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Let's Take this Party Outside

When it seems like every outdoor party is just a collection of ideas the host ripped off from everyone else's Pinterest boards, you need something fresh - something you can call your own - for your next backyard bash. Whether you're hosting a good old-fashioned backyard BBQ or a sophisticated garden party, here are a few tips for successful outdoor entertaining. By embracing a few core ideas, you'll be amazed at what you can do when put your own mark on your al fresco fiesta.

Anything flat is a table: To accommodate more guests, find anything flat that can be a table. Stretch an old door between simple folding tables or even use unfinished lumber for a natural, rustic feel. Instead of worrying about proper chairs, make sure you have enough seat cushions. Any outdoor environment has plenty of places to sit, but are those places comfortable?

How about the lights? You can be pretty sure that at some point, the sun will go down. Simple lights like candles or torches can give any outdoor space a fun, festive atmosphere. String clear lights across your trees, or just put candles in Mason jars. Consider LEDs for safety or luminaries for ambiance. Don't overthink the lighting, it just needs to work so people can keep on enjoying themselves.

Image and sound: Photo montages go great with graduation parties and the right music can make or break the mood at any gathering so make sure you've got the right equipment for your outdoor audio and visual needs. It's time to discover the world of inflatable home screens and outdoor speakers.

Pesky bugs hate moving air:Tired of flying critters hovering around your deviled eggs? Here's a tip: Circulate air with almost any fan and most of your flying party-crashers will stay away.

Multiple Drink Stations: Nobody wants a bottleneck at the bar, and nothing tells people that you've put out a full spread by being able to say, "…but we have mixed drinks over there, and soda over there." Coolers are always good and easy to find, but check a farm supply store for larger metal containers. Small carts and bars are another great way to spread the beverages around.

Homegrown Decor: Stop trying to match your space when your space is the decor as you incorporate branches, leaves and flowers from your backyard and garden into your decorations. How good do you think Maria looked in the Vonn Trapp home when she was wearing a dress made from their drapes? That's how good your backyard will look.

It's Your Party: Put your personal touch on your next backyard gala and you can be the person that people will be copying for years.

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