By Hannah West
All it takes to make summer summer is a backyard, sunshine, refreshing drinks, and water to splash around in. But an awesome summer requires a little more than that. From comfy patio furniture to outdoor games, make your home the entertainment hub of the season with a few of these essentials.
Arts and Crafts Station
While playing in the sprinkler hardly ever gets old, your kids may eventually want to vary it up when it comes to outdoor activities. An arts and crafts station can give them a break from exercising and allow them to rest while making something they can feel proud of. Set up supplies to make a nature collage, or beads and thread to make jewelry. The backyard is a great place for kids to get their messy on without you worrying about the consequences, so feel free to involve the fingerpaints–just make sure to store them in the shade or indoors.
No backyard is complete without a spot to sprawl out with a margarita or an enchanting book. Start with outdoor-friendly furniture than can withstand the elements, and then embellish with touches like bright summery pillows and a beverage cart. If you don’t want to drag furniture back and forth between the sun and the shade depending on your mood, set up two outdoor lounge areas that can meet your hourly sunlight needs.
DIY Lanterns or String Lights
Great lighting is a backyard summer must. If you don’t want the party to end when the sun goes down, you’re going to need more than a porchlight and a few tiki torches. Put up string lights over your seating or dining area, or make your own lanterns out of empty wine bottles or jars. You can also punch holes in tin cans or hang tea candles from trees with ribbon.
If there’s anything kids (and sometimes adults) love, it’s a tree swing. Setting up a tree swing is an easy afternoon project, whether you opt for a store-bought swing or make one out of extra wood and rope yourself. Make sure to pick the perfect spot that’s clear of obstacles and a branch that’s parallel to the ground for optimum safety and fun.
Outdoor Dining Area
An eating area is an non-negotiable requisite of outdoor entertaining. Try to find a shaded area for your table and chairs, and make sure to buy durable plastic dishware so you don’t have to risk the wellbeing of your nice dinner dishes. Spruce up the area with candles, flowers, or herb pots to bring a little of the indoor sophistication outdoors.
If you can’t pull off a full-on backyard kitchen, you and your guests can still enjoy the luxury of cool iced tea or beers as close as a few paces away. A drink station keeps you from having to play host/hostess or worrying about wet and muddy footprints on your floors. Chuck the simple cooler in favor of a full-on spread like a beverage cart or table with dispensers. Add striped straws and ever-trusty mason jars for an easy whimsical touch.
Nothing says summer nights like a bright fire and ‘smores. A fire pit helps get the group together for a more intimate conversational time as the activities wind down. It also saves you the trouble of having to make a dessert!
For more ideas and inspiration, head to Modernize.com.
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