You know what they say about April showers and May flowers: those blooms look awfully nice as a backdrop to a backyard bash. The truth is, once the month of May is upon is, it’s a sunny downhill slide into summer. And that means it’s time to get outside, enjoy the outdoors, and channel our inner Martha Stewart.

There is a multitude of different ways to throw the perfect backyard soiree. It all depends on your surroundings, your climate, and your individual taste and style. But a few tips can help you plan and pull it off perfectly.

1. Consider the theme

A backyard get-together can be as elegant or as casual as you want it to be, and tying in a theme helps to establish a point of view that can be carried through the food, décor, and entertainment.

An Americana theme lends itself well to a casual backyard get-together, but for a touch of elegance, leave the hamburgers and hot dogs behind and pump up the menu. This idea from Epicurious offers “sophisticated riffs on classic summer themes.” Included on the menu: buttermilk fried chicken, white balsamic-jicama slaw, grilled corn with lime-cilantro butter, fruit salad with herb, citrus, mint-maple, and crudités with lemon-garlic aioli. Design elements including old-fashioned lunch boxes, gingham tablecloths, and bandanas help bring this theme to life.

Or, go vintage chic with a Great Gatsby-themed soiree. Cover tables with white full-length tablecloths, bring in a touch of luxe in white and cream with crystal accents, and string some twinkling lights.

For food, think deviled eggs and tea sandwiches served on ornate platters and washed down by mint juleps. Add in some 20s era music, a game of croquet or bocce ball on the lawn, and maybe a few blackjack tables, and you’ve got a party. Just don’t forget your

2. Consider the guests

Who’s invited to your backyard bonanza? Is it adults only, or are kids coming too? Do any of the invitees have special dietary needs? Setting the right menus and incorporating any special details according to your guest list is key to a successful soiree.

If your party is a family affair, including kid-friendly food and games can make the younger set feel welcome and keep them entertained so the adults can enjoy some much-needed social time.

When it comes to food, typical kidstuff (like mini corn dogs and chicken nuggets) is inexpensive and easy to serve, but if you’d rather fancy up your fare, checking in with the parents ahead of time about what their little one will eat can alleviate the potential hassle at party time when little Jimmy throws a tantrum because he doesn’t like anything green. For drinks, a sherbet punch. And these painted ice cream cones will make any kid smile at desert time.

Entertainment can be as easy as a game of Twister or freeze tag. Or, think about renting a bounce house or a water slide. Remember to consider hiring babysitters or lifeguards for the day if water.

Be sure to ask your guests before the party if any of them have special dietary needs. Is anyone a vegetarian, vegan, living gluten-free, or allergic to any foods? Making small adjustments to your menu or incorporating special dishes as needed will help everyone to feel included and taken care of.

3. Consider the pests

Depending on the climate and the season, bugs and other pests could pose a problem for your outdoor enjoyment. With a few easy tricks, you can help keep them away.

If mosquitos are a big concern, you may want to spray the perimeter of your yard the night before the party. Citronella candles and tiki torches can help with insect control, and may be able to be easily assumed into your décor, but don’t always give off the most pleasant scents. If you are serving buffet style, covering your food will help keep flying friends out.

When it comes to house pets like dogs, keeping them inside, or even at doggie daycare during the party, ensures no tail wagging will knock over dishes, no happy paws will land on white shirts, and no platters of food will go mysteriously missing.

What are you planning for your backyard bash? And wouldn’t you love to throw one in one of these amazing homes?



9904 Kip Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210


75297 Falling Rock Ln
Indian Wells, CA 92210


164 Sea Cliff Ave
San Francisco, CA 94121


1964 Shoreview Dr
El Dorado Hills, CA 95762

Lead photo courtesy: www.alittleglassbox.com