Warm Weather Outdoor Essentials

family gathering at outdoor table in back yard

Image from Canva

In this article: 

The spring and summer seasons offer warm days and comfortable evenings for outdoor parties and get-togethers. Naturally, as the host, you’ll want your guests to enjoy themselves and relax. So to put them at ease, anticipate their needs before their arrival.  Luckily, these needs aren’t complicated: great food, clean spaces to mingle, comfortable seating, and as much nuisance control as possible.

Clean the Gathering Space

You should inspect decks, patios, and porches to note clean-up tasks. The winter moisture likely encouraged mildew on decking or concrete blocks. Professional power washing is the best bet, but there are DIY options. Lou Manfredini of House Smarts recommends Wet & Forget Mold, Mildew, & Algae Stain Remover. He also mentions the product Krud Kutter to clean siding and other exterior components.

In the spring, creatures big and small like to nest in tiny, enclosed hiding spots. 


  • Check the deck or patio for any insect or animal infestation. 
  • Look for rodent damage on rails or steps. 
  • Repair small holes in the wood with exterior wood filler. 
  • Tidy up the patio and deck with a powerful leaf blower to blow away debris stuck in crevices. 

Use our spring and summer cleaning checklists to help you get your party space ready. 


Image from Canva

Set Your Seating Priorities

Prioritize seating arrangements for the ideal gathering space. You’ll want the conversation flowing and food and drinks at the ready. 

Depending on the square footage, outdoor seating comes in many varieties that mimic indoor sofas and couches. Watch for secondhand furniture and update its finish with a paint product like Krylon’s indoor/outdoor spray paint to keep your budget in check. 


  • Large L-shaped sectionals are popular and are found at a range of stores from Wal-Mart and Costco up to luxury lines like Arhaus or Frontgate. 
  • Traditional furniture combinations are five to seven-piece sets, including multiple chairs, a low table, and a three-person couch.
  • Round table dining collections with an umbrella for shade and four to eight chairs are another classic look. You can buy them with wrought iron, wood, and outdoor woven wicker or rattan finishes. 
  • Small porches and patios accommodate a petite three-piece bistro set or two Adirondack-style chairs.
  • Thick and deep cushions provide the most comfort for lounging.
  • Choose vibrant and patterned cushions to max out visual appeal. In a landscape of natural hues, bursts of any color will draw guests to the table. 
  • Maintain the fabric’s condition by storing them out of the rain and away from bird droppings when not in use.  
  • A matching storage bench serves as additional seating while housing cushions and children’s toys. 

Here’s more help for getting your home ready for guests: Room-by-Room Spring Cleaning the Green Way


outdoor loveseat chair and table

Image from Canva

Select Serveware and Accessories

Your serving pieces add personality and fun to outdoor areas. Mix and match prints and patterns for an updated look. 

  • Dining tables topped with colorful and unbreakable plates, and glasses make the atmosphere festive. 
  • Patterns and monograms provide visual interest and become easy conversation starters.
  • Incorporating vertically tiered serving pieces allows extra room for diners. 
  • Plastic beverage dispensers are invaluable for guests to help themselves to a premade summer cocktail or lemonade.

Think about your guests’ experience and incorporate entertaining accessories. They’ll add a homelike experience for your guests, which means they can make themselves comfortable  without asking you for assistance.


  • Use a decorative galvanized or plastic bucket for icing beer and other beverages to let  guests help themselves. 
  • A "necessities" tote or bin can save a guest in a pinch. Gather bug spray, hand fans, sunscreen, allergy tablets, and stain removal wipes, and leave it visible if a guest needs assistance.
  • Ask your guests to enjoy creating cocktails or mocktails at a bar cart if you'd like a fun activity. Antique carts are easy to find, but many furniture pieces like potting benches or tall side tables can substitute for staging bar accessories. 

Plan Your Plants' Placement and Lighting

Shrubs and string lights are not necessarily the first visual focus when entering a backyard, but they provide foundational elements that ground the gathering space. 

table and chairs on back home patio

Image from Canva


  • Potted plants act like walls and hide unsightly objects like air conditioning units. 
  • Large trees in containers offer shade and privacy. 
  • Guests may find an edible salsa garden or mint plant amusing as they snip a sprig for a cocktail or cilantro for a Mexican dish.

Exterior Lighting

  • You can’t go wrong with lighting Tiki-style torches for ambiance. 
  • If the weather is nice, add tabletop lamps to side tables. 
  • Strung lights come in many varieties and are readily available
  • Candles with citronella or other anti-insect specialty formulas will help to keep bugs at bay. 
  • Hanging lanterns come in many materials, such as punched tin and painted metals. 

covered porch with outdoor furniture

Image from Canva

Non-Essential Items, But They're Sure Fun to Have!

If the goal is to maximize your guests’ comfort and fun, try adding one of these to your party.

  • An outdoor rug defines the space and adds color or tactile interest. 
  • Industrial standing fans cool the air and keep flies away from food. 
  • Outdoor gas fireplaces add ambiance and a bit of warmth for cool spring or fall evenings. 
  • A six-foot folding table with a decorative tablecloth instantly provides a dessert table or other needs. 

Preparing for a party is easy! Just think about the items or amenities you would like to have while attending a fun summer get-together. Thoughtful details make all of the difference for the enjoyment of your guests. 


By Dawn M. Smith






back to top