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How to Design a Yard Space for Hosting

Outdoor living spaces at night with lights

Having a yard space that’s conducive to entertaining and connecting with friends, family, and neighbors is a dream for many. How great would it be to host a backyard barbecue with your friends, or unforgettable family dinners from the patio? Optimizing your yard space for hosting doesn’t have to be a dream.

With a few simple changes and upgrades, you can create an incredible yard space that draws you and others in. Not only will you want to spend most of your time out there, but it will be the perfect place for hosting get-togethers, no matter how big or small.

Not sure how to get started? Let’s cover some helpful tips.

Outdoor living space
Outdoor living space

Optimize Your Space

You might think your yard isn’t the best place for entertaining if it’s not very big. But, that shouldn’t stop you from hosting.

You can use your backyard as an extension of your living space to make it seem bigger. One of the best ways to do that is to transform it into a dining area – especially if the entrance to your yard comes just off the kitchen or indoor dining room. No matter how small your space is, you can optimize it into an outdoor dining oasis with things like:

  • Tables and chairs
  • Appliances
  • Heating/cooling elements
  • A grill/outdoor kitchen
  • Bar cart
  • Plenty of shade for your guests

Everything from the patio furniture you choose to the amenities you add can make your outdoor space feel more like “home”. There is something to be said about an intimate gathering, like a dinner party. For events with more guests, you can open up your actual yard and set up outdoor games to make the space seem bigger.

Outdoor living space with the hammock
Outdoor living space with the hammock

Get Creative With Ideas

When you’re designing a space for hosting, consider the things you’ll most want to do. If you’re interested in hosting dinner parties, you can include some of the options listed above. But, you can also choose a more open concept. Think about the number of people you’ll typically have over, and what would interest everyone. For example, if you have a lot of friends with children, hosting more family-friendly events might be a better way to get them to come.

By simply keeping your space clean, having a few comfortable pieces of furniture, and the ability to provide power to different devices, the possibilities for outdoor activities are endless.

Consider hosting an outdoor movie night – either for your family or your entire neighborhood. You’ll need a few basic items, including:

  • A projector
  • Something that can serve as a screen
  • A streaming device
  • Extension cords
  • Speakers
  • Snacks

If you’re not into movies, think about whatever might keep you and your guests entertained. Host a neighborhood chili cookoff, a dance party, or even a backyard croquet tournament. As a host, your priority should be to make sure people have fun and are well taken care of. Keeping your guests hydrated, especially during outdoor activities, is something you should always have on your checklist. Offer a variety of thirst-quenching beverages and snacks, no matter what events you’re hosting.

The great thing about designing a yard space for hosting is that the sky is truly the limit. You can switch things up for seasonal entertaining, enclose your space with a porch to keep guests safe all year, or focus on cleaning up your landscaping to maximize the beauty of your yard.

Outdoor space
Outdoor space

Make It Your Own

One mistake you should avoid when designing a yard space for hosting is compromising your own peace and comfort. You won’t be hosting get-togethers and events every day. So, make sure your yard is still a place you can go to enjoy some peace and quiet.

That might include hanging a hammock somewhere to relax and read, or planting a garden to enjoy. You might even invest in some globe lights so you can enjoy a warm drink on the patio during a cool evening. Striking a balance between a yard that works for you and the events you want to throw should be your goal. When you’re able to do that, you’ll want to spend as much time out there as possible.


Sam Bowman authored this post.

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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a travel host and writer with a popular travel show, The Design Tourist, and a companion lifestyle blog. As a widely published travel journalist and content creator, Karen is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association. She also serves as the Design and Travel editor of the national lifestyle magazine, LaPalme. Karen believes that every destination has a story to tell through its local art, architecture, culture, and craft. This immersive creative exploration begins with authentic accommodations where the narrative of place unfolds through art, accessories, accouterments, furnishings, fixtures, and food. 

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