6 Must-Haves for Backyard Barbecues

Labor Day is just around the corner, which means barbecue planning is in full swing. Leaving the meal prep and guest list to you, we’ve offered six simple decorating tips that are sure to make your next backyard bash one to remember.


Photo by Hello May

1. A Barrow of Beer

Patio coolers can easily set you back a few hundred bucks, so why not repurpose a backyard staple? Wheelbarrows make for a functional and trendy beverage cart perfect for beer, wine and soda for the kids. Turn the wheelbarrow into a mini bar by placing tin buckets of sliced lemons, limes and other cocktail additions onto the bed of ice.

Don’t have a wheelbarrow? Check out the selection at Taylor’s Do It Center.


Left: By Stephanie Lynn. Right: Brooklyn Limestone.

2. Tasteful Ambiance

Long summer nights will soon come to an end, so fill your backyard with twinkling lights for intimate sunset gatherings. Surround your deck with tiki torches for a tropical feel, or string white lights above your outdoor firepit to create a starlit canopy.


Daphne and Dean Photography

3. Insect Repellent

Pesky mosquitos are a surefire way to put a damper on an afternoon barbecue. To ensure guests stay bite-free, hang buckets of insect repellent throughout your backyard so friends and family can reapply as needed. You can even burn citronella fuel in your new decorative tiki torches. Find an array of mosquito-repelling herbs and sprays from local nurseries like the McDonald Garden Center, Anderson’s and the renovated Williamsburg Pottery.


4. Blankets & Throws

Friendly gatherings often persist long after the sun goes down. With cooler weather just a few months away, it’s a good idea to have extra blankets at hand. Repurpose wooden crates as outdoor baskets or place tall wicker hampers next to your patio furniture and fill them with fleece throws. You can even make your own blankets by purchasing patterns and fabrics from JOANN.


Morsels Party Planning

5. S’mores Kit

It doesn’t matter how old you are, every barbecue calls for s’mores. Instead of putting together a hulking platter of chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers, create individual s’mores kits using old fruit containers from the grocery store and farmer’s markets. Guests can simply pick up their pack of s’mores fixings while you provide the sticks.


Lemon Thistle

Constantly Lovestruck

6. Yard Games

Yard games are trending in the Coastal Virginia bar scene. The Shack on 8th and Beachside Social are dedicated solely to communal play while Grain pairs its rooftop bar elegance with beer and giant chess. To amp up the recreational space in your own backyard, consider investing in cornhole boards or creating your own giant versions of Jenga, Scrabble and tic-tac-toe. Spray paint colored circles on your lawn for a round of backyard Twister, too.

Grace Silipigni Headshot
Grace Silipigni
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Grace Silipigni is an elementary school Spanish immersion teacher based in Virginia Beach and a regular contributor to Coastal Virginia Magazine, covering a wide range of topics such as health and wellness, education and learning, food and drink, happenings and events, travel and getaways and more.

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