DIY Outdoor Party Ideas and Entertaining Tips

It's time to get outdoors and party!  

Whether it’s a celebration for graduation, Father’s Day, or simply an excuse to enjoy beautiful weather or watch movies outside, an outdoor party is the perfect way to enjoy spring and welcome in summer. Take these outdoor party ideas and entertaining tips to host an unforgettable backyard bash. 



Outdoor Party Rooms

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Outdoor Patio With Wide Pergola

Every lakeside retreat needs a spacious outdoor kitchen and grilling spot to host year-round parties. This living space is complete with an extra-large patio, retaining wall, dining area, fireplace, custom-built dining table and fireside sofa.


Outdoor parties can be unpredictable due to weather. Ensure your guests are kept cool at your warm-weather party by prepping shade in your entertaining space. Rent a tent or save money by putting up DIY outdoor curtains that can hang from a porch, patio, deck or pergola. These options will provide shade as well as privacy. 

Vibrant Outdoor Space With Hanging Daybed and Draperies

Vibrant Outdoor Space With Hanging Daybed and Draperies

Quick and easy updates brought springtime charm to the covered deck of the 2015 HGTV Spring House.

Photo by: Flynnside Out Productions

Flynnside Out Productions

Be sure to keep mosquitoes off the guest list. Ward off pesky bugs without harsh chemicals by making DIY citronella candles or upcycle a leftover wine bottle to make a simple citronella torch. Throw in some whimsical homemade flower string lights to brighten things up and you'll have outdoor party lighting that is both functional and pretty to take your get-together from day to night.  

When it comes to décor, take advantage of natural outdoor elements like flowers and plants. Keep any additional decorations minimal and opt for those that mimic nature like these easy to make paper flower party streamers. Use the natural scenery or consider setting up a simple backdrop with fun props for a DIY photo booth that encourages guests to let loose, interact, and will produce a lasting memory of the event.     

Make a Party Photo Booth 04:22


Finish off décor with an eye-catching centerpiece or table setting that can blend in and withstand the outdoors. 

Outdoor Table Settings

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HGTV Going Yard 108 - BellLongBeach

Detail of the table setting at the home of James and Hilary Bell along with daughter Kate in Long Beach, CA., as seen on HGTV's Going Yard, which underwent a makeover that took their large, partially decorated patio that fell flat of a full makeover and complete the dream of the Bell family to have a relaxing retreat that is part tropical and part Martha's Vineyard for entertaining friends and family and offering their family ample space to grow together. The patio is retooled with a dining area, a relaxing area near a fireplace with built in bench seats, a custom bench built around their hot tub with pavers built into the ground in that area, a trullus with built in raised planters with a thick border to allow for additional seating, a custom built tea room in the back of the yard with a walking path to a bench area that overlooks the yard. This offers the family various places to hang out throughout the yard to offer each individual their own space as well as plenty of family space and lots of entertainment space for celebrating with those they love.

Photo By: Jamie Rector

HGTV Going Yard Episode 110 - Fisher

Detail of the outdoor dining table at the home of Julie and Jon Fisher which will undergo a makeover that will take their large, mismatched back yard with bad furniture, no flow and ugly views and turn it into a vintage eclectic space to compliment their 100 year old Craftsman style home. There will be a deck built off their garage that will protect them from rain and sap dropping from their tree as well as give them a great outdoor dining space. A rock garden and rocks built into the landscaping and with a rock walkway will bring the asthetic together throughout the space. A couple other seating areas throughout the yard make the space fit for entertaining friends and family. A fence will go up to hide the ugly driveway from view and give the family a space to keep their antique bicycles in an artisticly pracitical way.

Photo By: Jamie Rector


Everyone's favorite outdoor eats come from the grill so get your grill space ready for entertaining. Keep your outdoor party menu uncomplicated and stick to as many fresh ingredients as possible. Include options for both vegetarians and meat lovers and try throwing seasonal fruits and vegetables directly on the grill, like romaine lettuce or peaches.

Grilling Hacks

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Keep side dishes light and refreshing. Citrus bowls are stunning, easy to eat, and use discarded peel as a container which makes for effortless cleanup. 



Photo by: Rennai Hoefer

Rennai Hoefer

Balance the citrus with crisp cucumber and radish crostini and finish off the meal with sweet lemon bars. Fruity cocktails for adults and fruit smoothies for kids will pair well with each dish. 

Drinks & Cocktails

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Photo By: Rennai Hoefer


Photo By: © ©She-n-He Photography


©She-n-He Photography

Eliminate the possiblity of a dull moment by keeping guests entertained with DIY backyard party games and activities. For the kids, try making a tire swing, sandbox, or seesaw. Adults will love your DIY bocce ball court, lawn chess, cornhole toss, and horseshoes. Games and activites can be built or set up ahead of time to reduce party day stress.

19 Backyard Games

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As seen on HGTV'sVacation House For Free, host Matt Blashaw enjoys a quick game of horseshoes in the backyard in between filming.  Get instructions for installing a backyard horseshoe pit.

Photo By: Natasha Lee

Combo Bocce Ball Court and Horseshoe Pit

Matt cleverly built this horseshoe pit at the end of the bocce court so you can end one game and go right into the other.  Learn how to build a bocce court

Photo By: Natasha Lee


This backyard bocci ball court includes a scoring rack built onto the fence to help track game points. 

Cornhole Toss

One of the great things about a cornhole is you can play it most anywhere, tailgating before the game, at the beach or in the backyard.  Get step-by-step instructions to make a set of cornhole boards


To play croquet, a wood mallet is used to hit a wood ball through a series of wickets (little wire bridges). The finish line is a wood stake standing at the end of the wickets. The game can be challenging depending on how lumpy your lawn is, but croquet is certainly a heck of a lot fun. 

Photo By: Kevin Kelliher

Lawn Twister

If you want to make the party more interesting, lay out a Twister-style game board.  Cut a circular template from cardboard and get four colors of water-soluble spray paint. 

Ring Toss

This couldn't be easier to make. Upcycle some old bottles (plastic or glass), pack them into a wood crate or sturdy cardboard box. Check the craft store for lightweight wood rings, if not, use plastic shower curtain rings. 

Photo By: Eric Perry

Giant Jenga-Style Tumbling Tower Game

Here’s another game you can play with a beer in hand, but not too many, you need a steady hand to win this suspense-filled game. To make a tower, you’ll need four 16-foot 2x4s. Cut the 2x4s into (72) 10-1/2" pieces. Sand the ends smooth, crack open a cold one and you’re ready to play.  

Lawn Bowling

If a store-bought bowling game isn't in your budget, you can DIY one with some empty plastic bottles. Paint or decorate the bottles then fill them with sand to make the pins. Use a heavy-weight ball or old bowling ball (check the thrift store) to knock down the pins. 

Ladder Golf

Individuals or teams can play. The object is to wrap a bolo around a rung, with each rung being assigned a certain number of points. For example, one point for the bottom rung, three points for the middle and five points for the top rung. Get the instructions to make this game

Chess Anyone?

This backyard chess board is portable so it can be moved around the yard or inside the house. If you have the chess or checker pieces and just need the board, paint the checkerboard pattern on a large canvas drop cloth.

Photo By: California Redwood Association

Grassy Chess Board

Even after the game is over, this sod and concrete checkboard pattern makes an eye-catching backyard feature.  


If you don't have a giant chess set on hand (and how many of us do), make checkers by painting some plastic plates or chargers. 

All Paver Chess Board

This game board is masterfully built into the extensive sandstone patio. 

Photo By: Bryan Meltz/ Getty Images © 2014, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Putting Green

Improve your game and add a little greenry to the backyard with putting green. See how it's done

Backyard Putting Green

A putting green is an investment in fun, but it could also be a good resale investment. If you plan on selling your home in a few years, the putting green might just be the unique feature that gets you a quick sale. 

Movie Night

Turn your yard into "drive-in". (If you have a pool, you can make it a "dive-in".) A projector, screen and surround sound are all you need in the AV department. Make it B.Y.O.C. (bring your own chair) or spread out blankets for everyone to stretch out. 

Photo By: Jamie Rector © 2012, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Inflatable Screen

An inflatable screen can make putting a movie-night party quick and easy.  Perfect for having the gang over to watch the big game or for a kids' slumber party. 

Photo By: Open Air Cinema

Half Pipe

Keep the kids off their screens by putting a skateboard ramp in the yard. Your teens may actually think you're cool again. 

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