Entertaining family and friends in the backyard is one of the joys of summer. To make sure everyone has a memorable time including you, it requires a little preparation. Here's what you'll need to plan for a successful al fresco evening. 

A comfortable seating area

Provide seating for everyone. It's the basics! If you don't have enough patio furniture or chairs, you could place a few cushions directly on the ground around a coffee table to make it a perfect spot for the kids. For summer entertaining, a few plastic stacking chairs are handy to have on hand. Don't hesitate to bring out indoor furniture such as ottomans or an entrance bench for the occasion.
Outdoor rugs will make all the difference in making your space cozy. You'll find a variety of sizes and styles at hardware stores. Don't forget to bring out blankets and throws as the evening gets cooler.
Consider providing a shaded area for those who want it with hanging canvases or a large standing umbrella. Add a few solar lights in the flower beds for a magical atmosphere.

A stunning and friendly table

Set the table in advance. Place utensils in Masson jars in the center of the table. Choose a colorful tablecloth, because after all, it's summer. For practicality and safety, don't ignore unbreakable and reusable dishes. You'll be amazed at what you can find in kitchen supply stores. Unbreakable dinnerware is simply beautiful!

A small sideboard on wheels is essential for arranging dishes without cluttering the table or for improvising a small bar area.

Have large trays or coolers filled with ice cubes for your guests to put their favorite drink in when they arrive. This is much more convenient than sending the visit inside to the fridge.

Simplified cocktails/mocktails

When your guests arrive, greet them with a festive cocktail or mocktail to get things off on the right foot.

For large gatherings, it's best to prepare pitchers that everyone can help themselves to. This way, you'll spend more time with your guests instead of playing mixologist. Sangria, mojito, pina colada, think of cocktails that are even better prepared in advance.

Buy plenty of kitchen accessories like ice trays, nice plastic wine glasses, paper straws to make it more festive.

For the little ones, top off their glass of water or juice with pre-made ice cubes in which you've frozen pieces of fruit like strawberries, orange slices, blueberries or even jujubes. It's a sure-fire hit!