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Throwing a Decked Out Deck Party

05/11/2015 03:46AM ● Published by Family Features

(Family Features) Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue, graduation party or making the most of a summer holiday, the perfect preparations and attention to ambiance are key ingredients to a successful outdoor celebration.

Check out these tips for creating a party-perfect deck.

Set the stage for safety
Nothing spoils a deck party like a nasty splinter, a snag on a protruding nail or a trip over an uneven board. If your deck needs a “face lift,” replace old, rotting or warping wood boards with wood-alternative decking that combines superior durability and low-maintenance with long-lasting appearance. High-performance composite decking like Trex Transcend, available in a variety of sought-after tropical colors, can withstand years of heavy foot traffic and severe weather, as well as outdoor entertaining mishaps like food and drink spills, or dropped grilling tools. And, because it’s backed by a fade, stain and scratch warranty, you can be assured that it will stand up to roving pets, spilled drinks and the occasions when furniture is dragged out of the way to make room for dancing. Plus, it only requires an occasional soap and water cleaning to wipe away any signs of barbecue accidents or wine spills.

Create coverage
For maximum comfort, create a place where guests can get a reprieve from the sun’s heat and rays while still enjoying the great outdoors. A pergola can act as an extension of your house, creating the effect of an outdoor room. The overhead framing contributes to the architectural details of your space while providing shade and protection from the sun. Consider adding a waterproof, retractable canopy into the structure so your party can carry on — rain or shine. Grow vines around it to create added privacy and an extension of your landscape. Or string lights across your pergola to create charming night-time ambiance.

Get more from your decor
When selecting furniture for your outdoor living space, think durability and versatility. Pieces made from composite materials will withstand use and environmental elements while maintaining their good looks. For maximum flexibility, choose neutral colored pieces that can be accessorized seasonally or even to fit a specific occasion. To keep your outdoor space looking festive and fresh each year, pick up brightly colored pillows or throws to make the whole space pop. Add extra punch and personality with flowers, flags, eye-catching tableware and seasonal plants.

Design for fun and function
When prepping for a party, designate separate areas for relaxing, grilling, beverage service and socializing. Be sure to include a conversation center by facing sofas and seating together around a fireplace, large coffee table or other central point to keep conversation flowing. Accompany large chairs with upholstered ottomans to create an inviting atmosphere and increase available seating.

Food and drink stations — arguably the most crucial element of a party — should be prominent and accessible to guests. But, because people always follow the food, you also may want to set up food or serving carts at the edge of your social space. Maximize your guests’ mobility with a buffet of easily edible appetizers and finger foods so friends and family can move around and mingle. Kabobs offer a mobile-friendly “grab-and-go” appetizer that you can customize to suit your guests’ tastes.

Offer guests a variety of beverages in a way that allows them to serve themselves. Seek out alternatives to those bulky portable bars or tubs. The Trex Outdoor Storage collection, for instance, features an integrated ice cooler with two-inch-thick insulated walls to hold ice and keep drinks cold for days. Additionally, the new storage line offers other convenient options including trash storage cabinets, hampers, base cabinets and bench drawers.

Light the night
Keep the party moving long after the sun goes down with ambient candles, light strings in trees or hanging lanterns for the perfect mood and subtle lighting. For a more permanent solution, energy efficient Trex Outdoor Lighting provides sophisticated, understated silhouettes that add both beauty and safety to your outdoor space. The collection includes a wide array of lighting options that can be easily installed into your deck, railing or landscape.

Inspired outdoor living
Are you in need of some entertaining inspiration? Here is some insight on creating the perfect space:

  • Blend your furniture, decking and larger pieces with the natural elements of your home. For a home near water, Trex Transcend in Island Mist is perfect with its look of driftwood — the color has elements of the ocean tide and is very natural-looking.
  • Keep your entertaining space as open and functional as possible for guests to feel comfortable and relaxed. Outdoor lighting is incredibly helpful and beautiful — whether coming in from the boat or the street — you’ll have a safely lit path and home.
  • Spend time on sites such as Pinterest and Houzz to gain inspiration for maximizing the function and style of your outdoor living area. You’ll see a lot of great spaces and are sure to pick up some wonderful ideas.

For more outdoor living entertaining inspiration, visit

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