A couple of years ago, outdoor entertaining and socialising was only reserved for those living in hot climates, a very few balmy nights during the summer or the brave! But oh how times have changed. Now, al fresco dining and picnics are the main ways to spend time with friends and family. And if you are lucky enough to have access to private outdoor space then backyard socialising is the new normal. Of course, to make life as comfortable and enjoyable as possible in your outdoor entertainment space, a few backyard accessories can make the world of difference. Before you know it, you’ll be choosing to wrap up next to your garden fire pit, twinkling lights aplenty, whether the social distancing rules demand it or not!
- Multi-use backyard accessories
- Outdoor entertaining elements to consider
- 9 backyard accessories to transform outdoor socialising
- DIY backyard decor ideas
Multi-use backyard accessories
What’s special about our list of backyard accessories is that they are all perfectly suited to camping as well as garden parties.
I strongly believe in the importance of products that have multiple uses and don’t just get hauled out of the cupboard a couple of times each year. Why buy a set of camping lights to only enjoy their sparkle and ambience when camping? If you choose your backyard accessories carefully, you can get year-round use out of them. Plus, you don’t need to have space to store two separate sets of gear when you’re not using them – a huge space saver, not to mention the financial and environmental implications of having too much gear hanging around not being used to its full potential.
If you’re wanting to improve your outdoor entertainment space and happen to also love camping, then a good place to start looking is at glamping accessories. They’re usually highly practical and adept to dealing with the elements. But they also tend to have a certain aesthetic about them that makes them perfect for use in your backyard, too. Classy, stylish and well-designed.
Skip to the bottom section to check out our favourite backyard accessories that are also ideal for camping, and vice versa!
But if you’re not sure what sort of backyard accessories you might need, read the next section. It will take you through the most important elements to consider when outdoor entertaining.
7 outdoor entertaining elements to consider
For you enviable lot living in hot climates with balmy evenings, the only thing you’ll need to consider, temperature-wise, is shade from the sun if you’re hanging out in the garden during the day. For the rest of us – especially evening entertainers – it’s all about staying warm. Blankets and a fire are the obvious place to start. But it’s also worth considering an outdoor heater, like the one featured below.
02Ambient lighting in your backyard
Getting the lighting right is such an important factor in creating a calm and homely atmosphere. But before you go limiting your illumination to candlelight only, remember that you actually need to be able to see what you’re doing, especially if you are eating and drinking or playing cards. The key is to light up the space with lots of mellow and warm lights, candles and lanterns. String lights are great for this but it’s also good to have a lantern on hand that you can brighten up if a little extra light is needed.
As mentioned, a spot that is sheltered from the sun is important during the daytime. But to make the most out of your sun protection, choose something that is also waterproof to protect from showers. It’s also important to consider wind protection. This comes down to creating your entertainment area in a spot that is sheltered from the prevailing wind. But if this isn’t possible then you may need to bust out a good old-fashioned wind-break.
04Eating and drinking outside
Little beats enjoying a cool beer or chilled wine on a warm afternoon accompanied by chargrilled goodies from the BBQ. For optimal versatility consider a portable grill or fire pit that is cooking compatible. Seek out drinkware that will deal with tumbles onto hard patios. And think outside the box to make cooking over fire part of the entertainment.
As well as getting your lighting all strung up with twinkly lights and flickering candles, you may want to consider other decorations to make your outdoor space feel even more special. Though slightly kitsch sounding, bunting, flowers in jars, wind chimes, colourful cushions, pots of plants and streamers can turn a regular garden into a fun-filled party space, when done tastefully.
You’ve got your temperature sorted and weather protection ain’t no thing. But the best backyard setups include comfortable seating options that cater for dining and fireside lounging alike. Water resistant bean bags, cushions on a ground sheet, inflatable loungers and camping chairs are all excellent options that can also be used when camping. Coupled with your cosy camp blanket and you’ll be struggling to kick your guests out at the end of the night!
07Backyard entertainment ideas
Some people are highly averse to any form of organised fun. For them, gentle banter over a bevy is all that’s needed. But for the rest of us, having a few entertainment ideas up your sleeves is guaranteed to keep the fun rolling. Whether that’s cooly throwing down some cards in the corner near the cocktail table, or starting up fully-fledged drinking games and mini-olympics style challenges, have the ideas at the ready, depending on the mood and your guests. Alternatively, set the mood with some pumping (or gently pulsing) tunes pumping to get the party really started.
Backyard accessories to transform outdoor socialising
With all of the above in mind, here are some superbly practical and rather cool backyard accessories to turn outdoor entertaining into a comfortable and enjoyable event. No more frostbitten sufferfests that spiral into excessive drinking just to block out the cold!
An outdoor heater is a total game-changer for cool evenings on the patio or the campsite. This electric heater turns on at the pull of a cord and puts out instant heat that spreads well over a table, under a tarp or inside a tent. It’s also stylish and rather sleek to fit with your garden decor!
You can get smaller versions of the StormBox, which is a little better for camping. But we really love this Pro version which puts out some serious sounds and boasts a 2.1 subwoofer system and enhanced Xbass technology. It connects to devices very easily via Bluetooth, and it’s also waterproof (when immersed in water up to 1 meter) making it ideal for use in damp or changeable weather conditions.
This 10 meter long light string is one of the best I’ve tried in the last year or so. Not only does it put out a delightful ambient and magical light, it also has a control panel which enables you to turn it on and off without disconnecting it from its USB connected source. Finally, the control panel can dim the lights for a perfectly pleasant patio party.
Another essential item for backyard socialising is something cosy to curl up under when the evening chill sets in. This Voited Camping Blanket is an eco-friendly option that is also more versatile than you might think. It can zip into its own pocket to create a pillow to lounge on, and the popper buttons enable you to wear it as a poncho or do it up like a sleeping bag! Picnics, backyard parties, days at the beach and camping are all well and truly covered.
Putting out some serious heat through the mesh sides when in fire pit mode, the new and improved BioLite FirePit+ also doubles as an impressively efficient grilling machine that is compatible with wood and charcoal. But the best part is that the intensity of the burn (and therefore the heat output) is controlled by an integrated fan which can be adjusted via your phone! Cool backyard accessories really don’t get much hotter than this.
For more information read our full review of the Biolite FirePit+.
Refined and understated, these super strong stainless steel cups are a practical solution to cocktail glasses. They stack together when not in use and keep your cool drinks icy cold on hot summer days when backyard socialising. But they’re also rather delightful to sip a hot campfire cocktail from during the cooler seasons.
The Helinox Sunset Chair is THE perfect chair for all your outdoor socialising needs. For backyard entertaining, however, it’s the kind of chair that will be in high demand for the duration of the evening, and that’s not just for its jazzy design! It’s super comfortable and you can stuff the carry case with a sweater or jacket to create an extra relaxing lounger. Just be careful; it’s so packable that your guests could easily slip it in their bag as they leave!
Once you’ve settled into your comfortable chair, next to the outdoor heater, cool beer in hand, the last thing you want to have to do is go inside to refill said beverage. Bring the cooler outside, however, and your worries are taken care of. This 30 litre cool bag can hold up to 54 small cans of beer, which should have your party taken care of for a good few hours. Plus, because it’s watertight, it doubles as an excellent camping, canoeing and boating cooler for times when you’re ready to venture away from backyard socialising.
Read our full review of the Red Original Cool Bag.
Another excellent way to add ambience to your outdoor entertainment setup is with one of these contemporary looking lanterns. The Alpenglow Lantern comes in two different sizes, to suit the scale of the occasion. But the larger 500 model has a few extra settings that are sure to set the mood, whichever way it might be headed. There are loads of different colours and brightness settings to choose from. Plus, you can set the colours to mix and mingle or even set the lantern to a candlelight flicker! They are very cool backyard accessories that work brilliantly at camp, too.
For more info, read our full review of the Biolite AlpenGlow 500 Lantern.
DIY backyard decor ideas
There’s no getting away from it, most backyard accessories don’t come cheap. So if you’re wanting to save your pennies then these DIY backyard decor ideas are sure to transform your outdoor space. Plus, they’re really fun to create and much more satisfying than just slapping them on your credit card!
- Candles in jars
- Homemade wind chime
- Cushion covers made out of old retro beach towels
- Painted empty paint pots for plant holders or mini coolers
- Homemade bunting
- Tin can lanterns
- Retro thrift store table cloth and napkins
- Flowers in jam jars
- Sail-style sunshade made out of old sheets
For more ideas, read our DIY Glamping article.