The Property Brothers’ guide to outdoor entertaining
Personal party tips from Drew and Jonathan Scott to ensure your backyard event is a success
Summer’s here! In the last issue we offered design ideas to make the most of your outdoor living space. Now it’s time to enjoy some alfresco fun with friends and family. Here are some of our favourite tips for outdoor entertaining:
• No matter how good your outdoor space looks, to be a hit it has to make guests feel comfortable and right at home. Make sure you have enough places to perch and enough ample cushions.
A good selection of chilled soft drinks and adult beverages should be within easy reach. Ditto for chips and dips, crudités, nuts and other nibbles. If it’s buggy, light up citronella candles or torches and have repellent on hand.
If your party goes well into the evening, make sure you have heat lamps and soft throw-blankets so that the colder evening breeze doesn’t cut your soiree short.
• As with indoor entertaining, prepare in advance so you can relax with your guests.
If you’re grilling, have whatever it is — along with snacks, side dishes and desserts — ready ahead of time. Skewers are a great way to grill chunks of meat or fish with mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, squash and other vegetables, making it easy for guests to sample different flavours hot off the grill.
And if you’re really ready to have fun, consider getting your food and bevies catered. You’ll be amazed at how much more you’ll enjoy the evening with the stress taken off your plate.
• Create a festive mood, as you would indoors. Get festive and accessorize. Colorful tableware, napkins and fresh-cut flowers can give even the most casual gettogether more flare.
After sunset, add the glow of candles, tiki torches, strings of outdoor lights and/or a firepit.
Don’t forget to set the mood with the right tunes — the latest portable Bluetooth speakers, paired with an app like Songza that curates playlists to match any activity, make it easier than ever to bring mood-enhancing music outdoors.
• If children are part of the mix, supply some age-appropriate fun for them. This could be a backyard game, from croquet to hide-andseek, or indoor diversions like board games or an animated feature. DIY ice cream sundaes are popular with all ages (including grown-up contractors and realtors). Remember that parents can linger longer if the kids are enjoying themselves.
• Kick it up a notch by creating a theme. We are the kings of theme parties!
Call it a luau; ask guests to wear Hawaiian shirts and add some beachy decor and tropical fruit items on the food and drink menus.
You can even host an outdoor screening party, using a compact video projector to show a favourite movie — a white painter’s drop cloth or white blackout fabric (drapery lining) makes an inexpensive but effective screen, attached to an exterior wall or a rope stretched between trees or posts. Whatever theme you choose, the key is to commit to it fully!
Put a little panache into your outdoor entertaining, and your guests will remember the occasion long after the season is over.
Use splashes of bright colours to wow your dinner guests
THE PROPERTY BROTHERS Post City Magazines’ columnists Jonathan and Drew Scott host The Property Brothers, on the W Network, thescottbrothers.com.