“A wonderful way to entertain family and friends in an outdoor setting is with a backyard barbeque party. With proper planning and the right environment people will be talking about your party all summer. Important factors to think about when entertaining are things like the barbeque grill, seating, lighting, and of course the menu planning.”

Today's barbecue choices have never been greater. The designs and options are wonderful, there really is a barbecue that fits your individual barbecuing needs. Barbecues come in both natural gas and propane grills. Barbecues are available in portable fire pit models excellent for a patio or backyard, giving the feeling of being around an actual fire pit. Other barbecue designs include charcoal-wood grills, portable grills and outdoor stoves. Weber makes some of the most durable and reliable quality grills, using stainless steel burners to provide long- wearing even heat and burners with spider and insect screens to keep the burners pest free. The stainless steel hoods and bodies are long lasting and great looking. Several of the designs also include built in thermometers.

Another great addition to your backyard cooking options might be a bbq smoker. These bbq smokers are perfect for seafood delicacies and traditional barbecue meals like beef brisket, ribs or pork. They are also excellent for chicken, seafood or anything needing direct high temperatures. Briquettes are available that burn for up to eight hours giving a wonderful smoked flavor.

A beautiful patio leaves you with the feeling that your at a cottage or a wonderful outdoor retreat, the nice thing is it's a much more affordable alternative to owning a cottage. With the great selection of patio furniture and accessories on the market you can design your patio to be your own personal vacation in your backyard. The patio is not only a convenient getaway, but also a natural extension of your home's design and décor. Black is a popular color for furniture as is antiqued greens with a distressed look. Wooden furniture is again popular, teak being a favorite as it ages so beautifully. Patio furniture is available with armrests, high back chairs and swivel rockers with matching ottomans, all for ultimate comfort. Most of the outdoor furniture sold today is made with all weather fabrics; it's also wise to select furniture that will be durable and low maintenance.

When throwing and planning a barbecue patio party you'll want to be prepared and know approximately how many people will be coming. You want to be sure there is enough available seating so everyone is comfortable. You'll also want to be prepared for unexpected weather. Awnings are an excellent option, allowing you to take control of the weather on your deck or patio in a moment; there are also outdoor tents that you can set up with a table inside to shelter yourself from the rain. It's important to have at least one outdoor umbrella to provide protection and shade for your guests from the hot sun, not to mention they also look nice. There is no shortage of excellent patio furniture and comfortable outdoor sitting options. Patio heaters are also welcome for cooler evenings after the sun goes down.

It's important to have a proper serving or buffet surface for your party, a place where you can have all the food, beverages, plates and utensils. Portable carts or side tables can also work well. You may even have a built-in countertop.

The lighting for your outdoor party will only matter if the barbecue carries on into the evening; regardless the lighting is something that is nice to think about as it adds so many ambiences to your backyard setting. There are outdoor solar-powered lights available and other lighting options in several designs. Luminaries, candles, miniature white lights strung between trees or along your patio, or some lovely white paper lanterns hanging from your trees can make your patio extraordinary.

Bug control is a must at your outdoor party. Burn citronella candles to help keep a variety of bugs away. If yellow jackets are a nuisance in your yard, traps are available from your garden center or nursery. Remember to cover food, especially the meat and sweet drinks on the table to protect from bugs.

A few other nice additions to your party might be; gift bags for any children attending the party, you can fill the bags with fun ideas found at the dollar store like glow sticks, crayons and little notepads etc., it's a nice idea to keep the children occupied; patio heaters are excellent if it starts to cool down in the evening, or for unexpected cooler days; flowers in planters or hanging baskets will further add to the appeal of your yard; lastly a nice variety of music sets the mood and adds a nice overall feeling to your party.

Planning the meal is probably the biggest challenge to your party. You'll want to know in advance if any of your guests have any special eating preferences, allergies, dislikes. You can always go with the standard burgers, veggie burgers (f there will be any vegetarians attending), steaks and salads knowing that everyone will be satisfied and full. On the other hand, you might want to surprise your guests with a wonderful honey barbeque broiled steak; a simple marinade can be made with garlic, marjoram, salt, pepper, dry mustard, honey, and balsamic vinegar. The selected steak or chicken can then be kept in the marinade for a couple of hours in the fridge, next step is onto the barbecue. Excellent side dishes might be some potato salad, a green salad and corn on the cob.

In the summertime cold drinks are a must. You might make some cold lemonade, and have some carbonated beverages on hand. A nice addition to any buffet table is a lovely punch (alcohol or non-alcohol) with some lemon slices and fresh fruit additions. Always have lots of ice available to keep the drinks cold. For dessert some cut fruit such as strawberries, melon and watermelon slices prove refreshing or a fruit salad can be nice, and of course a nice cake or some cookies is always sinful but popular. Later on, a bowl of corn tortilla chips served with salsa is well liked.

Of course your budget will determine how much you can and can't do as far as decorating at your party. But don't let that discourage you, it takes time to get your patio looking exactly the way you want it, in the meantime keep your eyes open and look for ideas. A simple picnic table and some plastic outdoor chairs work well too; a barbecue really is all about the food and atmosphere created.

With some planning and the right atmosphere your outdoor barbeque party will be a success. Whether your party is big or small, a barbeque is a wonderful way to get together with your closest friends and family members to enjoy the summertime and some great food.

Source by Valerie Giles