The kids are out of school, the fireflies are coming out at night, and it’s (sadly) getting very warm. It’s clear: July is just around the corner.
Of course, July also brings the mother of all cookout holidays: Independence Day! Are you prepared for this prime time to enjoy your backyard? Here are our hot tips for prepping your best-ever 4th of July patio party:
Even for a more casual party, it’s still important to know who and how many people are coming and communicate parking/arrival info.
Whether via text, email, or evite (or go old school and print invitations), requiring an RSVP will help you prep enough food. Facebook is also an option, but should probably be your secondary choice as not everyone has social media. Paperless post is an easy and classy way to send digital invites (and get online RSVPs).
Food + Drinks
As a key factor in any successful gathering, nailing the food and drinks is crucial. While you definitely don’t want to run out of food, you also don’t need to spend a ton of money to nail it. Keep the following in mind:
To be an A+ host (and to avoid potential allergic reactions), it’s a must to ask about food intolerances and allergies before a big party. An easy solution is to make sure there is one solid option for vegetarians/vegans and one for gluten free (this goes for gluten free drinks too!). To make sure you have your bases covered, ask your guests to message you their food intolerances.
Consider the potluck option!
Asking people to bring something is a TOTALLY ACCEPTABLE way to have a party that takes a bit of the pressure off you as the host. Just make sure to include any instructions in the invite.
If you’re having alcoholic beverages, make sure to have at least one beer and one wine option. And in the spirit of Independence, why not try some locally brewed beers (Pennsylvania has some great options!) to mix it up?
As many people also do not drink alcoholic beverages (especially kids), make sure there are several additional options such as green tea, lemonade, and, heck, maybe even kombucha! And just like the potluck option, asking people to (optionally) BYO is totally acceptable and enables people to have the drink what they like.
I’m pretty competitive, so for me yard games are a must. Cornhole is always an easy and fun option (turn it into a tournament to up the ante). It’s good to have some classic throw/toss options frisbee and softball and--if you have the space--a soccer ball and goals can be a super fun addition. My personal recommendation: Badminton. (It seems harmless, but a competitive game of badminton is only for the truly intense.)
Always a fun option, especially with s’mores! (Obvi) (If there are many young kids, make sure to also have a some established fire supervisors keeping an eye on things.)
Music is a must with any celebration! It sets the tone and provides that perfect patio ambiance. A solid playlist is always a good idea (and there are plenty of “mood” playlists on spotify if you don’t want to create your own!). If you’re feeling truly adventurous, you can ask your musician friend if she’d like to play and set up and play an acoustic set. (Just make sure your yard has access to safe power and enough lighting!)
Don’t forget sparklers!
If you’re not planning on seeing fireworks, this is a must for the end of the evening! Make sure to have enough lighters/matches ready in advance.
Plants Plants Plants
Plants will make your patio feel alive. If you have the time, even adding a few flowers will brighten up your space but in reality, the living design of your yard will determine how you experience it. Complimenting natural elements with some hardscaping can especially enhance the look. If you’re looking for input on your long-term landscape look and feel, let us know how we can help.
Mood lighting can keep your patio inviting even late into the evening. There’s a large variety of hanging bulbs, just make sure to test them in evening light beforehand! (For more advanced landscape lighting, GreenRoots can help with that too.)
Food + Table decor
It’s helpful to plan your table look in advance. Is it rustic? Western? Or just all-out patriotic? Whatever your theme, commit to it and let that guide your decorations and even your food. (I may be cheesier than most, but a few flag cupcakes or red, white, and blue(berry) dessert just add a bit of pizzazz that make the event all that more memorable.) Make sure to have to have a few extra plates and cutlery than your guest count so you don’t run out.
Regardless of what kind of party you’re planning, your backyard can be THAT backyard: the one that brings people together, the place you can gather. If you’ve been wanting to have more gatherings in your backyard but your patio is in need of some sprucing up, we can help with that too!