Independence Day is right around the corner, and what better way to celebrate than with a good old-fashioned backyard barbecue? It's easy to focus on the food and yard games, but it takes a bit more than that to throw the cookout of your dreams. Any gathering, regardless of its type, requires some forethought, so we've put together a list of often forgotten items to help make your star-spangled shindig the best it can be!
Prepare for Bugs
I love spending time enjoying the outdoors, but the bugs can be killer. A great way to combat this (aside from bug spray), is with citronella candles. Citronella is an essential oil derived from certain varieties of grass, and naturally repels a variety of flying insects, including the most infamous of bloodsuckers, the mosquitos. When used in candles, citronella helps to keep bugs out of the immediate area, which saves you from ending the night covered in itchy bug bites. Plus, as it gets darker, you'll have the added benefit of ambient candle light!
When you're spending a good portion of your day outside, it's important to prioritize comfort; both for yourself and your guests. I don't know about you, but sometimes I find the wood, plastic, and metal used to make outdoor furniture a bit uncomfortable when outside for longer periods of time. Prioritize guests' comfort and your own with outdoor cushions and pillows. Made from strong and stylish Sunbrella fabric, these outdoor cushions can make a world of difference in improving the comfort of your seating.
Full sun may be great for your vegetable garden, but it's hard on your skin. By now we all know to lather up with sunscreen, but that needs to be reapplied frequently, and frankly, it only does so much. (I'm not advising you stop using sunscreen; in fact, I recommend that everyone use it daily, and reapply as often as needed, especially when swimming or sweating.) However, something even more effective, is to just get out of the sun. An umbrella is a great way to provide shade for your guests, and many outdoor tables provide a hole for one so you can eat comfortably in the shade.
Ditch the Disposables
Keep the summers cooler by going green and investing in beautiful, durable, and reusable outdoor dinner and serve ware. As you head outside to enjoy a meal al fresco, consider reusable tableware that is light enough to carry around your deck or patio, and resistant to breaking when you accidentally drop it. Here at Greenhouse, we carry seasonally a variety of melamine, acrylic, and bamboo dishes to make your patio dining experience the best it can be!
Set the Mood
As it gets darker out, you'll need to light your outdoor living space. A great way to do this is with beautiful ambient lighting that not only keeps your space visible and functional, but provides beauty and décor even during the daylight. My personal favorite outdoor lights are the solar lanterns from Allsop. Inspired by ornate lanterns in Mediterranean bazaars, these lanterns are made from incredibly durable Tyvek and punched with intricate custom patterns. This solar powered lantern will turn itself on at dusk to cast captivating patterns of light each night.
Gathering family and friends in your own backyard for an outdoor party is a surefire way to have a good time. Now that the CDC has announced that it is safe gather with vaccinated loved ones, there's no time like the present to put together a cookout. Keep these tips in mind and you'll be able to put together the best ever backyard bash after a year without in-person celebrations!