Design How-To: Outdoor Entertaining

May 25, 2021

We’ve all experienced the value of using outdoor spaces during the pandemic. I hope this is something that sticks around because it has an added bonus of minimal clean up. Summer and simplicity at its best!

I had been toying with the idea of having an outdoor setup so that each time we had people over in the backyard, I wasn’t reinventing the wheel or being wasteful with plastic and paper products. That had been the norm with bonfires in the fall when I could only justify throwing everything away because we didn’t know if the virus might leap off of a glass and end up in our house. That’s where my amazing neighbor comes in.

As soon as vaccinations came into play, we had an impromptu cookout at their house. Our kids ran wild in the backyard while we sat on their patio eating and drinking. THIS is what we missed most. I looked around to realize that she had everything we needed on hand in an outdoor cabinet. Genius! That served as the inspiration needed and gave me the push to create a system.

In this post, you’ll get the list of things I used to set up our patio for outdoor entertaining.

Please note: this is about as DIY as I get because I prefer to leave things to professionals. However, it is highly functional, affordable, and it keeps the planner in me from spiraling when I think about how much goes into having people over.

Here is what you need to create an outdoor entertaining system:

  • A plastic (or any) 3 drawer system on casters. This lives in our garage so that it’s extra easy access when setting things up.
  • Labels on each drawer. When in doubt, label!
  • Caddie to hold silverware, napkins and condiments (added bonus a large bottle of hand sanitizer).
  • Melamine bowls and plates.
  • Silverware that differs from your indoor set. This way there is no confusion when pulling them out of the dishwasher.
  • Acrylic glasses for water and beverages.
  • Bamboo cups for kids.
  • Wine chiller. It simplifies the need for ice when chilling your favorite bottle.
  • Paper towel, disinfecting spray and extra napkins tucked in the back of one drawer.
  • Trash and recycling cans that are clearly labeled for guests to sort on their own. Plus, roll up a few extra trash bags and put in the bottom of each can.


The times we’ve been able to utilize everything above, I’ve felt far less frantic and spent less time running in and out of the house. You can adapt this to fit your needs when entertaining this summer. Enjoy and have a lovely official start to summer!