Spring is here and summer is right around the corner. With summer comes barbeques, family reunions, and picnics. The best way to enjoy the nice weather is surrounded by your family and friends outside.

If you want to know how to throw the ultimate backyard bash, you’re in the right place. Keep reading to learn how to throw a party that your friends and family will remember for years to come.

Pick a Theme

Pick a theme for your backyard bash and run with it. A theme will make the entire thing come together in a cohesive manner. From the invitations (whether you do paper invites or an electronic invitation) to the food to the decor, make sure your theme is a common element.

Get creative with your theme! You could go with the classic red white and blue theme for a 4th of July bash, a Mexican fiesta for Cinco de Mayo, or a “schools out for summer” theme to celebrate the end of the school year.

The great thing about an outside party is that you don’t have to go crazy with decorations or centerpieces. Keep it simple and play up the natural setting of your backyard.

Think About Seating and Lighting

There are few things worse than going to a party where there’s not enough seating and you end up standing around the whole time. You don’t need a seat for every person at your party, but you should have plenty of options, especially if you are serving a meal.

Think outside the box with seating. Not every seating arrangement needs to be a chair. If you’re doing a bonfire party, for example, tree stumps are a cool way to add seating. Blankets spread out for picnic-style dining, ottomans and poufs for a casual, Mediterranean-themed party, and even camping chairs for a casual barbecue can all work as seating options.

Make sure you have plenty of lighting as well, especially if the party will continue after dark. String up lights around your deck or pergola, light tiki torches, bring out some candles to place around your yard, and hang paper lanterns from the trees.

Keep the Bugs Away

Some of your lighting options can also double as bug repellent. Tiki torches will repel bugs and so will citronella candles. Another appreciated gesture for your guests is a basket with bug spray in it. Your guests will appreciate that they won’t leave your party with parting gifts of bug bites.

If you want to keep flies away, stick some cloves in a lemon half and place in a bowl. Put these bowls around the tables or on the buffet about a half hour before you put the food out. They will keep the flies away and also provide a fresh citrus scent.

Plan a Menu that Works for Outdoors

Think simple, easy-to-eat items for your barbecue. Assume that a lot of guests are going to be holding their plate in their lap, so try to minimize the really messy or hard to eat food choices. Handheld items are always great choices.

If you’re going to set up your buffet outdoors, you’ll want to keep in mind the temperature and the food you are serving. Salads with mayonnaise, for example, shouldn’t sit out for longer than two hours. This rule applies to most things that need to be refrigerated. If it’s really hot, you might have even less time.

Desserts should also be heat-proof or kept inside until it’s time to serve them. A birthday cake will quickly turn into a mess if buttercream frosting is left out in the heat too long, for example. The same applies to brownies and cupcakes.

Have Plenty of Entertainment Options

Plan ahead for how you’ll entertain your guests at your party. It is a backyard bash, after all, so take advantage of any space in your yard for outdoor games like bocce ball, badminton, volleyball, cornhole, or frisbee golf.

If you have furniture that can double as an entertainment surface and a table for eating, for example, it can do double duty. The Amsterdam Outdoor Ping Pong Table from Modern Digs Furniture shows how a ping pong table can effortlessly transition to a modern outdoor dining table.

Make a Playlist

It’s not a party without music! You can stick to your theme if you want or make a playlist with summer favorites, like Summer Nights, Margaritaville, anything by the Beach Boys, Saturday in the Park, Summer in the City, and Summertime.

Make your playlist ahead of time and set some Bluetooth speakers around the yard to pipe in the music. Or, if you want to keep things simple, pick a summer Spotify or Pandora station to do the work for you.

Think About Sustainability

It’s tempting to buy disposable everything: silverware, cups, plates, napkins, serving dishes, etc. All that trash ends up in landfills though, taking years or even decades to break down. If possible, think sustainably.

Bamboo utensils, plastic or melamine plates that can be washed, plastic or stainless cups, cloth napkins, and your own serving dishes might cost a little more or require more clean-up, but they are much better for the environment than single-use products that get tossed in the trash at the end of the party.

If you don’t want these products to get tossed, make sure your guests know not to throw them away.

A Backyard Bash for the Ages

Sometimes the best parties, especially a backyard bash, are the simplest. Keep things fuss-free so you can enjoy yourself and your guests will enjoy themselves too. No one wants a host who seems frazzled with party prep and cooking.

If you found these tips useful, be sure to check out some of our other articles.