How to Impress Your Patio Party Guests This Summer

Hosting family and friends for parties is a great way to enjoy the warm, beautiful days and cool breezy nights of summer. From casual barbeques to elegant dinner parties, here are some suggestions for creating memorable, personalized events this summer.

Select a Unique Holiday or Theme for your Event
Searching for theme ideas? Patriotic Memorial Day or 4th of July celebrations are classic, but consider a unique holiday to spice things up, and give you direction as you plan decorations and menus. The summer calendar is littered with fun national appreciation days to help get you started, such as National Cheesecake Day, S’mores Day, Hammock Day, and International Picnic Day. An added perk is that guests are less likely to have other commitments on non-traditional holidays, and are able to kick back and relax if they don’t have another party to get to.

Experiment with Beverages
Whether you’re a top-notch chef or a champion at defrosting frozen appetizers, personalized cocktails or mock-tails are a quick and easy way to step up your menu.

Source: Pinterest.com

For novice bartenders, lemonades are a great medium for experimentation. Whip up your own homemade batch or simply combine fresh ingredients with a preferred store brand. Add your favorite fruits, such as strawberries, peaches, or blueberries, and fresh herbs like basil, thyme, or mint for a sophisticated flavor.

If you are unsure about the alcohol preferences of your guests, you can always stock a small bar with easy mixers on ice. Champagne, rum, and vodka can easily be blended with any of the cocktails featured above. Break away from storing your carefully crafted cocktails in a cooler full of ice stashed in the corner by incorporating an outdoor wicker bar onto your patio. A simple bar counter can fit into almost any sized patio and offer a sophisticated setup for guests to gather and pour their drinks

If space is truly limited, incorporate serving stations into essential furniture with elegant coffee tables and ice chests.

For other great, summer-themed, non-alcoholic beverage inspirations, check out the creative cocktails here.

Set the Scene
Guests will mingle and congregate as your set-up dictates. So carefully consider the atmosphere that you want to create and use your space thoughtfully. For an open, social atmosphere, a large circular setup encourages everyone to get to know each other.

For groups that are too large for one big circle, or to create a more intimate environment, clusters of wicker patio furniture, blankets spread on the lawn with comfortable pillows, or cocktail tables encourage guests to socialize in smaller groups with wicker chat sets.

Wicker Chat Set
Source: WickerCentral.com

If many of your guests will be meeting for the first time, provide entertainment for them to enjoy in smaller groups. Board games on tables and lawn games in the yard are a great way for guests to break up awkward silences. Additionally, it is important to consider the personal needs of your guests when planning for seating. An older crowd, or parents of infants, might require cushioned, comfortable furniture on a firm surface, while a younger crowd can more easily gather on benches or blankets.

Plan for Kids
It can be difficult for guests to relax when they’re checking in with the babysitter, so consider including children in your invite and planning for their enjoyment as well. For more intimate parties, consider hiring a qualified babysitter to take kids into the house for a movie, or organize outdoor crafts and games while adults relax. A sturdy wicker coffee table can be easily converted into a craft table with a colorful cloth covering and by providing construction paper, beads, or the materials and directions for a planned project. If your goal is to allow the adults to relax, set the area off to the side, and surround it with balloons and ribbons to attract younger ones and keep them content. Let parents know in advance that you will be setting aside a special area, and ask for craft recommendations to ensure that kids will be entertained.

If older kids or a babysitter are present, consider allowing kids to work on a presentation or play that ties in the theme for the party. For National S’mores Day, encourage the children to come up with a fun, whimsical performance detailing the discovery of the first s’mores. Allow them to gather and plan in their own space during the first half of the party, then pull comfortable furniture, picnic blankets, and pillows into the lawn and allow them to use the patio as a stage to bring the event to a close.

Make a Manageable Menu
Entertaining should be enjoyable for the host as well, so evaluate your budget, personal skills, and needs as you plan your event. Catering is a great way to remove the stress of menu planning completely, and can meet any price point. For example, taco bars and carryout BBQ are affordable, easy options to consider if you don’t want to worry about cooking for a crowd.

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However, for summer, there is nothing more classic than firing up the grill, and there is plenty of room for creativity outside of traditional burgers and hot dogs. Let guests create their own skewers with a buffet consisting of a variety of meat, fruit, vegetable, and marinade options.

For more delicate cuisines, such as seafood, infuse smoky flavors by grilling in foil. To serve food buffet-style, a long, outdoor dining table can be pushed against a wall in a smaller space, or set to the side in a larger space.

Whatever the menu, feel free to show it off as much creativity and culinary expertise as you desire, but remember to plan a menu that allows you to prepare as much ahead of time as possible so that you can enjoy time relaxing with your guests.

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Karen Styles is passionate about home improvement and interior design. She is a key team member at Pergolas of Distinction, one of South Australia’s largest home improvement companies. In her spare time she enjoys tackling DIY home improvement projects around the house and garden and, of course, entertaining family and friends outside in the Aussie summer.

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Make It Modern – 4 Modern Wicker Furniture Sets for Your Home

Garden Wicker Furniture
Source: WickerCentral.com

Modern wicker furniture is a great option for all those who want to add unique design, style and materials to your home.

You obviously have many options for choosing an outdoor furniture style, but don’t forget that you can still get a stylish modern look with wicker patio furniture.

Here are three different modern wicker furniture sets that would look great on your patio:

Harmonia Living – Urbana Modern Wicker Furniture Set
The Urbana collection is sure to turn your patio into a stylish center of outdoor entertainment. This high quality wicker finish will keep this modern wicker furniture set looking great for years and years.

Sunset West – Solana Modern Wicker Furniture Set
The Solana collection from Sunset West livens your patio or deck with its rich wicker and modern style. Strong, but light-weight, rust-proof aluminium frames are wrapped in a rich resin wicker finish. This collection is a must-have for your patio.

Source Outdoor – Cabo Modern Wicker Furniture Set
Source Outdoor is a manufacturer of quality wicker patio furniture. They take pride in their workmanship and attention to detail and the Cabo modern wicker patio furniture set is an

Modern Wicker Furniture
Source: WickerCentral.com

excellent example of their work.

South Sea Rattan – Saint Tropez Modern Wicker Furniture Set
With deep, plus, comfortable seating, the South Sea Outdoor Living Saint Tropez modern wicker furniture set is ready to take your summer to the next level. The modern design on this beautiful outdoor furniture will refine your patio or backyard this summer.

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Outdoor Wicker Dining Sets for Small Spaces

Wicker Dining Set
Source: WickerCentral.com

If you are looking to update your dining set, you should consider outdoor wicker furniture. With many people moving away from the conventional kind of dining sets, wicker furniture offers a creative way of sprucing up your exterior décor even if you only have a limited amount of patio space. So if you want a timeless and durable addition to your outdoor dining area that has enough room to entertain your guests, wicker dining furniture is definitely the best solution.

Here are the benefits of using outdoor wicker dining sets for small spaces:

Lightweight
Outdoor wicker dining sets lightweight compared to other furniture for small spaces. If you regularly pull out additional chairs for your family members or your guests, you will treasure how versatile wicker furniture is. Wicker is the most ideal furniture material as it is lightweight, thus making it easier to carry and lift. In addition to being lightweight, its distinctive woven design makes it quite sturdy and great for use by people of all weight and sizes, including children. For people who are concerned about children that may tip and fall over the wicker chairs while playing, you can consider adding some thick cushions to weight them down. Using such accessories also makes outdoor wicker furniture more attractive and prevents them from getting damaged.

Highly Durable
Outdoor wicker furniture is quite durable, and that is why it can be used both indoors and outdoors without any problems. The reason for this durability is the sturdy vines that are used to produce these kinds of furniture. Even wicker furniture made from reed or bamboo is pretty reliable and will last you many years, or till when you need to modify your exterior design. For extra durability, look for the wicker furniture that has aluminum frames and resin wicker.

Classic and Modern Designs
Wicker furniture has an appealing classic design that goes with all kinds of  patio styles. It is now possible to find outdoor 2 person wicker dining sets for in a wide range of colors from black and brown to cream and tan among many other colors. You can make your

Wicker Dining Set
Source: WickerCentral.com

wicker furniture classier by adding striped cushions to the chairs or pair them with sage green or vivid orange pillows. Consider the style and colors of your interior and how you want your dining room to look like before buying outdoor wicker furniture. The color and design of the wicker furniture you choose should either complement or contrast with the interior of your house, depending on the atmosphere you are looking to create.

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4 Easy Tips for Cleaning Your Patio Tiles

Outdoor Patio
Source: Pinterest.com

Having a patio on your property is a great addition to any home. Like all other parts of your home, however, this one also needs special cares in order to look good. If you want to preserve your patio in good condition for a long period of time, you will have to clean and maintain your tiles regularly.

After a certain period of time, you will notice that the tiles of your patio look old and dingy. Since you probably use them on a daily basis, it is normal to see that they already look too worn out. And since you want your patio accessories, outdoor furniture, and wicker patio furniture to reside in a great looking space, it’s important to pay attention to your tiles.

Replacing them with new ones will cost you a lot not just because of all the new materials you will have to get, but also because you will have to hire professionals for the job. There is another way you can restore the good looks of your patio tiles through a simple cleaning.

No matter how well you take care of your patio tiles, sooner or later you will notice that they don’t look as good as they used to. You can change that by performing one thorough cleaning with special supplies. The cleaning of your patio tiles is very important because it will not only remove the unpleasant grime, but it will also prolong the life of your tiles in the future. In order to get the most effective results, here is what you can do:

Make a schedule
Nothing will be more effective than the regular cleaning of the patio tiles in your home. You can make a special schedule which will prevent the accumulation of pollution and the ruining of the good looks of your patio tiles. It is enough to take care of the thorough disinfection of this part of your property at least once a week. It doesn’t matter which day of the week you choose for the performance of the cleaning, so this decision depends only on you. If you want, you can also hire professionals every once in a while.

Purchase eco-friendly supplies
It is also very important what kind of products you use for the cleaning of the delicate surface of your patio tiles. The high price of the supplies you see in the shops, however, can’t guarantee the good quality of the product. It is best to avoid the supplies which contain strong and very dangerous chemicals because they can make the colors of your tiles fade away faster and also harm the plants which are close to the patio. Therefore, it is best to use eco-friendly ones which won’t be dangerous for your patio tiles and for your health as well.

Try preparing your own special cleaning products
Preparing your own special cleaning blends is also an option. For the purpose you will need simple ingredients which won’t cost a lot of money. A combination of bleach and water in a bucket is a good idea, because it will remove entirely all old stains and pollution. You can substitute the bleach with white vinegar, if you are too worried about the condition of your patio tiles.

Use the right tools
You shouldn’t underestimate the importance of the tools you use for the cleaning. For most effective results you can use a power washer, if possible. Also make sure that you have a special broom which won’t be very stiff and won’t scratch the surface of the tiles.

The most important rule, however, is to take care of the presentable look of your patio the same way you take care of your home. By paying attention to the small details, you will be able to preserve the tiles of your patio in good condition for longer. You can save a lot of money by simply spending a couple of hours in cleaning.

This is a guest post written by Edna from SW5 TopGardening Services. You can get in touch with her via G+

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