6 Tips for Hosting a 4th of July Barbecue Bash
So, you want to host a memorable 4th of July cookout. Grilled food, backyard games, and fireworks can help make this celebration unforgettable. Even more important? A comfortable setting so your guests don’t look to make a quick exit. Here are some tips to make sure your guests have a blast at your midsummer celebration.
Mow, Water, Weed
You can’t liven up a party when everyone’s standing on dead grass. Keeping your lawn nice and lush should be a priority. Dump any standing water to discourage mosquitoes and mow regularly to deny harbor to other undesirable garden critters.
Make sure to trim your grass at the right length every week or every other week, depending on the season. And never cut grass more than 1/3rd the length of the grass blade. Trim and edge with a weed trimmer for that manicured look at least every other week.
Watering is important as well. The best times to water are in the early morning hours. Water deeply instead of often to make sure the roots are getting enough moisture. Before irrigating, scatter vertical-sided containers, such as baking trays or empty tuna cans, in your yard. Then measure the water depth and make sure your whole lawn is getting an inch to an inch and a half of water each time.
Pick weeds as soon as you spot them to prevent them from spreading. If you’re going to use chemicals, make sure to read the label on the pesticide, so you know what you’re putting on the ground. Think pets and plants! If you want to keep them around, don’t harm them with unsafe products.
No one enjoys swatting pests away while trying to have a good time. Mosquitoes and flies are a sure way to annoy your guests while leaving them itching to leave. Before setting up your backyard barbecue, get rid of the bugs. Dump standing water sitting around your yard to stop the pests from breeding. Put out some potted plants such as citronella, catnip, and marigolds. The scent of these plants really bugs mosquitoes and serves as a natural repellent. Consider having a few cans of spray on repellent ready for those guests who haven’t prepared.
Check for Unpleasant Surprises
Your party doesn’t have to stink. Got pets? Check your yard for any waste they’ve left behind. A pooper scooper can make the cleanup process quick and easy, so your guests don’t get stuck in a funk.
The July heat can really throw cold water on an outdoor party. It’s essential your guests have a shady spot to cool off. (The food should also be kept in the shade.) If you have a covered patio and shade trees, great. But depending on the size of your guest list, you may need to add some shade umbrellas. Consider renting a canopy or tent. Serving frozen cocktails and popsicles will also help keep your guests cool. Pro tip: Place a few dozen bottles of water in the freezer the night before. They’ll remain cold as they thaw.
You want your party to be memorable…but not because of burns or food poisoning! Place all cold salads in ice trays and keep them covered until the last possible moment. As the party progresses, place screened covers over dishes to keep the bugs away. Set out tongs so guests can reach for items with one hand (and keep their hands out of the food). Keep the grilling area away from the party and insist children not be allowed near the outdoor kitchen or grill. Place drinks on a separate table, or set up ice chests with bottled beverages. It’s best to keep the alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks separate.
Light It Up
There’s no reason for your party to cool down after sunset. That canopy or tent we mentioned earlier? String lights across the top. Place solar lights up and down the pathways so guests can see where they’re going. Consider placing rope and twinkling lights around your flower garden. If you’ve set up a speaker for your music, light up the speaker.
Careful not to overdo it. You want enough light to entice people to stay, but if you’re planning on watching the fireworks from your backyard, tune down the lights when the overhead explosions begin. You want to end the 4th of July party with a great show.