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HomeHomes
Published: Thursday, 5/25/2006

Ten Tips for the Perfect Deck Party

(ARA) - The outdoors is in. Developing a decor driven by personal style and functional purpose is no longer reserved for just the interior of a home.

According to the Propane Education and Research Council's 2005 Outdoor Living Survey, which was conducted by Knowledge Networks, the number of homeowners with an outdoor living space of some kind is expected to double by 2007. Embracing the outdoor living trend, many homeowners are looking to add on to or upgrade their existing decks, landscape their yards, purchase outdoor furniture and accessories, and update their grilling and cooking areas.

With the summer months coming many people want to show off their decks and outdoor living spaces. One way to do so is by hosting an outdoor party or event. Susanna Salk, editor at House & Garden magazine, offers these 10 tips for planning and hosting the perfect deck party:

1) Use e-vites. Electronic invitations are an inexpensive, convenient and fun way to let your guests know about the party. You can get the word out quicker, too! Visit www.nationaloutdoorlivingweek.com for free, fun deck party e-vites.

2) Create an outdoor space conducive to conversation. Remember the different seating, standing and table options commonly found indoors, and offer the same mix on your deck or patio. Softly textured throw pillows and rugs will make the party much cozier than plastic chairs.

3) Tidy up your deck. Remove any debris or dirt and give your outdoor living space a little cleaning. One benefit of a composite decking material is that it's low maintenance. You'll spend more time enjoying your deck than maintaining it.

4) Get your lawn and garden in shape. Just as parties indoors flow from the kitchen to other rooms, your deck party guests will likely spill over into the yard, especially if it's a big party. Make sure your grass is trimmed and clean up after pets.

5) Plan ahead for uninvited guests. Stock up on citronella candles or mosquito-repellant yard pellets before your deck party. Preventive measures will help keep you and your guests from swatting at bugs or taking your party inside.

6) Decorate with style. The deck is the foundation of your outdoor living area, but don't forget to bring your personal style and favorite colors, patterns and fabrics outside. Umbrellas, table linens, seat cushions, lighting, flowerpots and planters make fabulous decorative additions. Stick with these more permanent decorative items, rather than throwaways.

7) Serve simple refreshments. You'll want to spend your party outside with your guests - not trapped in the kitchen. Look for pre-packaged beverages or drinks you can make in large batches, and finger foods or foods you can throw on the grill without fussing over numerous ingredients.

8) Set the mood with lighting. If you're having an open house or get together that will run from daytime into the night, decorate your deck with candles. They provide a nice lighting transition without harsh indoor or bug-attracting lights. Make sure someone keeps an eye out for drips and blows out the candles at the end of the party.

9) Tune in to your favorite tunes. If you don't have speakers wired outside, a small stereo is perfect. Compact discs or MP3s offer great party or background music.

10) Don't limit yourself. Deck parties aren't limited to just the spring and summer months. Depending on the climate in which you live, an outdoor fireplace or heater can warm up an outdoor party in cooler months. Kick off the season with a party, but don't let your deck go completely dormant during the fall and winter.



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