Looking for easy backyard summer entertaining ideas? Here’s everything you need for the perfect summer party.

disclosure: this post is sponsored by Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart.

With all the wedding festivities that have come and gone, I’m extra sentimental.

And add a dose of sappy on top.

Like yesterday, when I stood on the porch and thought about the day I told the backyard goodbye.

It was heart-wrenching.

All of those lazy summer days.

All of those parties.

All of those times together as a family.

It was more than a backyard. It was a gathering place for celebrations and moments and milestones and spending time with friends and family.

And now?

I’m so happy we are back together—my backyard and I. I’m so happy that we have zillions more summer days and parties and family get-togethers to come.

I never met a celebration I didn’t love.

So today, I’m sharing 11 summer entertaining ideas—from my backyard to yours.

Backyard Summer Entertaining Ideas

11 Simple and Easy Backyard Summer Entertaining Ideas

1. Add a footed serving board as a centerpiece

I added this footed serving board to the center of the table on top of this table runner.

It makes the perfect centerpiece.

You could add a charcuterie spread to the center and just let everyone graze, or you could use it to serve salad and bread like I did here.

Backyard Summer Entertaining Ideas chair covers

Backyard Summer Entertaining Ideas DIY chair cover

2. Turn a table runner into a chair cover

This is such a simple DIY project.

I took a table runner, cut it in half and fringed the edges.

Then I threaded jute twine (you could use ribbon, too) through both sides and tied it onto the chair and repeated the process for each of the other chairs at the table.

You can see the entire DIY on my Instagram stories here.

Backyard Summer Entertaining Ideas charcuterie

3. Add a mini charcuterie board to every place setting

This worked out PERFECTLY at the dinner.

So many times with a charcuterie board people get overwhelmed.

Why not have a mini charcuterie for each person at the party?

I added cheese and fruit and nuts and meat to go along with the bread and salad.

These are the cutest charcuterie boards (and so affordable).

You can see them here.

Backyard Summer Entertaining Ideas hyacinth basket

Backyard Summer Entertaining Ideas dishes

4. Carry supplies to the table in an over-sized basket

This is one of my best tips.

The party was in the backyard under the pergola. That’s a lot of supplies to transport from the house. I used this oversized basket to transport the supplies for the table and then took them back to the house afterward.

This basket is so sturdy and over-sized and it worked perfectly

You can see the large hyacinth basket here.

Backyard Summer Entertaining Ideas greenery

5. Add branches to a pitcher

Need a little greenery for an outdoor party?

Fill a pitcher or vase with branches you’ve cut from the yard.

Here, I used faux branches from the house, but flowers or greenery from the yard are FREE.

This farmhouse pitcher is the perfect size.

Backyard Summer Entertaining Ideas appetizers

6. Fill mini ramekins with sauces and dips

I LOVE these little mini ramekins.

They are the perfect size for adding sauces and dips or even a single serving of fruits or vegetables. I added two of them to each charcuterie board.

You can see them here.

7. Add pillows to chairs for extra comfort

I always like to treat any outside parties like I do any indoor parties.

And that means comfort.

Adding a pillow to a chair creates instant comfort (and helps people that are short like me keep their feet on the floor).

You can see this set of beautiful (and affordable) linen pillows here.

8. Keep all the party supplies in one place

Isn’t this serving caddy the cutest?

It has a handle and spaces for silverware, plates, napkins, and glasses.

And it’s under $20.

You can see it here.

9. Make ordinary water special

I drink water all the time, so I’ve started serving it at parties now (especially in cute glasses like these).

But why serve plain water when you can add a slice of lemon or lime or even strawberries or blueberries?

You can even create ice cubes with fruit frozen into them.

10. Add a side table

It’s a good idea to have smaller side tables set in place next to the larger table.

Add the bread and butter.

Or the appetizers.

Or even the ice bucket and extra water.

11. Keep it simple

Do NOT overthink entertaining.


While charcuterie boards and DIY’s and table settings are amazing.

It’s the HEART of entertaining that is truly special.

You see, in a day and age when fast food drive-throughs are dining rooms.

(total aside: no judgment here—I’m looking at you Chick fil A dinners.)

And family dinners are a thing that you see in the movies and many of us are like ships passing in the night from one busy to another busy…

…spending time together is a bright light in a dreary world.

So I’m setting my table.

And sitting down with my family (especially because the twins are home for the summer).

To press pause and LISTEN to the ordinary moments of an ordinary day.

To pull up a chair to the table and help them understand that they are loved.

Here’s to backyards everywhere.

And the people who love them. 🙂

Sources from the backyard table

I am so happy and honored to be part of the BHG Live Better Influencer Network at Walmart.

All opinions are my own.

Please see my disclosure page for more information.

Affiliate links are also used in this post.

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  1. Image for Kris Kris

    I LOVE your chair cover idea. For those of us who don't have the time/energy/patience/good weather/space to update furniture with paint, this is brilliant!

  2. Image for Gretchen Z Gretchen Z

    Oh my gosh, KariAnne. I promise I will go back and read the rest of your post-BUT- using a table runner on the back of a chair? You, my friend, are BRILLIANT 🥇🏆!

  3. Image for Becky King Becky King

    Thank you for all these cute ideas! You make gracious entertaining look so easy. Happy summer to you and your family!

    1. Image for Marlene Marlene

      Love all the ideas but I will add an extra one if I might, cover your food if setting outdoors; it's killing me to see a fly on the food in some of the pretty pictures.

      1. Image for KariAnne Wood KariAnne Wood

        Marlene, I'm so sorry! I actually lowered the screens and turned on the fan after I took the pictures to keep out the flies! KariAnne

  4. Image for Carol Carol

    This is truly lovely and inspiring. Sometimes I need to be reminded to go the extra mile and make a gathering extra special such as outdoor dining. Thank you for the inspiration. Now off to find a table that will work!

  5. Image for Kathi Huffman Kathi Huffman

    It’s all adorable! But I especially loved your heartfelt words about your backyard. Your home. You see, we are closing tomorrow on the sale of our home where we raised our children. Such precious family and friend times here. And I’m saying goodbye. Trusting that God is leading my husband and me to new adventures with precious new memories. However today I’m teary eyed. Your words were soothing to me knowing that you know how I feel. I love your heart (and your style!)

  6. Image for Barbara Barbara

    Very neat outdoor meal setting. How do you prevent flies from the food and drinks? And mosquitos away from guests?

    1. Image for KariAnne Wood KariAnne Wood

      Barbara, I actually lowered the screens and turned on the fan after I took the pictures to keep out the flies! I also have these cute little dome things that sit on top of the meat trays and put them on after I took the pictures! Happy day! KariAnne KariAnne

  7. Image for Elena MacDermant Elena MacDermant

    I read a lot of bloggers! Your blog is the most awesome! Love your writing style. Love your decorating and entertainment tips. Love your clothing and make up tips. Use the same mascara. I bought it because of your tip! Best of all your ideas are ALWAYS AFFORDABLE. Don't know who would buy a tray for $200 or a throw pillow for $ 100. Looks great but seriously! Thank you! You show how to be fabulous and practical!

  8. Image for Tammy Tammy

    Love all of your entertaining outdoor tips. We love to sit on the back patio with our family and friends. I love how much creating memories and time with your family means to you. Such an amazing person with a generous heart and soul. Hugs!

  9. Image for Tammy Tammy

    Love all of your entertaining outdoor tips. We love to sit on the back patio with our family and friends.I love how much creating memories and time with your family means to you. Such an amazing person with a generous heart and soul. Hugs!

  10. Image for Phyllis Phyllis

    Karianne- I love your blog for all of the descriptive words that make your space come alive for those of us who will never see your yard. Your ideas are so inspirational, and I'd love the opportunity to sit in that space and share whatever you brought to the table. I've already scoped out many of your links, and I just have to decide how much of a copy-cat I'm going to be. You have opened my eyes about Walmart and all of the great choices they offer. Can you share where the small round side table is from? The white and cane is my favorite combo for summer, and I'd love to add that to my shopping list as well. Now, I'm just waiting for all things wedding!

  11. Image for JC JC

    You read my mind about the individual charcuterie boards! I've been wanting to do this and these are a great size! Everything looks so fresh and cute! Enjoy that outdoor eating. I found a tip years ago when we had our outdoor party for our daughters college graduation. We had a ton of people and both kitchen french doors open spilling out to the back patio for the dining. I wiped down the furniture with straight pinesol cleaner and cut up lemons and stuck whole cloves in them and set them in ramekins everywhere. Not a fly seen for miles!! While I dont go to that extent for our everyday. I did the lemon clove trick last week for a small alfresco dining with friends and it worked! Plus it looks pretty!

  12. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    Oh, my goodness! I love those charcuterie boards! But most of all the togetherness with your family and conversation…feet under my table make me happy every time…especially backyard times.


    Just love patio and backyard gatherings with family and friends! Thanks for another great post, KariAnne!

  14. Image for Rosanna Rosanna

    Such fun ideas and photos! I could almost smell the fresh air & sunshine and feel the grass under my feet. I had to smile when I saw the ice bucket. It's such a cutie!! I bought one & filled it with "goodies" & sent it with our son & his brand new bride for their honeymoon. Now,I want one myself!!

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