Tips for Outdoor Entertaining

Springtime — with its warmer temperatures — has a way of bringing family and friends together. Before you send out that event invite on Facebook or text your friends about a big gathering at your place, have a plan ready to turn your humble abode into the perfect place for entertaining.
 
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Ready the yard
The surest way to ensure a less-than-ideal outdoor gathering is having a yard that’s in disarray. You will want to mow your yard about two days prior to your gathering and be sure to collect as much of the grass clippings as you can. While you’re at it, check your yard for any hazards like sharp rocks or broken glass, and make sure that any toys or tools are safely stored. If you have any pets, you’ll want to take the opportunity to clean up after them so as to avoid any messes on the bottoms of guests’ shoes.

Decorate your outdoor setting
Whether your house includes an enclosed porch or deck, dressing it up will enhance your gathering’s mood. Place fresh flowers on your table and move potted plants onto your deck to bring spring closer to your guests. You’ll also want to make sure that you have sufficient seating, so if you haven’t had the opportunity to purchase lawn chairs, you’ll want to move indoor chairs outside. If your gathering will extend into the evening, consider outdoor-safe string lights, solar lighting or candles as a means to keep the party alight after the sun goes down.

Kick mosquitoes out
They may not be anywhere on the guest list, but mosquitoes always find a way to invite themselves to outdoor gatherings. Plugging in some box fans around your deck will discourage these pests from flying around your guests too much. Invest in eucalyptus and citronella candles, which both repel mosquitoes and add to the ambience of your party. As a preventative measure, remove any isolated rainwater from your yard before your party; stilted water is breeding grounds for mosquitoes, not to mention unsightly in general.

Dish out the food
The highlight of most any springtime get-together, aside from the camaraderie, will be the food and drink. So that you can be sure that all of your guests are able to take part, check ahead of time to see if anyone has any particular dietary needs or food allergies. If you want to take some of the preparation off your hands, open it up so that your guests will bring their own dishes, snacks, desserts and drinks. You’ll also want to make sure that you have plenty of disposable silverware, plates and napkins as well as convenient places for guests to place their trash and recyclables.

If you plan on hosting a springtime get together, take the steps necessary to ensure that your home is adequately inviting. If all goes well, your gathering may become a new annual staple that your friends and family can all look forward to.
by CU Members

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