Ready, Set, Summer – Outdoor Entertaining Ideas
Are you eager for Summer & sunshine? We are so ready for both here in the Pacific Northwest. In true Oregon fashion… it’s been a wet, wet, wet Spring. In fact, I had one day to share how ready we are before the rain returned. But I know both Summer & the sunshine will be here soon enough, and I can’t wait!! You saw our new outdoor sectional style patio set in March, and now I’m sharing how I’ve built on that basic and added to our Summertime entertaining arsenal! We are ready and set for Summer – And here are my outdoor entertaining ideas, so we can have fun from sun-up, long into the night!
Of Course, Our Allie Was All About The Sunshine Too And Lazed About While I Worked
I’m thrilled to continue being a part of the Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart team! I’ve been shopping the line at Walmart in-store and online for years now, sharing my personal picks, and how I use them here in our home as well as down at The Little Cottage. I’ve had so much fun making my selections and styling them up, and sharing them, and I love that you all seem to love it too! The quality & style of Better Homes & Gardens paired with the affordability and accessibility of Walmart is so perfect! I’m always extra excited to share these sponsored projects with you. As always, I’ll link to each product at the bottom of the post for your shopping convenience.
START WITH A CLEAN SLATE
Just as with decorating indoors, it’s best to start with a clean slate. Do any repairs, cleaning, weeding or trimming before you begin bringing in any furnishings, rugs, decor, etc…
- Power Wash, Hose Down, Apply Wet And Forget, etc… whatever it takes to get your entertaining area clean. Be it patio, porch, deck, siding or pathways.
- Weed any flower beds or surrounding areas to get them nice and tidy.
- Trim back bushes and shrubs that may be overgrown and infringing on your entertaining space or walk ways.
I mentioned earlier that we were ready for some sun, and I wasn’t kidding! Our composite decks are old but they are now freshly power-washed. We really took advantage of that one nice day. Though I can see we missed a section. A homeowners work is never done, right?
After the power washing was complete, I added some fresh ground cover and filled-in, in front of the decks with some Lithodora. We love that it shows off tiny blue blooms almost year-round. It’s a bonus that the Deer don’t bother it, and something I always have to take into account when planting anything new. Weeding is never ending on our property and we are always chipping away at that.
Unfortunately, that one day of sun wasn’t enough to facilitate finishing up the house painting after that big repair job we squeezed in on the main house before Winter hit. We are still sporting grey primer on the new shingles. On the upside, we are so very thankful we got to go through Winter worry-free that rain would continue doing damage. We were all buttoned-up now! And I know everything will be white and right soon enough.
Good thing that doesn’t take away from the fun on the table here!
WORRY FREE OUTDOOR DISHES & SERVING PIECES
- Better Homes & Gardens comes out with some of the cutest melamine dish patterns. I’ve picked up a few sets over the years. That didn’t stop me from grabbing a modest setting-for-two of the succulent pattern this season though. Hey, that was me being restrained. They are wonderful because they are shatterproof and perfect for outdoor use. Dishwasher safe too. Whoop! They also offer acrylic tumblers. Again, shatterproof and a must if you have a pool or spa. We all know water and glass don’t mix!
While this “gimmie the dirt” concrete-cutie is clearly intended as a planter, it’s nice and heavy (I’m looking at you wind!) and perfect for gathering our cutlery. It’s got a removable plug in the bottom so you can use it indoors or out. Love that double duty!
If you are a sucker for hand towels, like me, make sure to check the kitchen isle at your Walmart for these super cute new additions! I got two sets of 2 – the farmhouse stripe with fringe and the buffalo check, both in grey.
UPDATE: They are always adding new patterns and sets and have another 3-pack right now that is even cuter!!
I use my tea towels to add texture to my decorating, as place mats, for laying in baskets filled with whole fruit, for garlic bread (to cover and keep warm) and I list goes on! I already had my succulent dishes so I went with the grey, but as you could see above, the aqua is really cute too!
- It’s important to decide exactly how you want and need your space to work for you before you select your seating. Will you be having morning coffee in your space, eating, lounging, reading, hosting small intimate gathering, or entertaining large crowds? Once you know that, you can drill down on how you need your patio furniture or dining set to serve you.
What ultimately sold me on this particular patio set is that not only is it a roomy sectional, with space for stretching out with a good book or for a nap, but with ottomans that double as extra seating, we can host a large group too! Bonus, it can also act as a dinning set for causal meals with this super versatile table.
UPDATE: Since I bought my set, they have since come out with a gorgeous five piece patio furniture set [click here] that includes:
a beautiful wicker-look sturdy frame sofa
two matching chairs that glide/rock & swivel
set of marble top two nesting tables
and 3 furniture covers, included!
I’m showing you this because I saw it in person and it is NICE!!!! And, in case it’s a better fit for you. It’s got the wide sides like mine that you can actually rest your arm on, the thick substantial cushions, and the glide and swivel action is really smooth. (I tested it for us) Plus, I was super impressed it came with covers for the sofa and chairs. Mine doesn’t, and we bring our cushions in when we are not using them. It would definitely be nice to keep them covered in the Summer, and just pop the cover off when we wanted to use them — instead of putting all the cushions on… then having to take them all off and store them each & every time we want to use it.
I’ve got to admit.. shooting for this post was a bit of a challenge. And I’m going to tell you about it. hehe. Lucky you. Okay so firstly, I dropped my camera lens (I know, I about died!) so if things are looking a tad less crisp than usual, sorry about that. The wind kicked up, as it’s want to do on the coast, and it was blowing tree dandruff everywhere! I mean, not just on the furniture, and the rug… but into the food, and the snack tray and even in the drinks. And that doesn’t make for appetizing photos. Yikes! Luckily I had a galvanized caddy set of cute mason jar glasses (with the lids) on hand. Oh those lids. So smart!! No tree dandruff, or bugs. What a smart solution. The dishes were taken inside, cleaned, and came back out food-free. And the super cute faux wood & marble snack tray, and it’s dander filled dip, were washed and put away for another day. These trees are magnificent, and offer beautiful shade, and are home to delightfully twittering sing-song birds… but boy can they make a mess! With all the wind the umbrella was having a tough time staying upright. And things were being difficult in general. Then the knuckleheads, as I loving refer to the two rescue kitties we adopted, would not stop playing in and on everything. And because they follow me all around, they didn’t understand “not now” and wanted to be right where I was. It was like juggling sugar-rushing ninja toddlers. But I still manged to be outside almost all day!
How foolish of me, I thought I’d shoot my project and sit and leaf through a magazine afterwards. hahaha. That joke was on me.
Every bit of prep is worth it though! And now that the power washing, and planting, and fluffing is complete… we can just simply ENJOY!
I decided to divide our two decks into distinct zones – with the right side housing our Adirondack chairs and the fire pit, and left for our sectional. And to better be able to set food out, I put the table under the sun deck where it’s covered. I think that will be a smart spot for it in the future. We usually put the wood deck cooler under there too so it’ll be perfect for buffet style dining. Plus we’ve got another dining table & chairs set-up on the sun deck, right off the kitchen.
HOW WE GOT OUTDOOR READY:
CLEAN UP. Check
COMFY PATIO SET. Check.
CREATE ZONES. Check
OUTDOOR DISHES & EXTRAS. Check
INDOOR OUTDOOR REVERSIBLE RUG. Check
SUN UMBRELLA. Check
LIGHTING – OUTDOOR CAFE LIGHTS. Check. (I’ll share how we hung them later in the week)
BUG CONTROL – TIKI TORCHES (filled with citronella). Check! When you’re looking to enjoy the summer, you’re going to want to be outdoors. But you’re not going to enjoy it as much as you would if you have to keep swatting mosquitoes and wasps away. This can become very annoying quite quickly.
AMBIANCE – BATTERY OPERATED LANTERNS. Triple check!
Now we are ready for food & friends!
LIGHTING, PEST CONTROL & AMBIANCE
LED Cafe String Lights (these are so well made, nice and heavy!)
Copper 3-in-1 Torch (Table top, flower pot, or full size torch)
Farmhouse Wood Lantern (battery operated)
For me, these kind of tangle up and cross over. The cafe lights add both luminescence and ambiance. The tiki torches add lots of ambiance but also control pests when you add citronella oil. A must when mosquitoes love you! Anyway, the farmhouse style wood lanterns were originally bought because I just plain liked them, and ended up adding more when I realized they’d be perfect for our staircase! I made sure to capture our outdoor space fading into dusk so you can see the pretty copper tiki-torches and the LED outdoor cafe lights glowing. It’s making me so eager for the best season of all to come, and it can languish as long as it likes!
This is all for us, right mom?
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As I mentioned, I liked the outdoor lanterns so much, that I added three to the outdoor staircase. I knew they would be perfect for adding a little extra ambiance to our outdoor space, as long as a nice glow for safety along the stairway. In addition to the On & Off control, they also have a handy timer function and will automatically shut-off after 6 hours.
Cheers to a super comfy Summer! From morning until night.
Wishing you all a beautiful outdoor season, I hope we all have many sunny days ahead. xo Shan
CLICKABLE SHOPPING LINKS:
As always, I’m including clickable affiliate shopping links below to all my Better Homes & Gardens items, so if you can’t get to a Walmart, or find what you are looking for at your local store, you can shop online!
The following items are available in-store only, while supplies last
Better Homes & Gardens Faux Wood And Marble Tray & Bowl Set
Better Homes & Gardens Fringe 4-pc Kitchen Towel Set in-store
Better Homes & Gardens “Gimmie The Dirt” Planter out of stock
Better Homes & Gardens Succulent Melamine Dishes in-store
Better Homes & Gardens Galvanized Mason Jar Drink Caddy in-store
Better Homes & Gardens 3-way Copper Torch in-store
Better Homes & Gardens Copper Tabletop Torch in-store