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If you are like most Americans then you love a good summer cookout. There is nothing like enjoying the warm summer breezes and long evenings with friends and family. Now, imagine instead of having to pack your gear to the nearest park or barbecue area, if you could have these cherished cookouts in the comfort of your backyard. When you create a barbeque area, you don't have to imagine this anymore. You can!

The Joys of Summer Cookouts

Barbeques or cookouts are wonderful ways to get friends and family together. They are much easier than dinner parties and a lot more casual and fun. In general, for a cookout you will need food to barbeque (steak, hot dogs, hamburger, chicken), salads, nibbles, drinks and any other treats you may want. Simply fire up the barbeques, cook the food and enjoy the company.

You don't have to use your best China wear - plastic cups and plates will do just fine and there is minimal cleanup at the end. While the adults can sit around and have a few glasses of wine, the kids will be happy to run around the back yard with their friends, getting into all kinds of supervised mischief. And isn't this what summer is all about?

So how can you make this picture perfect moment a reality in your backyard? It all starts with the barbeque. A summer cookout area requires three main items - a barbeque, a table and chairs. You may choose to create your barbeque area on a patio or on a deck. You may prefer to set up the area so you can easy access to the kitchen.

Even if you live in an apartment you can still place a barbeque on the deck as long as it is allowed by your landlord. Check lease agreements to see if there is anything about barbeques. If you are not allowed individual barbeques on the deck due to safety, then there may be a common area where there are free barbeques to use.

Hosting a Barbeque

Like creating a home gym area, when it comes to hosting a summer cookout it is a good idea to do a little planning. You may choose to have a cookout for a special occasion such as a Fourth of July party or for a birthday or you may just feel like getting your friends together for a fun Saturday evening. Whatever the case, see how many people can make it, then plan your food and beverages according to the guests attending rather than the other way around. That way you will not run out of food or have too many leftovers.

You may want to ask some of the guests to bring a little something, such as a snack or a cheese and cracker platter to help cut down on the costs. You may wish to supply the drinks or ask people to bring their own booze, both of which are perfectly acceptable. If children are attending you may wish to set up a special table and chair area for the kiddies, if you have the space and the equipment.

Safety is important as ever when hosting any type of cookout and creating a barbeque area. Make sure the kids know that the barbeque is off limits and keep all sharp items, such as cutting knives away from little hands. Make sure your yard is gated so that the kids cannot run out onto the street and if you have a swimming pool or hot tub, explain the rules to everyone to avoid any disasters. All of these tips will ensure that your summer cookout goes according to plan.

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