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Meghan Belnap posted a blog entry in Green Living BlogIf you love to entertain, you may regularly bring family and friends together inside your home for smaller gatherings and larger parties. While your home’s interior may be well-suited for entertaining, it makes sense to enlarge your gathering areas to include your backyard. However, before you plan your first backyard party, you need to create a space that is well-suited for entertaining. These are essential tips that you should follow to create a truly practical space for get-togethers. Install Upgraded Cooking Features Serving your guests meals and snacks is almost a necessity at most gatherings. While you could cook inside and serve the food to your guests in the backyard, grilling out is a preferred option in many cases. Installing a large grill as a permanent feature in an outdoor kitchen or cooking area can give you an impressive and functional cook area. Remember to choose between charcoal, gas and electric grills carefully so that you can maximize the benefit of your new grill. Choose Comfortable Seating At a very large gathering, some of your guests may expect to stand around and mingle from time to time, but they may enjoy sitting down periodically as well. With smaller gatherings, it may be awkward if only a few guests were forced to stand up because of limited seating. Purchase enough chairs, loungers and other seating features to accommodate your needs for most events, and ensure that these outdoor furnishings are comfortable. While you need ample seating, remember that there should be enough space to accommodate the flow of traffic. Focus on Climate Control To make the most out of your outdoor entertaining area, you need to make the space as comfortable as possible in most weather conditions. For example, install an awning or shade over the primary patio area. Place heating lamps and fans strategically to further control the climate. If you live in an area that is prone to high winds, a wind-blocking shade may be advantageous as well. Add Fun Elements A yard well-suited for entertaining would not be complete without several fun elements. These elements may include a sound system, a large mounted outdoor television, a pool or hot tub, a fire pit, cornhole and other features. Focus on fun elements that your regular guests may enjoy. Remember Lighting Many outdoor gatherings may easily carry over into the evening hours. Most patios have a basic patio light that only partially illuminates the area. It may be more practical to install overhead lighting as well as perimeter lighting. Keep in mind that multiple lighting elements may be used for functionality and to control the ambiance. Some homeowners will complete a major yard renovation, and others will gradually improve their space over time. Regardless of the approach that you take, incorporate these elements into your backyard design plan.