The backyard is an excellent place to hang out in the summer and depending on where you live, can even be a year round playground. The problem is many backyards are not set up for proper socializing; it is not easy to carry on a conversation and include all of those around you. There are a few things you can do in order to make your backyard more hospitable to those coming over to play.

This list represents just a few things you can do to help make your backyard an excellent place for parties. Of course, you should check your local coding regulations as well as any noise ordinance rules before you begin any kind of permanent remodel.

1. Fire Pit

A fire pit is something that is great if you plan to have people over at night. Not only can it take the chill out of the air, it is a natural place for people to gather in a circle and chat. The dancing flames are hypnotizing and tend to encourage people to stay longer and engage in conversation.

2. Outdoor Bar

An outdoor bar helps make the area comprehensive. People can stay outside as they get refreshments and it keeps people from heading in and out of the house. Sometimes, when people go in, they never come back out. By having easy access cold beverages outside you keep people interacting and entertained in your backyard.

3. Raised Deck with Comfy Chairs

Raised decks are a nice way to add space. It gives a way for children and adults to separate as well as makes things feel less crowded. If you add comfortable chairs to the raised deck, you increase your seating capacity and give people room to hang out for a much longer period of time.

4. Speakers for Music

Speakers allow you to control the ambiance of your party or gathering. Whether you want to encourage dancing or just give people some nice background music, either way, it adds some entertainment to the party. It gives people something to enjoy as well as to talk about.

5. Outdoor Screen

One of the biggest additions people are making now are outdoor screens. You can do them as a permanent pull-down screen or get one of the inflatables, but it turns your backyard into a movie theater. The input can run directly from computer or a projector making it easy to entertain. You can also wire television out there if you enjoy hosting sporting events like football or baseball screenings.

These few things can make your backyard much more conducive to socializing. You will find that people want to stay longer and that hosting is much easier on you. When the space makes socializing simple, you don’t have to do as much to “keep things going.”

Pharaba Hacker-Witt is a savvy household improvement guru at Redbeacon and has worked as a writer and producer in Los Angeles for ten years.