Monday, May 9, 2016

Backyard Entertaining Made Easy

The warm days of spring and summer are often fleeting and we like to take advantage of every opportunity we can to enjoy our backyard space.  However, time constraints due to our work schedules can make entertaining something that has to be done spontaneously.

Just because we have to do things quickly though doesn't mean I want to give up on creating an atmosphere that is pretty and pleasing to my guests.

With that in mind, I've put together a few ideas on how to keep things elegant but easy when entertaining outdoors.

First suggestion is to opt for buffet style for serving.

Whether you are having dinner or just drinks and snacks, buffet style is the easiest.

Putting the dishware on a separate table not only looks nicer but is actually easier than trying to fit it in beside the food. Guests have more room to help themselves to the items they need and you have more room to add décor - a win/win situation!

Stack the appropriate sized plates and place on the table so they are easily accessible.

Cloth napkins add a touch of elegance but if you have some pretty paper ones, those will work well as well.

It is simplest to serve only one or two types of beverages to minimize the amount of stemware you need to set out.

Any decorative container/vase/glass will make your flatware look more sophisticated.

And when you are looking for easy, you don't need separate containers - put it all in one.

Cut a few lilac branches or other flowers/greenery you have nearby and place in a vase or pitcher for a simple elegant centerpiece.

By adding even a few candles, your backyard will take on an enchanting glow as the sun goes down.

I've used some fancier crystal-look ones but anything that has a bit of a hurricane vase aspect to it will ensure the flames don't go out in a strong breeze.

When keeping things easy on yourself, it's best to set up the buffet where it is easily accessible to the kitchen and for us that is either on our sundeck...

...or even right in the kitchen with guests helping themselves and heading back outside.

No one seems to mind picking up a plate on their way to the food buffet and they can get their cutlery on the way back.

Of course, you know I love to set up a fancy tablescape for my guests to eat at but sometimes, it is just as nice to be casual and eat with the food in your lap while sitting on comfy chairs :)

The key to elegant but easy entertaining is to take the time to have things ready in advance so when the opportunity to entertain arises you are ready. That means having an extra table handy and table linens organized and ironed. Keep your dishes and glasses easily accessible as well.

Do you opt for buffet style for backyard entertaining?

Thanks for visiting!
I'll be linking this post to these wonderful blog parties:
Saturday Sparks on Pieced Pastimes
Share it One More Time at Everyday Home
A Bouquet of Talent Saturday at Life on Lakeshore Drive
Silver Pennies Sunday at Silver Pennies
Dishing It & Digging It at Rustic & Refined
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch
Amaze Me Mondays at Dwellings
Show & Share at Coastal Charm
The Scoop at Stone Gable
Inspire Me Tuesdays at A Stroll Thru Life
Tuesday at Our Home at Our Home Away From Home
Tutorials & Tips at Home Stories A to Z
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style
Swing Into Spring at DIY by Design
Share Your Style at Essence of Home
Share Your Cup at Art & Sand
Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch
Thoughts of Home Thursday at Décor to Adore
Grace at Home at Imparting Grace
Five Star Frugal at A Tray of Bliss
Inspiration Gallery at Craftberry Bush
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home
Creative Ways at Posed Perfection
Foodie Friday & Everything Else at Rattlebridge Farm
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage


  1. Love your outdoor space Lori. I always enjoy being outdoors and dining alfresco. We do set up a buffet, usually in the kitchen then fill out plates and go outdoors to eat and relax. We sat out Saturday and enjoyed refreshing drinks with friends. My husband loves to grill then dine on the deck. Your table looks so elegant, I am sure your guests were delighted. I'm working on a tablescape and hope to have it ready by Thursday. Take care.

  2. You have the perfect outdoor space to entertain family and friends, Lori. The lilacs are gorgeous.
    Have a great week.

  3. Everything looks beautiful. love all the purple and lavender, and pretty pics.
    Hope you had a lovely mother;s day.
    Blessings, Nellie

  4. I'm in love with the purple. Everything is so pretty. Visiting from Jann's. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  5. This is all so pretty and I completely agree about making things in advance. Makes a gathering much more fun for the hostess.

    Happy TOHOT. :)

  6. Of course you know I'm drooling over the lilacs! Great advice for outdoor entertaining. It's always awkward when you grab your plate and flatware- makes sense to offer the flatware at a later point so you aren't struggling to hold them as you work your way through the food line. Cheers to outdoor gatherings!

  7. You gave some great suggestions for outdoor entertaining! I am hoping to begin doing that soon this season ourselves. I like the idea of keeping the dishes separate from the food. Your back deck area looks so inviting with the fireplace in the middle.

  8. Lori you have provided such great tips and I adore the touches of lilac - it was my wedding color. Thank you so much for linking up to Thoughts of Home on Thursday. You make our gathering a happier place.

  9. Thank you for sharing your time and talents with us at TOHOT.
    Your inspiration always bring joy to us all.

  10. These are great tips Lori and it's beautiful in your backyard! Thanks for joining Home Sweet Home!

  11. Everything looks lovely.

    We do both buffet and set table dining in our garden - it all depends on the guests.

    Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  12. Love this! I prefer doing buffet style, I just find it easier! Gorgeous table and tips! Thanks for sharing at Dishing It & Digging It!

  13. This is a beautiful post and I love your ideas. Buffet style always work best but every once in a while it's nice to have an elegant sit down dinner around a beautiful table.

  14. I will feature this today at Home Sweet Home!


Thanks so much for your comments! I really appreciate your feedback on my posts. Your message will be published after moderation.

Please note: I will respond to any questions you have right here in "Comments".