A backyard BBQ is one of the most relaxing places to be, with fresh food, cool drinks and lighthearted conversations with friends. The prep work to create that laid-back atmosphere, however, can be anything but.
Get ready to throw a fun backyard cookout by prepping your home ahead of time. Follow these five easy tips to get your backyard BBQ-ready so you can worry less and focus on spending time with guests.
1. Get the Grill Ready to Go
Grills tend to get covered in dirt, grease and burned-on pieces of food if you don’t keep them clean. Whether you always wipe down the grill after using it or you’ve put off cleaning for a while, a good scrub will help your food taste better at your BBQ.
Be sure to clean off the outside of your grill to remove dust and dirt buildup. On the inside, you’ll need to scrape off any charred food or grease. You can use a degreaser designed specifically for grills to remove baked-on grease.
Once the grates are cleaned up, add a light coating of oil. This helps prevent food from sticking to the grates and getting charred.
Don’t forget to stock up on propane or charcoal coals, depending on the type of grill you own. You don’t want to run out of fuel before dinner is ready.
2. Clean Up Patio Furniture
Summer can be hot, dry and dusty. All that dust has a way of ending up on your patio furniture. Not only will it make clothes dirty, but a dusty patio set could also leave guests sneezing all night.
Grab your hose and spray down your patio furniture. Use a rag and warm water to wipe down outdoor cushions and umbrellas.
This is a good time to check your furniture for damage. Look over your cushions for rips or tears that might cause discomfort when sitting. Some plastic patio furniture could be prone to sun damage, making the plastic brittle. You should check to make sure all your chairs and table are safe to sit in.
3. Create an Outdoor Dining Kit
You probably don’t want to use your nice indoor dinnerware outside. You never know when someone might accidentally drop a plate outside. A plate dropped on concrete or a wood deck could shatter and send shards across the patio.
Instead of bringing your indoor dishes outside, simply create an outdoor dining kit. You can use disposable plates and silverware for easy cleanup after your BBQ. It’s easier than ever to find eco-friendly disposable dinnerware that’s biodegradable.
Bring out all of your outdoor dining gear into a basket that you can store when not in use. Then when you host a get-together, you simply bring the set out of storage and set it on the table. Make things even easier by leaving a space in the basket to put condiments like ketchup and mustard. Guests will be able to grab what they need from the basket so you won’t need to run in and out of the house to get supplies.
You should also consider an outdoor gathering first aid kit. Like the dining kit, you can keep medical supplies at the ready for common backyard injuries. Try to include supplies you might need at a BBQ, such as:
- Burn cream
- Anti-itch cream for insect bites
- Self-adhesive bandages
- Antiseptic wipes
- Antibiotic ointment
4. Manage Unwanted Guests
No, we’re not talking about your neighbors down the street who like to invite themselves over. Backyard gatherings are a hotspot for pests like ants, flies and mosquitoes. Beat the bugs with a multi-part pest control plan:
- Create a long-term plan for any bugs that are more common in your yard. For example, if you have a body of water nearby, your yard my house a lot of mosquitoes. Research long-term solutions to help reduce the number of pests in your yard, such as regular lawn treatments. This makes pests easier to manage when you invite guests over.
- Use day-of solutions to keep bugs at bay. Light bug-repellent candles or torches around your patio space. If you’re keeping food outside, consider adding netting or moving the food inside after dinner. Fans can work to keep flying bugs away from your party as well as keep guests cool in the warm summer sun.
- Offer guests bug repellent. Be sure to have a good supply of bug sprays or other personal repellents to help keep guests comfortable.
5. Tidy Up to Prevent Fires
The ambiance of your BBQ is probably going to be off if your yard is full of dead leaves or wilted plants. Aside from creating the wrong atmosphere, a messy yard can prove to be a fire hazard as well.
Clean up your outdoor space to remove unwanted items and dead plant material. A backyard BBQ often involves working with hot coals or open flames. It only takes one spark from a grill or fire pit to ignite dry plants. Remove any potential fire hazards before you start up the grill to reduce your risk.
After the party, make sure you completely shut down any hot surfaces before heading in for the night. If you and your guests enjoyed a fire in the backyard, be sure the fire is out completely and the ashes are no longer hot.
You can reduce your risk of fire even more by planning your yard using fire-resistant landscaping. Using high-moisture plants and hardscapes can help slow the spread of any potential flames —whether they’re from your grill or an outside source like a wildfire.
Hosting a Safe and Happy BBQ
Prepping ahead of time makes your backyard BBQ run smoother. The right planning can also make your gathering safer for everyone involved.
Consider checking your homeowners insurance before hosting your next get-together to make sure you know what’s covered by your policy. The right insurance can help keep you and your guests safe from accidents so everyone can focus on enjoying the party.