What defines a backyard tailgate party more than football, food, friends – and the right furniture? We call it Frontgating. Follow these tips for a winning game day party. No Hail Mary pass necessary.
Pregame plan – stock up on the essentials
Once you calculate the number of guests, take stock of your supplies:
• Beverage tubs
• Plates (sustainable materials like melamine give points to the planet)
• Cups and Utensils (ditto on sustainable)
• Bowls for chips and dips
• Beverage dispensers/Pitchers
• Bar cart/Serving cart
• Table or buffet for food set up
• But wait … there’s more!
Get in the zone
Designating distinct zones for different purposes will maximize your outdoor party space.
Set up your TV in a place protected from direct sun and glare. Warning: Standard indoor TVs are not outdoor friendly. They can’t withstand exposure and their picture quality pales in bright light. If you’re a fan of watching sports outdoors, consider purchasing an outdoor TV. Don’t forget the soundbar! It will amplify the roar of the crowd and referee calls without competing with the din of party guests.
While the TV viewing area will probably be the fan favorite, creating mini-rooms for conversation helps spread out the crowd. Group chairs under trees or beside a container of flowering plants. Don’t forget small tables for holding drinks and hors d’oeuvres.
Designate the food serving locale and bar zone. And don’t forget to place trash and recycling bins downwind.
Frontgate flair: Outdoor rugs will define – and decorate – party zones.
50-yard-line seating for all
Even though guests will be on their feet cheering for their favorite team, there will come a time when they want to sit comfortably, too.
Consider modular seating that overachieves, offering function, style and flexibility. Yes, you can opt for a traditional sectional, but there are many more options. The modular setup is intentionally designed for mixing and matching. Loveseat and chairs? Check. Three-seat sofa and chaise? Score! The many configurations mean that modular seating can fit into any space.
Outdoor wicker folding chairs look great, store easily and can be used indoors, too.
Ottomans are the multi-taskers of the furniture world. Employ them for additional seating that’s easily moved from spot to spot, or as a coffee table. Garden stools can double as seating or drink tables.
Place cushions on steps or a runner along a wall for a soft place to perch. Blankets and quilts make for casual lawn seating.
Frontgate flair: Indoor stools and benches travel easily to the outdoors for extra seating.
Friday night lights
The options for outdoor lighting now go way beyond outdoor torches, though we like those too. Create illumination and ambience after the sun sets with string lights wound around trees or strung overhead. Set lanterns on tables or hang from trees. Use them to light a walkway or perch them along a fence. If you have a pool, float white candles or LED-powered glow balls in the water. Cluster candles (battery-powered recommended) in galvanized pails filled with sand. Don’t forget the fire pit! Whether standard or tabletop size, it’s a crowd pleaser.
Frontgate flair: Orb-shaped LED lighting adds unexpected sparkle and drama whether hung from a tree or pergola.
Turn up the heat
While it’s still balmy in some places (hello, South Carolina), it’s downright chilly in many states (Michigan, we’re looking at you). A fire pit provides heat and ambience, but if you’re the sort who likes to host frequent outdoor get-togethers, consider a standing heater.
Frontgate flair: Keep a stash of blankets on hand to warm chilled guests.
Maintenance & Storage
Keep your furniture game-ready with coverings that will protect seats and surfaces from the elements. All-weather wicker or teak storage chests will keep cushions, pillows and other outdoor essentials safe and sound.