A deck adds a significant amount of value and appeal to a home and creates a great space for outdoor entertaining. However there is more to it once we have the deck, and here are some ideas and suggestions for your expanding your outdoor retreat:
DECK & PATIO LIGHTING IDEAS
To get the most use out of your deck or patio, install outdoor lighting that is both welcoming and effective. Here are a few ideas:
On covered patios, install recessed lighting with dimmer switches, a fan with lights, or a chandelier.
Replace deck post finials with solar LED lamps; they provide a decorative accent during the day and light up the deck’s perimeter at night.
Recessed deck lighting, set into the deck’s surface, also helps to create a border around the space.
Add outdoor lights under railings and benches to guide guests to cozy seating areas.
Hang string lights around arbors, pergolas, and canopies for a fun and enchanted feeling. Some umbrellas even come with LED string lights on the spokes, illuminating the space beneath them.
Add a unique touch with planters that glow from within. Available in solar- and electric-powered, place several of these planters around your deck to serve two purposes in one.
Standing patio lamps provide a “walk-in-the-park” kind of charm. These consist of a tall post with a weighted base and can have several globe or traditional lanterns at the top.
MUST-HAVE ITEMS FOR ENTERTAINING OUTDOORS
You can’t have a backyard party without a barbecue grill. Today’s grill units come in a variety of sizes and offer built-in storage and prep space to minimize the hassle of trips indoors. Many also feature accessories such as rotisseries, warming plates, and side burners for diverse cooking methods.
Grilling Tools & Accessories
Every grill master needs to have a good set of grilling tools, especially when cooking for a large crowd. The three main grilling utensils: a spatula for flipping burgers and positioning food; a pair of tongs for gripping meats and vegetables; a fork for piercing and turning meats. Look for grilling tools with long handles to protect your hands from the heat.
Another important grilling tool to have on hand is an instant-read meat thermometer. This will take the guesswork out of cooking and ensure that meat, poultry, and other cooked foods have reached a safe internal temperature.
Outdoor Dinnerware and Glassware
If you typically resort to disposable paper plates and red plastic cups for your outdoor affairs, consider investing in outdoor dinnerware and glassware made from hard plastics like melamine or acrylic. These worry-free options are durable, lightweight, and environmentally-friendly because they can be washed and reused. They also come in an array of vibrant summer colors and patterns just like your indoor tableware. A large, self-serve beverage dispenser makes it easy to serve a big group of people and will also cut down on waste like empty water bottles and soda cans. Use it to serve homemade iced tea, lemonade, or a fruity summer drink.
Outdoor Serving Items
It’s important to serve food outdoors when entertaining in your backyard. This eliminates the hassle of running inside to grab additional food items and also keeps guests from having to make trips in and out of the house—often with dirty shoes or wet feet—to grab food or supplies. The type of outdoor serving items you’ll need will depend on the number of people you plan to entertain and the type of food you’ll be serving.
An outdoor extension table is a great item to have when entertaining because it allows you to easily adjust the table size to your needs. Extend the table for additional seating during larger gatherings or fold down the leaf when space is limited.
A fold out bar can come in handy if you regularly entertain outdoors or host large parties. It offers both countertop space for serving food and/or beverages and storage space underneath for essentials like glassware, dishes, utensils, or other supplies you might want to have on hand. For smaller outdoor gatherings, a portable patio cart can keep supplies within reach. Stock it with dishes, utensils, ice, paper towels, condiments, and other necessities. When the party is over it can be used for easy clean-up: just load it up with dirty dishes and wheel it back inside.
When eating and entertaining outdoors it’s expected that a number of mosquitos and insects will be flying around. Keep bugs away from food by keeping it in covered storage containers or under mesh food tents. Umbrella drink covers will prevent insects and debris from getting in beverages and will also help guests keep track of their drinks. Place citronella candles on outdoor dining tables to repel pests while guests enjoy their food. Set citronella tiki torches or mosquito lamps around seating and social areas for added protection at night.
Backyard Shade Products
Make sure you have enough shade for your guests so that they don’t get uncomfortably hot and retreat indoors. Table and freestanding patio umbrellas offer relief from the burning sun while guests eat and socialize. Some patio umbrellas can be tilted and turned with the movement of the sun to provide optimal shade throughout the day. You can also keep guests cool and comfortable with a pop-up canopy or tent. These come in a variety of sizes and shapes to fit any outdoor entertaining space. A pop-up canopy or tent can also be used to keep food out of the sun and offers protection from an unexpected rain shower.
Music & Outdoor Stereo Systems
Music helps set the tone for any party, indoors or out. There are a variety of ways to add acoustics to your backyard get-together. Wireless docking stations for MP3 players and iPods can easily be set out on a table or by the pool. These systems are convenient for outdoor parties, but they are not weatherproof so be sure to look for models that include a splash-proof plastic covering to protect your iPod or MP3 player.
Having a mix of outdoor games set up around the yard will keep everyone entertained throughout the day and ensure your guests have a good time at your party. There is a wide selection of outdoor games to choose from, but it’s important to pick ones that are suited for the various age groups of your guests. Lawn games like horseshoes, ladder ball, washers, and bag toss are easy to play and require little equipment and space. These games can also be played in teams, which is a great way for guests to mingle if they don’t know each other well.
Custom Decks, Denver, Colorado