A Guest Post By Jennifer Riner of Zillow
Source: Zillow Digs
Summer is right around the corner and it’s time to prep backyards for barbeques and bonfires. Warm breezes, uninterrupted sunshine and the smell of gardenias keep residents migrating outdoors to enjoy the lovely, short-lived summer months. Homeowners who want to share the sunshine with company need more than good weather to keep their guests entertained.
Consider these four features to become the ultimate outdoor party host this season.
Lighting is an essential component for evening parties outdoors. Lights allow guests to better see each other while socializing and are also a necessary safety feature for stress-free nighttime celebrations. Consider installing overhead lamps to roof overhangs to shine down onto garden parties. Dim pathways and staircases should be lined with bulbs to illuminate bends, corners and crossways – preventing guests from tripping or colliding. For more decorative lighting flair, string globe or holiday lights around trees and bushes. Formal gatherings, such as graduations and weddings, call for chandeliers. Hang ornate light fixtures in tents or gazebos, depending on the level of extravagance intended. Don’t forget to use spotlights to showcase architectural and landscaping features such as fountains, patios and pergolas.
Interior living spaces are equipped with sofas and chairs for visitors to sit and converse. Exteriors, on the other hand, don’t always feature ample seating arrangements for large gatherings. Hosts should attempt to make their guests feel comfortable at all times by purchasing large, alfresco sofas and lounge chairs to create relaxed, party vibes. Don’t forget to include small bar tables for guests to rest their hors d’oeuvres while chatting or large dining tables if meals are being served. Purchase drink holders to prevent spills and minimize post-party cleaning time.
Quality outdoor speaker systems typically cost homeowners around $2,000, including speakers, receivers, wiring and weatherproof controls. Outdoor entertainment systems are good investments for homeowners who constantly entertain or for homes located in warm climates that are prepared for year-round outdoor get-togethers. However, most yards don’t need elaborate outdoor sound systems to be prepared for casual summertime grill-outs. A more cost-effective and multifunctional sound alternative is to use wireless speakers. These can be used both indoors and outdoors so homeowners don’t need to purchase two sets of speakers. Regular wireless speakers are not typically waterproof, so move them inside during inclement weather and keep them far from the bar area in case of spills. Set music systems up in areas where they can amplify throughout yards without bothering the neighbors.
Summer nights are usually warm, but evenings can turn chilly without jackets or sweaters. Rather than force guests to layer and cover their party outfits, add outdoor fireplaces to backyards. Outdoor fireplaces are great for parties and personal use. They also help increase home values when it comes time for homeowners to sell.
Not looking to spend much to install a full-fledged fireplace? Build a do-it-yourself fire pit instead. With shovels, flagstone pavers and a few wood-burning logs, ground-level fire pits fit anywhere throughout the yard. Homeowners with small children should add fencing to keep kids from falling in or playing around dangerous flames.
Alternatively, patio heaters cost about $200 but are designed specifically for additional outdoor warmth. An inexpensive solution is to temporarily pull portable space heaters outside to combat cool breezes. Purchase appropriate-sized extension cords to keep heaters close enough to common areas for guests to enjoy.
Not only are the aforementioned installments great for partying, they also provide a cozy environment for a casual family dinner or picnic. Purchase outdoor accessories before temperatures increase to start hosting at the start of the season!
A Special Thanks to Zillow.com for Providing this Guest Post!
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