Step outdoors and into summer with these cool entertaining tips.
Leigh Anderson

The temperature’s rising, the days are getting longer, and backyard grills are firing up. Yes, it’s summer, the time to think outside the entertaining box. So take your next party or get-together outdoors for some alfresco fun. Try these easy tips to ensure soiree success.

Keep Your Cool
Nothing can zap the energy out of a party or your guests like heavy summer heat. Avoid midday events, especially those between noon and 3 p.m., when the sun warms even the shadiest of spots. Try a morning brunch, late afternoon mixer, or enjoy the evening with dinner on the lawn.

To really beat the heat, offer guests iced spray bottles to spritz faces and arms, and be sure to stock plenty of cold beverages.

Ice, Ice, Baby
Just because beer and soft drinks often come standard at outdoor parties doesn’t mean you have to serve them from a plastic foam cooler. Explore other ice-toting options, such as an antique bathtub. Inspiration may be as close as your garage or garden shed. Fill a wheelbarrow with drinkable delights for the adults. Substitute a wagon to create a refreshment station just for the kids.

For smaller parties, try carving out a watermelon lengthwise. Not only will your guests love the fresh summer fruit, they’ll melt for this ingenious ice bucket.

Bamboozled
Time and time again, disposable plates make the guest list at outdoor events. But paper, plastic foam, and plastic dishes overstay their welcome, lingering in landfills after the party’s ended, refusing to politely biodegrade. What’s a host or hostess to do? Try all-natural bamboo plates and utensils from Bambu. The company’s All Occasion Veneerware is not only made of 100% organic bamboo, but it’s stylish, disposable, and biodegrades in four to six months. For more information on Bambu’s Veneerware, visit http://bambuhome.com.

Shoo, Fly! Don’t Bother Me
You may host the best barbecue of the season, but if your guests wake the next morning to find themselves covered in mosquito bites, chances are they’ll remember their discomfort more than your perfect party planning.

Avoid the morning-after itches, and arm your guests with insect repellents when they arrive. Light citronella candles around your deck or patio, or stake torches in the yard. The flames will signal “welcome” to your guests and “stay away” to pests.

Red Rover, Red Rover, Send Fun Right Over
As much as the adults in your party will relish a laid-back evening, any children at your event will be aching for entertainment. Have plenty of outdoor games ready and waiting for the wee ones. Set up lawn games such as horseshoes or croquet for some old-fashioned fun. Or for a mess of laughs, spread out the old Twister mat. The fun doesn’t have to end when the sun goes down. Supply the kids with flashlights for a game of nighttime tag, and the adults can continue to sip some wine and savor the evening.