You want to eat outside this summer, but you don’t like to invite guests into a boring backyard. To make your outdoor space the envy of the neighborhood, our experts offer a dozen unique backyard dining ideas.
These tips will transform your backyard into the perfect place to host a summer party or an intimate family dinner.
Backyard Dining Ideas: Prepare To Party
Before you invite people over, take time to prep your backyard. That way, you’ll be able to enjoy your guests’ company.
1) Evaluate Your Space
Before hosting an event, take a step back and look at your outdoor space with fresh eyes. How much room do you have for entertaining? How many people can you comfortably accommodate?
As you're evaluating your yard, ask yourself a few basic questions to help ensure everyone stays safe.
- Do any tree branches need to be trimmed?
- Is there adequate lighting?
- Are there any other dangerous areas that you need to address?
Completing this task at the start of each outdoor entertainment season can help you avoid any stressful surprises down the road.
2) Choose The Right Outdoor Dining Set
Once you know your yard is safe, clean, and ready to entertain, it's time to pick out the perfect outdoor dining set.
When choosing an outdoor dining room table, the first question you should ask yourself is how many people you need to accommodate.
If you frequently host large gatherings, opt for a bigger table with plenty of seating, such as our Teak & Aluminum Outdoor Expandable Dining Table & 12 Director's Chairs.
Since it's expandable, this table grows and shrinks to accommodate the correct number of guests. If you typically only have a few people over at a time, Outer's Teak & Aluminum Outdoor Dining Table might be a better fit. It's a standard-length table that can comfortably seat six.
When you go with this option, you'll also need to pick up some comfortable outdoor dining chairs for your guests to sit on. The Teak Outdoor Director’s Dining Chairs from Outer are a perfect match. They slide comfortably under the table, look great, and are durable.
3) Set The Mood
After you have all of the appropriate furniture in place, work on setting the mood. You want to make your backyard an inviting space. The backyard dining ideas below can help.
Consider Your Lighting
Lighting is vital when setting the mood for any gathering, and your backyard is no exception. Of course, you’ll want to make sure you have enough light to see and move around safely, but you don't want it to be so bright that it feels like you're dining under a fluorescent fixture.
To find the perfect balance, string some outdoor lights overhead. Look for dimmable ones so you can adjust the brightness to suit your mood.
Add A Rug
An outdoor rug can help ground your dining area and make it feel like an extension of your indoor space. It will also help define the edges of your dining area and keep people from tracking dirt and grass into your house.
The Eco-Friendly Outdoor Rug from Outer is an excellent choice. It's made from recycled plastic bottles, making it tough and durable. This material also helps reduce your environmental footprint and makes your backyard dining area more sustainable.
4) Add Some Shade
Hot summer rays can cook your guests and make them long for air conditioning. To offer relief, add some shade to your backyard dining area.
Umbrellas are the most common form of shade for a good reason. They're easy to set up and take down, and you can adjust them to block the sun from any angle.
If you don't want to deal with the hassle of an umbrella, consider adding a pergola or gazebo to your outdoor space. These structures provide more shade and can make your backyard feel like a luxurious retreat.
Backyard Dining Ideas: Select Your Menu
Now that you’ve prepared your backyard for dining, it's time to think about what your guests will eat. To help you nail your menu, here are three crowd-friendly options to consider.
5) Classic Cookout With A Twist
You can't go wrong with a classic cookout. Grill some quality hot dogs and serve them on buns with all the fixings.
For a twist on the traditional, try grilling veggies, like portobello mushrooms, zucchini, and eggplant, to use as toppings. You can even grill fruit, like pineapple and peaches, so your guests can add a bit of sweetness to their plate.
Of course, you'll also want to have a few classic topping options on hand. Include sauerkraut, chopped onions, ketchup, and mustard for those who want to keep it simple.
Once everything is ready, set it out buffet style. Then, everyone can personalize their meal. You never know who will come up with the best combination of flavors.
6) Potluck Buffet
Just because you’re hosting the shindig doesn’t mean you have to do all the cooking. A potluck is a great way to get everyone involved in the meal.
To make things easier on yourself, choose a theme for the potluck. This will help your guests know what kind of dish to bring. For example, you could do a Mexican-themed potluck and ask everyone to bring their favorite Tex-Mex dish.
Other fun backyard dining ideas to consider are:
- A picnic: Perfect for lighter dishes like fruit salads and sandwiches.
- Backyard barbecue: Great for grilling meats and veggies.
- Tropical paradise: Exotic fruits and refreshing drinks star in this theme.
- Dessert potluck: Cookies, cakes, and pies oh my!
- Breakfast for dinner: Who says you have to eat dinner food at dinner time?
Just make sure to let your guests know what theme you've chosen in advance so they can plan accordingly.
7) Pizza On The Patio
Pizza is always a crowd-pleaser, but it can be challenging to order the right combination of toppings that'll make everyone happy. A great alternative is to have a DIY pizza party where everyone gets to make their own pie.
You'll need a few key ingredients for this backyard dining experience. First, you need quality pizza dough. You can either make your own or buy it from the grocery store. And you’ll want to par-bake the dough.
Next, choose your toppings. Stick with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and pepperoni for a classic pizza.
But feel free to get creative with your sauces and toppings, too. Consider ranch dressing, alfredo sauce, and other fun choices for your guests to slather onto their dough.
Once you have your dough and toppings, set them out in bowls. Each person can create their own pizza masterpiece to cook on the Fire Pit Table or in an outdoor oven.
Backyard Dining Ideas: Entertain In Style
Now that your menu is selected, you can turn your attention to the other details of your party.
8) Keep The Drinks Cool
One of the most important things to consider when throwing an outdoor party is how you're going to keep your drinks cold. No one wants a lukewarm beer or soda on a hot day.
If you have enough space, consider filling up a kiddie pool with ice and setting your drinks inside. Or, you can use a large cooler or bin. Fill it with ice, and then put your drinks inside.
There are also stand-alone ice makers you can purchase. Set one of these up near your drink station, and your guests will be able to help themselves to a cold drink all night long.
9) Play Some Games
Our expert backyard dining ideas can help you serve the perfect meal to your guests, but your guests aren't going to spend their entire time at your home eating. They’ll also want to socialize and have some fun.
That's why it's essential to have some backyard games set up for your guests. Games like horseshoes, bocce ball, and cornhole are always popular choices.
You could also set up a makeshift volleyball or badminton net. Just be sure to clear the area of any obstacles that could get in the way.
10) Turn Up The Tunes
No party is complete without some good music. But you don't want your speakers taking up valuable space on your outdoor dining table.
Instead, consider setting up a Bluetooth speaker system. This allows you to keep the music going all night long without sacrificing your valuable table space.
Enjoy Your Guests All Summer Long
With our backyard dining ideas, you can throw the perfect summertime party. The Teak & Aluminum Outdoor Dining Table makes an excellent place for your guests to enjoy a good meal or simply sit and talk.
So, invite your friends over and enjoy a summer meal in the comfort of your backyard. After all, there's no better way to enjoy the warm weather than by dining al fresco!