Fabulous Backyard Picnic Ideas for a Fun-Filled Get-Together!

Picnic spread in the backyardWith all the heat and sun around during the summer days, you don’t want to spend your whole day inside when you could be outside enjoying the weather. 

It can be daunting to plan an outdoor event so let us help make this easier on you by sharing some ideas about having a successful backyard picnic! 

Pick The Style Of Your Backyard Picnic

Choose the type of picnic you want to organize when planning your picnic. There are several types of picnics that you can consider:

  • Impromptu backyard picnics. It is the kind of picnic where you have “no plans for the day.” As you walk outside, you realize the weather is perfect for a picnic day.
  • Romantic backyard picnics. Any picnic is romantic when it's just you and your partner. For an extra touch of romance, prepare some special treats (think chocolate-covered strawberries) and have a little wine, champagne, or ginger beer on hand.
  • Big backyard picnics. For a large-scale picnic, you'll need easy recipes to serve a crowd, an area for seating, fun activities, and creative decorating ideas.
  • Kid-friendly backyard picnics. Kids will enjoy the fun, kid-friendly food options, as well as some activities to keep them occupied, so they don't trample on the 'table'!

What Makes The Perfect Backyard Picnic?

The following is a list of essential items for your backyard picnic:

  • A table with tablecloth or an outdoor blanket
  • Chairs if going with the table option 
  • A small cooler for drinks
  • Utensils, plates, napkins, silverware, and glasses
  • Paper towels or hand wipes
  • An outdoor stove or grill if you are going for a cooked meal

How To Host A Picnic In Your Backyard?

Setup The Seating Area

Depending on where you plan to have a backyard picnic, you can use a picnic blanket or a picnic table. 

picnic in the backyard with large family

A picnic blanket is a great way to add some colour and individualize your picnic with fun outdoor cushions or blankets.

A picnic table is also versatile as you can use it for food prep, as an outdoor dining space at other times of the year, or even as a game board when entertaining kids.

Still not sure whether to go with a picnic blanket or a picnic table? 

A coffee table is the perfect third option. Place it in the middle of your picnic blankets. Coffee tables are a fantastic way to serve food and drinks while still having plenty of space for plates, cups, napkins, etc.

Get A List Of The Guests

If you go for a large event you need more thorough preparation. 

Write down all the people you are going to invite, their contact information, dietary restrictions, if any, and allergies or sensitivities they may have.

Create a sitting plan based on shared interests. If someone doesn't know anyone else well enough yet, place them in a position where other attendees can introduce themselves during the meal.

Send Out Invitations

You can create the invitations in several ways. You could make an online invitation or post something on social media to let guests know when the party is.

There are also printed invitations that you can purchase from craft stores and then just send them out by mail with stamps for return postage.

It is even possible to ask your guests to complete a survey. By using surveys, you can keep track of your guests' food allergies or plan potlucks. 

Armed with this information, the next thing you need to prepare is the food.

Types of Food 

Think about the food you’ll serve at your picnic.

The first thing you need to decide is whether you’ll provide all of the food or you’d like each guest to ‌bring‌ ‌something. Potluck picnics can be a fun way to organize regular get-togethers with a group of friends without putting too much burden on the host.

Many foods can make for an excellent backyard picnic, as long as you have enough of them to create an exciting spread on your table. We will cover it below, so you don't need to plan your menu too precisely!

Pest Control

If you're hosting a backyard picnic, you want to sweep away any spider webs and pick up any stray limbs or leaves from your yard. You could also clear out an area in your garden that's free of nasty bugs like mosquitoes with the help of bug spray. 

Yard Games

There are tons of games that will engage guests while providing hours of entertainment at a party!

The most popular one being cornhole, which includes bean bags tossed into wooden boxes on each side. 

Other backyard games include playing cards, board games, or throwing a ball around. These are all more low-key and can be enjoyed by the adults as they chat and laugh! Kids will love running around with them too.

Weather

For a summer backyard picnic, you may want to create some shady spots for those that don't want to get too much sun. An umbrella or a tent over the table can help with this as well!

For winter backyard picnics (or anytime it might get colder), make sure to bundle up before heading out into cold weather with your guests! Make everyone comfortable by using warm blankets and plenty of hot cocoa too!

Finally, if you have rain during your backyard event, you can always continue indoors without sacrificing the fun!

How To Decorate A Backyard Picnic?

There are many ways to decorate a backyard picnic. Some people like everything simple with not much going on, while others prefer more active decorations.

If you’re looking for something minimalistic, then try using natural items such as flowers or maybe some fruit trees in pots placed around the table. Or, if you’re looking for something a little more flashy, try stringing lights around the picnic table.

For those who want to be a little more creative or are feeling adventurous, try using some of these clever backyard picnic decoration ideas:

  • Set up an outdoor tablecloth or use some colourful throw pillows to make your tables pop.
  • Put some fun things out on one table, such as balloons, hula hoops, and juggling balls. 
  • Or try placing lanterns all along the perimeter of your yard if there are trees nearby.

Backyard Picnic Food Ideas

For a backyard picnic, the food is usually simple and easy to eat. These are some types of food that are great for backyard picnic:

Appetizers 

Depending on your crowd's preferences, you can offer a variety of appetizers:

- Roasted garlic & fresh herb hummus

- Cheese platter with grapes and a nice crusty bread or crackers 

- Fried zucchini sticks with a dipping sauce, like honey mustard

- A basket of fresh fruits. Some favourites are pears, watermelon, pineapple, strawberries, peaches, raspberries, and blueberries.

Side Dishes

When it comes to side dishes, there are endless possibilities. Find your favourite fruit and add it to a side dish like macaroni salad or fruit salad.

The most typical side dishes are potato salad, coleslaw, pasta salad, fruit or vegetable salads, Crudités (a platter of raw deli vegetables), or cut fruit such as watermelon.

Finally, if you're entertaining family and friends from out of town, try easy spinach and bacon with chips as another good option for a picnic-friendly side dish!

Cold Main Courses

Cold main courses are a great way to feed large crowds and make for an easy meal without much preparation. Here are some cold main course ideas for a perfect backyard picnic.

-Chicken salad served with crackers, sliced baguette, or sliced cucumber for a gluten-free option — dress it up with any combo of flavours from tarragon and apples to curry and raisins

-Cold sesame cucumber noodles: The combination of marinated baked tofu and cold noodles makes this dish hearty, healthy, and quick to prepare.

-Mediterranean Tuna Salad: With a variety of flavours and textures (vegetables, artichokes, capers, avocados, and a red wine vinaigrette), you won't even miss the mayo.

Here is how to keep your food cold during a picnic.

Grilled Main Courses

Grilling in the backyard is so much fun. The family can gather around and create some memories while cooking outside.

grilled food for a backyard picnic

-Think about foods that taste good when grilled, such as shrimp on skewers or chunks of pineapple sprinkled with brown sugar and cinnamon and basted in butter. 

- Grilled Chicken Breasts and Vegetables, with a side of steamed rice or wild rice 

- Grilled Tuna Steaks over a green salad with vinaigrette dressing, served on your choice of fresh-baked bread such as wheat or raisin bread. 

- The quintessential backyard cookout gets even better when you add grilled burgers (or steak burgers) to the menu! 

Desserts

  • Tiramisu in short glasses - These are perfect for a picnic because you can pack them into small jars and serve them with ease
  • Individual desserts in cups with lids - If you are looking for something different than the usual pie or cake, fill these up with mini brownies. Anything crunchy like cookies or shortbreads would work as well too! 
  • Fruit tarts - Another quick and easy idea, use refrigerated pie crust and fill them with any fruit and custard.

A Backup Plan

The most important thing is to have a backup plan if the weather isn't ideal for your picnic. Just in case you need it, there are plenty of great ideas and games that will keep everyone entertained indoors without missing out on time together.

It may not be as much fun, but everyone will still have an enjoyable experience while they wait for the sun to come back again.

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