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. Follow this easy outdoor party checklist to kick start your next get-together without a hitch.

outdoor party place setting with a pink paper fan and blue cloth napkin on a plate
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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.

metal bucket with ice and scoop on a tablecloth
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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.

grilled kabobs in a blue serving dish
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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.

tomato tart on a wooden table
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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.

extra large janga game on a table outside for a backyard party
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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 is Taste of Home’s Shopping Editor and previously worked on the brand’s magazine and special issues. It was during this time she tapped into her love language, gifts, and spearheaded the print holiday gift guides in 2021 and 2022. She’s thrilled to continue creating gift guides full time for the shopping team, in addition to testing and reviewing products, spotlighting viral gadgets and editing freelanced content. A midwestern transplant from the San Francisco Bay Area, she enjoys hiking, crafting and—you guessed it!—shopping and cooking.