Nothing beats an outdoor party. But even the best backyard shindig comes with challenges, from how to incorporate music to how to keep the temperature perfect to how to fend off unwanted insect guests. Here are some of my favorite high-tech items for a perfect outdoor event.
Heat Things Up
Ask anyone whose party has been rained on: You can’t rely on Mother Nature to help you out when it comes to party planning. Rain aside, a party can be a serious bummer if the temperature gets too extreme— exterior climate control can help ensure your guests are comfortable. It can also help you extend the use of your outdoor spaces into the less-ideal months.
Heatstrip USA’s radiant outdoor heaters are a great way to spot heat your patio without melting your guests— there’s no harsh red glow, and the fixtures can nest into your overhang to blend into the decor— they’re black and kinda look just like an in-ceiling speaker. And the radiant heat is lovely for your guests and your energy bill… because it only heats what’s beneath it (ie. furniture and people) and not the air, it isn’t blowing all your money into the atmosphere, leaving your guests cold. Best of all, they’re remote-control operated, so you can keep your guests cozy without having to put down your hot dog.
Keep It Cool
If the the weather’s balmy, and iced tea isn’t keeping your guests cool, you’ll want to ensure there’s a fan nearby. Their name might be funny, but Big Ass Fans has you covered: Their fans are beautiful, whisper-quiet and smart. Residential fans with their “sense me” feature have sensors for heat and humidity, and motion detection— just use the accompanying app to set the temperature you like, and they will make sure you’re comfortable no matter what the weather throws at you. Plus, they learn your temperature preferences over time, so staying cool doesn’t even require you to lift a finger. Because you need those fingers. To make Sangria.
If overhead fans aren’t an option, I love Dyson’s AM06 tabletop fan or the AM07 floor fan— they’re bladeless, so they’re perfect when little kids are afoot, and they are so quiet they don’t overtake conversation. Not cheap, but gorgeous on your patio.
Bring the Action
Hosting a Superbowl party used to mean everyone had to pile indoors, but now outdoor televisions can bring the party outside. And the nachos. Don’t forget those. Skyvue and SunBrite are two manufacturers who make TV specifically designed to live outdoors (don’t mount a regular TV on your patio unless you want to void your warrantee and break your television). They’re costly, but who can put a price on watching a swim meet while you’re swimming. I rest my remote— er, case.
See the Light
The sun set was beautiful to watch while dining al fresco, but now it’s dark and your guests can’t see their flan: Time to add some lighting. Candlelight adds the most ambiance, but who wants to run around lighting all those wicks, or blowing them all out when the party’s over and dealing with all that hot wax? Wireless LED kits, like this one from Philips are beautiful, functional, and easy to use. There’s no switch, just shake to turn on or off, and each one last 20 hours, staying cool to the touch.
For a more modern, fun effect, place these Smart & Green globe lamps around your garden, or float them in your pool.
Keep Pests Out
Lastly, don’t you just hate that uninvited guest at the party who annoys your friends and hovers over the food? I’m not talking about your creepy neighbor, I’m talking about insects. ThermaCELL’s Outdoor lantern is a high tech solution that takes care of the nuisance. Free of icky “zaps” and stinky citronella, this lantern uses a synthetic chrysanthemum scent to drive insects away while illuminating your space with LED light.
Here they are, used at an outdoor wedding. Brilliant. Back away from the cake, bugs, you’re not invited.
When I’m throwing a party, I’m looking for all the help I can get to make it fabulous. These gadgets are sure to make your next backyard get-together a major success.
Anything I missed? Let me know in the comments!