Gardens, decks, patios, and pools are where we all want to be right now—and whether we’re hosting a dinner, birthday party, barbecue, wedding, cocktails, or a picnic, there’s something undeniably fun about playing host-with-the-most.
To inspire your outdoor entertaining this spring and summer, we gathered 30 cool outdoor entertaining ideas. From DIY photo booths to drink tables with a fresh twist, keep scrolling for ideas to throw the ultimate soirée of the season.
1. Set up a game of outdoor Twister by spraying colored circles on the grass.
2. Create a hanging table by suspending a plank of wood from a tree.
3. Make a skewer station to make serving meat easy and mess-free.
4. Set up a DIY salad bar to let guests create their own perfect meal.
5. Get creative with the way you display your event program or menu.
6. Use honey, jam, and other condiments as table centerpieces.
7. Fill mason jars with homemade lemonade or cocktails and store in an ice-filled bucket.
8. Set-up crates with cushions and floor flowers for a casual, makeshift outdoor setting.
9. Fill vases with slices of lemon and flowers for a fresh center piece alternative.
10. Create your own DIY photobooth using strips of ribbon or bright fabric suspended from two trees.
11. Love donuts? Make a tasty donut station to keep your guests snacking.
12. Use nature to your advantage and string cute Polaroid snaps and fairy lights to the trees. You could even give your guests a Polaroid camera and ask them to add their own party snaps.
13. Stuck for dessert ideas that won’t make a mess? Scoop ice cream into a lined muffin pan and serve individually.
14. Make individual, layered dips that guests can carry around and eat.
15. Treat your party-goers with corn on the cob, served on skewers so they can be eaten standing up.
16. Use a mini wagon to walk around and offer to refill your guests’ drinks.
17. Be sure to have some card games (like Cards Against Humanity!) ready to whip out and play at any moment.
18. Pre-make cocktails and lemonade and serve on a dedicated drinks table.
19. Use recycled, spray-painted cans to make outdoor cutlery holders.
20. Make a bubble station. It’s fun and a perfect photo opportunity.
21. Set up a relief station with bug spray, flip-flops, and cold towels (if that weather is hot.)
22. Provide guests with warm blankets on cooler days or if the party carries on into the night.
23. If the party is likely to keep going all night, lather outdoor pots with paint that glows in the dark.
24. Offer a DIY sundae station with ice cream, candy, and chocolate.
25. Keep flies away by cutting a lemon in half and adding cloves to it. Set the lemon halves out in bowls about 30 minutes before food will be going on the table. The smell will deter flies from swarming around the food.
26. Hang old, empty photo frames to use as a quirky photo opportunity throughout your event.
27. Use jars to serve packets of chips and crackers instead of the (ugly!) bags.
28. Invite your friends to play a game of ring toss using painted, empty beer bottles and embroidery hoops.
29. Uncomfortable outdoor seats? Pick block-color cushions in a range of different colors and arrange them on the seats for a comfortable and colorful option.
30. Make your own rustic, outdoor chandelier using timber, candles, and mason jars. Sure, this DIY is a little time-intensive, but the end result is totally worth it.
A version of this article was originally published in April 2015.