10 Backyard Entertaining Ideas

This post was updated in May 2022.

Sometimes when the universe blesses you with that perfect, sunny day, it’d be a crime not to invite guests over just to celebrate! Even if you don’t have anything planned in advance, we have a few backyard entertaining ideas for throwing a last-minute party, while still impressing your guests and showing them a good time. Below are some of our favorite backyard entertaining ideas for hosting on the fly!

1. Prep for those unexpected moments

We know that sounds like an oxymoron, but if you love to have people over, make life easier by doing some of the hard work well before you even know you’ll be having people over. Go ahead and keep your extra silverware together in a basket with table linens. Then when the time is right, you can pull them out with the chicest of ease, and no one will know you didn’t perfectly wrap each and every one that day!

Backyard entertaining ideas: Use a card table as a bar

2. A fabulous tablecloth transforms a folding table

Do we really need to explain this one? A plastic folding table is great to have in the basement in case the moment strikes you. Just cover it in your favorite table cloth, and you have the perfect outdoor bar, an elegant dining table, or a party-ready buffet!

Backyard Entertaining ideas: Limoncello spritzer recipe

3. Throw it all in a pretty jar

Our recipe for Limoncello Spritzers requires little more than dumping a few ingredients in a large beverage jar with some ice. Refreshing and virtually effortless!

Backyard Entertaining ideas: towel cabana

4. Anticipate Your Guests Needs

If you’re throwing an outdoor get-together, we guarantee someone will ask you for the following: sunscreen, bug spray, and a towel. Have everything on hand, ready to go, so you don’t have to tear yourself away from lively conversation to go track down the only clean towel in your house … or is that just us?

Backyard Entertaining ideas: Use a basket as a cooler

5. Play it by ear

We didn’t have a cooler on hand, so we improvised with a large basket filled with a trash bag. It worked like a charm and sure looked nicer than a giant piece of plastic! Lesson learned? Don’t be afraid to use unexpected materials for your party.

Backyard Entertaining ideas: Bandanas for napkins are laid-back and playful


6. Add a touch of whimsy

Who says your dinner napkins have to be, well, napkins? We used blue bandanas which are just a dollar a piece at the hardware store!  Perfect when you want to incorporate a new color and you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on new linens.

An internet radio is an easy party solution

7. Pick Your Favorite Internet Radio

No need to spend time compiling your favorite songs from your music library into a playlist. Turn on your favorite Spotify or Apply Music playlist and they’ve done the work for you! And don’t forget to prop your speaker up on a garden stool or side table.

 8. Keep cotton throw blankets on hand

If you live somewhere that gets chilly at night, it’s always nice to have some lightweight throw blankets. Or maybe you don’t have enough seating, people can go picnic-style!

Baskets for hauling supplies outdoors

9. You need a few baskets with handles

Repeat after me, baskets are my friend! Specifically, baskets with sturdy handles so you can easily carry supplies into the backyard without making a dozen trips!

10. Melamine dinnerware and plastic glasses are key!

We can’t say enough how much we love our outdoor tabletop pieces. You’d swear they are actual glass if you just saw them but they’re light and won’t shatter, making them the ideal option for a hostess who loves to take the party outdoors. No chance of breaking and you won’t strain your back carrying everything across the yard!

Browse all of our outdoor furniture and décor for your next backyard party. For more inspiration, read these helpful posts below: 

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Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.


  1. Reply

    Judy M

    July 15, 2014

    Wonderful tips with lots of inspiring ideas. Love the pictures too. Thanks for ALL of your entertaining and decorating ideas!