How to to Throw a Better Backyard Barbecue

Steal these fast, fresh tips for your next outdoor affair.
Make DIY S’more Pots
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What’s an outdoor party without some s’mores? Guests will love these adorable, individual desserts.
Let guests know what’s on the menu
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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
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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
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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!
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Set a pretty outdoor table with some of our favorite finds.