Secrets to a Relaxing Backyard Barbecue June 28 2017

Barbecue season is in full swing and we bet you're as excited as we are for its arrival. After all, there's not much better than relaxing in the sun with good food, good drinks, and good friends, is there? This time of year provides the perfect excuse to try out new recipes and up your cocktail game, and is also freely used as a reason to acquire new pretties for the yard. After all, you'll want a relaxing setting for the many sunny afternoons and warm evenings you'll spend there with your loved ones. We highly suggest picking up this translucent green votive set and sprinkling them about the yard for soft illumination. A brass constellation lantern is also ideal for lighting up evenings. (Pro tip: place an LED light inside to avoid replacing a candle regularly.) We also think you'll quickly become enamored with these unglazed porcelain wind chimes, they've got such a soothing tone when they sway in the breeze.

Roost Brass Constellation Lantern Red SailRoost Verre Votive Set Red SailAHeirloom Corian Marble Walnut Muddler Red Sail

There's something so refreshing about cocktails full of fresh fruit and herbs on sunny afternoons, and you'll be reaching for a trusty walnut and marble muddler frequently to make a whiskey-strawberry or gin-basil cocktail. To save time, you can also use the convenient pitcher-size muddler to make a batch of margaritas with this fine-tuned recipe from Alton Brown, and for an extra kick finish the cocktails with habanero salt. Whichever cocktail you choose, make things easy on yourself and get a colorful wooden tray to carry your tools and ingredients. For get-togethers on the fly, fill up a stoneware growler with your favorite beer or cider on the way home. Of course, keep everyone hydrated by placing water in an attractive bottle, like this crystal clear carafe or this porcelain and clay bottle flask.

Wolfum Honeycomb Tray Red SailHasami Bottle Flask Red SailXenia Taler Amalfi Bamboo Plate Set

Now to the main event: food. We suggest going potluck style to maximize your relaxation time. Offer a summer salad and some grilled veggies, ask your friends to bring their favorite summer dish, and you're set. Use these life-changing tips for grilling any vegetable to perfection ahead of time and serve them on a beautiful reclaimed walnut serving board. Showcase a farro and roasted red pepper salad using veggies from your garden in a creamy wide flat bowl with a cherry wood serving set. Sprinkle an authentic German potato salad with black garlic salt or a roasted beet salad with lemon finishing salt just before serving for extra depth of flavor. To keep your place-settings pretty and your clean-up easy, we recommend using brightly colored bamboo plates and silicone placemats, both lightweight and a cinch to wash. Use the time you saved with our tips to linger over a game of backgammon or dominoes while you watch the last rays of sunlight fade from the day.