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The cold winter season has finally come to an end (for most areas). Many of us spent the winter cooped up inside waiting for the sun, and now that spring is in full bloom, we’re ready to emerge back into the outdoors. One of the greatest parts of the warm spring/summer season is the opportunity to entertain outside with friends and loved ones. Whether it’s a planned party or just a small opportunity to enjoy some drinks and choice apps, the warm weather tends to be a reason to bring us together, and enjoy the company of others. If you’re a lover of entertaining and hosting, consider some of these useful tips for your first outdoor/backyard shin-dig this season:

Cover the Basics

As a host or entertainer, the first thing on your list is making sure your guests are happy and comfortable. So, here is where you want to cover your basics! Get all of your patio/lawn furniture cleaned off and set up! Make sure anyone that’s coming has a comfortable place to sit, eat, relax, and enjoy a cold drink. Additionally, your basics will cover other things like bug control.  Though we love warm weather, it does tend to bring the bugs we don’t love; invest in some citronella candles, and natural bug spray for any guests that feel the need to use it. Take this time to prep a quick menu; whether it’s full-blown dinner or just a few apps that everyone can pick from for the night. Finally, decide on your dinnerware. If you aren’t partial to washing tons of dishes, there are plenty of non-breakable and disposable options you can choose from.

Consider a Pot-Luck

While you may enjoy the opportunity to cook for others, if you don’t, consider hosting a pot-luck where each guest brings a fun dish of their choice! As a good host, you’ll still want to provide some picks to add to the options; however, a pot-luck is a fun way to add different flavors to the night (and not have to stress about planning out what you’re going to serve). You can also use this in place of alcohol if you don’t mind cooking, and have a group that prefers a wide variety of drinks. After all, everyone loves a BYOB!

Invest in (or Build) a Fire Pit

Fire pits are an awesome and generally inexpensive way to keep your party going after the sun goes down and the weather gets a little chilly (also great for keeping those nasty bugs away).  You can usually find one for a low cost at a local store or online. If you’re a DIY person, you can even build your own! When the sun goes down, keep the party outside and move things towards the warmth of the fire.

Get Creative With Drinks/Cocktails

Spring/Summer is a great time for a good cocktail (you can make fun virgin options too). As a host, even if your party is BYO, it’s nice to offer a fun cocktail for anyone that may want it!  Consider a pitcher of Margaritas, Sangria, or a delicious Mojito recipe. Again, many of these options can be made non-alcoholic, so that everyone can partake in a fun, summery beverage.