Many of today’s yards are smaller, and so are the pools that go in them. The good news is you can still host a great pool party—the key is to use what you have with smarts. Covering everything from decorating to flow, guest list to menu, these 7 ideas will make sure your postage-stamp pool party goes swimmingly from prep to clean-up
1. Create zones
Think strategically about how people will use your space during the party, then plan to intersperse these activities throughout your yard to avoid traffic jams. People will eat, drink, swim, chat, play games and maybe even dance. Have a few smaller, separate food and drink stations around the yard for crowd control. Keep games to a minimum—a piñata is fun! Don’t forget that swimming requires a place to change and dry off.
2. Think small
Move larger pieces of furniture (think large dining tables) out of your yard, if possible, or move them to the periphery, to allow more room for mingling. Use small tables for food and drink, create standing areas to socialize and seating areas using compact stools, pillows and even blankets.
3. Extend the beach vibe through the entire space
A small pool means fewer people will get to swim, but you can make sure every guest experiences that beachy feeling with your choice of napkins, dinnerware, menu, music and lighting. Umbrellas feel beachy and will ensure guests have a place to escape the rays on a hot sunny day. Mason jars filled with sand and topped with tea lights will serve double duty as beach decoration and ambient lighting.
4. Simplify your decorating
Too much clutter will make a small space feel even more cramped. Create one main focal point—a beach ball arch to greet guests on arrival, for example—then keep the rest of the décor to a minimum. A monochrome colour palette can feel sophisticated and clean. You can also create decoration in practical places, for example by adding fresh fruit or cucumber to your water jug, instead of decorating for decoration’s sake.
5. Serve finger foods.
Prep-ahead finger foods require less space. You won’t need to fire up the BBQ or set up a burger dressing station or dedicate space to cutlery or plates because everything can be eaten with fingers and from a napkin. This approach to the menu also minimizes crowding, because people can eat whenever they like. Another space saver? Finger foods don’t require sitting down. Use tiered trays and risers to display your finger foods, since this will conserve space on your small food station tables.
6. Pare down the drink list.
There’s no room for a well-stocked bar cart or a lineup of bottles in a small yard. Instead, prepare one signature cocktail and strategically position buckets of wine and coolers of beer out of the way. If you’re concerned guests won’t know where to find the drinks, you can place small signs around the yard, or write on the patio with sidewalk chalk. Don’t forget water and non-alcoholic bevvies, too! Have guests identify their glasses with charms or personalized drink stirrers to keep glassware to a minimum. (We use the term “glassware” but we recommend using plastic and cans whenever possible for drinks. A small space will offer plenty of opportunity for collisions and knock-overs, and no one wants to clean up broken glass at a pool party.)
7. Invite your VIPs.
A large party in a small space can be fun, but invite too many people and the vibe quickly moves from cozy to claustrophobic. If the party will be a mix of adults and kids, account for the extra space that active children need to run around, splash and play when putting together the guest list.
In conclusion, don’t let a small yard or small pool stop you from being the host with the most. Think simple, think small and think space management for a stress-free gathering! And speaking of staying stress-free, let Buds get your pool party-ready. Simply schedule a one-time pool care visit and we’ll take care of the cleaning and alert you to any potential equipment problems before the big day.
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