Landscape Design & BBQ Planning
Summer is just around the corner, which means it’s almost time to fire up the grill and throw some festive backyard barbecues. Summer in the New York Metro area is ripe for outside gatherings and the team at Felice Landscaping knows how to create a space that guests will enjoy and hosts will love to use. For a successful outdoor party, check out the tips below.
On a hot summer day, a pergola adorned with a beautiful vine, such as clematis allows guests to escape the heat and humidity. Even when the flowers aren’t in bloom yet, the slats of the pergola still offer shading and respite from the heat. This is a lovely setup for smaller spaces.
Alternatively, if the space allows, consider creating an outdoor kitchen that acts as a sort of extension of the home, complete with a covered roof.
If you tend to throw a lot of parties or invite large groups over at once, plentiful seating is key. Built-in benches that double as storage for cushions and pillows or gardening supplies are a great idea. Chaise lounges on the lawn allow guests to chill and converse in a separate area.
Festive lighting ensures that the party doesn’t have to stop when the sun goes down. Edison bulb-style string lights combined with Christmas lights set a warm and inviting mood as the day winds down.
Keep the bugs away with tiki torches with citronella candles that can double as pathway lighting back into the main house for guests who don’t know the way. Similarly, citronella candles placed on tables and other surfaces give the scene a cozy feel while warding off mosquitoes.
The Ultimate Kitchen Space
Planning to build your outdoor kitchen space? Perfect timing!
First, ponder over these questions as suggested by Jenn Andrlik at Westchester Magazine. In a 2018 article, Jenn discussed the things you should know before building your outdoor kitchen space. Great tips, check them out:
- How often do I plan to cook outdoors?
- Will my outdoor kitchen is used primarily for intimate family dining or large-scale entertaining?
- What functions are important to include in my kitchen, i.e., Will I need a sink for washing dishes and utensils?
With answers to these questions, your planning and budgeting should go a lot smoother.
Once you’ve got your outdoor kitchen space up and running it’s time to cook! When planning your summer BBQ always prep ahead as much as you can. Good preparation will minimize work on the day of the party. Consider serving self-serve, ready-made appetizers to allow guests to nosh while you are working preparing the main meal.
Perfect BBQ Food
Burgers are classic BBQ foods that please just about every guest and are easy to accommodate various diets, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free with a few swaps. Set up a burger bar on a side table with toppings like onions, lettuce, pickles, and condiments such as ketchup, mustard, and barbecue sauce. This way all you have to do is flip burgers and the guests can do the rest.
Pasta salad and potato salad are common side dishes for summer gatherings. Plus, they’re filling, so guests won’t go hungry! If you’re limited on time or cooking capabilities, hit up the deli section of your local grocery store and put them into a nice serving dish. No one will know that they are store-bought. If you’re up for more grilling, corn on the cob is always a welcome side dish.
Feeling a little more ambitious? Just ask the web for summer bbq recipes and you’ll be in a sea of grilled chicken, grilled shrimp, and grilled anything else you can imagine. The hard part will be selecting just a few options to serve your guests.
Lastly, don’t forget dessert! Fruit crumbles hit the spot during the summer months. Or, if you have no desire to turn on the oven (we don’t blame you), serve an ice cream sundae bar. Once you’ve cleared the dinner set up, bring out a variety of ice cream flavors, fruit toppings, chocolate syrup and caramel sauce, and other fun toppings like sprinkles, nuts, and cacao nibs.
Beverages For Summer BBQ
Provide a variety of beverages so guests can choose among several options. At the same time, keep things simple by offering a few select choices, like a signature cocktail, as opposed to a full bar, to keep hosting duties down.
Serve water and the signature cocktail in large drink dispensers. This way, guests can help themselves and you’ll only have to refill the dispenser once or twice during the party. Add fruit and herbs to your water to make it more interesting and fancy. Tasty combinations include watermelon and mint, strawberry and basil, or blackberry and sage. Add half sparkling water to one of the waters to add a little zest.
For a touch of rustic charm, use a wheelbarrow as your ice bucket for beer and wine. The large capacity means the host can be more hands-off without the need to constantly replenish the drinks.
Tip: Light beers like pale ales, India pale ales, fruit, and hefeweizens are optimal for summer. Their lighter profile caters to the warmer months. Similarly, roses and white wines are cooling since they are typically served chilled. A summer sangria would make a great choice for the signature beverage.
Backyard Party Serveware
Even if you have a dishwasher inside the home, you’ll be exhausted after a day of hosting. Rather than use paper plates and plastic utensils, go with something a bit more eco-friendly like compostable serve ware. They look a bit more classy than your regular paper plates and if you set up a compost station, guests can do their own dishes.
Outdoor games like bocce ball, horseshoes, and bean bag toss act as the perfect icebreaker for guests who do not know each other well. They also provide entertainment for the kiddos, allowing the adults to engage with one another without interruption.