Outdoor Entertaining Buying Guide

Nothing says summer quite like an outdoor party. Except for the parts of the country that are warm year-round (southern California, I'm looking at you), summer is a time to move your gatherings outside after being stuck indoors for months of long, dark winter days. It doesn't matter if you're barbecuing for your extended family, throwing a pool party for the neighborhood kids, or just enjoying your breakfast and newspaper on the porch on a Sunday; you'll need a few things to make the experience more enjoyable. After all, if you're lugging lots of things back and forth to your outdoor space, you don't want them to be heavy. Furthermore, if you spend a lot of your outdoor time in sandals or barefoot, breakable glassware can be dangerous. Make sure you have everything you need to make your guests comfortable, like colorful lights. Have fun!

Create a Space

The best part about creating an outdoor space is that your options are almost endless!  You can use your imagination to create something extraordinary and unique to your lifestyle.  You will want to begin by brainstorming what is it that you absolutely have to have, and then start to think about how you can make it happen; some people find this process to be a little bit overwhelming, in which case hiring a landscape architect may be worthwhile. 

Outdoor Flooring

This is the most basic part of your deck or patio, and depending on your wallet, you are given a wide variety of options to choose from! 

Outdoor Shelter

Having a space to hide from the sun will be important to your guests.  This is also a great way to protect yourself from those unexpected sun showers!   

The Bar Scene

When hosting outdoors, keep in mind that guests need a place to hang out for a few minutes. What better place for your friends and family to chat and enjoy a few drinks than with an outdoor bar? These bars are usually set up a couple of feet from the patio, gazebo, or pool, and are easily customized with Outdoor Furniture Your choice in furniture will largely depend upon the number of people that you plan on entertaining, as well as your budget.  At a minimum, you will need tables, chairs, and maybe even some folding trays to put food and drinks on. You will want to check out our Guide to Outdoor Furniture for even more details, but here are some recommendations to get you started! 

Outdoor Cooking

If you are planning on using your outdoor area for cooking, you will want to have ample space for organization and meal preparation.  And, of course, it is absolutely worth taking the time to research and find a quality grill.  One that has side burners will allow for greater cooking versatility; remember that you can always cover them when they are not being used so you'll have more space! Check out our Guide to Grills to find out all that there is to know about making this big grilling purchase.

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry

Any party needs snacks, beverages, and fun.  Serve them up in style with some of these choices! 

Related Guides

Check out some of our other buying guides for some more inspiration. * Barbecue Tools: For the perfect barbecue, every time. * Labor Day Guide: Labor Day is a huge day for outdoor entertainment; make sure you're prepared. * Memorial Day: Memorial Day is also spent outside, so check out these tips before the big party! * Outdoor and Gardens: If you're entertaining outside, your garden will need to be up to par. * Outdoor Dining: A good resource for outdoor dinner parties. * Outdoor Furniture: Find out which furniture is best for your outdoor area. * Water Sports: If you have a pool, you'll want these items.