Designista faves Blomus make sleek and contemporary outdoor accessories. Their polished-ceramic-and-stainless-steel Fuoca gel-burning fire pit creates instant party-chic ambience without the hassle (and possible municipal-bylaw-breaking) of a traditional wood-burning fire pit. Its petite 18-cm radius makes it the perfect table centerpiece. $116, modernkaribou.ca
7 Table runners
A pretty cotton runner instantly adds summer charm to an outdoor buffet or dining table. In fact, if you’ve got two or more mismatched tables in your yard or on the patio, you can pull them together visually by coordinating the runners. (Use the same colour or the same pattern in different complimentary colours). Have guests coming over last-minute? Throw a runner on the patio table, light some candles and you’re good to go. $5 each, IKEA.ca for IKEA store locations.
8 Good luck acrylic cups
Economy-talk getting the mood down? Break out the drinks (alcoholic or non-) in these humourous, get-lucky shatterproof, dishwasher-safe plastic cups. With five different auspicious charms, a good time is practically guaranteed. $18US/set of 10, plumparty.com
9 Eco-friendlier disposables
Reusable plates and cutlery are friendlier to the planet and your wallet. However, for those times when sanity dictates you simply need disposables – a blowout, full-capacity BBQ, for instance – reach for these compostable versions before plastic or paper. Toss ’em in your organic waste bin or composter, not landfill-destined trash. $5/25 pack of 7” or 9” plates; $6/50-piece assorted cutlery pack; grassrootsstore.com
Let early-arrivals occupy themselves with a game of Pétanque on the lawn. (Trendspotters have noted a huge revival in trad lawn games like bocce, boules and croquet this year.) Pétanque is easy and can practically be played with cocktail in hand: Just try to get your large ball closer to the small target ball than the other guy does. We think the super-sleek silver spheres of this Louis Dionne set are a conversation starter in themselves. $25, CanadianTire.ca