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Tips to Entertaining in Your Own Backyard

Entertaining is my passion. I truly believe entertaining can be inexpensive and easy to do, but also look amazing! Today I am sharing a party I hosted for our family that you can host in your own backyard too!

Entertaining Family

I love sharing my entertaining ideas with you. As you know, I hosted an intimate Summer Fun Outdoor Party this weekend in our California backyard. You all were so wonderful to follow along with me in my stories as I created the party. I thought it might be fun today to share another backyard party I hosted for our family. If I can inspire just one of you to entertain in your own backyard with this blog post, then my day has been made.

Entertaining in the Backyard

To me, the most important thing about entertaining is that it is inexpensive and easy to do. I never order flowers from a florist, as I arrange my own (often using grocery store flowers.) I always try to use items I already own and I always shop flea markets for things I can use to entertain.

My goal for every party is to create an awesome setting that makes every guest feel special. If possible, I try to create a backyard oasis for my dinner parties.

Finding the Perfect Location for Dinner

I  have a lot of outdoor entertaining “tools” that I use for my parties. I have put together a collection of all of these items that are affordable and accessible. To find all of my outdoor entertaining favorites, click here.

The funny thing about this party is that I hosted it for our family on a Tuesday night.

We were still “staying at home” and after three months I am trying to find ways to keep myself entertained at home, I hosted another party.

Planning a dinner party is my favorite thing to do and my favorite guests are my family. So I planned a summer dinner party for my family in our own backyard.

Finding the Right Location in Your Own Backyard

One of the most interesting things about this party is the location.

I told my husband I wanted to do something in the backyard and he suggested this location. 

The entire time I was starring at this space all I could think was “why haven’t I thought of this before”?

This area by our pool has always been a seldom-used sitting area. And a storage spot for the salt used for our pool. Haha.

Finding the Location

Dave and I moved the furniture and put our old teak table in this spot. A quick cleaning and I knew we had found the perfect location.

By the way, this is the same teak table I used for our dinner party this past weekend.

Finding the Perfect Location

Ninety-nine percent of our outdoor dinners are on our back patio that is adjacent to our home. Selecting a location all the way in the back of our yard, near the pool and under the tree, was a fun surprise. 

Is there somewhere in your backyard where you could host a dinner party that is fun and different? In the past, I have hosted dinner parties in the middle of our yard and on the other side of the pool

I have to admit that after finding this spot, I found three more unexpected places where I want to host a dinner party in our yard.

We bought tour teak furniture thirty years ago in Bali. I promise that you don’t have to go to Bali to find quality but affordable teak furniture. See the teak tables I have listed below.

Picking a Theme for Your Backyard Party

When I plan a party I think the two most important tasks are finding the right location and picking a theme. 

I knew I wanted to use a rustic theme and set a table to highlight the tree and greenery in this setting. So I set out to create a place where we could enjoy the outdoors in a casual but fun way.

Lighting in Your Own Backyard

Lighting is so important and I can’t even begin to tell you much I love to add lighting to our dinner parties.

(This party was last summer in our backyard and we have since added permanent hanging lights from AQ Lighting. They are so amazing!)

Over the years. I have accumulated five strings of the LED Outdoor Hanging Lights. I have used them to hang two different lengths, 24′ and 48′.

Hanging the Lights

The secret to hanging lights is zip ties. I used the ties to attach the lights to the fence and the tree. If you want to hang lights to a tree it is easiest to either string them around the trunk or screw in a small hook into the trunk. (Adding a screw into a healthy tree shouldn’t harm it. If the tree is damaged or weak, it is not recommended.)

We have a non-voltage wire that runs up the back of our tree trunk so I attached the lights to the wire with zip ties.

Hanging the Lights Above the Table

I strung the lights fairly low on purpose because I wanted to create an intimate dining area and also wanted the lights to show up in my photos. Ha! I strung them high enough so that everyone could sit comfortably but my tall family did have to duck a bit to sit down. I was perfectly fine with that. My boys? Not so much.

This is exactly the theme and feeling I wanted to achieve and you can do the same in your own backyard.

Entertaining in Your Backyard

Setting the Table

I mentioned that I wanted a rustic theme so I decided to use butcher paper as my “tablecloth”. It is incredibly cheap and looks amazing. 

If I had more time I would have stenciled the butcher paper. Maybe next time!

All I did was cut two strips of paper and tape them with painter’s tape to the underside of the table.

Adding the Tablecloth

Next, I added vintage metal trays to use as chargers on the table. I saw these metal trays at the Rose Bowl Flea market many years ago and I bought all five of the ones they had. I searched for two years to find more with no luck. Then one day I walked into a vintage flea market and there was a huge stack of them! I now own eight and even though they are very rustic, I love them.

Setting the Table

I added round woven placemats. One of these days I am going to make some square ones go inside these trays!

Setting the Table

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Creating the Floral Centerpieces

I love arranging flowers but I do have to admit that I always like simple and inexpensive. I found these hydrangeas at the grocery store and they look great!

Flower Decorating

I didn’t have any greenery for the arrangements so I walked around our yard and cut whatever I thought would look good.

When I arrange flowers I always start with the greens. I filled each of these corrugated zinc pots with the cuttings from my yard.

Decorating with Flowers

Next, I added the hydrangeas and the arrangements were done. I made the centerpieces very low so that we could all enjoy great conversation at dinner.

Flower Arranging with Hydrangeas

I made five arrangements and then realized I need more room on the table for glasses and candles. So I ended up using only three. 

Making the Centerpieces

Adding the Tableware

Over the years I have collected a lot of vintage dining plates at flea markets and estate sales. I love these green plates so much and found these for $5.00 each at a vintage flea market.

The plates are Royal Staffordshire Avondale and I love the sage green color! (They are available here.) I also love these plates. With my floral napkins, they were perfect.

I use ball jars every single day and I love how they look with vintage china. Plus they are so inexpensive! I also opted to put the silverware in the ball jar water glasses for a fun touch.

Setting a Unique Rustic Table

Many of you have seen the place card name cutouts that I make with my Cricut Maker Machine. I made some new ones in sage green and used a different font. Aren’t they awesome?

Cutting Names on the Cricut

They are so easy to make and I love how they came out.

Cutting Placecards with the Cricut

Once the table was set I knew my vision had come true!

Setting the Table for Dinner

If you are looking for entertaining supplies, check out all of these items from Amazon Home.

The only thing I had left to do was to make the entire meal! 

But I wasn’t worried because my daughter-in-law Charlotte is an amazing cook and we had so much fun cooking dinner together. 

Click here to see the menu and recipes.

Entertaining in Your Backyard

I knew once it got dark this was going to be the perfect location for a magical dinner party.

Entertaining in the Backyard

I added lots of candles to the table, including citronella candles to keep the bugs away. 

Entertaining in the Backyard 13

Originally I had told everyone that we would dine at 7:30. Of course, it wasn’t even close to being dark so we moved it back to 8:45.

Entertaining in the Backyard 14

 As it started getting darker, I lit the fire pit adjacent to our table. We put this firepit in when we added the pool about 14 years ago. I filled it with small lava rocks and four inches of firepit cut glass. The glass matches the glass tile in our pool. I think this was the start of my obsession with collecting sea glass!

Dining by the Fire

Isn’t this the perfect intimate backyard oasis?

Dining in the Backyard

As you can see, the setting was absolutely incredible. It was truly a magical evening.

I hope you are thinking about a location in your yard you can set up a magical table for dinner.

Entertaining in Your Backyard

Links to Items Seen in This Post

Pin the image below to your Entertaining or Outdoor boards on Pinterest (just click the Pin button in the top left corner). You can also follow along with me on Pinterest!

How to Entertain in Your Backyard

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about leslie

ABOUT LESLIE

Welcome to My 100 Year Old Home. I started my blog so I could share my passion for entertaining, décor, cooking, and crafts. You will find all this and more right here. Read more…

35 Responses

  1. I clicked on your white lamp (to keep mosquitoes at bay) & another lamp came up—not this one! Please advise!

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I'm Leslie,
Welcome to My 100 Year Old Home

I started my blog so I could share my passion for entertaining, décor, cooking, and crafts. You will find all this and more right here.

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