How to to Throw a Better Backyard Barbecue

Steal these fast, fresh tips for your next outdoor affair.
Make DIY S’more Pots
What’s an outdoor party without some s’mores? Guests will love these adorable, individual desserts.
Let guests know what’s on the menu
Coat a tall piece of plywood with black chalkboard paint for a professional-looking board. Blogger Nan used an overhead projector and white acrylic paint to add the “menu” graphic.
Dress up bottles in one minute flat
Sparkling water and lemonade, jars of pickles, even soda bottles become part of the decor when wrapped in patterned paper secured with double-sided tape. Use scraps of gift wrap or wallpaper that match your color scheme.
Anchor tablecloths with rails of posies
Skip store-bought weights and make your own by filling tiny buckets with wildflowers and a half inch of water. Just suspend the bouquets from your tablecloth using a clip and fishing line or skinny ribbon. Tie and knot one end around the handle of the bucket and the other around the clip.
Let the games begin!
There’s no better solution for early arrivals and the post-lunch slump than a collection of no-skills-required lawn games. Set out a basket of Frisbees, Wiffle balls, and badminton rackets — along with a croquet set—all within view of the picnic table.
Help guests keep their cool
Battle scorching sun, aggressive mosquitoes, and stifling temperatures with a few thoughtful amenities your friends will appreciate. Buy a supply of fans, plus sunblock and bug spray, and have everything at the ready when company comes.
Turn holiday lights into summer sparklers
With a little embellishment, Christmas lights become twinkling flowering vines, crawling along a porch post and railing. To make these blooms, puncture the bottoms of paper muffin cups in the center and slide one over each bulb.
Hang lights wherever you want
You don’t need a pergola or porch to add twinklers. Stylist Emily Henderson creates posts for string lights by filling buckets with rocks and anchoring bamboo polls in them.
Set a pretty tablescape
Set a pretty outdoor table with some of our favorite finds.