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One of the nicest benefits of having a backyard is that you can entertain guests in a space where everyone can enjoy the great outdoors without the restrictions of four walls. If you really want to make the most of your backyard, however, you have to plan properly. Below we list a couple of great tips on things to add to your backyard for entertaining.

1. Add a fire pit

Most people just adore a fire pit. For some or other reason, the fire makes the whole atmosphere more welcoming and sets the stage for great conversations. This is absolutely a must-have for the colder months of the year.

Fire pits are available in a wide choice of shapes, designs and sizes. Buy something that is big enough to accommodate the number of guests you normally entertain, but not too big for your backyard.

2. An easily identifiable drinks table

You don’t want your guests to aimlessly wander around looking for the drinks table. Make it something that stands out. A wheelbarrow is a good example, and so is a bathtub. But if you use your imagination we’re sure you can come up with an even better idea. Now add drink dispensers or an open cooler and you have a winner.

3. Games

Games are always a hit with guests because it gives them something to do and serves as a conversation starter for people who just met. If you have enough space, a badminton court is a great idea. Another old favorite is Cornhole. A third great option, particularly if you have limited space, are board and card games. These are always popular, both before and after the meal.

4. Music

Music can quickly turn an event that threatens to become really dull into a rocking party. It also dulls out barking dogs, crying babies, and other background noise. People’s tastes in music differ, however, so make sure to include a wide selection of popular songs from the last few years. Spotify is perfect for finding great party playlists. If some of your guests are retirees, a couple of golden oldies will make them feel right at home. And keep the volume in check, you don’t want the noise police at your front door!

5. Casual seating

Not having enough seating for everyone is a sure way to make your guests leave early. If at all possible make sure you have enough comfortable casual seating for all the guests that are expected. If you need to, borrow some indoor seating, or find remarkable outdoor settings – such as dining room chairs, poufs, and piano benches. Don’t worry if everything doesn’t match – it’s called eclectic and it’s highly fashionable nowadays.

6. Outdoor rug

Nothing helps to define an outdoor living area like an outdoor rug. You can use one near the swimming pool and another one for the dining area. Go as neutral or bold as you like.

A rug also provides a comfortable space where toddlers can keep themselves busy while the adults know exactly where they are.

7. Lighting

The right type of lighting is essential to create the perfect ambiance for your backyard entertainment area. It doesn’t have to be elaborate – a simple string or two of lights can do the trick. Tip: Rather don’t use Christmas lights. Bigger bulbs help to create a warmer, more sophisticated ambiance.

8. Potted plants

A sterile tiled or cemented area can easily look very cold and uninviting. Potted plants are the perfect solution. Buy pots that match the colors of your existing outdoor decor, or decorate pots with paint, fabric or even lace. Fill them with soil and add your favorite plants and voila!, you have your own outdoor garden.