Living in the south, spending time in the backyard is a way of life. We grow food in the sunny area of the backyard during the summer then harvest the food at the peak of freshness and move over to a shady area of the backyard to prepare and eat our homegrown bounty. Family and friends also enjoy this summertime way of life and often bypass the front door and just come around the house to the backyard when they visit, which leads to several impromptu (as well as planed) backyard entertainment opportunities. Using these easy DIY backyard entertainment ideas have helped me pull together quick meals in stunning outdoor style with very little effort or expense.
Keep the Table Ready
Keep a picnic table ready for meals and inviting to guests by covering it with a colorful, waterproof vinyl tablecloth. Top the tablecloth with a vase or two of fresh cut flowers from the flower garden. I recycle chipped flowers vases, pitchers and glasses for use as outdoor flower vases and leave the make-shift vases on the picnic table all summer for beauty and to prevent the table covering from blowing away during rain storms.
Candle Light Dinning
Candle light dinning is always a special treat and it serves double duty for southern backyard entertaining after dark. Insect repellent candles ( citronella ) are needed after dark in the south and to dress up the utilitarian candles and make them suitable for backyard entertaining décor, place them inside of recycled birdcages and suspend them from nearby trees to surround the perimeter of the backyard living space. Citronella also comes in tikki torch style, but not the best choice when children are running around.
Recycled birdcages can also be placed on the outdoor table and have non-citronella (citronella candles have a strong smell) candles burning to illuminate the food. If you have a birdbath in the outdoor space, place a few floating candles and fresh flower heads in the water for décor.
Keeping everything handy is key for quick and easy backyard entertaining, so if you don’t have an outdoor kitchen for keeping eating utensils handy, use this storage trick. Recycle a couple of coolers to use as air tight storage to keep things like plates, cups, napkins and the like inside of and tuck the cooler(s) under the picnic table covered with a waterproof covering when not in use. All the dining necessities stay handy, clean and dry. Keep a gallon jug of clean water and a couple of old towels in the cooler too for quick cleanups.
Items that must be kept inside the house and brought out to the backyard entertainment space can be done with ease and southern flair with this idea – Place a clean piece of wood on top of a wheelbarrow and use it to transport items out (then back in) of the house. The flat-topped wheelbarrow can also be used as a convenient outdoor sideboard during dinner service if needed.
My Own Experience