Outdoor Entertaining Tips for Summer

Designer Chris Casson Madden shares tips for creating a sophisticated outdoor space perfect for summer entertaining.

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Lit Courtyard

Light up the night: If your gathering will last into the evening, add a little romance with lighting. Strands of small, clear lights look wonderful woven through trees, shrubs and fences and they are available in lots of different shapes and styles.

Candles are my favorite source of party lighting; they can be placed as groupings on tabletops in small jars or holders. Consider the citronella variety if insects are a concern. Hurricane lanterns, another lighting option, will stay lit even if it becomes breezy and they can double as centerpieces.

You may also opt for gas- or oil-filled tiki torches in either rattan or metal styles that can be placed in different spots in the outdoor space, creating "rooms" and separate areas or walkways.

  • Make children feel welcome: If young ones will be a part of the festivities, plan creative ways to keep them entertained. A table just for the kids is a good idea; cover it with white butcher paper and have crayons available so they can draw to their hearts' content.
  • Plan ahead, and keep it simple, so you can enjoy your summer gathering as much as your guests will.

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