Hosting a Great Summer BBQ

BBQs are a perfect fit for the summer, but organising an outdoor party with great food and appropriate entertainment and decor takes more preparation than you might think.

If you’re hosting your first barbeque or just looking for ideas, follow these tips to make sure your next party is fun, memorable and delicious for your guests, and stress-free for yourself.



Set the right mood

Make sure your guests are in the right frame of mind by deciding on a theme and decorating your garden, patio or verandah to match. This can be as simple as throwing up a few Christmas lights or going all-out with an international theme that extends to the food you’re serving.

Make a playlist of upbeat summer anthems that will last throughout the party and set up some classic backyard games that can be enjoyed by all ages, from badminton to lawn Twister.

Provide something for everyone

When it comes to food, it goes without saying that you should serve vegetarian options for non-meat-eating guests, but why stop there? Even if you mainly want to show off your burgers and steaks, serving grilled alternatives like poultry, fish and seafood adds variety and could be appreciated by dieting guests.

Go the extra mile

Even if you’ve invested in quality steaks, to guarantee a memorable feast you should put in the hours beforehand and marinate those meats overnight for a richer flavour. Also check out the range of buns, sauces and dips at your local supermarket for impressive artisanal options – you might even find some new favourites.

Pitcher perfect drinks

BBQs might be synonymous with beers, but on a hot day you should think about hydration and serve refreshing alternatives too. Water, iced tea and fruit juices are ideal for all ages, but it’s the punch bowl and cocktails that will be the big hits.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Handling the whole barbeque yourself can be stressful and demanding, and you’ll find that guests are happy to ease this burden if you just ask. You can request your guests to bring certain items, such as a salad, side dish or extra drinks, and guests will be more than happy to build their own burgers and mix cocktails to their preference when you set up fixing stations.

Transform your outdoor living space

Updating your backyard with a new patio or verandah can be a great way to add value to your property and expand your living, dining and entertaining space to the outdoors.

Contact Install A Veranda on 1800 000 504 to speak to their design experts about outdoor installations from leading Australian brands like Stratco Outback and Bluescope Steel.

Get your free verandah quote today.



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All You Need for the Perfect BBQ

Whether you’re eager to show off your new verandah or just looking for an excuse to throw aparty, the humble barbecue is an Aussie summer staple. Make sure your BBQ is stress-free with this handy guide.

shutterstock_95109517BBQ equipment checklist

For the chef:

  • BBQ grill – charcoal, propane or gas, depending on your preference
  • Fuel – spare canisters or briquettes
  • Long-handled tongs
  • Long-handled spatula
  • Long-handled basting brush
  • Aluminum foil
  • Thermometer
  • Fire extinguisher

For the guests:

  • Shatterproof tableware and glasses
  • Disposable or dishwasher-safe utensils
  • Bottle opener
  • Napkins
  • Seasonings

The drinks

At least as important as the food is the drink, especially on a sweltering day. Set the right atmosphere off the bat by serving every guest a refreshing welcome beverage, and make sure your fridges and cabinets are well stocked with slabs of beer, a few bottles of wine and favourite spirits – even if it’s BYO.

In all the excitement, don’t forget to stock up on non-alcoholic options too, and you’ll probably need plenty of ice.

The meat

You don’t have to invest in premium meatsto impress your guests, but a little variety in types of meat and cuts is always welcome.

Unless your friends are steak snobs, minute steak is easier on the cutlery and easier to fit in the roll, and you can make sausages more interesting by mixing in a few spicy and veggie options. Grilled fish will be appreciated as a lighter alternative for those watching their weight.shutterstock_208572658

Veggie options

Even if you’re confident that all your guests aremeat lovers, vegetables make the perfect side dishes. Grilled corn is cheap and ever popular, baked potatoes will be ready when the steaks are, and boiled pasta adds bulk to a leafy salad.

For dessert, fresh watermelon and pineapple are perfect palate cleansers that can be enjoyed by all.

The sauce

You don’t have to get fancy with the BBQ sauce and condiments either. When it comes to adding flavour, you can’t go wrong with the big brands, and you should make sure there are hot and spicy options to supplement the essential ketchup, barbecue, mustard and mayo.

Light, sound and ambience

When you’ve taken care of the BBQ itself, you should also put some thought into the rest of the event to make sure your guests will still be having a great time even when they’re not holding a plate.

If you don’t have a shaded verandah or patio, youcan provide essential shade and shelter with beach umbrellas or portable awnings, and stringing up plenty of fairy lights will ensure your party lasts as long as it needs to.

When it comes to music, you know your friends and their tastes, but if you don’t, you can’t go wrong with a soulful soundtrack of R&B. However lively things get, make sure you’re not annoying the neighbours – even if they didn’t reply to your invite, the tempting aroma coming over the fence will be punishment enough.

Speak to our design experts

If you’re thinking about transforming your outdoor area with a verandah, pergola or other home improvements, contact Install a Veranda’s design and installation specialists on 1800 000 504Get your free consultation today.


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An Outdoor Christmas Affair

If you love entertaining or hosting festive Christmas parties for your friends and family, building an outdoor entertaining area is a perfect way to set the mood for this year’s holiday season.

A patio extension not only creates a vibrant and open ambience, it also produces a relaxed party vibe.

Whether you have a limited or flexible amount of space available in your backyard, a veranda can enhance any living area by adding dimension to your current home.

Ideal for hosting either large or intimate gatherings, the many perks of having an outdoor extension is that its layout can be readily configured to your needs or liking.

Image via Sprouted Kitchen

Limited Backyard Space

For homes with a tight outdoor space, a veranda can be used as an area to lay out a buffet style Christmas feast whilst guests relax and enjoy downtime in an allocated indoor living area.

Alternatively, you can use the space as an after meals lounging area where you can host gift exchanges and Christmas activities while light refreshments and deserts are served.

Naturally, patios and decks fit well together, so consider adding timber decking to enhance to the appeal of your outdoor space.

Expansive Backyard Space

Larger outdoor areas are ideal for hosting big gatherings and are a perfect way to keep all your guests in one part of your home.

Homes with a larger backyard are able to utilise their outdoor section as both an eating and lounging area for guests, with the ability to double as a games area for kids.

Decorating Outdoor

Decorating your veranda ultimately comes down to personal style and taste. This Christmas, aim to include novelty style pieces and bright twinkling lights to create a festive ambience.

Additionally, you can allocate a small corner for an outdoor Christmas tree or decorate existing plants with ornaments, stockings and wreaths.

For your table setting, incorporate festive coloured table covers or runners and small decorative pieces such as pine cones, potted succulents and candles for added

Best of all, you can do it all over again for the upcoming New Year!

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The Perfect Outdoor Dinner Party

As the Australian summer quickly approaches, welcoming perfect summer nights should always begin with an outdoor dinner party. Wining and dining your nearest and dearest in your very own space is an occasion that always generates the best of times. To ensure that your outdoor dinner party goes accordingly, take these following factors in consideration:

Image via Pinterest


Hosting an outdoor party can leave you with weather doubts. To avoid any disruptions, ensure that:

  •  Your chosen night is declared clear of extreme heat, rain or high speed winds
  • You take pre-cautions in case there are last minute weather changes (ensure your veranda, patio or outdoor setting is equipped with weatherproof covers)
  • Have a back-up plan; have an indoor space available if a move is necessary

Food and Beverages

Summer nights always calls for refreshing dishes and drinks.

Food wise, aim for light meals such as fresh healthy salads, chilled soups as well as a variety of fruit and cold cut meat platters.

For drinks, aim to please your crowd by providing their favourite beers, wines and spirits pre-chilled. To cater for all guest preferences, make sure there are homemade non-alcoholic cocktails and lemon infused water available.

To please your guests further, set-up a small corner dedicated to light deserts such as mini pavlovas, an assortment of airy cakes and desert cheeses.


The simplest touch can make a world of difference. Aim for a consistent theme throughout and apply added personalised details such as hanging Polaroid photos of your guests, your favourite flowers or a welcome message on a chalk board. Remember that simplicity is the key and a little definitely goes a long way.


In order to set the perfect summer mood, compile a playlist of upbeat, feel-good music that will get your outdoor party started and flowing into the night. Alternatively, a mix of soft instrumental, soulful music can serve as the perfect background for a mellow and relaxed night.


Lastly, as the host, don’t get too caught up in running around – be sure to have fun! A gathering is all about creating memories, enjoying good company and celebrating life. Work hard, play hard.

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Great Ideas for a Backyard BBQ

Holding a backyard barbecue is one of the most Australian things you can do, and many families will hold them every weekend throughout the summer months. However if your barbecues haven’t been as exciting of late, change things up a bit and embrace a few new ideas. The following ideas will all help make your next backyard barbecue a whole lot more fun for everyone involved.

Make it potluck

It is always great having a crowd of your friends or family over for a backyard barbecue, but as the number of guests grows, putting it on can become quite expensive, so consider making your next barbecue a potluck. While your guests will likely bring along drinks or contributions to the grill anyway, try to organise who is bringing what. If you know for sure that salads are taken care of, you can focus on desserts, or if the meat is covered you can turn your attention to the vegetarian food options.

Regardless, by making your barbecue an official potluck, you will have far more help building that huge feast, and you’ll also get to enjoy the cooking talents of a few other people.

Have an area of your home and a designated person to take care of the kids

Most backyard barbecues will have a heap of kids running around, and while they are usually pretty good at keeping themselves entertained, get one of your adults to make sure they have just as much fun as everyone else, as well as stay safe. Having food and drinks the kids will like is important, as is having a few decent games to play. A week or two before your event, recruit a willing adult volunteer — or even one of your teenage kids — to head up this part of your event plan. You could even designate part of your house or yard — such as the patios, back veranda or boatshed — to be the kids’ zone for your event.

Have a theme

To make your next backyard barbecue an event to remember, pick a theme and ask everyone to come dressed accordingly, but make sure it isn’t something that is going to be overly difficult to do. Colour themes are easy, as are themes that allow people to get creative, so pick yours carefully and you’ll be blown away by some of the outfits. You will be able to have some fun with the decorations at your place in preparation for the event, and may even be able to incorporate a fun food or drink item to suit the theme.

Hire a musician

No backyard barbecue is complete without some good music, but rather than spend half your time playing DJ yourself, relax and bring in someone else to take care of the music for you. Hiring a local band, DJ or solo musician to provide the music at your barbecue will be a fantastic touch to your event, and may also provide a great opportunity to give an up-and-coming young musician a rare chance at a live performance.

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