• Make sure you tell guests if it's a casual, active party.
• For a picnic setting, introduce a mix of patterns and textures with pillows and blankets.
• Delineate a portion of your picnic area for serving by layering an area rug in the center. The surrounding space can be for lounging.
• Provide shelter. Whether it's a rented tent, chairs under a shade tree or tables with umbrellas, guests will appreciate a place to retreat from the sun.
• Keep the fun flowing and guests hydrated by filling colorful steel tubs with ice and assorted bottled drinks. Let everyone help themselves.
• Cover appetizers with glass domes to keep creepy crawlers away and to preserve food's freshness.
• Have outdoor games on hand for kids and adults. Badminton, croquet, horseshoes, lawn bowling, touch football and water games add to the fun.
• Tiny white lights add a wonderful touch if the party continues after dark, as do candles, tiki torches, paper lanterns and oil lamps.
Source: Tuesday Morning
It's the time of year to head outdoors for parties.
Whether you're planning a pool party, dining on the deck, playing lawn games or simply celebrating the Fourth of July, there's plenty to do outdoors.
Up and active
Ross Manning, senior vice president of marketing for Tuesday Morning, said there are many ways to make outdoor entertaining fun, beginning with old-fashioned lawn games.
"Lawn games aren't just for children," he said. "People are sentimental about what they played with as kids. Grown-ups -- young singles, active retirees, anyone -- can use play to break the social ice or give party guests something to do besides nibble and sip," Manning said."
Jenn Acklen Grymes of Chattanooga said adults in her family enjoy lawn darts.
"It has become a staple for our backyard barbecues," she said.
Steve Smith of Signal Mountain and Martha Ellis Rice of Chattanooga said bocce is their outdoor game of choice. "All-terrain bocce is a blast," he said.
"A good trick is to place a tent canopy over the goal so the players have shade during the heat of the day," Rice said, noting that beanbag toss is also a favorite outdoor game.
Deborah Anziano, of Cleveland, Tenn., said her family holds an annual outdoor July 4th party that includes a kids parade.
"They start out young in the decorated wagons pulled by older kids then graduate to decorated Big Wheels and bicycles," she said.
Sit a spell
In addition to playing games at outdoor parties, offering a pleasant seating arrangement can make guests feel comfortable. Patio furniture with decorative pillows, rugs, lanterns and strings of lights add an inviting setting for an outdoor celebration.
Many outdoor accessories today are made to accommodate changing weather, Manning said. Outdoor pillows, for exampwle, are constructed to withstand tough climatic conditions, he said.
"Usually, several types of fabrics are used for making these pillows. For the finest pillows with the longest durability, choose fabrics that are woven with a dyed acrylic fabric. These special acrylic fabrics can withstand ultraviolet rays as well as color fading," Manning said.
"The overall life of a typical outdoor pillow should be between five and 10 years," he said. "To make the pillows last longer, they should be brought inside if it is raining since treated fabric is not waterproof. If they stay out in the rain, they can be put on their sides to dry."
Contact Karen Nazor Hill at email@example.com or 423-757-6396. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/karennazorhill. Subscribe to her Facebook posts at www.facebook.com/karennazorhill.
Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...