Fall entertaining basics: Heat up your patio to party

Oct 1, 2013 at 8:00 a.m. ET

Just because it's fall doesn't mean you have to host your guests indoors. Autumn may be cooler but still offers great weather to entertain in your backyard. All you need are the right products and a little creativity.

Outdoor fall entertaining

Image credit: Valerie Everett

Here are some tips and tricks for creating the perfect fall fete outdoors.


Keep your string lights

Keep all string lights you have hanging up from the summer months, as they will enhance the starry fall sky. This is a great lighting source you can use throughout the fall season to set the mood in your backyard (Target, $25).


Add tea lights and lanterns

Be sure to include tea lights on your outdoor tables and lanterns around your backyard for an enchanted look. While you can't control the temperature, you can give the illusion of warmth through the use of outdoor lighting (SERRV, $14).


Turn on the fire pit

If you have a fire pit, be sure to turn in on before guests arrive. This will help to keep your outdoor area feeling warm and toasty (Home Depot, $39).


Go casual with seating

Allow your guests to get comfortable in seats that encourage relaxation. Outdoor poufs and hammocks are great examples of casual seating you can use during the early fall. This will allow people to snuggle up with one another or keep themselves cozy inside a blanket. While you should provide traditional seating for those who want it, be sure to mix it up from time to time (Wayfair, $42; Target, $40).


Use natural foliage

Why spend tons of money on decorative items when fall provides you with all the accents you need? Take a stroll around your neighborhood or backyard in search of acorns, branches and freshly fallen leaves. Store them in centerpiece vases, or scatter them around the table to create an autumn wonderland. In addition to outdoor foliage, utilize in-season edibles like apples and artichokes to style your table (they make lovely place card holders). Regardless of what you use as a table accent, choose pieces that are classic in fall hues to create visual warmth (Pottery Barn, $15).


Serve warm edibles and drinks

There is no better way to keep you warm outdoors than a hot plate of food and mild drink. Hot apple cider, hot chocolate, tea and coffee in autumn blends are all great options for your fall party. Thermal carafes and thermos sets are two examples of serveware items that will keep your drinks warm throughout your event. Consider creating fall dishes in bakeware you can take from the oven to the table (and will keep your food warm) (Etsy, $22).

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