Outdoor Entertaining Decor & Event Ideas

Bali Gardens Estate

Recently our Executive Director & Co-Founder Jamie Ehrsam was asked by San Diego Premier magazine for her input on what a homeowner should consider when creating a livable, breathable and comfortable outdoor entertaining space.

Jamie suggested readers invest in pocket doors which are slidable doors that function as walls, windows and doors.

Jamie Ehrsam San Diego Premier Outdoor Entertaining

Jamie Ehrsam in San Diego Premier's Outdoor Entertaining Issue

Considering pocket doors aren't the quickest innovation you could whip up for any backyard party, here are a few other simpler ideas to prepare to surprise and amaze guests at your own at-home backyard party.

String Lights

Outdoor Event Decor Ideas: String Lighting

Some fun options for string lights

What is the allure of string lights outdoors?

Everyone seems to agree that they are the most magical decor elements you could bring to an outdoor space, but it's hard to say why.

Well considering your backyard has no ceiling, string lights create the effect of one so all your guests can still feel united in one area while providing just the right amount of glowing light.

If you have a pool, string lights look absolutely amazing hanging over the water.


Outdoor Event Decor: Umbrellas

Photo by Gabriel Ryan Photography

Hang pattered parasols from string across your garden to create a magical "Alice in Wonderland" feel.

The whimsical sight also provides shade for guests dancing or eating below depending on where you arrange everything.

If you'd prefer allowing guests to wander freely around with their own parasols, place a bucket of colorful parasols near your entrance so they can grab them.

Long Dining Tables

Outdoor Event Decor: Long Table Dining

Long Dining Tables at Bali Gardens Estate

Bring royal feasting halls to the delight of your backyard where everyone can enjoy eating together under the stars or gorgeous sunset.

Don't be afraid to mix and match chairs.

Also try out using benches instead of chairs which you could also place cushions upon to bring a home element outside.

One long table makes it easy to decorate the top of your table if you are hanging flowers or chandeliers (or other), for the fact that your wooden support poles can be consistently on either sides of the tables.


Outdoor Event Decor: Lanterns

Candlelit Lanterns at the Emma Estate

To denote a walkway or hanging from trees, lanterns are a more rustic way to lighten up the scene.

Aside from keeping your candles safe from wind, the flickering light of lanterns creates a sense of romance.

If your backyard is fortunate enough to have large trees, stagger hanging lanterns and combine with string lights wrapped around branches for amazing dinner backdrops!


Outdoor Event Decor: Balloons

Photo by PrettyGeeky Photography

Here's a new idea- get helium-filled balloons and tie long thick ribbons to them, then stake the ends of the ribbons to the ground so you have them right where you want them.

One tip we found was using golf tees.

This field of balloons makes for a great photoshoot spot, or could even function as walls, if you were to close off a small picnic area or viewing area for our next tip.

Projector Screen

Outdoor Event Ideas: Projector

If you are having a reunion, company party, or any other gathering with a group of friends, you could set up a projector screen in one corner of your backyard and have videos playing of memories together.

If you are throwing a birthday or graduation party, you could alternatively have a slideshow of photos playing to show how your special someone has grown up and matured to that big day that you are celebrating.

A makeshift way to make a projector screen is to stretch white linen over wooden posts.

Or, you could project onto the side of your home's wall, with white paper or linen sheeted over the surface.

Croquet, Yard Games

Outdoor Event Games: Croquet

What are all your guests going to be doing besides eating?

Set up some small yard games like croquet or beanbag toss in corners of your yard to encourage people to wander around and have fun!

Little kids especially will appreciate the activities and so will their parents!

Linens, Rugs and Ottomans

Outdoor Event Decor: Rugs

Another part of bringing the indoors out is taking the softest elements of what you think of when you think of home, and incorporating them outside.

Lay rugs under drink or appetizer tables or even in an area with pillows where everyone can relax picnic style.

Linens can be used draped alongside posts to create doorway effects or just bump up the luxury factor.

You could even make curtains for the entrance-way to your backyard.

Ottomans are easy to rest down on without having to sit on the floor, so even the most nature-phobic friends can feel comfortable.

More ideas include:

-- Floating candles or balloons in the pool

-- Fire-pits

-- Trays for easy transfer of food from the kitchen to outside

What other ideas can you think of?