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Tiki Torch iStock

With alfresco entertaining in mind, it’s time to think about what you want your outdoor space to look and feel like, and creating a tiki bar is one of the easiest ways to wow your guests while still keeping costs on the lower side.

Before you get started, you’ll need to choose where you want to install your entertaining space. Consider a swath of level ground that doesn’t visually affect the flow of your backyard or impede natural traffic patterns. Once you’ve chosen a location, use the following tips to design your new tropical-inspired entertaining space.

Customize the Bar by Building it Yourself

If you’re adept at using an air compressor and framing nailer, one way to create an impressive centerpiece that fits perfectly in your outdoor entertaining space is by building the actual tiki bar yourself.

All it takes is plywood, 4x4 posts, 2x4s, nails, screws and a few miscellaneous pieces to create the underlying base for your structure. Adding thatching to the roof and nailed bamboo stalks as a decorative element to wrap the façade will help complete the vibe you’re going for.

Add Greenery to Your Space

If your tiki bar space sits on a lawn, you’re already part of the way there, but to take it to the next level, you need to think about your landscaping. If you’re lucky enough to live in a climate that supports tropical flora like palms, bromeliad, or ferns, these plants will help complete the scene.

If you’re installing a tiki bar on a deck or concrete area, you can still achieve the desired effect by incorporating potted plants into the design. Planting bamboo if you’re bold is another option; it can be aggressive, so you have to proceed carefully, which is why containing it in a planter is a wise move.

Invest in Lawn Furniture

Now that you have the bar built and a verdant space in which your guests can hang out, it’s time to add seating. Decide how you’ll use the space. Do you want stools at the bar? Would you get more use out of a dining table with accompanying chairs or a sectional sofa with end tables? Lawn chairs and sun loungers also go with the tiki theme and provide multi-functional seating options for your entertaining space.

Add Backyard Lighting

If you want to use your space after-hours, you’ll need to have adequate lighting. Standing lights with flickering bulbs that mimic the look of burning torches are one option; real oil torches are another.

Strands of string lights are a great finishing touch to add soft ambient light while also creating a hygge setting.

Build a Fire Pit

Want to host a full-blown luau? Consider adding a fire pit. Pre-made stone fire pits and steel bowls designed for fires will allow you to safely have a fire around the tiki bar. Bonus: A fire pit will extend the use of your outdoor entertaining space well into late fall and even winter, depending on where you live.

If a fire pit isn’t on your wish list, patio heaters are an alternate option in the cooler months, and you can roll them right out of your garage when needed.

Don’t Forget Bug-Repellents

If you live in a humid climate where blood-thirsty mosquitoes swarm in search of their next meal, you’ll want to add some citronella torches or invest in a propane-powered mosquito trap.

If you go the citronella route, you can dress up your space with the addition of high-end tiki torches, which most homes and garden stores carry. Adding citronella oil to your torches will repel mosquitos and other insects trying to get in on your picnic.

Incorporate Lawn Games

If you’re hosting a kid-friendly backyard party, you can keep the little ones entertained by offering an array of lawn games, many of which you can buy or make yourself, like Ladder Toss, Horseshoes, Ring Toss, and KanJam, which uses Frisbees and a pair of receptacles fashioned out of garbage cans.

Or amuse the kiddos and adults with a rousing game of cornhole, which you can DIY with just plywood and 2x4s. Just be prepared—no matter what the game, you may soon find your tiki-designed backyard has become the destination for everyone in the neighborhood.