A beautiful picnic laid out on a lawn
(Image credit: Ekaterina Senyutina)

Warm, summer days means it’s time for a backyard picnic. What could make your summer picnic more inviting? Fresh, colorful food, fragrant container plants, and comfortable surroundings will liven up your next backyard picnic party. We’ve gathered up some picnic-in-the-garden ideas to make sure your next soiree is a winner. 

Backyard Picnic Ideas 

Summer is the best time for picnics and, while you might think a park is the place to go, we think your backyard is the perfect spot to celebrate the occasion with family and friends. These summer picnic ideas will help you create the perfect garden for entertaining

  • Food: Ramp up your food a notch by ditching the old standby hamburgers and potato salad. Visit the farmers market or grocery store for delectable fruits in season and combine several for a mouth-watering fruit bowl. Pack finger foods to keep the kids happy (and full) while playing. Quick dips like peanut butter, hummus, and ranch go well with carrots, crackers, whole grain chips, and celery. Sandwiches are a great picnic food and kids, as well as adults, will enjoy making their own. Just bring the fixings such as meat, cheese, veggies, pita pockets, and slider buns. A few peanut butter and jelly sandwiches prepared ahead will satisfy the kids. String cheese, cubed cheese, and mixed nuts also are easy finger foods. For dessert, don’t forget the watermelon and cookies!
  • Fun: Round up a few yard games like bean bag toss, croquet, dodgeball, or an easy game of football. If you found a watermelon with seeds, try a seed-spitting contest for fun!
  • Surroundings: Add seating areas around the yard, such as on the patio or deck, near water features, or privacy “rooms.” It can be a nice table and chairs set in wrought iron, aluminum, or teak for weatherproofing or wood, iron, or concrete benches. Fire pits are very popular and come in sizes and shapes for every budget. Surround the fire feature with comfortable chairs. If the budget can afford it, go beyond the barbecue grill and update to an outdoor kitchen!

    Plant shrubs or add container plants that release pleasing scents near the seating areas. Fragrant flowers include gardenia, dianthus, lavender, and heliotrope. Sweet smelling shrubs include rose, jasmine, lilac (spring), and butterfly bush.

    Add lighting to create ambiance and provide safety during the evening hours. Illuminate pathways and spotlight trees and shrubs with LED or solar lights.

Create an inviting as well as functional backyard for every garden party picnic with these ideas.

Susan Albert

After graduating from Oklahoma State University with a degree in English, Susan pursued a career in communications. In addition, she wrote garden articles for magazines and authored a newspaper gardening column for many years. She contributed South-Central regional gardening columns for four years to Lowes.com. While living in Oklahoma, she served as a master gardener for 17 years.