What better way to spend a summer’s day than at an al-fresco backyard barbecue? Here are some ideas for throwing the ultimate backyard shindig this season.
1. Choose a Theme
Everybody loves a theme, and backyard parties really lend themselves to outdoorsy concepts—think Hawaiian luau, rustic campsite or beach clambake. The advantage of a theme is that it can help you narrow down ideas for menus and décor. It’s also the perfect excuse to step up your party outfit: Hawaiian shorts or long, floral dresses would be ideal for a luau; a clambake theme cries out for cropped pants or a navy-striped dress paired with espadrilles.
2. Get Creative with the Décor
Decorations can really personalize a party. But livening up your space doesn’t have to be the most expensive part of the event, not when you think outside the box.
The easiest way to create a true oasis in your backyard is by adding plants and other natural elements such as branches and rocks. Arrange these in thrifted planters, pots and baskets, which you can customize with a bit of paint. Second-hand stores such as Value Village are a great place to look for outdoor furniture like coffee tables, benches and patio sets. It’s also an amazing resource for one-of-a-kind textiles. Choose bold, bright prints for table cloths and runners, or use silk-scarf napkins and vintage doilies for an elegant, tasteful table setting.
The most important thing when it comes to décor is to have fun with it! Scrabble tiles glued to fabric squares make for quirky coasters; utensil handles can be dipped in paint colours that correspond with your theme. These small, special touches are memorable and easy to make.
3. Don’t Forget About Lighting
As the sun sets, nothing sets the mood of the party quite like lighting. Using a variety of different light sources is best, but again, you don’t have to splurge on brand-new items. Glass jars, vases and even teacups make for interesting candle-holders and lanterns.
String lights can add a lot of ambiance, and they’re versatile. Use them in fairy-light jars, or make a real statement by threading them around sturdy branches arranged in large, thrifted milk cans. Pro tip: Citronella candles will add light and keep pesky bugs away from your backyard so that your guests can enjoy your party under the stars in comfort.
4. Splash Out on Fun Drinks
A summer party calls for hydrating beverages. Make sure to provide a range of refreshing options for guests beyond wine, beer and spirits. For a punch of flavor, add sliced lemons, limes or cucumbers to thirst-quenching water. You can also serve fresh and fruity lemonade or sangria.
The last thing you want to do all night is play bartender, so make sure guests can serve themselves. An extra-large mason jar can be made into a water or juice dispenser; pair it with mismatched glassware for a cool, vintage vibe. Or create a DIY beverage station from a thrifted wood table and a metal bucket.
5. Make Your Grill Do Double Duty
Burgers are a no-brainer when it comes to a BBQ—you can top them in various ways, plus it’s easy to find patties for vegetarians and other guests on special diets. But for your next BBQ bash, think beyond burgers and use your grill for more than just the main dish.
Grilled corn topped with crumbled feta and grilled zucchini roll-ups with herbs and goat cheese make for easy appetizers. For dessert, try grilling up fruit, such as pineapple, peaches, apricots, plums or cherries. Simply thread fruit pieces onto wooden skewers to make sweet shish kebabs your guests will love.
6. Entertain Guests with Games
You can’t go wrong with traditional lawn games such as croquet or badminton. Or, to customize games to match your theme, try spray-painting horseshoes or the rings used in ring toss.
Board games are also a big hit at parties—who doesn’t love a spirited game of Jenga!—and hacky sacks are a favourite, too. Plus, because these are classic games, you’ll likely find them at thrift stores such as Value Village, all at a great price.
With a little bit of planning and some DIY, you can truly create a unique party for your guests. Hosting a party shouldn’t cost a fortune—after all, it’s a one-time event. That’s why shopping at thrift stores like Value Village makes sense. You can find name-brand clothing, housewares, serving ware and so much more, priced at a fraction of regular retail prices. And with over 6,000 fresh items arriving daily, you’re sure to find one-of-a-kind ideas for your next backyard bash.