Glean some tips for affordable patio entertaining with easy items to make on the grill and a tutorial for hanging outdoor string lights! No trees or supports for your outdoor string lights? No problem! Learn how to affordably hang your string lights using saplings (or dowel rods) and planters.
This post is sponsored by Walmart. I love to share easy, elegant, and affordable home decor finds with you, and I find so many of my home decor items and DIY supplies at Walmart.com! Almost every item you see on my patio was purchased at Walmart.com. I have provided affiliate links throughout the post for your shopping convenience. All sources for the patio are also linked at the bottom of the post. If an exact link isn’t provided, the product is unfortunately no longer available; however, I do my best to link similar substitute items for you when possible!❤️
Affordable Patio Entertaining
Summer is blissfully in full swing here in South Carolina, and we are enjoying spending our time outdoors as much as possible! June is one of my favorite months for outdoor entertaining, and I love to add some new elements to our outdoor spaces each year. This year I added a new fire pit and I also have big plans to soon build a pergola over the dining area on the patio. In the meantime, I wanted to add some temporary outdoor string lights and a new grill to the space!
Today I’ll be sharing my tips for easy meals to make on the grill for outdoor entertaining, as well as how to add outdoor string lights to the patio. I bought everything I needed for these upgrades at Walmart.com and was able to spruce up our patio with my DIY string light planter poles in just a few hours!
Outdoor String Light Tutorial
I bought four strands of the Better Homes & Gardens Cafe String Lights for our patio. These are the same lights I used last year in our woods, and I love them. They are sturdy, hold up well to the elements, and give off a nice glow. The only con is that they are heavy and require a lot of tension to hang. If you’re looking for a permanent light installation, I recommend using larger planters and thicker poles. My system works great for a highly affordable and temporary install, but may not hold up to extreme storms and winds.
Step 1: Gather saplings, dowel rods, or 2×4’s and create a base for each.
We had to clear out several saplings on our property and I thought this project would be a fun way to repurpose them! I used a few pieces of scrap wood to create a small wood base for each pole and simply screwed a wood screw through the center of each.
Step 2: Use Quickrete mixable concrete to secure each wood base inside each planter and fill with bricks or rocks. Top off with soil and flowers if desired.
I wanted to repurpose items we already had on hand as much as possible so chose to use one bag of Quickrete between all of my planters and top off the rest with bricks and rocks from our property. I used soil on the very top to hide the bricks.
Step 3: Install screw hooks at the top of each pole.
Use a drill to create a pilot hole in each pole and insert your screw hooks.
I used $12 Mainstays Planters for this project which are sold in-store only.
Step 4: Place your planters in the desired location and hang your lights!
Click play on the cute video below to see how I hung the lights!
I used two square planters I had on hand to create a more stable base for the outside poles.
Easy Grill Menu for Outdoor Entertaining
Now that the patio ambiance is set, it’s time to serve family and friends a fantastic summer meal! After eight years of using the same tired grill, it was time for us to invest in a new one. I purchased the Cuisinart 3-In-1 Stainless Five-Burner Gas Grill with Side Burner and absolutely love it! It’s easy to use, looks great, and cooks up everything we need in one place.
Simple Grilled Menu Idea
When entertaining, I like to keep the food delicious but simple! I want to enjoy time with my guests without the distractions of laborious food prep. Here is what I served:
- Dry Rub Grilled Chicken–I used salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, Italian herb blend, smoked paprika, dry ground mustard, onion powder, and a dash of brown sugar. Simply mix the spices together in a small bowl (measure with your heart) and rub on the defrosted chicken breasts before grilling.
- Grilled tomatoes–I like to coat my tomatoes on the vine with olive oil and place on the top rack of the grill to allow them to grill along with the rest of the meal. You can then serve whole or cut into slices. Top with pink salt, basil, and balsamic glaze.
- Mexican Corn–This corn is so delicious and is always a summer favorite with my family! I will share the full recipe with you soon!
- Side salad–I frequently use chopped salad kits and love them! They are convenient and delicious.
- Grilled peaches for dessert–Cut the peaches in half, coat with canola oil, and grill for 3-4 minutes on medium high heat, or until peaches begin to caramelize. Top with vanilla ice cream and drizzle with honey.
If you haven’t had Mexican Corn before you’re missing out! It’s easy to make and is just so delicious. I’ll share the full recipe with you here on the blog later this week.
I can’t resist showing you a few more beautiful shots of the patio and how beautiful everything looks with the addition of the string lights!
Thanks so much for stopping by today! I hope this post inspires you to do some outdoor entertaining and tackle some easy outdoor projects this weekend!
Links to All Walmart Patio Products
- Black Medallion Rug
- Outdoor Dining Table (Mine is in-store only purchase. I have linked a similar one for you.)
- Metal Bistro Chairs
- String Lights
- Fringe Umbrella (Better Homes & Gardens brand, in-store purchase only.)
- Outdoor Sectional
- Outdoor Side Chairs
- Cream Cable Knit Rug
- Cuisinart Grill
- Outdoor Ivory Toss Pillows