3 Outdoor Parties to Plan This Spring

Now that spring has officially sprung, and we’re busy looking ahead to the warmer days to come, it’s also time to start thinking about seasonal party plans. Spring is, in my opinion, the ultimate time of year for outdoor entertaining — it’s warm and sunny, but not so hot that your guests will be uncomfortable, and it’s cool enough at night to light up a fire or throw on a cozy sweatshirt.

And sure, simple barbecues and backyard gatherings are great, but when it comes to outdoor parties, getting a little creative can really pay off. So this year, throw a fete your friends and family will never forget with one of these fabulous (and simple!) ideas.

1. Homegrown Music Festival

iStock/wundervisuals

Instead of dropping hundreds of dollars and having to deal with hundreds (or thousands) of sweaty strangers, host your own low-key music festival. Create a Spotify playlist and invite your guests to add a few of their favorite tunes, that way you’ll have a personalized soundtrack to score the event. Set up a dedicated dance area in your yard’s sunniest spot to truly capture that festival feel (just make sure to stock up on sunscreen first).

2. Personalized Wine Tasting

iStock/courtneyk

Hitting up wineries is a popular spring activity, but actually finding a vineyard and getting your crew on the road can be an ordeal. So instead, have each of your guests commit to bringing a few of their favorite budget bottles, and let each person lead of tasting of their picks. Ask for the bottle names before if you can, that way you can prep a list of wines for each guest to take home.

3. Flower Crown Crafternoon

Kendall Peters

Fresh flowers are one of the best parts of spring, so why not get your best buddies together to craft flower crowns out of some beautiful blooms? Make sure to set up a selfie station too, because we all know flower crowns make the best Instagram bait.

 

Posted by Bridget Mallon on hgtv.com

 

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5 Home Repairs to Make Before You Host a Holiday Gathering

This is no time for major updates, so stick with simple tasks to make for a festive celebration.

Hosting a holiday gathering can be a lot of fun, but perhaps a bit intimidating, too. You want your house to look its best, but now isn’t the time to undertake any major updates.

Chances are, you’re busy enough just preparing for the event. So, focus on just the areas of your house where your guests will spend time.

Whether you’re a first-time party host with a few jitters, or an old pro looking for some new ideas, these tips will help you ensure that your home is ready for any gathering.

Light the way

The sun sets early this time of year, so it’s important to make sure the entrance to your home is clean and well-lit.

Courtesy of Bill Fry

If you have a large front yard, try to focus on just the front entryway and the path leading up to it. Install porch lights, or replace the bulbs on existing lighting. Cut back any shrubbery that is obstructing the walkway.

On the day of your party, open the blinds on the front windows so your guests can see into your warm, festive-looking home as they approach. It’s a great way to create a sense of welcoming anticipation.

Pro tip: The easiest possible way to create instant lighting for walkways and paths is with the solar lights that you just stick into the ground. The sun does the rest of the work!

Take care of the bottom line

Our mothers used to say this, and it’s true: If your floors are spotless, they make your whole house look cleaner.

Even if you’re unable to do an in-depth house cleaning before your gathering, you will certainly want to make sure that all floors have been cleaned before that first guest steps over the threshold.

Pro tip: If you have carpeting, clean the carpets a minimum of three days ahead of your affair to make sure they have dried fully.

Brighten up your bathroom

If you’re bothered by grimy-looking grout in your bathroom, try this easy, inexpensive, and non-toxic method to get rid of it nearly instantly: Just spray on some full-strength hydrogen peroxide, let it sit for 10 minutes, and then wipe clean. That’s it!

Next, add some flowers, holiday decorations, or pictures on the wall to further spiff up your powder room, and it will be ready for your guests.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Pro tip: Instantly de-clog a slow-moving sink drain with a Zip-It. This inexpensive tool looks like a giant zip-tie. You just work it down into the drain to pull up hair clogs — all the other gunky stuff will come up with it.

Tune up kitchen appliances

Your kitchen appliances will be the workhorses of your holiday party, whether you’re hosting a full family dinner or a cocktail party. You want them to be fully functioning and ready for action.

Make sure all stove burners are working. Now’s the time to clean the oven if you haven’t done that for a while.

Clean out the refrigerator, and make sure that both the fridge and freezer are running at their optimal temperatures.

Make sure your dishwasher is in good working order. You can clean it easily with a dishwasher cleaner that you run through a cycle.

Pro tip: Sharp knives will make easy work of preparing the big meal. Make sure all your kitchen knives are newly sharpened, and also check the batteries in your electric carving knife, if you have one.

Make your space kid-friendly

If you make your home welcoming for children, you will ensure that their parents have a great time as well.

If you happen to have kids that are the same ages as your young guests, you’re in luck. But if not, consider adding some considerate touches that will make parents more comfortable, and alleviate kid boredom.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Turn a spare room or an upstairs bedroom into a private nursing/changing area for a new mom.
  • Toddlers and younger children will want to be near their parents, so a good idea for them is to set up a corner of your living or dining room with toys, books, a tablet for watching cartoons, and some comfy pillows or throws.
  • One of our favorite strategies for older kids is to turn the dessert course into an activity. For instance, you could bake a huge batch of sugar cookies in holiday shapes, and then put out different colors of icing to let kids (and adults) go to town with decorating their own cookies.

Pro tip: If you don’t already have children, or if yours are older, don’t forget to kid-proof your space. Put away anything expensive, breakable, or unstable. Do some baby-proofing, if necessary. This way you and the parents can relax and not have to worry about safety hazards.

Hopefully these ideas will take some of the worry out of holiday entertaining, and ensure that you and your guests can relax and enjoy each other’s company this season.

Posted by See Jane Drill on Zillow

6 Ways to Bump Up Your Barbecue Decor (Just in Time for Labor Day)

NelleG/iStock

No summer weekend (or fall or mild winter weekend for that matter) is complete without grilling a few awesome meals in the great outdoors. So why isn’t anyone ever enthusiastic about coming over to your place for some hot dogs, bean burgers, or even wagyu steaks? Could it be that your backyard barbecue decor is a little less than appetizing?

Well, look no further than these ideas to get the creative juices running. From hanging lights to a full-on bar cart, these simple tweaks will make your Labor Day or any old excuse for barbecuing all the more memorable.

Hang lights

Candles are fine, but unless you get an early start, you’ll be eating your grilled emu in near darkness. Instead, transform your backyard with better lighting, whether by spotlighting a few significant trees or adding solar-powered lanterns along the walkway. Lorena Canals, a home living expert in Hastings on Hudson, NY, likes Christmas lights for their price and ease of use.

“Just put in a few wooden posts if you don’t have a pergola to drape with them,” she suggests. Place the posts around the seating and grill area, and string twinkle lights in between. Or go old-school and hit up the hardware store for half a dozen Tiki torches. Insert them into the ground to light the way to your backyard, or arrange them to light up dark corners of your yard.

Photo by Native Son Design Studio

Add a prep place

There’s more to hosting a barbecue than tossing meat onto flames. Think dip mixing, salad tossing, and egg deviling. To this end, consider creating a flat surface that can be used for prepping side dishes and plating appetizers. It could be as simple as a couple of saw horses and a piece of plywood covered with a bright tapestry. Or invest in a built-in outdoor kitchen counter near the spot where you grill. Best of all: You won’t have to leave the party to do your prep work.

Photo by Olive Branch Integrated Outdoor Design

Define your backyard barbecue space with an outdoor rug. There are literally thousands of inexpensive options that are relatively easy to clean and maintain.

“Most backyard barbecue areas a have a cement, brick, or wood floor,” notes Canals. A rug adds instant warmth to cold flooring and makes your backyard look like an extension of your indoor style. A fire pit is another smart bonus outdoors.

“You can easily build your own with a DIY tutorial online or pick up one at your local home or garden center,” she says.

Or add a swing.

“A hanging chair or swing are two fun ways to inject a little energy into the party scene,” notes Jessica Sutton, lead curator with Dot & Bo. In particular, bold geometric patterns look great outside, like this black and white rug for $197.

This bold geometric pattern looks fabulous outside. Dot & Bo

Tap into the power of pallets

If you have a few extra wooden shipping pallets hanging around—or you know someone who does—you can get very creative, notes Canals.

“Pallets can be taken apart and made into the most perfect seating areas for your patio,” she says. Just toss on a few cushions—and you’re done. Or stand up two pallets and connect them with a slab of concrete to make a patio bar. Paint pallets in a coordinating color, install hooks on one side to hold bar towels, and then top it with a colorful set of melamine glasses on a tray.

Drinks are served! This DIY pallet bar can also double as a prep space. fabartdiy.com

Wheel in a bar cart

Your friends love you (really, they do!), but they aren’t coming to your backyard to watch you fiddle with marinated octopus on the grill. It’s all about the drinks—fresh mojitos, icy cold lemonade, rum punch, summer sangria, or plain ol’ beer. Add a bar cart or create an outdoor bar area off to the side, and stock it with an ice bucket, openers, and a serving tray, suggests Sutton. This bar cart from Dot & Bo is $272.

Synthetic rattan is easy to clean and makes this bar cart a winner. Dot & Bo

Arrange better seating

Your lawn chairs are most likely fine, but why not curate a look that’s way more inviting? Backyard barbecue furniture should have the same consideration as your indoor dinner parties. Think cozy and comfortable, and toss out a few outdoor cushions in bold colors and patterns that pop. Or take a cue from Sutton.

“One of my personal favorite arrangements is simple: Place an outdoor sofa facing two chairs to encourage conversation, and then add a side table in between the seating or use an ottoman,” she explains. A stool plays double duty, functioning as a table when topped with a tray or as additional seating when guests are over.

Photo by AZEK

Posted by Jennifer Kelly Geddes on realtor.com

Deck Out Your Patio for Summer

Your outdoor space will be ready for a decadent staycation or lively entertaining with these budget-friendly tips.

Source: CB2

Published by Douglas Calhoun on Zillow Blog.

You’ve got your sunscreen out, your watermelon sliced, and your grill smoking. No matter if you’re on a balcony, patio or urban roof deck, outdoor entertaining is the best.

While you’re gathering supplies to enjoy a lemonade or ice cold brew with friends and neighbors, pick up a few decorative add-ons to enhance your outdoor space. Setting the mood for a party in the sun or under the stars is easy with these tips and treasures.

Classic bistro lights seal the deal

Twinkle no matter the occasion with these Edison string lights from CB2.

Hang a strand or two of Edison bulb string lights above your table or in the entry way to your patio. These classic string lights blend with almost any style of furnishings and work year-round.

Adding lights is a simple way to create ambiance — and since it isn’t permanent, it’s great for renters. They create a flattering light for your vainest of guests, and provide a gorgeous glow as the sun sets.

Snake eyes: decor and games are one and the same

Get rolling with these giant dice by Crate and Barrel.

These giant dice make for a cheeky center piece, and will inevitably add a lot of laughs — and possibly some competition — to your cookout.

Or for a no-cost decor-and-party-game combo, fold tons of paper planes in vibrant colors to populate the table. They’ll take flight later in the night, and guests of all ages can take aim at the horizon — or each other.

Bring the beach with hanging lanterns

Embrace the surf no matter how far away you are from the coast with these nautical Pottery Barn lanterns.

Hanging hurricane lanterns or these nautical lanterns modeled on vintage glass canning vessels creates a seaside vibe no matter where you’re celebrating. Candlelight is essential to your gathering, and hanging lanterns are perfect because they elevate the mood and won’t blow out.

Take a walk to easy seat

Pouf – they’re magic! Create instant seating with A&G Merch striped poufs.

Temporary seating is a must when entertaining outdoors. These red-stripped canvas poufs are ideal if you’ve got a smaller outdoor area.

A few of these placed in conversation clusters encourage a casual atmosphere while providing a comfy place to sip. Guests can scoot over easily to make room without having to handle clunky metal chairs or heavier seats. Poufs and large pillows are also easy to store away inside and bring out when you’ve got a party-crasher later on.

One-of-a-kind pillows, everywhere

Kick back with custom pillows by Society6 and the many talented artists on their roster.

When in doubt, just throw tons of pillows at your outdoor area. This abstract and summery design by a maker on Society6 is an affordable way to bedeck your deck with custom artworks.

A stack of five or six pillows on a canvas drop cloth or outdoor mat make for a coveted horizontal hang in the rays. No need for your patio to feel matchy-matchy — grab tons of different colors and styles of pillows and throws so folks can create their own plush arrangement.

Waste not, paper cutlery

Make it a Susty Party with paper-based tableware that is great for the environment.

Make big waves with small details in your plates and cutlery. You can stay stylish and eco-friendly with this delightful compostable pack of forks and knives.

No one wants to lug dishes and silverware outside and then back inside for the dishwasher. Have your guests toss these in the bin and recycle on your way downstairs tomorrow. An easier clean up and you can save the environment? Yes, please!

Chic and tiny table for two on the fire escape

The Manuela shelf table by Nimio – a miniature spacesaver that’s chic and simple.

From New York to Paris, this Euro-designed miniature wonder is exactly what we dreamed of. A table for two, perfect for sipping wine and people watching, or an opportunity to fly solo with coffee and a good book.

This attachable shelf is an ideal solution for morning meditation or evening imbibing on your balcony or fire escape. No matter how tight the quarters, you can create a cozy moment to share with friends.

A vertical garden: easier than you think

You don’t need a lot of space to get green with the Wally One from Woolly Pocket.

This modular garden container attaches easily to an interior or exterior wall in your home. Wally One is one of the smaller and streamlined versions. Start with one pocket and grow a vibrant plant or herb garden.

If your patio or deck is close to the kitchen, you can be the urban farmer you always envied, heading out to snag a pinch of basil or thyme. You can always order more pockets to expand your green thumb efforts all around your home.

Get more outdoor inspiration.

Kitchen Organization Prep Steps for Turkey Day

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, you’ll want to prep your kitchen for the work ahead. Don’t wait until the day before to get everything cleaned and organized. Here are some tips from HomeAdvisor to make sure your kitchen’s ready for the big day:

Turkey DayClean, Clean, Clean!
Clear and clean your countertops, butcher blocks and dining tables to ready them for the slew of groceries, dishes and ingredients to come. Store unnecessary items somewhere out of the way. If you have a countertop microwave that you won’t be using for the holiday, consider moving it to make more room. Also move blenders, drying racks and any other non-essentials that might free up space. Next, wipe surfaces down with a washcloth dipped in soapy water. If you have harsh stains, break out the sponge to scrub them off.

Make Sure Your Equipment is in Working Order
Make sure that any equipment you’ll be using is in working order. This includes everything from your range hood, stovetop, dishwasher and oven to your can opener, electric mixer and corkscrew. If you’re the adventurous type, it might even include your grill. It’s a good idea to perform this exercise even if your appliances are in good condition — just to avoid any last-minute holiday disasters. If you find that any of your appliances are in need of repair or maintenance, you’ll need to call a repair service to see if they can fit you in on short notice.

Pay special attention to items like your sink and garbage disposal, which will get heavy use on Thanksgiving. Run the disposal a few times before the holiday to make sure it is working properly. If it begins to clog, assess whether its one of the few issues you can fix yourself or a major issue that requires plumbing assistance, such as a complete disposal replacement.

Purge Your Storage Areas
If you’ll need additional cabinet or shelving space during the holiday, consider rearranging or purging your storage areas. This is a good opportunity to discard or donate anything you no longer have use for. If you’re making room in the pantry, it’s a chance to get rid of food past its expiration date — or to donate spices and non-perishables you’ll never use to a charity or a local shelter. If an item is useful but will be in your way, find temporary space in a closet or a different room.

Organize Your Fridge
You’ll need to make room in your refrigerator for all the food you’ll have to store before and after Thanksgiving. To make sure your fridge is holiday-ready, empty out the entire refrigerator and repeat the process you used with the cabinets and shelves. Anything that’s expired should go in the trash. What’s left should be placed back as succinctly as possible.

Pro tip: Condiments, produce and dairy products should be kept in the drawers or door of your refrigerator to save room on the shelves. Try to fit beverage cans and bottles in the door on the bottom rack. Leave extra room on the bottom shelf for your turkey.

Get Your Dining Table Ready
Once you’ve prepped the kitchen and freed some space on the countertops, you’ll need to clear the dining table to set it for dinner. Clear off any leftover groceries or dishes and move them to the kitchen. Then clean the table and chairs — and run tablecloths, pillows and cushions through the wash as necessary. Next, you can set your table to impress your guests and showcase all of your hard work.

Conclusion
Preparing the Thanksgiving feast can be stressful. And waiting until the last minute to get your kitchen in order can make it even more stressful. Take some time to prep your kitchen in advance of the holiday so you’re ready to tackle the big job without any surprises or disasters. That way, you can cook the meal and enjoy the holiday with your family without a hitch!

This story was written by Andrea Davis and originally appeared on HuffingtonPost.com.

How to Plan a Celeb-Worthy Halloween Party

It’s all about perception and creating that element of surprise.

DCIM100GOPRO

From fake snow to trees and tombstones, this haunted cemetery is authentic. Source: Ricky Brigante via Flickr Creative Commons

Celebrities like Heidi Klum are known for having extravagant Halloween parties, taking the occasion to another level. To create a memorable, celeb-worthy bash of your own, we asked interior designer David Brian Sanders — whose A-list clients include “Desperate Housewives” star Marcia Cross — as well as event planner Emily Cann to share their tips.

Pick a theme

“My first Halloween party I planned … I crammed [in] every single idea I had,” Cann said. “Everyone loved it, but it ended up being too many ideas and not necessarily cohesive.”

Sanders says it’s OK to draw inspiration from multiple places, but the key is to make it believable.

“You can always incorporate a little ‘Chainsaw Massacre,’ ‘Friday the 13th’ [and] ’70s,” he said. “Just keep it real. Keep it authentic.”

Once you narrow in on a theme, have fun with it.

“I would probably do something like ‘Twilight,’” said Sanders, who is friends with the creator of “The Vampire Diaries.” “But take it to the line and cross over. Create the illusion of what we think a vampire world could look like and add an element of fantasy.”

Be a kid at heart

When planning a party for adults, it doesn’t have to be serious. In fact, Sanders says it’s important to create a fun environment not just for kids.

“Incorporating the idea of a fairy tale into holiday-themed bashes is huge — especially for adults,” he said.

Foosball adds excitement to any party, and it’s a fun addition to your home. Source: Aaron Booth via Flickr Creative Commons

One way to boost the fun factor: add a game to your space.

“I’m doing a lot of foosball tables [in celebrity homes],” he said. “They’re back with a vengeance.”

He’s also a believer in a classic ping-pong or pool table. “It adds a rush to the evening,” he said.

Plan a surprise

Halloween is all about making people jump out of their skin, but Sanders says space planning can make or break a surprise.

“People will be more frightened when they don’t know what’s around the corner,” he said.

To add suspense, consider taking your house party outside.

“Create a house outside your home with tents, hallways and plywood ceilings,” he said. “Make it look fun with decorations. A lot of it is psychological.”

Consider using your outdoor space to add an element of surprise. Source: Ricky Brigante via Flickr Creative Commons

Watch the clock

If you decide to build something big like a haunted house, be careful you have enough time to take on the project.

“Time can definitely work against you when you are planning,” Cann said. “Cute items on Etsy, a place where I always look to get lovely and unique details, can take weeks to ship to you, and some vendors are booked until certain time frames, so the earlier you start the better.”

This advice also applies to the day of your event.

“Try to shoot for your party being set up 30 minutes before you had planned,” Cann added. “There are always those early guest arrivals that you want to be ready for!”

Listen up

To create a truly spooky party, it isn’t just about looks.

“The element of sound can make or break a haunted house [or party],” Sanders said. “You can have a recording going that’s all ‘ooohhh, aaahhh,’ but that’s not authentic. You need to have the element of surprise with sound.”

He recommends investing in sound equipment and making your own recording.

“Create a dead person talking, but make it as real as possible with no echoes,” he said.

While digital sound equipment can be expensive, Sanders says it’s worth every penny for themed parties.

Save & splurge

It’s hard to believe, but Halloween candy can make or break a budget. Source: B. Lovely Events

That isn’t to say you need to spend a ton to create a celeb-worthy party.

“With celebrities, the sky is not always the limit,” Sanders said. “A number of high-profile people are very conscious about budget.”

He’s a believer in spending $100 on one item and then going to a dollar store for other items.

“Mix how and where you spend your money to get the most bang for your buck and create that wow factor,” he said. “I love pumpkins, but I also love a good smoke machine and spending some money on audio/visual.”

Cann also notes Halloween candy can be surprisingly expensive.

“Bigger is always better from what I’ve learned,” she said. “Go with popcorn and jumbo marshmallows rather than black M&M’s to fill an apothecary jar.”

At the end of the day, Halloween parties are all about perception.

“It’s the collection of multiple elements that creates the experience,” Sanders said.

This article was originally published by Catherine Sherman on Zillow Blog. See it here.

 

13 breathtaking outdoor party spaces

Designing your yard for entertaining guests and for parties means figuring out a plan. What kind of parties do you want to have throughout the spring and summer? Is your circle of friends composed of a few folks or everyone from your office and then some? What are your interests, and which ones do you share with your friends?

Depending on your budget and the size of your outdoor area, you could transform the area into a breathtaking space that everyone will want to spend time at on the weekends. To give you ideas for designing your party space, here are some photos to inspire you.

© Distinguished Home Improvements LLC

© Distinguished Home Improvements LLC

As pictured here, a balcony space can be perfect for entertaining guests, with wicker chairs spread out for different views of the scenery, along with a fireplace to sit near at night and easy access to the inside for dinners and drinks.

Enjoying the view

© Window Covering Concepts Inc.

© Window Covering Concepts Inc.

The basics of an outdoor entertaining area often include a porch with tables and chairs. This photo, credited to a Lumberton, New Jersey, professional, is simple but has a breathtaking view of the scenery. It’s intimate for parties of four to six and leads indoors for windy or chilly temperatures.

The small table and high chairs allow for relaxation and conversation under a fabric awning that protects against the sun’s rays. Stone steps lead from the porch to the pond that feeds into the water below for a scenic view. It’s comfortable, quiet and easy for homeowners who want to invite a few friends over on the weekend.

Need more fire?

© Monarch Nurseries Inc

© Monarch Nurseries Inc

Having an outdoor grill is important for parties because then you can grill hot dogs, hamburgers, steaks and more without having to transport those items from the kitchen to the yard and back again. Having an outdoor fireplace allows people to stay warm during cool nights, see one another under the warm lighting and cook s’mores.

So why not put both of those in close proximity to each other for increased warmth and lighting? This outdoor grill and fireplace in West Dundee, Illinois, are next to each other and inlaid with stone to blend together on this stone tile patio. The cushioned seating is designed to be close to the fire while allowing a cook to get to and from the grill easily for serving and grilling. It’s fast, efficient and guarantees plenty of warmth on cold nights.

Comfy and intimate dining

© Darlington Designs LLC

© Darlington Designs LLC

For couples and families, a Glassboro, New Jersey, landscaper made an outdoor dining area perfect for a romantic evening or gathering. Four chairs are situated around a metal wicker table that is set and ready for dinner with a burning fire in the fireplace behind it. The view of the pond offsets the sunset, and the landscape evokes a feeling of calm and peace.

It’s serene, comfortable and perfect for those who need an escape from the busy weekdays to connect with one another again. For those who want to recreate a scene like this in their yard, the two pieces that you must have are the outdoor fireplace and the stone deck.

The cost to install a fireplace averages between $2,000 and $2,700, though it could vary depending on the outdoor conditions and materials required. A stone deck’s price will also vary because of the type of stone and landscaping conditions.

© DesignMine

© DesignMine

Designing outdoor party spaces on balconies or terraces means it will be more modern and cozy than a backyard with tables and chairs. This terrace space by a contractor from Dayton, Ohio, has an assembly of cushioned chairs and couches around an electronic firepit. It easily transitions into the house for those cold nights when a fire pit might not be enough warmth.

There’s a dining area for occasions when a host or hostess might want to set the table and say grace. In short, a terrace or rooftop party space just means you’ll be more comfortable and often have quicker access to amenities than what you’d have out in the backyard.

Fun games for every age

© DesignMine

© DesignMine

Do you enjoy strategy games or a workout? Why not install a life-size chess board in your backyard? How about a life-size Scrabble board or bowling alley?

In addition to having an outdoor grill and some seating, large game boards are eclectic and fun accessories that people will remember when visiting your backyard. It’s a recent trend, having appeared in cities such as Toronto, Tokyo and New York, including a life-size version of the board game “Mouse Trap” in Queens.

Getting in some time on the green

© Back Nine Greens Inc

© Back Nine Greens Inc

If you know friends and coworkers who love to golf, then installing a putting green in your backyard is perfect for parties on the weekends. This green in Palm Desert, California, has different distances between each hole so everyone can practice their putt from short or long distances. It’s good for those who are experts at the game, or even those who want to try their hand at golf for the first time.

Nearby is an outdoor grill for putting on a few patties while you practice, and a few lamps in the ground around the flora means you can practice at night as well. Having a green like this means turf, not real grass, though, or else you run the risk of a lot of patch. While the cost reported by homeowners to install turf averages between $3,900 and $5,500, it varies depending on square feet.

Taking a few laps around the pool

© RR Paving and Masonry

© RR Paving and Masonry

If you live a particularly hot climate, one of the best installations for outdoor parties is a swimming pool. This pool in New Rochelle, New York is comfortable, kid-friendly and can hold a lot of people. There’s a dining area and fire pit for warmth and relaxation in between laps.

While the cost to build a swimming pool might be expensive, between $7,800 and $11,100, it varies by materials and square footage. Also consider accessories such as the waterfall featured here and landscaping around the pool to help it flow with the backyard.

Extracurricular activities for all

© PH Architects LLC

© PH Architects LLC

This backyard in Newtown, Connecticut, has plenty of room and activities for guests with different interests. On one side is a swimming pool for kids, people who want to relax and the aquatically inclined. On the far right side is a tennis court for those who might be competitive or want to get a good workout in. There are chairs and tables for eating and chatting while others enjoy the activities provided by the pool and tennis court.

Remember that tennis courts require a playing surface, a net and lines for determining boundaires, so be sure to hire a tennis court contractor to construct it.

Entertainment for everyone

© The Mace Group Inc.

© The Mace Group Inc.

If you have children and want them to have a place to play with their friends during parties, you should have an outdoor playground or play equipment installed. Kids love to go to playgrounds and swing, go down slides, climb on the monkey bars and more. Having that in the backyard is even better because you will be able to watch them without worrying about kids wandering off, and you can enjoy other comforts of home.

This backyard in Westfield, Indiana, has a play structure near to a covered patio with a fireplace, outdoor grill and cabinet for a complete kitchen setup. It creates a comfortable atmosphere for adults and children to ensure a fun weekend for everyone. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of installing a playground in your yard, you can have an outdoor-playground contractor build it for you.

An outdoor living room

© Luxury for the Home

© Luxury for the Home

To enjoy the outdoors with the comforts of your living room, homeowners can create a luxury living space on their back porch. This covered porch in Dallas has almost everything you’d find in a living room. Couches and comfortable chairs sit near a burning fireplace with a flat screen TV and coffee table. Temperature is controlled by the outside, and it’s easy to transition from comfort to the outdoors. The separation provided by windows and doors is gone, so homeowners who enjoy nature and indoor relaxation get both with this design.

Ample space for guests and grilling

© Landmark Custom Landscape

© Landmark Custom Landscape

If you really need space for entertaining during any time of year or climate condition, then make sure you have a covered patio that can hold a lot of seating. It’s an additional bonus if you put an outdoor grill nearby for feeding everyone rather than going in and out of your kitchen. This outdoor patio in Lake Forest, California, has a wooden awning, lots of cushioned seating and a fireplace with a flat-screen TV overhead. The stone tile flooring can endure a lot of foot traffic, and awning overhead protects against rain and some wind. The landscaping helps it to blend in with the backyard and provides some protection against the elements.

A backyard big enough for any occasion

© O R Landscaping Inc

© O R Landscaping Inc

If you have many people you plan to entertain, you will need enough space in your backyard. This backyard from a Hialeah Gardens, Florida, landscape designer has the room and necessities for entertaining large parties with plenty of seating and tables, allotting room for more seats to be brought out and situated on the green or stone tiles. There’s an outdoor grill for cooking and a hot tub covered by a patio awning for people to relax in with the landscaping completing the look. If you want a backyard like this, a landscape designer will be crucial to its creation.

This article was originally published by By Andrea Davis of HomeAdvisor on MSN Real Estate. To see the original article, click here.