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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 this week for my family. 

Entertaining Family

Entertaining is my passion. 

And I love sharing my entertaining ideas with you. If I can inspire just one of you to entertain in your 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.  

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 entertaining favorites, click here.

Why did I host a party for our family on a Tuesday night?

We are still “staying at home” and after three months I am trying to find ways to keep myself entertained at home. Planning a dinner party is my favorite thing to do and my favorite guests are my family. So this was exactly what I needed.

Finding the Right Location

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 rarely 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.

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 this 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. Click on any photo to find more information.


Picking a Theme

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 is so important and I can’t even begin to tell you much I love these lights. 

Over the years. I have accumulated five strings of the LED Outdoor Hanging Lights. I have two different lengths, 24′ and 48′. I highly encourage you to buy a longer length. I bought most of my lights at Costco but you can also find them here.

I do need to share something I  just recently discovered.  It is a dimmer for outdoor lights

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. 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.

This is exactly the theme and feeling I wanted to achieve.

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 painters 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 to go inside these trays!

Setting the Table

Creating the Floral Centerpieces

I love arranging flowers but I do have to admit that I always like simple and inexpensive. Normally I just use grocery store flowers but I was able to get these gorgeous white hydrangeas from Dollar Hydrangea. All I did was order them online and they are shipped straight from the farm to your home.

These hydrangeas always arrive fresh. The hydrangeas arrived on Friday so I put them in water and stuck them in our wine cellar. They were still perfect to arrange on Tuesday.  

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 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. If you would like to purchase  personalized place cards, my daughter in law makes them and you can finid them here.

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. Or click on any of the photos below.

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 the 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

See the white lamp on the brick around the tree? That’s our secret lamp to keeping the bugs away.

On Sunday I will share another blog post about the final details of the party. It includes the menu, recipes, and one thing that didn’t work. (The concept worked but there were circumstances that led to a failure. I will be trying them again though.)

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

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


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…

31 Responses

  1. Magical is certainly the right word!
    I see you use your outdoor lights strung quite a bit. Would you consider leaving them outside all summer?

  2. So lovely! I also adore dinning outside. Sadly I have a super tiny yard and not enough room for a dining set up. Next house!!!

    1. I would love some more info on how your pit fire works? I’m from Aus and have not seen this concept but it looks very cool! Do you burn a fuel in there? Is it warm? Or just for effect? Sorry forgot my manners with curiosity. Your blog is amazing, actually my fav, you do the things I wish I had the energy to do! Jo

  3. It is soo neat to see your love of making things special. In my circles I find it quite rare for someone to go the extra mile to make things nice. I think a beautiful setting is all part of the dining experience and makes it even more special.

    I have always talked about eating in different locations in ones house but I need to do the same outside. This post made me think of a place in our backyard that would be lovely. Right next to our waterfall. ♥

  4. What a exquisite magical dinner party!
    Wow!! Thanks for sharing . You really are an inspiration!

  5. You have inspired me!!!! Thanks so much for sharing your backyard entertaining tips and I look forward to the next post as well. I think the lights take the cake!!!

  6. Just beautiful!!! I love how large your yard is, how you use it, and all the various possibilities!!! Truly blessed!! I’ll be purchasing some of those candles and the mosquito repeller. Thanks for sharing!! I’d love to see how the lights are attached to the back of the tree!😄

  7. I can definitely tell that entertaining is your passion, and you are excellent at it. Thank you for always inspiring. And I love those metal trays.

    1. Thank you so much, Miche! That is such a compliment and I so appreciate you being here 🙂

  8. Loved this post. So fun, casual, beautiful. The metal trays caught my eye. They fit perfectly with your theme. I make all of my own floral arrangements as well.

  9. WoW … just came across this blog post. Everything looks magical. I, too, love to entertain outdoors and now have some new ideas. Thank you!!

  10. I am so glad I found your site. I love all your ideas and decorating. Maybe when winter leaves and the snow is gone, I will try something like that as well. Probably just be for my husband and I, unless COVID suddenly decides to leave. We can hope.

    1. I hear you MaryLou. I set a lot of tables for 2 these days. I am so happy that you are enjoying the site and all that I have to share. Have a great week!

  11. I can’t wait until it gets warm enough to entertain outside! We have lights crisscrossed over a brick patio also and it makes it magical. I love your posts and I try to emulate what you do. You inspire me to want to try new things. It lifts my spirits! Thank you 😊

    1. That sounds like an amazing space Linda. Isn’t it incredible how something as easy as string lights can turn something basic into something magical! Thank you for your kind words. I am so happy that you enjoy what I share. Have a great day!

  12. So pretty. I have a question regarding how to get power to the tree that far from the house. Do you have wiring underground from the house to the tree? What is a no voltage wire? I have wanted to do this for years and wonder about the process of getting power from the house to the trees.

    So very pretty. Questions? How do you get your ferns to be so large and lush? Next quesstion – wjat

    so [

    1. Jean, I ran an extension cord off of the flat part of my roof into the tree. Perhaps not best recommended by an electrician 🙂 I am having it redone soon, so stay tuned for professional DIY guidance on how to achieve lighted trees!

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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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