, deflects heat from the sun, and feels chilly-good against your lips.
3. Your buffet could be better organized.
Set chips and salsa, veggies and dips, and salads near the beginning of the table. End with the more expensive food (like meat and fruit). People tend to fill up their plates before they get to the end of the buffet, so this little trick will help stretch your food—further! Don’t forget to set up a separate drink station so there aren’t any traffic jams and guests don’t have to juggle everything at once. Check out this season’s hottest summer drink recipes too!
4. You don’t have to dine on tables!
Use blankets, quilts, poufs, and pillows to create a luxurious outdoor seating arrangement (and cover up that darn patch of the yard that won’t grow grass)!
5. You can clean up LATER.
Instead of running dirty dishes back and forth to the house, keep a wheelbarrow, wagon, or galvanized metal tub outside to hold guests’ used dishes. You’ll spend less time fretting over the growing pile in the sink, and more time doing what matters—catching up with the people you love!
Outdoor entertaining just got easier! What outdoor hacks do you swear by? Share them below to be featured in our next outdoor entertaining article and shop Kirkland’s complete outdoor entertaining collection.