Try a Themed Outdoor Party

If you want to have people over but do it cheaply, The Spruce says, try a summery theme such as a luau, “glamping” or game night; outdoor games such as badminton, cornhole and horseshoes are obvious choices. Shop at party, dollar and thrifts stores (the latter of which are often supplied by generous donations to ClothingDonations.org) to keep decorating costs low, and ask guests to bring a dish suitable for a crowd-pleasing cookout. Then, just add a summery playlist of your favorite music — or get your musician friends to jam — for an outdoor party that rocks.

Spruce Up Your Outdoor Space

The difference between a boring backyard, deck or patio and a welcoming outdoor oasis is often as simple as a few well-placed plants or accessories. To spruce up your space fast, Love Your Landscape says, hang a mirror, grow climbing vines, or build a pergola. Potted plants can add visual interest and color, and solar lanterns or string lights will bathe the area in soft light after sunset. Sawhorses and a sheet of plywood or an old door (covered with a tablecloth) can serve as a dining table, and benches with cushions and/or folding stadium chairs will give guests a place to sit.

Al Fresco Dining Requires Definition

To create a space for dining on your backyard or deck, simply define the area in which you plan to serve guests, This Old House says. Lay mesh-backed tile over pavers to create an inexpensive, all-weather “rug” for the seating area, or create a shade canopy out of bamboo and a canvas drop cloth. Take advantage of the existing shade trees and accessorize your dining area with curtains, pillows, string lights, lanterns and more; with a little time and even less expense, you’ll have a dramatic, romantic space in which to entertain friends and family.

Set the Stage for Summer Cinema

For the ultimate summertime luxury on a shoestring budget, suspend a plain white sheet from a garden wall, fence or a PVC frame to make an outdoor theater, HGTV says. Gather whatever lawn chairs you can scrounge from local garage sales, invite your friends, pop some corn and kick back for a backyard blockbuster. Not enough furniture? If the weather is dry, you can bring indoor furniture such as chairs and end tables outside for a festive dinner party or film night, or ask guests to bring a few folding chairs. Blankets on the ground will work, too!

Garden Cleanup Before Garden Dress-up

The garden may be looking a bit haggard after a long winter and wet spring, and you’ll need to clean it up to make it presentable for the summer. Trim the bushes and prune the trees; clear the yard of sticks, leaves and other detritus. Weed the flower beds, plant annuals and mulch the beds to keep weeds at bay. Clear the cobwebs from your shed or garage and organize your stuff into bins. Finally, give your deck or patio and its furnishings a good power wash and dress up the whole are with hanging baskets and pots, House Beautiful says, and you’ll be able to create a welcoming space for entertaining guests or relaxing in the great outdoors.