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Trendy Tricks For Stunning Summer Parties With Minimal Effort

If you want to create unforgettable experiences with your family and friends, look no further than these easy and trending tips to transform your own backyard into the ultimate place for a summer bash. Entertaining guests at home is the easiest way to say goodbye to noisy, crowded public parks and overpriced venues.

A group of people sitting on a picnic blanket in a garden, enjoying food and drinks around a low table, with colorful bunting in the background.

Whether your outdoor space is a tiny patio or a comfortable lawn, hosting summer events at home is an effortless way to entertain your guests. But if your outdoor space could use some tender love and care, read on for the effortless decor tips, super-simple menu items and easy entertainment choices that will make throwing summer parties as easy as walking out your back door.

These simple tips are all you need for a memorable summer event. Let’s get started!

Effortless Decor

Don’t feel like you have to purchase a truckload of new furniture before you can host a Father’s Day party or graduation bash. In fact, a simple DIY balloon arch can go a long way in setting the mood for your gathering, no matter what the occasion. If you want to update your decor, there’s no need to get lost in hours of endless research, just follow these tips to create an inviting outdoor entertaining area.

Organic and Modern

If mixing and matching different pieces sounds like a headache, then choose furniture made out of natural materials, like wooden tables and stone flower pots, that will blend seamlessly with any outdoor setting. This trend is all about creating a comforting aesthetic through rustic earth elements. Look for pieces featuring off-white, light brown and tan for a color palette that looks good all year.

DIY Ambiance

Embrace sustainability by repurposing materials you already own. Lanterns made from old tin cans are both affordable and eco-friendly. Add a coat of sage green spray paint before displaying them on a table or hanging them in your outdoor space. If you live near a beach, collect driftwood and shells next time you stop by. You can create a beautiful decoration without too much effort, simply by wrapping the treasures with wire or threading on a string so they hang down from a horizontal piece of driftwood.

Bright Colors and Jewel Tones

All you need to do to make your space glow is add a fresh coat of paint. If you have existing structures in your backyard, like fences, sheds or flowerpots, consider whether they might benefit from a mini-makeover. 

Ruby, sapphire, and emerald tones are trending colors for lively and inviting areas. It’s easy to knock out a bunch of painting projects over the weekend. Once you’re done, you’ll have transformed your space without investing time and money into major renovations.

A woman serves skewered food to friends at an outdoor gathering. The group is sitting around a table with drinks and decorations in the background.

Create the Perfect Menu

At a loss for what to feed your guests? This summer, focus on ingredients that connect to the natural setting around you.

Edible Gardens

Starting an edible garden isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. Herbs, tomatoes and edible flowers are all relatively easy plants for beginners to grow. They’ll add beauty, help you connect with nature and benefit your local pollinators.

A thriving herb garden will let you enjoy mint and basil all summer long at a fraction of grocery store prices. Plus, you’ll never have to worry about your herbs going bad before you can use them.

Luke Steffensmeier, of the South Carolina-based company Reedy River Landscapes, describes himself as “particularly passionate” about edible gardens. “Garden dining experiences offer both aesthetics and functionality,” Steffensmeier explains. “Being able to pick fresh basil or mint right from your seat, then add it to your drink, turns a typical meal into a culinary journey.” 

Simple Grilling

What is it about the BBQ? Food just tastes better when it’s a little bit charred. From grilled peaches to flank steak, there are many ways to get the most out of your grill. 

When planning your grilling menu, don’t forget to balance flavors and textures. Hearty, roasted main dishes go perfectly with crisp salads starring garden-picked herbs and vegetables. A simple side salad can be thrown together easily, making it the perfect counterpart to a burger or steak. 

Rice is also a good option to pair with grilled dishes – its neutral taste and soft, fluffy texture perfectly complements the richness and the smokiness of grilled food. My copycat Longhorn Steakhouse rice pilaf recipe is always a hit whenever I host a backyard barbecue!

Charcuterie Board

Charcuterie boards are a trendy way to serve your guests a variety of snacks at a 4th of July party or anytime during summer. What’s great about these boards is that they’re inexpensive to make, easy to set up, and convenient to serve.

They provide an assortment of meats, cheeses, fruits, nuts, and spreads, which allows guests to customize their bites and mingle more during the gathering. If you’re expecting a bigger number of guests, simply double or triple your ingredients and make a charcuterie table instead.

For summer parties, it’s important to choose ingredients that can withstand the heat and remain fresh throughout the day. Opt for sturdy ingredients like hard cheeses, cured meats, summer berries, and pickled vegetables because they can endure warmer temperatures without wilting or spoiling.

Additionally, use in-season fruits and vegetables to save money and to feel the freshness of summertime through food. My beach charcuterie board is perfect for the season – it’s my family’s go-to whenever we have summer gatherings.

Quick and Easy Finger Food 

A summer party is the perfect time to serve finger food and quick snacks to your guests. These are easy to prepare in batches and will cater to both adults and kids.

Some of my favorite snacks to serve at summer gatherings include pizza rolls, tuna pickle boats, and my other 5-minute snacks.  Chips, bread sticks, and veggie slices dipped in my onion dip, guacamole, or copycat Lawson’s chip dip are also a crowd favorite. If you are expecting plenty of kids, try making birthday cake rice krispie treat pops, unicorn horn treats, and other kid’s birthday party finger food.

Don’t forget dessert – my 3-ingredient peanut butter cookies and chocolate sage ice cream are great for satisfying any sweet tooth! By offering finger food, you can make sure that everyone has a happy tummy while having fun under the summer sun. Now let’s move on to the drinks!

Five people smiling and drinking from mason jars with straws at an outdoor gathering.

Smart Beverage Choices

Staying hydrated is key when you’re in the sun. Plan ahead so you aren’t constantly running to the kitchen to refill water glasses. Crafting one or two signature drinks will make even a last-minute gathering feel like an event. Plus, you’ll avoid the effort and expense of stocking a full bar. 

To truly kick your bartending game up a notch, incorporate vibrant colors and jewel tones into your drinks. Eye-catching additions such as orange slices, star fruit or cucumber slices will make your drinks pop. Or, consider adding edible flowers like pansies and squash blossoms. You can also add dried flowers in a store that sells cocktail ingredients.

For bonus points, provide your guests with alcoholic and non-alcoholic choices. Electric lemonade, for example, is a tangy and refreshing drink featuring vodka and blue curaçao. It’ll still be just as zingy without the alcohol, and the different colors will be an easy visual indicator for your guests as to which is which. Here are other refreshing drinks you can enjoy at summer parties:

Smoothies

Smoothies are a great way to cool down and stay hydrated when the weather is warm. My Bahama Mama tropical smoothie is a great option for those who have a sweet tooth. You only need coconut milk, white chocolate, strawberries, and pineapple to make this refreshing smoothie!

Cold Brew Coffee

Everyone enjoys coffee all year round. But to beat the heat during summertime, serve iced coffee to your guests. Everyone will appreciate a delicious cup of cold brew – add some cinnamon then top with whipped cream for a delicious twist. My copycat recipes of Chick-Fil-A iced coffee and Starbucks iced Americano are also great caffeine options to keep your guests refreshed at your summer party.

Matcha

Not a fan of coffee? Go for the trendy matcha tea! Whether served hot or iced, matcha provides a refreshing boost of energy. Its vibrant green color and earthy flavor complement fresh summer dishes, making it a great choice for staying cool and revitalized on hot days. If you need some ideas, take inspiration from the most popular Starbucks green tea drinks.

Sangria

Sangria is one of the best alcoholic beverages that you can enjoy at summer parties. I like to add a variety of fruits to my homemade sangria for better color and for complexity and depth of flavor. I usually use citrus fruits (orange, lemon, or lime), berries (blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries), apples, peaches, and pears and add them two hours before serving for best results.

A child in a red shirt and grey shorts tends to a small campfire with adults nearby. Tents with string lights are in the background, set in a wooded area during twilight.

Entertainment Made Easy

Replace indoor board games and puzzles with outdoor summer entertainment. Whether you’re challenging your friends to a cornhole tournament or relaxing under the stars with a movie night, there are many effortless options to create summer fun. 

“Embracing my backyard has helped me realize that indoor comforts can be extended outdoors,” says Steffensmeier. “The possibilities are endless.”

Lawn games like cornhole, bocce ball, spike ball, and other fun family reunion games are easy to set up and can be surprisingly fun, even for adults. If you have trees in your backyard, setting up a slackline is an exciting way to challenge your guests’ sense of balance. Before searching for lawn games, check with your guests to see what they already own and are willing to lend for the party.

Investing in or renting an outdoor projector is a great way to enjoy your backyard after the sun goes down. Gather your friends to watch the big game or enjoy a night of rom-coms. Make it BYOB, or Bring Your Own Blanket, for the ultimate cozy atmosphere. 

Can’t find a projector? Bring people together for a night of stargazing right in your backyard. You can enjoy delicious snacks, share stories, and just have some relaxing fun.

Finally, if you’re looking for things to do with kids, keep them entertained by bringing out their favorite summer books for kids – use a flashlight and make them feel that “camping vibe.” Comfy pillows, sleeping bags and picnic blankets set the stage for a relaxed night under the stars.

Sunny Days and Unforgettable Nights

Forget the fuss of group reservations or competing with crowds for the best spots in parks and beaches. Hosting guests in your backyard makes entertaining easy. If you’re a social butterfly looking to embrace the summer heat, consider this the sign you’ve been waiting for. 

And even after the party’s done, your backyard will still be there for you the next day: as a place to relax, unwind and connect with nature. As Steffensmeier puts it, “Parties are awesome, but the goal is to ensure that the backyard isn’t just a place for parties. With the right touches, it can become a multi-use oasis.”

Portions of this article originally appeared on Food Drink Life.

Sammantha Andi

Tuesday 25th of June 2024

Helpful tips for setting up outdoor games. I loved the cornhole idea!

Easy Homemade Life

Wednesday 26th of June 2024

I'm glad you loved it, Samamantha. Thank you for the feedback!

Zane

Monday 24th of June 2024

Finger food and charcuterie boards are usually my go-to when it comes to summer parties because they're really effortless!

Easy Homemade Life

Wednesday 26th of June 2024

Me too, Zane! Thank you for visiting the post.

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