Creating Outdoor Party Space

With the flick of a match, a cozy fire and wraparound seats, turn an empty space into the ultimate gathering spot for your next outdoor party.

Outdoor party space with fire pit.

Tips For Creating An Outdoor Party Space

Expand your horizons and let guests gather outdoors. A fire pit makes an attractive focal point when kicking back and relaxing.

Two blue paper lanterns tied with scarves provide ambient lighting at your outdoor party.

Blue Paper Lanterns

Inexpensive paper lanterns come in a rainbow of vibrant shades that coordinate with your party's color scheme.

Colorful pillows and an outdoor sofa provide comfortable seating at an outdoor party.

Colorful Grouping Of Pillows

Decorative throw pillows make a fun and stylish statement while adding a touch of comfort to outdoor parties with friends.

Tray with several party drinks

Tray Of Party Drinks

Warm-weather entertaining is a breeze with cool, refreshing drinks made in batches. If you're serving alcohol, have a non-alcoholic option, too.

Gold-toned blanket on outdoor sofa

Gold-Toned Blanket

Scatter fabulous throws in the seating area to give instant color and warmth to your outdoor party space.

Outdoor party space with fire pit.Two blue paper lanterns tied with scarves provide ambient lighting at your outdoor party.Colorful pillows and an outdoor sofa provide comfortable seating at an outdoor party.Tray with several party drinksGold-toned blanket on outdoor sofa


Whether you have a patio, deck or enclosed backyard, here are some simple ideas for creating an outdoor entertaining oasis.

Make a Firepit
It doesn’t get much easier than this, or more dramatic. Fill a low, round, firesafe concrete container with wood, and light it. We love the way fire’s irresistible glow brings people closer as daylight fades.

Hang Lanterns
Inexpensive paper globes bounce and flutter like balloons, but their look is more sophisticated. Tied to the rails with kicky scarves, the bright bubbles sneak more color into an already eye-catching corner.

Make Simple Pillows
Cushions invite cuddling, especially after dark. Raid your scarf stash and pick the wildest for cameos on neutral pillows (simply tie around), or sew your own from the scarves you no longer wear.

Add Candles
Even with a fire going, candles light up parties and add to the welcoming atmosphere. Tall glass hurricanes keep wind out, but for extra breezy nights, swap battery operated LED candles for the old-school kind.

Serve Great Drinks
In the spirit of summer, try a fresh take on the common cocktail. Two of our favorites, Passion Fruit Hurricanes and non-alcoholic Sunny Orange Lemonade, are made with zesty fruit juices in place of mundane mixers.

Add Comfy Throw Blankets
From Maine to California, summer evenings can be crisp, so don’t skimp on wraps to snuggle under. For stargazing in comfort, think casual, lightweight and well-worn.

Roll Out a Rug
As with indoor rooms, rugs outside encourage camaraderie, drawing furniture into groups and offering feet an alternative to bare ground. Though less expected outdoors, patio carpets (in weatherwise polypropylene) send an especially friendly come-hither.

Outdoor Party Styling by Dara Samuelson; written by Susan Heeger.

Photography by Jeremy Samuelson.


Judy Novak 1 June 7, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Were do you find these round, firesafe concrete containers? We haven’ t seen them locally.


sharon 2 June 8, 2013 at 1:55 pm

You want to look for fire bowls or fire pits at department stores such as Sears or large hardware or home improvement stores such as Lowes or Home Depot. Small fire bowls in concrete, composite stone, and various types of metal are usually available. If you Google “concrete fire bowls,” you’ll also find on-line resources. Good luck!


Stevee 3 June 13, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Hi, if you are looking for an inexpensive fire pit . . try the tub out of an old automatic washer . . . works wonderful, the holes in the sides create a wonderful burning atmosphere and you can see the fire. Put a nice metal surround and you have one classy fire pit, for little or nothing. Think we paid $3. at a local 2nd hand store.


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