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The essential backyard barbecue checklist

By Dan Darvell June 27, 2022 Entertaining

Nothing says “summer” like a backyard barbecue. Gathering outdoors for games, drinks and a table full of tasty grilled food is one of the hallmarks of patio season. During the renaissance, nobility would cultivate outdoor eating spaces with fragrant trees and elegant outdoor tables for entertaining guests during warm weather. Today, barbecues are much more egalitarian but that doesn’t mean we can’t take a cue from the noble court to elevate the experience. With the right preparation, you and your guests can enjoy memorable summer barbecues all through the season. We’ve compiled a checklist to help you throw epic cookouts for your friends and family this summer.

A By the Yard bar cart with fruit and water set for the best backyard barbecue.

Plan the menu

When you’re throwing a backyard barbecue, the food prep doesn’t have to monopolize your time. Turning your barbecue into a potluck gives everyone a chance to be involved and takes the pressure off. Supply grillable meats, veggies and buns – making sure there’s something for everyone – and invite your guests to bring their signature sides, salads or desserts. Pro tip: Be specific so you don’t end up with a dozen bags of chips on your outdoor table. Here’s the menu checklist:

  • Invite guests with suggestions of dishes to share and confirm day of
  • Shop for meats, veggies, buns and beverages
  • Fill in any gaps in the menu with easy store bought favorites
A close up of a single table setting at best backyard barbecue featuring By the Yard outdoor furniture.

Gather the supplies

To ensure that your barbecue is a success, make sure you have outdoor-friendly plates, cutlery and glasses. Have a clean recycling bin and trash receptacle ready to go. Stock up on outdoor games and activities like badminton, bocce, cornhole, etc. You’ll also want to have supplies on hand to keep your guests comfortable throughout the event Here’s the non-food checklist:

  • Bamboo or other eco-friendly outdoor dining ware
  • Outdoor recycling and trash containers
  • Games and activities 
  • Insect repellent candles or tiki torches, bug spray and sunscreen
By the Yard dining table set for an evening backyard barbecue.

Set the scene 

Get your backyard ready for the perfect barbecue. You’ll want to make sure the yard is tidy and well-lit as the sun sets. Make sure your outdoor furniture is ready for guests. While the best outdoor furniture for a barbecue is stain-resistant, if you have wooden tables or chairs make sure to protect them. Follow this checklist to set the scene:

  • Clear the yard of brush and debris, mow the grass and fence your gardens
  • Set up lanterns, string lights, and torches
  • Wipe down your outdoor tables and chairs – lay down table cloths for wooden furniture
  • Set up activities around the yard
  • Fire up the grill 
5 people dine using a By the Yard dining set complete with swivel chairs at a backyard barbecue.

Make backyard entertaining a breeze with By the Yard

By the Yard’s furniture is designed for events like barbecues. We use HDPE lumber made from recycled plastics, which is the best material for outdoor furniture due to its stain-resistance, low-maintenance and smooth, splinter-free surfaces. Handcrafted in Minnesota, our furniture is built to withstand the elements and customizable so you can achieve the style you desire with maximum comfort for you and your guests. Ready to throw an amazing backyard barbecue? Request a free By the Yard catalog or shop online today at To ask any question or order by phone, give us a call at 877-220-0448.