© News Canada

Summer cookouts are a great way to enjoy delicious food and good company. Whether you are staying in with family or planning to host a socially distanced get-together, optimizing your outdoor space is key to ensuring a safe, and comfortable experience.

Here are five quick tips to help you nail backyard or patio entertaining this year.

Create a comfortable outdoor space.

Find creative ways to revamp your patio furniture by dressing it up with decorative pillows, blankets, and cozy rugs. Outdoor floor cushions are a great seating alternative and can easily be stored and moved around to accommodate social distancing.

Set the ambiance with lighting.

If you are planning on keeping the festivities going after sunset, outdoor lighting is a must. Create a more intimate feel by decorating shrubs and trees with string lights or by placing oil lanterns throughout your backyard.

Keep your guests cool.

Using patio covers or umbrellas will help keep guests cool in the hot sun. To avoid gathering, providing your guests with their own umbrellas to ensure social distancing is maintained. Pro tip: Alongside your hand sanitizer station, offer guests their own individual “cool down mist” of fresh water, and mint. This is an easy DIY with fresh water and mint in a small spray bottle.

Choose a fuss-free menu.

A cookout is not complete without the grill. Take full advantage of hassle-free cooking by using grills like the Traeger Ironwood Series, which allow you to control your grill from anywhere using your smartphone. You can spend less time checking the barbecue and more time enjoying your company. Pro tip: If you have an Apple Watch, you can conveniently monitor and control your grill right from your wrist.

Stay hydrated.

Having ice-cold beverages on deck is essential. To avoid unnecessary trips into the house, keep a cooler stocked full of ice outside for easy access.

—NC

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