Summer is here and it’s the season for a picnic with your family, friends, or significant other. But before you plan on heading off to some far-flung destination, that perfect escape might be closer than you think. If you’re lucky to have outdoor spaces, here’s how to arrange a memorable summer backyard get-together.

Begin with a Theme

How To Create a Memorable Summer Backyard Picnic.

Your theme serves as the guideline for any organized party, dictating the flow and all necessary details to add. It helps you determine who and how many people you want to invite. Even the food you’ll serve, activities to hold, layout to follow, and decor to include should follow the chosen theme.  You can adopt certain styles like bohemian, tex-mex, or luau, or even make use of the time of the day. 

If you plan to do an all-day backyard picnic, having a summer barbecue is a popular choice. Apart from an easy-to-prepare menu, it creates a festive atmosphere that can last all day long. Picnic tables, bar area for refreshments, coolers for beer, and a buffet table are some of its staples.  

If you want to start a little later, you can opt for an afternoon tea theme. This makes for a more intimate and chilled-out atmosphere. You can lay picnic blankets and serve sandwiches and treats in baskets or in tiered plates. You can also combine it with vintage or floral garden themes for added warmth. And if you want to go the extra mile, you can even put together a mini cottage garden to fully complete its light and refreshing vibe. 

But if you want to avoid the summer heat of the summer, there’s no reason why you can’t have an evening picnic. Set up string lights and tents and maybe even an outdoor projector for a movie night. 

Pick a Picnic Layout

So you finalized the guest list and picked a day for your picnic. The menu’s set, along with your list of games and activities. And you checked the weather forecast for the big day. All that is left to do is to create the perfect setup. 

Layout is the second crucial thing to consider in setting up a summer backyard picnic. It is important to align it with the function, number of people, and theme or motif of the picnic. 

Create Zones. Designate areas for seating, dining, and food prep to have multiple yet cohesive functions within your outdoor space. This creates pockets of activity that allow you to have intimate chats or larger gathering spaces.

Central Focal Layout. This layout prioritizes a central element that easily displays the motif of your backyard event. The centerpiece encourages guests to gather around and foster a conversational atmosphere. It can be a bonfire for a boho-themed gathering or an aesthetic tent for a more camper style party. The central focal layout is more suited for small casual gatherings, but is not ideal for larger events requiring separate areas. 

Single Focal Layout. Designed to maximize efficiency in limited spaces, this layout dedicates the entire backyard to a single primary activity. Because of its straightforward structure, it requires minimal furniture or decorations. It’s perfect for small backyards or patios as it eliminates the need for separate dining and seating areas. Since everything revolves around one activity, it is the simplest and easiest to adopt among other layouts. But, it lacks the versatility to organize different activities. 

Bring Out Summer Furniture

How To Create a Memorable Summer Backyard Picnic.

After deciding on your ideal layout for your backyard picnic, it’s time to add your furniture. Regardless of the picnic’s theme, choose material that can withstand the extreme sunny weather. For padded furniture, cotton, polyester, and vinyl fabrics are breathable and quick to dry. Rattan, teak, and ironwood are durable materials resistant to weathering and decay. They’re also lightweight and easy to move around for a more flexible set up. If you’re going for metal furniture, cast aluminum, wrought iron, and steel are all great options. These are much heavier, so keep this in mind when finalizing your layout. 

You can also ditch the seats all together and make it more like a traditional picnic. Outdoor rugs and throw pillows made of synthetic materials or plant fibers are your best durable and low-maintenance choices.

Set the Table

How To Create a Memorable Summer Backyard Picnic.

And since picnics are about food, table setups should be aesthetically pleasing whether it is for communal, separate, or buffet-style dining. 

Build a base. Table mantels, runners, placemats, or a combination make a good foundation for your table setting. Don’t be afraid to experiment with patterns, colors, and textures as long as it goes well with your picnic’s theme and tableware. 

Include the right tableware. Consider the menu for this one. If you’re going for something more formal , then arrange a complete tableware set. But if you serve finger foods or snacks, you can skip the formality and be more creative and resourceful with your dishes. You can try serving bite-sized eats, snacks on edible containers, or desserts in cocktail glasses. 

Add layers. Finishing touches like candlesticks, fresh flowers and plants, or centerpieces complete your summer picnic tablescape. These little additions give vertical elements to your table, which elevates its plain flat surface.

Complete the Picnic with Decor

How To Create a Memorable Summer Backyard Picnic.

For a peak summer backyard picnic experience, it’s not enough to only have furniture and table arrangements. Add visually charming decorations to make this outing memorable. 

Plants. Plants can help in designating areas, creating little nooks in your backyard. Aside from providing a natural vibe, adding greenery filters noise and dust and provides added privacy. Opt for plants with lush foliage or blooms like devil’s ivy and shrubs to clearly indicate the partition of areas. 

Shades. It’s good to have more sun protection as well aside from sunscreen and hats. Patio umbrellas, awnings, and canopies not only provide shelter from UV rays but also serve as an additional functional space.

Lighting. If you want to keep the party going after the sun sets, install a good amount of lighting. Lanterns and string lights maintain a sense of warmth and coziness and give a lively ambiance to the outdoor space. Task lights like solar-powered and battery-operated table lamps allow you to carry out activities after daylight such as cooking and or playing games. Accent lights or candles can be an additional decorative element to tables or central focal layout. 

Organizing a summer backyard picnic can save you from frantic reservations and scrambling in crowded summer destinations. Sometimes, the perfect summer escape is just a few steps outside your home. It’s just one of the simple ways you can enjoy your outdoor spaces. Ditch the stress of travel and create unforgettable summer memories right at home.

Photos from Unsplash

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