Best Outdoor Party Ideas: Ten Steps to Throwing a Great Outdoor Party

Big Bend Landscaping Agrees: It’s Time to Celebrate!

Big Bend Landscaping 10 steps to throwing the best party everLet’s be honest—it’s been a long winter and a wet spring. But sunny days are ahead! And with warmer months on the horizon, you have lots of opportunity to enjoy your yard and your outdoor living spaces.

Just like you, the staff at Big Bend Landscaping loves a good party!  And with holidays like Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, and 4th of July available, we have our pick of great events to celebrate (We might just celebrate them all! Have we mentioned that we like parties?). So, we thought we’d put together some of our best outdoor outdoor party ideas for you!

We should note that one of the keys to a successful party is not exhausting yourself before your guests even arrive.  This is supposed to be fun! So choose what works for you, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and don’t bite off more than you can chew. There are no trophies given for the best party. What you want is to create an event that both your guests AND YOU will remember and enjoy!

Decide on a theme

Big Bend Landscaping 10 steps to throwing the best party everThemes can both simplify party planning and make it more fun for everyone. And there are lots to choose from! We’ll link to a few pages that will give you some ideas or you can choose your own. But the first decision you’ll need to make is whether yours is a family-friendly party, one for kids, or an adults-only gathering. Once you’ve answered that question, picking a theme and activities will be much easier.

After that, the possibilities are only limited by the amount of space you have, your budget, what your outdoor living space includes, and your imagination! An old-fashioned garden party, a pirate party, a murder mystery dinner theater, or a “night at the movies” are just a few of the best outdoor party ideas to choose from.


Send out invitations

Big Bend Landscaping 10 steps to throwing the best party everNext, you’ll need to decide how many people you want to invite. Take a look at your outdoor living space and your budget. Be honest with yourself about how much you can spend and how many people your outdoor living space can comfortably hold. Intimate gatherings are just as much fun as large parties. And you don’t want to over-extend yourself or invite so many people that it’s difficult to find places to sit or stand.

Invitations can be formal or fun or a bit of both. Start times, approximate ending time, and an example or two of the kinds of activities you have planned should be included. But make sure you include details like “bring extra clothes!” (This is especially important if your gathering includes kids) or “BYOB” (if it’s an adult only party and you’re not furnishing alcohol) or “Please no alcohol” (if it’s a family-friendly gathering).

People’s social calendars fill up fast, so you’ll want to give your guests plenty of lead time so they can get you on their schedule. Whether you’re sending them out via snail mail, social media, or email, you’ll want to give them at least two weeks’ notice, and a month or more is better.

Plan menu

Planning your menu around your theme can be fun! And there are lots of terrific recipes available that are attractive, easy to make, and serve. Take your resources, your theme, and how many people you’ve invited into account when you make your plans so you aren’t disappointed or unprepared. With all of this, you have many options.

Big Bend Landscaping 10 steps to throwing the best party everIf you have an outdoor kitchen, you can do all of the cooking outside without having to heat up the house. But even if you don’t, an outdoor fireplace or fire pit, will work great too!

There are lots of fun recipes for both nonalcoholic and alcoholic cocktail drinks. You can even set up a table and leave recipes available so people can mix their own from the ingredients you make available. People love mixing their own drinks! And for those who don’t, you can fill a child’s wading pool with ice and offer chilled beverages. Garnish it with decorations and set it in the shade so it won’t melt too quickly and you’ll have an attractive “cooler.”

If the weather is warm enough, making homemade ice cream the old-fashioned way by letting everyone take a turn at the crank can be a great way to involve everyone in the prep work. If that’s not your idea of fun, then a few simple no bake desserts are a great addition to an outdoor gathering.

Also, it’s a proven fact that on the list of the best outdoor party ideas, inviting people to contribut makes them feel important to the celebration—so don’t be afraid to invite guests to bring their favorite side dishes. And if someone offers to help set up or tear down, take them up on it!


Set up multiple entertainment centers

Depending on your theme, you will want to provide your guests with things to do while they are at your gathering. Some people are joiners and some aren’t. That’s why parties with optional activities can be such a great addition to any gathering.

From a traditional horse shoe pit, to an outdoor movie screen (at evening parties), to game boards, to a pit or wading pool filled with sand to search for “treasures,” (for kids OR adults) or tables set up for card games, the ideas are endless.

And for those who just want to sit quietly in the shade or by a fire pit and just people watch, or converse with others, a corner off to the side is a great idea too.

Prepare enough seating

Big Bend Landscaping 10 steps to throwing the best party ever


Seating is one of the key elements of a successful party. Where you sit people and how comfortable it is can have a huge effect on the atmosphere. Big Bend Landscaping builds beautiful seating walls that can be used as extra seating in a gathering. You can ask everyone to bring their own folding chairs, rent folding chairs and tables, or you can a create picnic-type atmosphere by providing your guests with picnic cloths, cushions, and shady spaces to sit on the ground (treat your lawn ahead of time to avoid unpleasant pests inviting themselves to dinner).



Food and Drink Stations

Big Bend Landscaping 10 steps to throwing the best party ever


You can use folding tables or boards on sawhorses to hold your food, drinks, cutlery and plates. Setting up stations with a bit of space in between is a great way to manage your gathering, avoiding long lines or spills caused by elbow bumping. Seating Walls or the countertop of an outdoor kitchen works well for this too.



Decorate Party Space

Big Bend Landscaping 10 steps to throwing the best party everDecorating for your gathering can be as expensive or inexpensive as you want. Resourceful decorators shop thrift shops and flea markets for key items or borrow when possible. Unless you plan to use something more than once, it doesn’t usually pay to invest in expensive decorative items.

If you have folding tables or old card tables already on hand, you can use those easily and simply throw tablecloths or use butcher paper. Or you can use saw horses and plywood and cover them with something decorative. This all depends on the atmosphere you want to create.

Outdoor lighting is a key element of any evening gathering. Big Bend Landscaping specializes in installing outdoor lighting alongside paver projects that is both elegant and useful. Lighted pathways and illuminated landscape can extend the use of your yard until well-after dark.

For temporary lighting, there are lots of inexpensive, attractive options that really dress up your outdoor space and put smiles on guests’ faces.


Have a backup plan!

Into each life some rain must fall (Wadsworth).

Big Bend Landscaping fire place


Do this for yourself. Be prepared to adjust your plans. If it rains, are you going to reschedule? Or can you rent or borrow enough canopies and adjust your activities accordingly? If you have a covered deck or outdoor living space, will it hold all your guests?



Have a plan for easy post-party clean up

I am thankful for the mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends. ~ Nancie J. CarmodyBig Bend Landscaping 10 steps to throwing the best party ever

Future you will not thank past you for neglecting this part of party planning. Staring at scattered debris and dirty dishes after everyone’s left is not the last thing you want to remember about your party.

Have a system for collecting dirty dishes—you can use labeled flat storage containers like dish pans for people to place their glasses, plates, and flatware in. You can make it available without detracting from your party atmosphere.

Provide convenient, clearly marked receptacles for trash located in more than one location. Be sure and set aside one for recyclables like glass or plastic. How many locations will depend on the size of your gathering. If you have a fire pit and you aren’t cooking on it, you can add many paper products to the fire at the end of the event, just don’t leave it unattended. Also, be prepared to clean out any remaining ashes after they’ve cooled.

And when someone asks, “Hey can I haul that inside for you?” Or “Can we take the trash out?” Do NOT let pride get in the way. Letting guests (especially if they’re old friends and you’d do the same for them) do just a little bit each, will contribute to the celebratory atmosphere. The old adage, “Many hands make light work,” is very true.

Big Bend Landscaping 10 steps to throwing the best party ever

Enjoy the occasion

You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy
Jane Marczewski

Often, the hosts of parties forget to enjoy their own event. They get so caught up in keeping all the balls in the air that they don’t realize that they are missing out on the fun. Once everyone has arrived, and the party is rolling—make sure you take some time to appreciate the event you’ve put together. Eat some of your own food! Visit with your guests (Remember! They came to visit with you! Not just to watch you rush from one thing to another). This is why you threw this party!


Big Bend Landscaping Tiling around swimming poolBig Bend Landscaping has been building patios, firepits, pathways, retaining walls, and seating walls in the St. Louis area for over 25 years. We have many five-star reviews on Google ratings and an A+ rating with the BBB. Our crews have a Level 1 Certification from the National Concrete and Masonry Association. This means we’re experts in our field. And since we work with only the best materials, such as Belgard, our customers get the best of everything! Let us help you create an outdoor living space for your next gathering!

Big Bend Landscaping knows how to help you make the most of your outdoor living space. If you can imagine it, we can build it! Check out the rest of our website for more details, email us, or call for more information!