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Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer and is the perfect occasion to host a backyard picnic. Before you send out invites and fire up the grill, we recommend nine tips that help you prepare your deck or patio for outdoor entertaining.

1. Verify Stability and Safety

Inspect every part of your deck or patio, including the stairs, railings, and foundation. Look for loose boards, worn spots, wood rot, and bug infestations. Schedule repairs or replace the entire deck or patio, if necessary, to ensure all your guests remain safe.

2. Power Wash the Surfaces

Remove dirt, grime, and other buildups from all the surfaces of your deck or patio. Use a power washer to make this job easier. Remember to wash all the furniture, too. Now’s also a great time to sand and stain the wooden elements of your deck or patio as you protect and enhance its beauty.

3. Expand the Area

Increase your entertaining space to accommodate all your guests and your fun activities. You can make a pad of cement or paving stones to expand your seating or grilling area, or place a volleyball net or a fire pit and chairs in the lawn.

4. Install Adequate Lighting

Improve safety and create ambiance with outdoor lights. Install permanent hardscape, posts or path lights around your deck or patio and walkways. Add temporary lanterns and string or rope lights as needed to illuminate your entertaining area.

5. Clean the Grill

Give your grill and grilling tools a good cleaning. Inspect the grill to make sure it works properly, too, and repair or replace it, if necessary. Be sure to refill the propane or stock charcoal, too, so you’re ready to cook.

6. Assemble Comfortable Seating

Provide ample seating for all your guests. Outdoor couches, lounge chairs, and benches add function and style to your space. Be sure the seating options you choose can withstand weather conditions. Stock blankets, too, for early morning and nighttime temperature drops.

7. Reduce the Bugs

Hang mosquito nets, stock citronella candles, or buy bug repellants as you protect your guests from being on the menu. You can enclose or treat the entire deck or patio or choose to target only the eating or game areas.

8. Increase Storage

Organize your deck or patio with cabinets, trunks, boxes, and benches. In sturdy, weatherproof containers, you can protect and sort all your essential gear, such as grilling tools, seat cushions, games, blankets, bug repellants, and decor.

9. Add Aesthetic Features

Spruce up your outdoor entertaining space with plants, wind chimes, rugs, or statues. Choose aesthetic features based on your preferences and the style you want to create. You could even install a protected television and surround sound in the space.

Before you entertain this month and throughout the year, prepare your deck or patio. Create an outdoor entertaining space that’s functional and inviting.

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