If you enjoy entertaining during the summer months and are contemplating an upgrade to your pool and patio area, consider incorporating elements in the design that will make grownup pool parties and outdoor living more enjoyable for you and your guests. This article not only offers suggestions for improving the design of your pool area in a way that sets you up for successful entertaining, it includes helpful pool party ideas that are easy and fun.
Start from the Ground Up – Stylish Stamped Concrete
Concrete pool decks are no longer just about offering safety from slippery wet surfaces around your pool. Give your guests a great excuse to look down as they walk onto your pool deck to party with stylish stamped concrete. Trendsetters are choosing to create stunning outdoor pool decks and patio areas using stamped concrete masonry techniques. Stamped concrete is at the height of its popularity – not just because of its durability, practicality and ease of maintenance, but also because of the many beautiful patterns, textures, and materials it can resemble for a lot less cost than using actual stone, wood, brick, or concrete pavers. A professional concrete masonry expert can help you pick a concrete base and accent color that is either neutral or coordinates with the colors of your home. There are so many textures and patterns available to choose from, you can customize your stamped concrete pool deck and patio area to give it a unique look.
Party Ideas: No pool party is complete without lively music and even a little dancing, if the mood strikes. Put that beautiful stamped concrete floor to good use by playing music that invokes feeling like you’re on vacation. If your party has a theme, such as a Mexican Fiesta, play music to make your guests want to salsa all night. If your party has a tropical theme, play beach tunes that your guests will relate to, depending on the age of the crowd. You can always count on island steel drum music, which will make everyone feel like they’re partying somewhere in the Caribbean. To liven up your pool deck, add a few colorful outdoor rugs to define conversation or lounging areas and you’ve set the stage for stylish entertaining.
Pull Up a Seat and Enjoy
If you love to entertain, consider creating a poolside bar and lounge area for people to gather, sip something cold, and watch the water fun. Having a structure that covers your bar area is a great way for those who aren’t sun worshipers to get out of the heat and cool down over a tropical drink and friendly conversation. This can be achieved in many ways such as installing a temporary canopy, building a pergola, or creating a structure that totally covers your entertaining space.
Party Ideas: When hosting your pool party, don’t feel like it’s necessary to have a fully stocked bar. Keep things simple by creating a unique signature party cocktail with a fun, thematic name. Or, make some traditional island favorites: a pitcher of Sangria made with tropical fruits, Rum Punch, fresh fruit Margaritas, spiked lemonade/iced tea, or Hurricanes. Don’t forget to serve plenty of non-alcoholic hydrating drinks. Of course, you can’t go wrong also serving a pitcher of lemon water, soft drinks, beer, and wine.
Magical Water Features and Decor
Everyone loves the sound of water flowing while sitting in a yard, patio, or pool area. If you want to transport your guests from a backyard pool party into more of a resort experience, adding a water feature and/or separate spa area will make it hard for your guests to want to leave. There are many ways to incorporate water features into your outdoor living spaces. A few ways are having a masonry contractor build a concrete or stone wall alongside your pool with a water feature, a natural looking hardscape with a waterfall, or a free standing fountain. A professional mason can help you with unique water feature suggestions.
Party Ideas: For a sophisticated pool party, encourage guests to get into the pool and mingle by adding floating food and drink trays. If the party goes on into the evening, floating candles will offer a more relaxing vibe to the party. For a more whimsical and fun pool party atmosphere, add inflatable pool toys, colorful pool noodles, inflatable beach balls, colorful balloons, and even rubber duckies. Pool games requiring a ball and a target (like water basketball) will draw your competitive guests into the action fast. And if your pool has a slide, you won’t need many extra pool paraphernalia to get your guests splashing.
A Chef's Outdoor Kitchen Dream
If your budget and yard space allows, building a custom outdoor kitchen into your outdoor living space will make entertaining easy and enjoyable. Guests can interact with the chef who is usually isolated inside in the kitchen. It also eliminates those annoying multiple trips in and out of the house.
Party Ideas: When hosting a pool party, think about serving easy-to-eat finger foods as appetizers so that eating utensils are not required. Fresh cut fruits and veggies with dips, assorted cheese and crackers, and mini cold-cut sandwiches are easy to prepare and are traditional crowd pleasers. When serving dinner food, consider setting up various ‘stations’ around the pool and patio instead of having all of your food on one long buffet table. This will avoid guests having to wait in line to get to the food. Some ideas for what to serve as main courses that are hearty enough without being heavy include: grilled fish or shrimp, chicken and meat on skewers, or a self-serve taco bar. Avoid heavy entrees and keep food light to keep your guests from wanting to take a nap, rather than splash in the pool.
Conversation and Lounging Areas
A refreshing pool party event requires ample lounge space and seating. Thinking ahead when designing your patio and pool deck can make your backyard a warm weather place where everyone wants to be. Building a pergola, a covered patio area, built-in benches and seating areas created from masonry materials, and stone or cement conversation pits will make your pool area a welcomed place to gather. If you’re working with an existing patio for your pool party, arrange furniture in small groups of three or four, spaced around the pool so that guests can easily move throughout the party and interact with each other.
Party Ideas: In the event that your pool party lingers into the evening hours, be sure to plan on lighting the main gathering areas – either with electric string lights draped over your conversations areas, or votive candles and lanterns flickering in every corning of your pool deck and yard. Tiki torches that offer dramatic lighting and a tropical jungle atmosphere give a tribal feel to your pool area. These lighting options offer more of a friendly atmosphere, than using harsh floodlights. Be sure to add small food stations to your various seating areas and bug-repelling products as the sun sets.
You can design your pool deck area by incorporating landscaping elements interweaved throughout your outdoor living space. Or, consider having planter boxes built into retaining or sitting walls. You also may want to consider incorporating stone sitting walls and piers into your pool deck design, which are great areas for placing ferns, tropical plants, and lighting features.
Party Ideas: If you don’t want to invest in permanent hardscape/landscape features, a simple way to add greenery to your pool party is to bring your live potted indoor plants outside for the event. If you plan on doing a lot of poolside entertaining, you can invest in large pots and plant annuals for the warmer weather and place them around seating areas.
Outdoor Fire Features
As evening rolls around and temperatures cool, having a fire pit or outdoor fireplace surrounded by comfortable seating keeps the party going well into the night. Whether you and your guests gather around a sunken fire pit and lounging area, or cozying up to roaring flames of an outdoor fireplace, nothing adds nighttime magic like a fire feature on a cool summer night.
Party Ideas: Sometimes all you need is a stick and marshmallow to keep guests happy. S’mores are always a hit too. But, why not elevate your fireside fun? Try making campfire favorites using recipes that call for cooking your entrée or desert in foil or in a grilling pot and placing them right on the hot embers. Some classic dishes include corn-on-the-cobb, chicken or fish bundled with vegetables in foil, potato slices covered in melted cheese, diced sausage and potatoes with onions and peppers, campfire peach cobbler, and many more. Click here for recipes for your outdoor fireplace or fire pit.
Stamped concrete patio and pool deck design and installation are best left to professional masonry contractors like those at Gruttadaurio Masonry, serving Rochester, NY, masonry customers, as well as those in Monroe, Wayne, and Ontario counties. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment for a free estimate. Call (315) 310-7193.