Outdoor Entertaining and Backyard BBQs

Grills, Recipes, Decorations, Games and All the Ingredients for a Great Party

You're hosting a backyard barbecue. Despite the casual nature of being outdoors, your party can range from last-minute informal to a well-choreographed backyard barbecue for hundreds. Either way, there are basics and essentials you'll need to get the party started.

Like, more than a red-checkered disposable tablecloth and a package of turkey dogs.

Cleaning up your outdoor living space; ensuring it's safe; providing patio furniture, a grill, menu, decorations, outdoor lighting, games, music and activities are all potential ingredients for a good time.

Consider this your Party Central for outdoor entertaining.

  • 01 of 09

    Pool Parties

    picture of retro couple in pool
    Picture of smiling retro couple in swimming pool. Photo: Dennis Hamilton | Getty Images/Archive Photos

    Swimming pools and summer parties outdoors are a natural. The fun centers around the pool and cools off your guests on a hot day, putting everyone in a much better mood.

  • 02 of 09

    BBQ Recipes & Menus

    bbq sauce
    BBQ Sauce. Photo © John Mitzewich

    Cooking outside always seems easier and everything seems a bit tastier. Children are perfectly happy with a hot dog cooked over coals and plenty of ketchup, but sometimes it's fun to plan things ahead and make a meal that's extra special.

  • 03 of 09

    Summer Beverages

    ice tea recipes ice tea
    Courtesy of Stash Tea

    Something cool. In a tall, clear glass with crushed ice. Or beer -- cold beer. Everyone has a favorite drink they crave on a hot day. Make sure you know what your guests like to drink -- it's an extra touch that shows you care.

  • 04 of 09

    Outdoor Patio Furniture

    Vintage Wrought Iron Outdoor Pool Lounge Chairs at Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena
    Photo © Lisa Hallett Taylor

    Unless you're planning a retro hippie theme and guests will sit on the deck in lotus positions on hemp rugs -- you're going to need outdoor patio furniture. What's that? You don't have a budget for indoor furniture, much less outdoor furniture? Not to worry: we've scouted around and found garden furniture and resources that will leave you with a few bucks to buy a new pair of flipflops. How about:

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Outdoor Decorations and Ideas

    outdoor table setting outdoor table decorations fourth of july summer
    Flowers from the yard and grandma's appetizer plates make a festive outdoor table setting. Photo © Lisa Hallett Taylor

    Decorating should be one of the most enjoyable parts of throwing an outdoor party. Target your decor to a season, holiday or party theme.

  • 06 of 09

    Themes & Occasions

    Photo © Lisa Hallett Taylor

    For special occasions, like a birthday, or to break the ice and put everyone in a festive mood, why not choose a theme? That way, invitations, menus, decorations, attire, etc. can follow the theme. Entertain these ideas:

  • 07 of 09

    Party Prep

    picture of woman cleaning outdoor patio table
    Photo © Chloe Taylor
  • 08 of 09

    Outdoor Party Games

    beer pong
    Friends play beer pong at a backyard party. Hero Images/Getty Images

    Plan a few activities or games as ice breakers that will get everyone in a relaxed, festive mood.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Outdoor Entertainment

    trex decking family movie night on deck
    Photo courtesy of Trex

    While eating and talking outside are usually festive enough, some occasions call for even more fun; more entertainment. Besides the pool and pool games, what else can you do to keep your guests outside, engaged and entertained?

    • Backyard Theater Basics
    • How to Install Backyard Speakers
    • Buying and Installation Guide to Outdoor Speakers
    • Top 10 Pool Party Songs