Fall on the Patio: Family Gatherings

Main Image

With the ghouls and goblins having gathered their treats and hopefully a few tricks, we feel it necessary to remind you that Halloween stands at the peak of the downhill slide that launches us through the holiday season clear to New Year’s Day. How many times have you looked back on the end of year craziness that is the holidays to realize that you have barely had time to catch your breath since Halloween?

During the next few months, your down-time will be filled with family, friends and visitors looking to share the season and celebrate. In many areas of the Northeast, the weather is still warm enough for an outdoor party on your patio well into November, with or without the warming accent of a fire pit or and outdoor fireplace (although they would definitely extend your party hours into the evening much more comfortably.)

As you plan your family parties, it’s easy to integrate your patio into the setting, for all or part of your events. Here are a few ways your patio could help with visitor flow and really enhance your guests’ experience:

Cocktails and Appetizers in the Backyard

Are you planning a full course meal as part of your fall event? Arranging the tables and chairs in the house to accommodate your guests takes up functional space for the “pre-meal” timeline and can make it difficult for your friends and family to navigate your space. That said, your patio presents a perfect answer to give your guests the room they need as you are finalizing the meal prep.

Use your patio as the cocktail hour space, with two drink stations split between adult and kids refreshments. Depending on your theme or general attitude, these stations can be anything from coolers to standing drink carts. Just be sure they’re clearly marked for kids or adults to simplify access.

Along with your drink stations, a small table offering appetizers is a nice touch to give your guests a chance to whet their appetite for the main course, and keeps the kids from asking ‘when will supper be ready” 27 times before you’re ready to serve. Setting up a few folding chairs and small tables rounds out your cocktail hour space.

An Al Fresco Party patio pavers

Depending on the size of your patio, you could host your entire event outside – letting your yard and garden act as your décor and keeping the mess inside the house to a minimum.

When gauging your patio space to guest ratio, be sure you leave room for walking space between tables, and keep the food service simple by using a buffet station (with crock pots or sterno pans, again your personal taste rules here.)

Shall We Retire to the Patio? patio with fire pit

Simplify your patio’s involvement in your event by setting up chairs and small tables as an intimate dessert and coffee setting at the end of your party.

Get the kids involved by having a make your own s'more’s bar to cook over the fire or fire pit.

So this fall, take advantage of your patio space to streamline your events and add a little change of scenery for your guests. Now get ready – because the next time you turn around, it’ll be January 2nd!