With summer just around the corner, now is the perfect time to fire up the grill and invite your friends and family to enjoy juicy burgers, cool drinks, and good company at a backyard barbecue. The right setup can take any backyard party from so-so to sizzling, so check out these tips on how to throw a summer barbecue bash your guests will be talking about all summer long.


backyard party setup with grill and seatsBefore the party, make sure you have everything you need. Test your grill well in advance so that you have enough time to get your grill in working order and stock up on propane or charcoal. Put together a shopping list of any decorations, food items, or grilling accessories your party might call for, and ensure that everything is set up and prepared before the fun begins.


Cover your buffet and dining tables with colorful tablecloths and runners. For decoration, you can place fresh-cut flower arrangements in jars, vases, small buckets, or even watering cans. Wrap holiday lights around porch railings and columns for a fun, festive touch. Outdoor torches of all kinds can serve as both elegant decorations and ambient lighting, and citronella torches and candles can even help keep mosquitoes away.


guests at barbecue party with platesDesignate an open serving area where food and utensils will be available, and have plenty of seating available so that your guests can serve themselves and eat wherever they please. Providing bundled-together silverware and napkins will minimize the time it takes for each guest to choose their utensils. It’s best to offer a variety of snacks and sides in addition to what’s on the grill, but keep the drink menu simple—one or two varieties of wine or beer, along with bottled water, should do just fine.


Providing fun outdoor entertainment is as easy as keeping a few Frisbees, Wiffle balls, or croquet mallets on hand; do-it-yourselfers may even want to set up a homemade backyard theater using a projector, PVC framework, and some white cloth. If your backyard includes a home theater or a game court, select a few movies to choose from or let your guests know that they’re welcome to start up a friendly game. You can easily set up a wireless speaker to stream music from a playlist or Internet radio station curated just for the occasion.

These barbecue party ideas are just the beginning. By using this list as a starting place and pairing it with your own resourcefulness, creativity, and careful planning, you’ll be sure to throw the best backyard barbecue on the block.

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