Host a picnic in your own backyard: Decor tips and recipes

Create a cozy alfresco experience with pillows, blankets and a delicious assortment of food.

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Backyard picnic with bike, crates, blankets, cider, glass jars
Roberto Caruso

Savour a sunny afternoon by setting up a rustic picnic in your own backyard or a nearby park. Pack the essentials — some cozy pillows, a blanket, sandwiches and drinks — in a few crates or boxes that double as impromptu tables. A few rice paper balls hung from low branches add instant ambiance.

Here are five tips on how to set up a perfect backyard picnic:

1. Bring your bedding outside
A duvet with a removable cover, or a washable bedspread laid out on the ground, along with some pillows, are a perfect place to set up. If the ground is damp, a tarp underneath will protect your soft furnishings.

2. Forget picnic baskets
Pack everything in a large tote or re-useable shopping bag. They’re easier to carry and usually hold more items than a wicker basket.

3. Add accents
For an evening picnic, bring out all of your lanterns and hurricanes and pepper them throughout the yard. Battery operated candles are always a safer choice. For a daytime picnic, rice paper balls hung from branches, or a quick bunting made from paper and twine and strung between branches or on a fence make a colourful accent.

4. Forget napkins
Wrap sandwiches, Tupperware and glasses in large kitchen dishtowels rather than flimsy napkins. They’ll keep everything insulated, and can be turned into napkins for your lap.

5. Don’t forget the music
Portable speakers are smaller and more affordable than ever. They easily plug into your phone or mp3 player, and turn any simple picnic into a classical dream or rhythm and blues fantasy.

Kantha quilted pillows, West Elm. Glass bottle, Ikea. Glass mason mugs, Canadian Tire. Apple Cider, Home Sense. Rice Paper Balls, Tapphong.

Here are some delicious ideas on what to pack for your picnic:

Menu

Tarragon-chicken sandwiches with red grapes

Not your mother’s tuna salad

Summer corn-pasta salad

Potato salad with parsley vinaigrette

Balsamic grilled chicken salad

Crudites jars with Moroccan hummus

Drinks

Apricot sangria

Spiked iced tea

Orange ruby fizz

Tip: Pour your bevvie of choice into small Mason jars — they make charming sippers for your outdoor haven! Here’s how to make them.