Making the Most of Summer with these 5 Outdoor Living Tips

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Make your Memorial Day weekend memorable by revamping your outdoor living spaces, like this amazing roof-top patio from John Kraemer & Sons! Try out some of these tips from our guest blogger, David Glenn.

After a long cold winter, one of the best things about summer is the chance to spend more time outside in the fresh air. Summer barbecues, lawn parties, holiday celebrations, and pool events are all an opportunity to have friends over and enjoy your home’s outdoor living areas. When you’re having people over, though, you want to provide your guests with the best experience possible. Here are five tips on how you can make the most of your outdoor spaces when entertaining this summer.

Don’t feel tied to a single layout.

Remember that every event is different. Just because you have your outdoor furniture arranged in a certain way doesn’t mean you have to keep the same layout at every single event. Be willing to experiment with different layouts to match the feel of your event.

Patio from Steiner & Koppelman image

Easily movable furnishings make this outdoor patio from Steiner & Koppelman perfect for entertaining.

If you are having a casual gathering with lots of people and want to encourage conversation, set up several conversation nooks and areas to socialize with seating arranged so that people can see each other and chat easily. You can differentiate each area by using colors or making slight variations on the overarching theme of your event. You don’t have to only rely on your typical outdoor pieces, either. If the weather is expected to be clear all night, don’t hesitate to bring some indoor pieces outside.

For more intimate events in a larger space, use the furniture to set up borders and shrink the area. If you only have a few people together, then a wide open space will seem barren. By setting up seating, lighting, and decorations around the rim of the area where your event will take place, you can artificially reduce the space and create a cozier feel.

Enjoy cool summer nights around a fire.

Fire pit on Patio by Hendel Homes image

Soft seating around an outdoor fire makes for the best summer entertaining, like this back yard from Hendel Homes.

There’s nothing quite like socializing around a fire with friends and family surrounded by a soft summer breeze. Adding an outdoor fireplace can tie your outdoor living space together and create a focal point for people to gather around. Set up soft seating options around a fireplace to encourage guests to sit down and have a casual conversation. Even after the event is over, it can be a great place to cuddle up with a book and unwind.

A fire pit has a more rustic feel, but it can be just as inviting. If you are hosting a more casual event, you might even consider breaking out the marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate and making s’mores! Have sticks close at hand for marshmallow roasting. You can set up camp chairs around the fire to enhance the camping feel.

Arrange pool areas for entertaining—not just swimming.

Pool-side toast at Michael Paul home image

Relaxing by the pool in summer makes a great party for two or twenty, here at last year's Artisan Home by Michael Paul Design + Build.

Inviting your friends over for a pool party is a long-standing summer tradition, but remember that the party goes beyond the pool. Some people may prefer to spend their time outside the pool, enjoying each other’s company or simply laying in the sun. Arrange snacks on a table close enough to the pool to access, but not so close that it’s in danger of being splashed.

If you haven’t installed a pool yet, but are dreaming of being the ultimate pool party host, search for a reputable pool builder near you. Keep in mind that just having a pool doesn’t make your home the ideal pool party place. It needs to be designed in a way that suits entertaining. I love looking at photos of inground pools in Las Vegas for inspiration. If you’re going for a pool that is party-worthy, that’s the place to look.

Don’t crowd the space you have available in your yard, and be sure to account for space to socialize outside the pool. Keep the same things in mind if you are searching for a house and plan to entertain. In warm areas like Phoenix and San Diego, there are many homes with pools for sale, but not every pool is set up to entertain.

Don’t skimp on seating.

Include a wide range of seating options. Small conversation areas like we mentioned above, long benches to accommodate a lot of people, and even smaller chairs and benches for children if they will be present. You may need more seating than you originally planned, so it may be a good idea to have additional seating on hand in case things get more crowded than you expect. Don’t overdo it, though. Make sure that there is still plenty of space for your guests to walk around and visit different areas without tripping over each other.

Use small accent pieces to enhance visual appeal.

Even when you have the big pieces in place—seating, entertainment, lighting, food—don’t forget that small things can have a big effect. By including small accent pieces to provide some visual contrast, you can significantly boost the visual appeal of your outdoor space. If you visit local flea markets and thrift shops, you can find some great pieces that will add character. Tabletop water features can add some calming sounds and are visually attractive. Sculptures and potted plants can add variety, as well, and can make great conversation pieces.


I like what you wrote about not skimping out on seating and making sure to arrange for company rather than just swimming. Very nice!

If you have an outdoor area, it's also nice to have some kind of outdoor bar or kitchenette area where you can prepare snacks and drinks. Include a mini fridge for cold beverages (use a hidden extension cord) and a Barbecue, and you're all set for outside!

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