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17 Backyard Events & Party Ideas for Year-Long Entertainment at Your Lancaster, PA Home

Posted On: August 23,2018 By: Mary Dresser, RLA ALSA

Entertainment party outdoor fireplaceWhether you have an outdoor living space that you’re looking to upgrade or you are adding something from scratch, the last thing that you want is an ordinary space that can’t be used for extraordinary events.

You’re looking for something more than just a simple pool or a stand-alone grill on a concrete patio. You want a spectacular space that can be used to host out-of-this-world events. In other words, you want to be able to host events that guests will truly never forget.

If you’re looking for backyard event ideas for unique ways to use your impressive space, here are 17 you’ll want to keep in mind.


1. Graduation Party

When it comes to backyard events, hosting a graduation party is a big one. You want to have a space where you can not only accommodate a large party but where you can keep your guests thoroughly entertained.

Happy woman portrait on her graduation day smiling

While a small pool might make your son or daughter’s friends, and your other guests, feel crammed in, a spacious pool will give everyone enough space. Your children and their friends can play a game of volleyball or swim while not being on top of your family that has brought young children to wade in the shallow end.


Nearby, at your outdoor kitchen and pavilion, you can set out your spread of food in a covered space. You can even be grilling while still socializing with all of the guests thanks to the strategic placement of your kitchen.


2. A Backyard Wedding or Reception

There’s nothing quite like a backyard wedding for a special and intimate affair. But in order to make it truly memorable, you’ll need a spectacular space. An outdoor pavilion can provide a covered space where guests can sit and watch or sit and eat.

catering buffet food outdoor in luxury restaurant with meat and colorful fruits

As the event gets into evening hours, your gorgeous landscape lighting will ensure the party doesn’t have to end. In fact, you can even pre-program the lighting in the same color scheme as the wedding.


3. Bridal or Baby Showers

A bridal or baby shower is such a special event for the guest of honor. And it can be even more impressive when hosted in your stunning outdoor space.

Party in backyard pavilion

The outdoor pavilion provides a covered space for guests to sit and have a place of respite from the sun—even on the hottest summer days.


4. Birthday Parties

Whether you’re hosting special “decades” party (40th, 50th, 60th, etc.) or even a child’s birthday party, the event will be all that much more exciting in your beautiful outdoor space.

Cheerful family smiling at camera at birthday party outside at picnic table

If you’re looking for backyard party ideas for a birthday, nothing beats swimming! A gorgeous pool will invite guests to jump in and stay busy all party long!

pool, pavilion, and patio for entertaining

There will be no need to hire entertainment to keep the kids busy when your backyard provides everything they need. From lawn games to the heated spa to the pool itself, there’s more than enough to do.


5. Anniversary Parties

If you’re celebrating a special anniversary for yourself or a loved one, hosting it in your backyard pavilion can make it a special affair.


You can have food set up in a covered area for all of your guests to enjoy. As the party carries into the evening hours, you can enjoy celebratory cocktails poolside as you gather around your gorgeously lit pool.


6. Church Events

Your church members will be incredibly grateful for you to step up and use your outdoor space to host special church events. Your pool could be used for special baptism ceremonies and your nearby outdoor kitchen and pavilion can be used for hosting guests for cake or food following the event.

Party under pavilion with outdoor kitchen

An impressive outdoor space also makes a great locale for youth group events or staff retreats. Seated around your outdoor fire pit area and roasting some marshmallows presents the perfect opportunity for teens to open up with one another and connect.


7. Women’s Events

Are you looking for backyard event ideas for your group of girlfriends who want some special time connecting? You might consider a spa day hosted in your outdoor living area. Your girlfriends can enjoy some quality time in your built-in heated spa, even into the cooler months.


Whether you take a dip in the pool or just enjoy some cocktails sitting poolside, the serene space will facilitate great conversation and a wonderful opportunity to grow closer.


8. Men’s Events

Whether it’s a grilling competition or smoker contest, or maybe just some time watching a sporting event on your outdoor television, if you’re looking for backyard event ideas for your group of buddies, there are so many ways to get in that male bonding time outdoors.


Your state-of-the-art built-in grill or your built-in smoker can provide the perfect space to cook up some great food with great friends. And even if you’ve just invited a couple of guys over to watch the game, having an outdoor fireplace with a mounted television can make the experience even more enjoyable for everyone.


9. MLM Parties

If you, your friend, or your family member sells products for a multi-level marketing company then you may be looking for space to host those parties. Your outdoor living area is the perfect spot to host some guests, enjoy some good food, and listen to a demonstration or browse the products that are available.


10. Pool & Movie Night Parties

A spectacular pool will take your pool party to the next level. Just imagine enjoying a pool with all of the amenities—a rock waterfall, a built-in slide, ledges for lounging, space for pool volleyball or basketball, and color-changing lighting.

Lighted pool patio and pavilion

If you have an outdoor projector, you can even host an outdoor “pool and movie” night. Set up a screen or even hang a sheet, grab some inner tubes, and play an outdoor movie while guests float in the pool.

outdoor stone fireplace under pavilion with television

11. Fundraisers for Special Causes

If you’re looking to raise money for a nonprofit or charity, or even raise funds for a friend or family member going through a crisis, then with an outdoor living space you can host an event right at your own home rather than have to rent space.


Think about catering a luncheon or dinner in your outdoor pavilion or even holding an auction. The possibilities are endless and by not having to rent a space, you can ensure the money raised is going toward the cause rather than expenses.


12. Sports Team Celebrations

Whether you play on the church softball team or a local adult league or it’s your child who plays a sport, after-game celebrations are that much more fun when you have a pool to jump into or a space to hold a post-game meal.


13. Company Picnics

If you have a small company and are looking for backyard event ideas to host your staff and their families, an intimate company picnic is a great idea. You can grill up some burgers and dogs in your outdoor kitchen and serve them in your outdoor pavilion.


14. Costume or Halloween Parties

Your backyard events do not have to be limited to the warmer months. A Halloween or costume party is a whole lot more fun in your heated outdoor space.


The roaring outdoor fireplace and infrared heat lamps will keep guests cozy and warm while socializing around the beautifully lit pool. You can even program your outdoor lighting in eerie Halloween colors.


15. Family Reunions

Hosting a family reunion in your outdoor living area can give family members the opportunity to spread out around your property. Whether they’re swimming in the pool, playing quoits or horseshoes, enjoying some of the delicious food set up in the pavilion, or lounging in the built-in spa, there will be plenty to do to keep everyone (of all ages) entertained.


We have one client who wanted an area of their kitchen to be “crockpot alley” with a long piece of countertop set up with a row of outlets so that everyone could bring their favorite dish to share.


16. Wine/Beer Tasting Events or Swaps

Do you love tasting new wines or beers or even swapping cases with your friends? If you’re looking for unique backyard event ideas, this one fits the bill as something your guests will remember (and want to do again)!

Pavilion and outdoor kitchen party

You can keep your personal stash of wine chilled in your wine fridge or even have your favorite beer on tap in your outdoor kegerator.


17. Sledding and Wintertime Events

Again, your backyard events do not have to be limited to the warmer months. By setting up your outdoor space with heat elements like an outdoor fireplace or fire pit, or even infrared heat lamps, you can keep your outdoor space warm and cozy, allowing you to host events in the winter months.

backyard sledding party

Imagine inviting all of your children’s best friends over for a sledding extravaganza! When they’re done sledding, they can toast marshmallows over the outdoor fire pit while warming up.


With a covered and heated outdoor space, they won’t have to traipse through your house with wet clothes when they’re finished playing in the snow. With an event like this, you’ll undoubtedly be the coolest house on the block—the place where all your kids’ friends want to hang out.  


Choosing a Landscape Contractor for your Outdoor Living Area

back patio with tableBuilding a spectacular space that incorporates many of these exciting design ideas means choosing a landscape contractor in Lancaster, PA or surrounding areas that is up to the task. Projects of this scale and that are so detail-oriented cannot be built by an ordinary contractor. It’s important that you’re working with a landscape contractor who is experienced with designing and building a larger scale project with a lot of detail.

By finding a company that has the experience and the skill to build a project like this, you can feel confident that mistakes will be avoided and that your space will come together in a way that will make your backyard events truly amazing. Instead of having the same-old standard cookout or pool party, you’ll be able to host events that absolutely dazzle your guests. The bottom line? One-of-a-kind outdoor spaces allow for truly one-of-a-kind events.

If you’d like to start a conversation about how you can bring your outdoor ideas to life at your Reading, Lancaster, Lebanon, York, or Hershey, PA home, contact us for a free consultation or give us a call at (717) 276-9447.

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Mary Dresser, RLA ALSA

Written by Mary Dresser, RLA ALSA

Mary Hatch Dresser is a Registered Landscape Architect with a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Georgia School of Environmental Design. Mary has designed landscapes for 32 years and joined ETW exclusively in 2009. Mary is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA); and also serves on the Shade Tree Committee in Strasburg Borough where she resides. Mary prides herself in carefully listening to her clients to professionally meld their ideas and personal criteria with sound, experienced design practice.

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