Five must-haves for outdoor entertaining

Lighting, heating and cooking equipment can turn your backyard into an entertaining oasis.
(Tim Abramowitz / Getty Images)

Get-togethers may commonly take place inside, but giving your guests extra space outside just takes a little creativity and the right appliances.

As a natural extension of your home, a few key pieces of lighting, heating and cooking equipment can turn your backyard into an entertaining oasis.

So open a new door — literally — and head outside to take advantage of unused deck, patio and yard space with these ideas from the Propane Education & Research Council.


Flame lighting may not be every homeowner’s first consideration, but more hosts are relying on it to add upscale elegance to outdoor gatherings. Custom lanterns, modern chandeliers, pendants and tabletop units offer stylish additions to modern and classic designs alike.

No matter your tastes, propane flame lighting fixtures can be placed in multiple areas for aesthetic and practical purposes. While it’s hard to top the soothing effect of a starry night while calming flames reflect off your windows and add a glow to your patio, flame lighting also can ward off intruders or animals and help prevent tripping in the dark.

Grills and cooking equipment

Propane can help you bring your dream kitchen to life outdoors. First establish a budget and identify a contractor, then build out the features of your outside kitchen in the peaceful setting nature offers. Often, the centerpiece of the space are grills, which are available in a variety of sizes and styles. Some offer features like side burners for sauces and rotisseries.

Because they heat up fast and provide precise temperature control, propane-powered outdoor cooking appliances are a popular choice for homeowners who want to spend less time preparing food and more time enjoying it. With instant on-off convenience like indoor gas ranges, outdoor propane grills, pizza ovens and ovens help home chefs create meals with no coals, soot or ash to clean up.

The appliances also can be built in to a straight, L-shaped or U-shaped bar to complete your outdoor cooking paradise.

Patio heaters

If chilly weather brings on the blues, you can make the most of your outdoor space with a propane-powered patio heater that allows for entertaining nearly year-round.

Propane patio heaters can raise the outdoor air temperature up to 25 degrees while emitting a circle of heat up to 25 feet in diameter.

Fireplaces or firepits

Another option for bringing warmth to outdoor entertaining can happen with the push of a button in the form of a propane fireplace or firepit. These smokeless solutions come without the maintenance of wood-burning fires, meaning you can enjoy the heat and ambience of flames dancing in the night sky while skipping the fuss of soot, ash and burning logs.

Plus, propane delivers heat more efficiently with a lower carbon footprint than traditional energy sources like wood.

Pool heaters

You can maximize your fun for as much of the year as possible with heaters for in-ground and above-ground pools and spas.

Propane heaters maintain heat efficiently in cooler weather while operating cleanly and taking up minimal space. ◆