Setting the Scene for the Perfect Backyard BBQ

But unfortunately many of us get stuck in the proverbial BBQ rut–serving hotdogs on flimsy white paper plates, dining on vinyl gingham, and swatting pesky mosquitoes.

Michelle Virtue with BYU Campus Craft & Floral helps us take our next BBQ to the next level.

A barbeque is the perfect time to ‘wow’ your family and friends with your creativity, ingenuity, charm, and culinary brilliance. It’s time to take a stand against the mundane & predictable.

To better set the stage for your next BBQ, consider the following elements and a selection of ideas to dazzle your guests—A BBQ is a PARTY . . . plan and prepare accordingly!


Choose a theme to carry throughout your BBQ—just as you might for a bridal shower or birthday party. Even your 4 year old has themed parties!

Beach BBQ

Use sand, shells, seagulls, and grill fish/sea fare.

Through the decades BBQ.


Bring your own blanket, beef, BBQ sauce.

International BBQ

Serve grilled food and décor from another culture. We love the idea of an Asian BBQ with grilled Mongolian beef, chopsticks, and fortune cookies served on the ground. No shoes, please! Try having a fiesta with a piñata or a Luau with lots of grass skirts, tropical drinks, and a roasted pig.

Western BBQ

Pull out your bandanas, boots, rope, and spurs. Ask guests to wear cowboy hats and use cacti for centerpieces.

BBQ Bingo

Play bingo (or other games) for food. BINGO gets the steak—anything less might be dining on a hotdog.

Dessert BBQ.

Grill only desserts—pineapple, s’mores, etc.


Make the effort and take the extra time to make your BBQ festive and “finished.” Guests will notice your attention to detail & be excited to visit your home again.

Color Scheme

Select a color scheme and use it through your meal. You might dress up the traditional red gingham picnic table by adding an unexpected splash of color. OR forego tradition and use a bright colored print or solid table cloth. Don’t be afraid to use beach mats, table runners, burlap, swatches from your fabric collection, quilts, wrapping paper, or ribbon to decorate your tables or buffet. Use common picnic paper products to your advantage. Try colored plates, printed napkins, and designer paper goods.


Use summer flowers from your garden. Try arranging flowers in non-traditional containers. Bottles, buckets, boots, melons, tin cans, canning jars, or dishes from you kitchen make wonderful themed accents. You might even pull your potted flowers onto the BBQ tablescape.



Tiki torches, candles, paper lanterns, and white lights are amazing additions to any evening BBQ.

Bug Defense

Be prepared with citronella candles and bug spray. It might be a good idea to have your lawn/yard sprayed by a professional if you are know about a large BBQ in advance.

Temperature control

It’s hot! Be prepared with sunscreen, patio umbrellas, fans, and lots of shade & water. Don’t forget that the temperature can drop quickly once the sun falls & blankets, jackets, and a bonfire can keep guests comfortable throughout the evening.


Make sure summer seating is comfortable. Have a cozy place for guests to visit once they leave the picnic table. Blankets, chairs, and patio furniture will keep your guests comfortable & visiting long into the night.


Keep guests of all ages entertained. Have games and activities available. Pull out Frisbees, croquet sets, Bocce ball, and horseshoes. Dust off your badminton rackets, deck of cards, or book of stories. Ask one of the older kids to start a game of tag or capture the flag. Light sparklers, use Make your BBQ memorable.


• Don’t be afraid to grill OUTSIDE of the box! Try new recipes & techniques.

• Be cautious about keeping appropriate foods hot & cold.

• Get your guests involved. Try grilling personal pizzas or encourage guests to try exotic BBQ dishes.

• Display your food. Use platters, colorful garnish, and fun serving dishes.

• Ask friends for grilling suggestions & consider using multiple grills to cook more food faster.

Have fun & enjoy yourself!

If you prepare in advance & plan with your guests in mind, I guarantee that your basis BBQ will be a memorable experience.

For a great selection of fresh flowers and home décor, visit BYU Campus Craft & Floral:

Campus Craft & Floral

1021 WSC

Provo, UT 84602

(801) 422-2840

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