Essentials for summer outdoor entertaining

IANS| Last Updated: May 18, 2014, 19:30 PM IST

New York: Longing for relaxed evenings on the deck with friends, food and drinks? Work on the outdoor arrangement first.

Here`s how to set the mood for summer outdoor entertaining, reports huffingtonpost.com:

* Design a welcoming seating arrangement: Think of your outdoor furniture as you would your indoor living room furniture, and arrange your chairs, sofas, and tables in a way that`s conducive to conversation. Create a focal point and ensure that seating is no more than eight feet apart. Put a table within reach of each seat to allow for easy access to drinks.

* Create a focal point: If your exterior space doesn`t have a natural focal point like a fireplace or stunning view, create one with a patio umbrella or a richly textured outdoor wall fountain.

* Use a ceiling fan: If your porch is covered, an outdoor ceiling fan can help beat the heat. It`s not necessary but the extra level of climate control helps to create a comfortable space for your guests on hot and sticky summer nights.

* Set the mood after dark with candles: An array of outdoor lanterns creates an intimate atmosphere and encourages late-night conversation. Lighting is the key to setting a mood when entertaining.