12 Go-To Backyard Entertainment Ideas

Kate Mitchell

November 23, 2022

Now that the weather is cooling off a little here in North Central Florida, it's a great time of year to invite some guests over and enjoy the backyard together! After all, you've put a lot of time and effort into nurturing beautiful borders and, of course, maintaining the perfect lawn. Why not show it off to your friends?

How can I make my backyard more entertaining?

You might be wondering how to make your outdoor space fun for all ages, especially if you don't have a pool or a hot tub.

Well, don't worry! We have tons of creative ideas that can help you turn your very own backyard into a garden paradise so you can save money and relax with your friends in the comfort of your own home.

Here are twelve simple entertainment ideas for adults and children alike to have a great time in your outdoor space.

Play Music

Hands controlling a sound desk outdoors

Make a playlist to suit the mood and stream it through some outdoor speakers. Whether you're going for chilled classics or upbeat tunes, the right music can get your friends into a party frame of mind as soon as they step outside.

You may already have a portable Bluetooth speaker that you can take with you into the yard. Or perhaps you'd like to invest in some more powerful outdoor speakers. Either way, this article from the NY Times will take you through a range of great options to help set the vibe.

Make an Intimate Outdoor Living Room With Some Curtains

What if your yard is a large, open space without much privacy? What if you don't want to, or don't have permission to, build a wall or fence? In that case, you could use hooks or a wooden frame to put up some cozy curtains.

Heavy drapes can help to create an intimate space for conversation or family meals. Light, gauzy drapes can be a fun way to divide the yard into different zones for small groups to get together and chat.

If you want to leave your curtains up, make sure you choose a weatherproof fabric. You can even get UV-blocking fabrics to protect friends and family from the sun!

Try to choose curtains with large grommet holes along the top, for ease of use. You can hang them from a drapery rod or steel wire. Or, for an easy, short-term fix, a tension rod will work for a lightweight curtain.

If you are entertaining families with kids you might even want to set up a play tent for them to hide away in, leaving the adults free to socialize!

Grill and Entertain at the Same Time

A delicious array of sausages, steak, halloumi cheese and vegetables sizzling on a grill

The first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions backyard entertaining is the grill. What better way to get people together than with the tantalizing smell of burgers and sausages drifting across the lawn?

You probably have a grill already, whether it's a small one on wheels or a permanent fixture on your porch or patio. Just in case you don't, Good Housekeeping can take you through some of the best options, whatever your budget.

Got friends who are vegan, or trying to eat less meat for the sake of the environment? Fear not: grilling does not have to equal meat. You can find plenty of tasty vegan grill recipes online. Here are a few to get you started.

Backyard Pizza

A hand dipping a heart-shaped candy into a pink cocktail, with freshly baked pizza in the background

For something a bit different from a traditional grill, you could buy or build a pizza oven in your backyard. Your friends will be delighted when you hand out slices of homemade pizza or garlic bread, and it's easy to make a few different ones to cater to everyone's tastes.

Did you know you can also cook other things in a pizza oven? Ideas include slow-cooked meats, roasted vegetables or even brownies, cakes and other hot desserts!

If you don't want to spend the whole party away from your guests kneading dough, you can prepare your pizza bases in advance and freeze them to cook on the big day. Or you could buy pre-made pizzas to pop in the oven when everyone gets hungry.

And if building an oven sounds more trouble than fun but you love the idea of backyard pizza... there's always Domino's!

Add A Television Set and Snack Bar

Outdoor entertainment doesn't have to be all about food. You might want to lounge around watching Netflix on your hard-earned day off, or perhaps you have a friend coming over to enjoy a sports game or a series with you.

As long as you can find a way to keep electronics dry if it rains, you can bring a television outside to enjoy watching whatever you love with the benefit of fresh air and a nice cool breeze. You'll need a structure with a roof -- such as a porch, screen room or gazebo -- to keep everything dry.

For a temporary event, you might be happy with some super comfy camping chairs like these ones. If you'd prefer to set up a permanent space you could invest in some outdoor sofas. Then sit back, relax and enjoy the show!

Backyard Games

A truly massive chess set surrounded by shrubs and trees

Of course, the kids in your life will enjoy a game or two of giant Jenga, massive chess or mega tic-tac-toe. But have you considered some of the more grown-up options?

Why not try croquet? You and your friends can pretend you're in Bridgerton as you knock a wooden ball through the little hoops with your best flirty laugh or sneering put-down, depending on who's playing. Just don't hit that ball too far into the shrubbery or who knows what might happen when you go to fetch it!

Croquet needs a smooth, flat surface to work well, so it's the perfect way to show off your excellently well-kept lawn.

Inflatable Pools / Slip-N-Slides

We said that you don't need a pool or a hot tub for outdoor entertaining to be fun - and you don't! But if the weather is warm, or if you've got kids coming over, a mini inflatable pool or a slip-n-slide can be a great way to cool off and have a good time.

Whether it's a teeny pool that's only big enough to wet your toes or a huge inflatable that kids can actually swim in, having water available is a guaranteed way to boost the fun factor of your outdoor event.

Just make sure that young children are supervised, and that you have a stack of towels handy (old ones may be best!) and you're good to go.

Build a Bubbling Fountain

A brown bird standing on a bubbling fountain

A water feature can be a very attractive addition to your outdoor space. Not only is it something beautiful to look at, but the soothing sound in the background also creates a relaxing, peaceful atmosphere.

You can go low-key and create a tiny pond from an old bowl or pot sunk into the ground, with a solar-powered fountain unit that floats within it. Or you could go all-out and install something grand with mosaic tiles right in the middle of the lawn. Some fountains even feature floating lights!

Either way, your fountain will keep you and your visitors happy and entertained -- and it will also help to encourage nature into your garden as birds, bugs or even frogs stop for a drink or a bath.

Go from Day to Night with Outdoor Lighting

Lots of twinkling lights shining from a tree

Who says your entertaining has to end when the sun goes down? There's something magical about being outdoors after dark, gazing at the moon and the stars as you chat late into the night.

Twinkling lights can help to create a wonderful atmosphere for your outdoor evenings. Whether you go for strings of LED lights, solar-powered lanterns, or tiki torches, little lights will add something special to your backyard as the time flies by.

What could be more magical for your outdoor soiree than fairy lights peeping from the branches of your trees or shrubs as the sun goes down and the stars come out?

Create a Cozy Outdoor Movie Theater

A backyard at night with a large outdoor movie screen in front of sofas and a fire pit

Want to impress your friends and family with an unexpected backyard experience? Find a screen, grab a projector and invite your guests over after dark to your very own backyard movie theater!

The first thing you'll need is a projector. If you don't already have one, perhaps you could borrow one from a friend. If not, CNET has a guide to the best options.

A white sheet works just fine to project onto, but if you're thinking of watching outdoor movies often you might want to consider a freestanding outdoor movie screen. There are lots of options available to make your backyard movie experience even more special.

Finally, you'll need a speaker. As above, you can use a portable Bluetooth one, or go for a permanent outdoor speaker.

Once you're all set with a screen, projector and speakers, you just need to choose a movie everyone will enjoy. Don't forget the popcorn!

Build a Fire Pit for Endless S'mores

A campfire with three marshmallows being toasted over the flames

One of the best ways to spend time outdoors is with a campfire. Even better is if you combine it with food! Who doesn't love a squishy, chocolatey s'more after the stars have come out? Or if you don't have a sweet tooth, how about sausages roasted over the flames?

There are a few safe ways to go about building a fire in your backyard. Of course, you don't want to risk anyone getting hurt or, even worse, damage to your beautiful lawn! So you're not going to build a fire right there on the ground.

Instead, you will need a fire pit. There's a whole range of options available! You may want to start with a small folding metal fire pit, which will take up hardly any space in the garage when not in use. But if you know you're going for backyard bonfires big time, you could think about installing a feature fireplace made of brick or stone on your patio.

Either way, there's nothing like sitting around the fire with your guests as the evening draws on, singing songs, telling stories or just watching the crackling flames.

Go camping in the backyard

A play tent on a rug on a deck, with trees in the background

Do you have guests coming to stay and it's a bit of a squeeze to fit everyone in? Put the kids in a tent in the backyard and bill it as an adventure!

It's a great way for older kids to gain a bit of independence before they are quite ready to go off on an expedition all by themselves. Whether you want to pitch a bell tent with bunting and carpets for a full-on glamping experience, or just quickly put up a small backpacking tent, the children are bound to enjoy it.

You might even decide to join them for an evening of watching the stars or the cheery blaze of the campfire through the tent flaps.


We hope that this article helped you find some ideas for entertaining in your backyard. We've covered everything from backyard games to backyard barbecues, so hopefully you found something that will be useful to you.

Keep enjoying that beautiful outdoor space!

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