We’re just a few weeks days away from Memorial Day Weekend (the unofficial start to grilling season) and we at The Manual couldn’t be more excited. In honor of summer, we’ve grouped together some backyard BBQ ideas to ensure your future cook-outs, bonfires, and hog roasts turn out to be unparalleled successes that your friends and family will continue talking about deep into next winter.
We’re talking the heart of party essentials here. From fire pits and music to lighting and entertainment, we’ve got it all — and so should you.
If you don’t have a grill already, we’ve got some portable grill options that are sure to meet your needs, but if you’re planning on hanging out in the backyard all summer, you should just get a full-size grill. It’s always a good idea to opt for somewhat of a BYOSB (bring your own sides and beverages) atmosphere, but you should also ensure you have enough hearty options that are quick to prepare and easy to cook.
A blazing fire in the summer can really set the ambiance for your backyard summer affair. Space, safety, and size are all important when considering your options. Sun Joe’s cast stone fire pit is an ideal size, provides durability and low maintenance, and will look great as a backyard centerpiece. You could also opt to build your own. See our guide on how to build a fire pit here.
The next method of enhancing your guest’s experience is through sound. You don’t need anything big or blaring, but a sleek-looking wired or bluetooth speaker can really set the mood to whatever your going for.
Klipsch offers an outdoor wired system that will truly wow your company with its ability to blend in with your backyard surroundings. It provides a clear, wide range of sound, but if you’re servicing a large area, you may want to grab two. You also get two choices on design: granite or sandstone.
In case you don’t want to wire speakers into your yard, JBL’s splash-proof outdoor Bluetooth speaker is a great alternative to its wired counterparts. It sounds just as clear, but also offers more portability. This way you can take a speaker on your next trip to the river too. Our brother site, Digital Trends, has other waterproof options.
Collaborative games are another great way to get the party started.
It’s easy to forget about, but Jenga is always a big hit when you have company over. Giant Jenga is even more fun because it’s easy to get a big group to join in. Uber Games also offers smaller-sized towers if that’s what you fancy, and in various wood types.
Cornhole is a crowd favorite for most when the sun comes out. If you find yourself heading to your favorite bar to cornhole your way through the heat, then maybe it’s time to invest in a board for your own backyard. Victory Tailgate has a plethora of themed cornhole boards so you can impress your guests or tease your buddy by grabbing a board that features his least favorite team.
If you need something that is more portable — say, for a day trip to the park — you could keep it classy with this beautiful Bocce Ball set from Crate and Barrel. The set also comes with a steely carrying bag, a score card, and pencils.
You’ll likely have to deal with warm weather this summer (thankfully! finally!), meaning your late afternoon barbecue will probably persist through sundown. This is a great opportunity to string up some lights around the area to keep the party going.
As the sun should be shining all day, solar powered lights are a cost-effective and gratifying way to lighten up the mood when it gets dark. Better yet, you can wave goodbye to the days of long, tangled extension cords.
If you’re looking for something that will last through any season and forecast, Brightech’s commercial-grade string lights are designed to withstand your standard wear and tear of year-round outdoor use. They also boast a mood-enhancing dimmer.
If you’re in the foothills of the Appalachians or somewhere in the desert, temperatures might drop significantly at night. It may be difficult to get everyone up to play games in the yard under these circumstances, but you don’t have to succumb to the obstacle in front of you.
The best way to round off a night or keep the party going is jumping in a jacuzzi. Hell, hot tubbing is great in any weather anyway. Nowadays they make inflatable hot tubs for occasions just like your backyard get-together. MSPA Alpine’s inflatable jacuzzi is one of the larger options, as it can pack up to six people. It’s literally as easy as blowing up, filling it with water, and plugging it in.
If you want to get real crazy, or you regularly have the boys over to watch sports, consider an outdoor television setup. Indoor televisions should not be used outside. They’re not equipped for drastic changes in temperature or air quality, and if you move your indoor TV outdoors, you’re just going to be kissing a thousand bucks good bye. SunBriteTV offers the best outdoor TVs you can find, and at a fairly reasonable price. The 43-inch option is weatherproof, meaning it’s sealed to protect against humidity and moisture. We also recommend you grab an outdoor TV cover ($25) and wall mount ($130) while you’re at it.
And last but not least, we can’t forget about refreshments.
EdgeStar’s 84-can mini fridge was designed for stockpiling drinks outside for large gatherings to ensure nobody has to run inside for another drink. It boasts a groovy glass door, removable shelves, and can fit on just about any ground with free-standing, leveling legs. Besides, it’s always nice to have more fridge space.
If you have the room, consider grabbing a kegerator for the patio. Not only will it save you money on beer and recycling duties in the long run, beer always tastes better out of a tap.
Now that you have all the backyard party essentials in one place — party on, my friends. If you still need some actual grill accessories, head here.