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15 Ideas for Planning an End of Summer Party on Your Deck

Friends hanging out in backyard at party



Summer coming to an end be a bittersweet feeling, so why not take the opportunity to host a celebratory party to cap off the warmer months? Start planning and make good use of your backyard deck for an outdoor bash. There are many things to consider when you’re looking to host a party–food, decorations, seating, weather conditions, and more. It’s important to be prepared.


Take inspiration from the tips below so you can ensure your end-of-summer party is a breeze.



1. Keep the Bugs at Bay

No one at an outdoor party wants to swat away bothersome mosquitos and other pests while trying to enjoy themselves. It’ll be necessary to think of ways to keep pesky insects out of the way while your guests are in your outdoor space.


There are numerous ways you can deter bugs that also double as aesthetically pleasing backyard decor. Consider lighting citronella candles and tiki torches around your deck and yard as the smell and smoke deter insects like mosquitos.

Place a pot of herbs (lavender, mint, lemon balm, thyme, and rue are all great options) on your dining table. Not only will they serve as a pretty addition to your table setting, but the fragrant plants will act as a natural insect deterrent to prevent uninvited guests from stopping by. Additionally, you can add a bundle of sage to a fire pit. Be sure to keep any areas with standing water at a minimum, and keep food covered when possible.



2. Add the Perfect Lighting

The right lighting is one of the most fundamental aspects of setting the perfect mood for your outdoor party.


You don’t want your space to be too dark, but you also don’t want your lighting to be overwhelming. If you’re hosting your summer get-together in the evening and know it will likely run into the night, it’s important to prepare for sundown.

Hang up some string lights across the railings of your deck, or above your seating areas for a magical feel under the stars. Arrange candles (wax burning or LED battery-operated) around your space for some soft, ambient lighting. Hang lanterns or group them in clusters around your deck. The opportunities for perfect atmospheric lighting are endless.



3. Set Up Your Dining Area

Your dining area is where a large portion of your party will likely be spent.


Keep in mind the number of people who will be attending, the projected weather conditions that will be expected, and what “theme” or design style you’re looking to replicate. Be intentional with your table settings – including things as simple as colourful napkins and an eye-catching table cloth can elevate dining area.



4. Make Sure You Have Enough Seating

Apart from the chairs at your dining table, consider other options for your guests to use as seating while they’re mingling.


Comfortable deck chairs and outdoor furniture should be put to good use if you want people to feel relaxed. If you’re short on chairs, look for things that can be repurposed and brought outside from indoors or use foldable lawn chairs.



5. Plan Your Entertainment

It’s smart to have some ideas in mind for entertaining your guests for the evening. Even something as simple as music playing throughout the night can help establish a fun mood and keep the party going.


Pre-plan a summer playlist and connect it to a bluetooth speaker, set up lawn games like cornhole and ring toss, arrange an outdoor movie, or provide people with sparklers to light when the sun goes down. Whatever you decide to do, don’t feel the need to make it too complicated. If you have a few activities organized, your party- goers will be happy.



6. Set the Tone With Decor

Depending on the vision you have in mind for your summer party, you will likely need to incorporate decorations into your outdoor set-up.


Decor doesn’t need to be complicated, and you can completely transform your space with a bit of effort and creativity. Drape paper lanterns or pennant banners from tree limbs, put tea lights in glass mason jars, and be strategic about where you place your lighting.



7. Create a Drinks Station

You want to keep your guests refreshed throughout the evening, so a drinks station is a must.



Friends cheers at backyard dinner party


Roll out a bar cart or set up a small table to organize your drink choices. Fill up glass drink dispensers with choices like lemonade, put out an ice bucket with a variety of beverages, and include a punch bowl with a ladle and cups so people can serve themselves.

Make your drinks station extra special by adding a chalkboard easel sign listing the available beverages, chop up some citrus fruit for your punch, and string along some lights.



8. Lay Out Your Menu

Arguably one of the most necessary aspects of your summer to prepare, your menu should be planned well before your big night.


Take into account the guests who will be coming and what their preferences and allergies are, make note of what the weather will be like to accommodate accordingly, and don’t feel like you need to make your meal too complicated.

Make good use of your barbecue, offer self-serve foods like salads, and opt for menu items that will be easy to clean up, won’t spoil quickly, and not attract too many bugs.



9. Prepare for the Weather

Keep an eye on the predicted weather forecast for your party date.


Being ready for rain and heat will mean that you have a gameplan in place to keep your guests happy and comfortable no matter what the weather ends up being.

Zone off specific high-traffic areas with protective umbrellas and shelter. Try to arrange your dining area under a covered spot like a pergola or an overhanging deck so that partygoers have shelter from the sun and any potential rain. Weigh down your table cloth with table cloth weights if it’s windy so it doesn’t blow around.



10. Beat the Heat

Along with providing coverage from the sun, arrange battery-operated or plug-in fans around your deck, provide guests with hand-held fans they can use themselves, and keep cold drinks available throughout the night.



11. Keep Up With the Cleaning

It can kill the mood to have a messy or dirty party space. Although it’s understandable to end up with some mess after you host a gathering, you don’t want it to become overwhelming while guests are still present.


Have a process in place for keeping up with things like dirty dishes, and consider having a specific spot for people to leave their used plates and cups after they’re done with them so they’re not spread all around your space.

Wipe up any spilt food and drinks, clean your cooking spot if you’re making a meal outside as you go, and bring any food that isn’t being eaten inside so it doesn’t go bad. You can become resourceful with keeping things fresh and tidy with items you already have on hand. Place up-ended wire collanders over food to keep away the bugs, use popsicle stick markers to label food so people aren’t picking through things and making unnecessary messes.



12. Add Personal Touches

Little personal details can make a party feel all the more intimate and special.


Some ideas include place setting name cards with small bundles of garden flowers, writing thank you notes to your guests for coming to the party, and having a polaroid or disposable camera available for partygoers to use while they’re enjoying themselves.



13. Use Your Fire Pit

If you have a fire pit, what better time is there to use it than at a party you’re hosting?


Organize some seating options around it, give your guests some marshmallows to roast after dinner, and prepare for all of the fun they’ll have sitting around the fire socializing and enjoying the summer evening.



14. Comfort is Key

You don’t want people standing around uncomfortably for the duration of your party with no options for them to relax.



Friends laughing at backyard party sitting on pillows


Group your seating into zones so that people can still chat and mingle and won’t be isolated from the group if they’d like to sit down. Organize floor pillows and beanbags on your deck and grass, and have blankets available if your guests become chilly as the night progresses.



15. Put Your Garden to Good Use

Your garden can provide simple and beautiful decorations for your party.


Cut your flowers and make bouquets that can be turned into colourful centerpieces. Pour water into a large serving bowl, trim the stems off peonies or gardenias, and voila! You have an effortless floating flower bowl.




Your end-of-summer party is going to be a huge success that guests will be talking about until your next seasonal bash if you follow the tips above.


Plan out the important details, make the most out of your backyard and deck, and put the comfort of your guests at the top of your priority list.




Steve Livock at 9:00 AM
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