Your Backyard Party Checklist

Real Estate Broker/Owner with One Home Team Realty/Charlotte,NC 704-293-3931 246546

Think of the backyard party as the dinner party’s easygoing little sibling. Not sure if you’ll have eight people or 18? No problem — just ask folks to bring something extra to throw on the grill. Hate cleaning house just to have people over? Now you don’t have to! Of course, for all its laid-back charm, a backyard barbecue still requires some forethought. Here’s an outdoor party prep countdown that will help you check things off in advance, so you can feel more relaxed on party day.

Backyard Patio Planning

One Month Before


Check your schedule. It’s easy to let the summer slip by without getting to all the things you wanted to do — so if hosting more backyard gatherings is on your summer list, make plans before the grilling season gets rolling. Look over the next few months on your calendar, decide when you might like to host, and mark it down.Clean and maintain the grill. Both charcoal and gas grills can use a good deep cleaning at the start of grilling season to keep them in top condition. For gas grill safety, it’s also important to inspect the fuel line for cracks and to make sure burner holes aren’t clogged with grease.

Outdoor Planning

Assess the outdoor furniture. Wish you could seat a few more friends around the fire pit? Craving a more comfy outdoor lounge zone? Items ordered online can take weeks to ship (and local deals can get snapped up fast), so if you’re looking to add to or replace your outdoor furniture, set a budget and start shopping sooner rather than later.For a large or formal gathering, invite guests now. If it’s an important occasion — like graduation or a milestone birthday — be sure to give guests a heads-up about a month in advance so that they can mark it on the calendar.


Outdoor Party Planning

Stock up on backyard party essentials. We reach for the same go-to items at nearly every backyard party, so make things easier on yourself and pull together a party kit in advance. Store these items in the same place so that you know just where to find the cooler and bug repellant wipes on party day.

  • Fuel for grill (propane tank or charcoal)
  • Skewers
  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil
  • Reusable outdoor dinnerware
  • Lightweight platters for transporting food
  • Cooler or ice bucket
  • Bug repellent towelettes
  • Sunscreen
  • String lights or lanterns
  • Wireless outdoor speakers
  • Umbrellas or shade sails

Three Weeks BeforeDecide on the menu and create a shopping list. Whether you’re going for classic burgers and hot dogs or a vegan veggie-centric menu, your head will feel clearer if you get the plan on paper (or on your phone) in advance. List the dishes and sides you plan to cook, and then create a master shopping list — bonus points for dividing the list into sections for perishable and nonperishable items.


Decide on outdoor games and activities. Want to roast marshmallows over your fire pit, rent a bouncy house for the kiddos or play boules on the lawn? Figure out what (if any) activities you’d like to have during your party, and pick up or reserve necessary supplies.

Two Weeks BeforeOrganize friends’ contributions if it’s a potluck. Collaborate with your guests to make sure each type of dish (main, side, salad, dessert) is represented, and be prepared to offer specific ideas or direction if asked. Folks are more likely to step up to help if you make things as simple and clear as possible.

Shop for nonperishable items and do a little kitchen prep. Pick up wine, beer, condiments and pantry staples, and store them out of the way until party day. If you have any recipes on your party list that can be made ahead and frozen, do it now and you’ll thank yourself later. Even something as quick as making a batch of simple syrup to store in the fridge for homemade lemonade can ease your party prep workload later on.


Week of PartyGet a final head count. Check in with guests who haven’t RSVP’d, and confirm what everyone is bringing if it’s a potluck.

Tidy up the guest bathroom. One great thing about entertaining in the backyard is that you don’t have to stress about getting the indoors looking guest-perfect, with one exception: the bathroom. Carve out time to tidy up the powder room, stock it with extra toilet paper and hand towels, and top off the soap.

Decide on the music. Pick your playlist or streaming channel to strike the right mood (or opt to go music-free). If you have a new outdoor sound system, be sure to test it out before the party so that you’re clear on how everything works.

Clean out the fridge. You’re going to need more space than you think for all those party dishes and chilling beverages, so make some room before you hit the market.

Shop for perishable ingredients and make a few dishes in advance
Pick up perishable goods, including fresh fruits, veggies, cheeses and meats, up to two days before the party

, but wait until the day before (or morning of) to buy fresh seafood. Look over your menu and pick out a few recipes that can be prepared (or partially prepped) in advance.


Outdoor Planning

Day of PartyChill the drinks. Make sure the cold beverages make it into the fridge about four hours before party time to chill; transfer them to an ice-filled cooler (if using) about 20 minutes before guests are due to arrive.

Cue up the party playlist. Turning on the music will help get you in the mood while you finish prepping for the party — and if early birds arrive, it will feel festive, even if everything isn’t ready.

Set up an outdoor cleanup station. You’ll want to have a garbage can and a recycling bin available in the party area, plus a dishpan for transporting reusable dishes and platters to the kitchen for cleanup.

Organize the grill staging area. Get out your serving platters, tongs, grill brush and any other tools you like to have on hand while you cook.


Food Prep Outdoor Planning

Kick back and savor your well-deserved relaxation time. Don’t be afraid to hand over the grilling tongs to someone else — and if people ask if they can help carry dirty dishes to the kitchen, say yes!

Are you thinking of selling your home? If you would like any information on buying or selling a house, please contact us


Wayne & Lisa Bennett - Broker Owners/Realtors®
Licensed in NC & SC
One Home Team Realty
C: 704-293-3931
F: 704-749-2030


Are you looking to Buy or Sell a Home in the Charlotte area?



Posted by

Wayne Bennett - Broker Owner / Realtor ® GRI, ABR, e-PRO, SFR, CDPE

Licensed in NC & SC

One Home Team Realty

O: 704.218.2064

C: 704.293.3931

F: 704.749.2030








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North Carolina Mecklenburg County
outdoor furniture
shopping list
backyard planning
party essentials
guest bathroom
grill staging
prepping food

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William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

Some good ideas, but these look to be more work than having the house clean.  But on that note, we entertain outdoors all the time.

Jul 24, 2017 09:26 AM #1
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

This was a really good list Wayne. Seems like I never have the time. If I succeed in picking up the beer & chips I'm doing pretty good 

Jul 24, 2017 12:52 PM #2
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Wayne Bennett - party in backyard needs lots of preparation - and we must start early - what you have mentioned.

Jul 24, 2017 11:41 PM #3
Belinda Spillman
Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado - Aurora, CO
Colorado Living!

Backyard patios can be a great place for entertaining.  Nicely done.

Jul 27, 2017 04:59 PM #4
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Wayne Bennett

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