Image credit: Jeremy Keith via Flickr. Licensed under CC BY 2.0

Image credit: Jeremy Keith via Flickr licensed under CC BY 2.0

For savvy hosts and hostesses, spring and summer are better known as the seasons for outdoor entertaining! When the weather gets warm and everything starts to bloom, it’s the perfect time to take your celebrations outside. Whether it’s an Easter dinner, a graduation party, or a Memorial Day barbecue, a beautiful tablescape is a key component of setting the mood for an al fresco event.

We’ve compiled these tips so you can channel your inner Martha for your next garden party!

How to create the perfect outdoor tablescape

Consider your audience

Any good tablescape should suit your occasion and your guests. Start by thinking about the event you’re planning. Is it a casual family gathering? A semi-formal cocktail party? An upscale outdoor wedding? This will help you decide how elaborate your tablescape needs to be. Also consider who will be at your event. If you’ll have a number of elderly guests, a low table with floor seating probably isn’t the best bet. If it’s a child’s party, you could use blankets and pillows instead of chairs!

Location, location, location

When choosing a location for your tablescape, there are several things to keep in mind:

  • Pick a spot big enough for the table you’ve chosen to make sure your guests won’t feel cramped.
  • If you have a view on your property, place your table in a spot where guests can enjoy it! If not, choose an area where there are nice things to look at—like pretty plants or a water feature.
  • Certain areas of your yard might be more prone to insect invasions, so make sure to consider how to avoid this when setting up your tablescape. Check out our tips for how to keep mosquitoes away from your patio.

Light it up

If your event runs into the evening hours, you’ll definitely need to consider lighting. You want to make sure your guests can see each other and their food, but you also want to create the right ambience with your lighting. If you like to entertain outdoors often, it might be a good idea to invest in permanent backyard lighting so you can set up for your next party with the click of a button on a remote. Or, you can set up temporary lighting, such as candles or strings of lights. Just make sure that whatever fixtures you choose, they don’t get in the way of your party.

Pick a theme

Now for the fun part! Choose a theme that portrays how you want your event to look and feel. You can find lots of inspiration from House Beautiful, Porch, Elle Decor, and Veranda. There are so many possibilities – from rustic garden party and classic picnic to geometric patterns, florals, and bright pops of color!

Get creative

While the ideas on Pinterest and other online sites are great to get you started, don’t be afraid to go off book and add your own personal touches to your tablescape.

  • Find a theme that has a special meaning for you or your guest of honor.
  • Add keepsakes from family trips.
  • Incorporate items made by your children.
  • Use family heirlooms to mix old and new décor.


Setting the table is the perfect time to get a little crafty! Items you make yourself will be even more special than something you buy from a party store. You can hand-write place card or menus, fold origami for centerpieces, or even paint your own placemats or table runners.

Utilize your garden

To save money and add a personal touch to your tablescape, use plants that are growing in your garden! Cut a variety of flowers and greenery to create your own arrangements that perfectly suit your theme and your setting. If you don’t have a great selection in your own yard, ask a friend if you can cut some from theirs, or order flowers from a local florist. Whatever you choose, make sure to consider the size and height of your arrangements and make sure that guests can see the other guests without having to peer around giant blooms.

Now that you’re ready to host a fabulous outdoor party, give DC Mosquito Squad a call so we can help you clear out the pests before your guests arrive. Our special event sprays can keep away the bad bugs for one-time events, our you can sign up for a seasonal treatment to banish the bugs from your yard all season long.