The sun is out and the scent of summer is near. It’s time to take the party outside by hosting a backyard bash! From inviting guests and planning the menu, to setting the table and adding decorations, make your next outdoor party a breeze with these outdoor entertaining ideas.

We’ve included everything from yard prep, to flowers and decorations to make sure you throw your next backyard party like a pro!

1. Comfy seating, and lots of it

Cover your chairs, sofas, and benches with cushions and pillows for seating that is extra comfortable. Throw a few pillows on the grass, set up chairs in clusters, and make sure there is more than plenty of seating available for guests to move around and mingle.

2. Throws and blankets

Keep your guests cozy all night long by having throws and blankets available for use when the sun goes down.

3. Choose an easy to clean tablecloth

Worried about spilling drinks or squirts of ketchup flying onto your nice, clean tablecloth? Cut out a large piece of brown craft paper to cover your table, for a tablecloth you can crumple up and toss out after the party is over.

4. Have no tablecloth at all

Skip the tablecloth altogether for the easiest of table settings.

5. Put up a canopy or umbrella for shade

Cover your guests, food, and drinks from the heat by setting up a canopy or opening an umbrella for shade. Awnings, screens, and coverings also define space and add a touch of decoration for outdoor entertaining.

6. Avoid the midday heat

Plan your party for an early brunch or late afternoon dinner to avoid being outside during the hottest part of the day.

7. Prep your yard

Mow your lawn, trim your trees, and prune your bushes to make sure your lawn is prepared for guests. If you don’t want to take on this task by yourself, hire a professional landscaper to take care of the work for you!

8. Set up multiple tables

Encourage conversation and mingling by setting up multiple tables on your patio or lawn. This will give you extra room for food and drinks, while allowing your guests to walk around and socialize.

9. Stay away from your fine china

There’s no need to impress your guests with your most expensive dishware for a backyard party. Use paper or plastic dishes and glasses that can be easily disposed of or cleaned up.

10. Serve buffet style

Don’t worry about serving up plates or passing food around the table, make a buffet table for your party food. This way guests can serve their own desired portions and easily go back for seconds!

11. Make it a potluck

A potluck is the perfect way to have a ton of food without having to do all of the cooking and preparation on your own. Assign different guests to different menu items to get an assortment of salads, entrees, and desserts!

12. Have coolers and ice for drinks

Keep your drinks cold all day long by storing your sodas in coolers and cocktail mixers on ice.

13. Don’t forget extra water

Water can be easily forgotten as a drink option with all of the fun fruity spritzers and beverages that you can make for a party. Keep your guests hydrated on a summer day with plenty of bottle or ice water around.

14. Follow the two-hour serving rule

While you wait for guests to arrive and begin to set out all of the food, stick to the two-hour serving rule. Discard food that has been on the buffet table for two hours or more. On warmer days, discard food after one hour.

15. Use rolling carts

Display food and drinks on multiple carts that can be moved around. Bar carts and rolling carts are easy options to avoid groups of people crowding around one area. Don’t forget the Margarita Bar!

16. Set up lawn games ahead of time

Entertain your guests with outdoor lawn games. Try bocce ball, horseshoes, or cornhole for a fun backyard DIY game!

17. Create a theme for your decorations

Choose a theme for your outdoor party to make decorating easier. Nautical, tropical, or a colorful fiesta, setting a theme will help you mix and match the right décor items.

18. Mix in fresh flowers

Flowers are an easy (if not the easiest) way to decorate a party. Fill your patio or deck with fresh flowers. You can hang them in pots, display them in vases, or float buds in a water dish.

19. String lights

Light up your backyard with decorative string lights. Wrap them around railings or hang them along the side of your roof to add a twinkle to the night.

20. Keep pests away with candles

Mosquitoes and bugs can ruin an outdoor party. Light citronella candles or add citronella fuel to your TIKI torches for a pest free night.

21. Put out extra sunscreen and bug spray

Help your guests shield from the sun and repel bugs by providing bottles of sunscreen and cans of bug spray.

22. Use battery-operated candles

Avoid fire and flames entirely by using battery-operated candles for soft lighting and a calming outdoor atmosphere.

23. Designate a fire pit area

A fire pit is a great addition to an outdoor party. As the sun disappears, light a fire to stay warm, and to roast marshmallows!

24. Make a playlist of your favorite music

Maintain the mood of your backyard party by playing a mix of your favorite songs through a speaker. Choose songs with a beat for a lively group of people, or turn it down with background music for a quieter night.

25. Warm up with a drink at the end of the night

Complete the night with a hot chocolate or coffee station. A bit of warmth will end your shindig on a high note!

Do you have any tips for easy outdoor entertaining? Share your ideas with us in the comments!