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It’s always surprising how the simplest experiences are some of the richest, isn’t it? Backyard. Bare feet. A glowing fire. Those are just a few of the quintessential signposts of summer, and as the weather warms up we’ve found ourselves eagerly anticipating those breezy nights outside without a care in the world.
We know we should live a little slower, a bit more off-the-grid; yet, its easy to think we need to do a whole lot more in order to make that happen. Nope. Below we’ve partnered with Target to sum up all that really you need (just four things!) for a truly great backyard hang.
1. A Fire Pit
The key to any backyard chill session is a great gathering point, ie: a gathering fire. Don’t have a fire pit? No problem. Here’s how to make your own.
How to Build Your Own Fire Pit
(30) 6×12″ Retaining wall blocks — more if you want higher walls around your pit
- First, take a survey of your backyard. You want a patch of grass that’s level and with a two or three feet perimeter from anything directly flammable, such as a fence or overgrown bush.
- Starting with the bottom layer, create a circle of ten blocks, each “kissing” its neighbor at the top corners.
- Once your first circle of ten is complete, stack another ten on top of the first, but slightly askew, so that the second row “kisses” off-center of where the row below it does. (Essentially, you are going for a lattice-pattern here, alternating the meeting points of the rows.)
- Finally, add the third row of ten in the same fashion as the first. You’ll want the first and third row of blocks to line up.
- Fill your pit with firewood and enjoy!
Helpful tip: Before laying your first circle of blocks, try digging a 1/2″ deep hole to lay each brick in. This will help cement the foundation and ensure a snug fit. Also, don’t be afraid to leave a little breathing room between each block so that your fire can get enough oxygen.
2. Blanket & Pillows
A seating area doesn’t have to be complicated. Pile a few of your favorite pillows that are different sizes and prints (the less matchy, the better!) on top of a blanket. Go for a light-colored one that you’ll be able to see in the dark, and also that’s washable … for the inevitable chocolate or grass stains to come.
What’s a campfire without s’mores? Grahams, marshmallows, pretzels — rummage through your pantry and dress up whatever you find by swapping out the boxes for a few cute bowls. That trail mix will look a whole lot fancier when it’s served in ceramic.
Load up everything on a serving tray to reduce multiple trips back and forth from the house. It will also help corral clean-up at the end of the night.
There are a million recipes out there for delicious cocktails, but nothing says “the living is easy” quite like a glass of sangria.
To make your own in a pinch, slice up one orange and one pear, then muddle both together with 1 tablespoon of sugar in the bottom of a 750 ml (or standard-sized) pitcher. Next, add in 4 oz. of triple sec, 4 oz. of any white spirit (like a tequila or white rum) and 8 oz. of a dry, Spanish wine (a tempranillo or a garnacha will work well, but you can really use any red wine on hand). Stir everything together and top off the pitcher with some orange juice.
Serve with an added orange slice to garnish.
What are your tricks for making backyard hosting a breeze?
Images via Nicole Ziza Bauer