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How to Throw an Epic Backyard Party

This sunny backyard party, with seasonal recipes, fruity white sangria and fun outdoor games, helps you soak up summer.

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Give the summer a proper hello—or farewell!—with a backyard party. At dusk, gather your loved ones around for an evening of chilled sangria, garden-harvest dishes and breezy lawn games. To make guests feel even more at ease, make your outdoor space feel extra hospitable before the celebration starts.

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Perk Up Place Settings

Dining al fresco already feels exciting, but if you’re fixing to jazz things up further with some extra flourishes, lay a collapsible paper fan on every plate, as well as a linen napkin slipped through a wooden ring. Then casually drape a patterned runner or cloth over the table for a carefree yet elevated feel.

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Prep a Sipper

We believe there’s no better backyard beverage than sangria. Aside from being fast, our Quick White Sangria is also light and subtly sweet—perfect for summertime. So grab your best brandy and some peaches, strawberries and citrus fruits; it takes just 15 minutes to stir up this deliciousness.

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Stock Ice

Spare your guests from a glass of watery sangria with this simple hack: Place a metal strainer with ice and a serving scoop within a glass bowl. The bowl will catch whatever melts off the ice, ensuring the remaining cubes aren’t in a pool of water waiting to be scooped into someone’s drink.

Next, learn how to keep ice cubes from sticking together.

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Get Grilling

You’re dining outdoors and socializing outdoors, so you might as well cook outdoors, too! And remember: Char-kissed mains needn’t be a cut of meat. We love these veggie-packed Marinated Pork Kabobs for an easy-to-serve entree. And don’t forget about grilled pizzas, foil-packet medleys and even salads.

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Round Out Your Spread

When it’s time to select sides, draw inspiration from what’s available at your local farmers market and grocery store, which should be teeming with ripe fruits and veggies this time of year. For example, our Terrific Tomato Tart showcases the gorgeous heirloom variety, best during the late summer.

Find out what produce is in season every month of the year.

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Serve a Sweet

As a final nod to the season’s bounty, pick a fruit-filled confection, such as a pie or crumble. For something new, turn to our Fresh Plum Kuchen. (Oh, and here’s how to make a crisp with any type of fruit.) If fruity desserts aren’t for you, opt for a different light sweet, such as a mousse, no-bake pie or icebox cake.

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Keep ‘Em Entertained

The towering wooden block game is a standby for good reason: It’s simple, it’s inexpensive and it’s captivating. (Psst! Paint some of the plain wooden blocks for a vibrant pop of color.) Other fun backyard activities to consider are corn hole, bocce ball and croquet. Let the games begin!

Annamarie Higley
Annamarie Higley is an Associate Print Editor for Taste of Home magazine, as well as the brand's special issue publications. A midwestern transplant originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she enjoys hiking, trivia-ing, and—you guessed it!—all things cooking and baking.