Alfresco Entertaining Made Easy

Some of summer’s favorite moments happen right in your backyard: The sounds of children running around, the smells of fresh-cut grass and newly planted flowers, and the gathering of family and friends make the season one to take full advantage of after the chilly winter and brisk spring months.

The best way to bring everyone together in the summer is to entertain outdoors. Read on for tips and tricks to make your next al fresco soiree the best one yet:

Build an atmosphere

Your patio and backyard are an extension of your home, so don’t limit your creativity to the indoors. One of the best ways to create the perfect summer atmosphere is to string paper lanterns or light bulbs across your deck or around
the railings. That way, you won’t have to resort to a harsh spotlight or overhead lighting. Keep in mind when you’re outdoor furniture shopping that while you want your chairs to be stylish, you also want to make sure they provide a comfy seat. Many outdoor furniture cushions are made from a rough material – so get creative with indoor cushions that are more comfortable instead. You can always bring them inside if a summer rain hits. You want your furniture to not only look inviting, but serve a functional purpose. Rather than keeping an outdoor cooler sitting in the corner, consider making a DIY picnic table with cooler storage or building a wooden crate for your existing cooler. Create space and balance by utilizing the corners of your deck, as well, with an accent plant, side table, or a rustic bar cart.

Keep your guests full and happy

Create a simple and refreshing summer appetizer and drinks menu to keep your guests content and the party going well into the evening. When you’re ready to get started on your menu, a high-performance blender, such as a Vitamix, is a must-have. That way, you can easily whip up a batch of kid-friendly smoothies. To make a cucumber melon smoothie, simply blend chunks of cucumber, grapes, cantaloupe and honeydew. For the perfect 21+ happy hour, incorporate refreshing pineapple and treat your guests to piña coladas.

Prep, don’t stress

By preparing for guests ahead of time, you’ll be relaxed and ready to entertain. Keep a decorative, weatherproof crate or wooden bin with a secure lid on the edge of your deck. That way, kids can keep all of their toys in one place and clean up quickly when guests arrive. You can even use multiple crates and have them handy for extra bench seating. Create a list of your grocery needs so you’re not overwhelmed in the store. Dividing your list by appetizers, main courses, and desserts will help you navigate the store. Make fresh produce last longer by storing it in the fridge rather than a fruit bowl or creating ready-to-use plastic bags of frozen fruits for your smoothies.

Invite your family and friends and let the summer fun begin!

Content courtesy of Vitamix.

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