Backyard Party Ideas On A Budget

Are you looking for backyard party ideas on a budget?

Don’t worry; I’ve got your back because your backyard is the place to be! 

Whether you’re hosting backyard birthday parties, plotting the perfect outdoor dinner rendezvous, or simply craving some quality time with your closest pals, this list of budget outdoor party ideas will help you plan the best backyard party possible, even with a tight budget! 

Throwing a backyard party can be a fun and exciting way to enjoy the warmer weather with friends and family and create lasting memories. 

However, it can also become an expensive endeavor if not planned carefully. 

And, as a mom, I know firsthand the importance of doing things you enjoy with your friends and family without breaking the bank. 

Luckily, I’ve learned there are plenty of backyard party ideas on a budget that can help keep costs down while still creating a memorable event.

backyard party ideas on a budget

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How To Plan Outdoor Parties On A Budget

I’m about to drop some party planning budget wisdom that’ll make your party the talk of the town (or at least the talk of your group chat).

With some creativity, planning an outdoor party on a budget is easier than you think! 

#1 – Plan How You Will Set Up The Party In Your Backyard

The first thing I do when planning any backyard party is brainstorm how I can maximize the space in our yard for our guests and activities. 

If we are doing a barbecue, I will think of the best spot to put the barbecue and tables so guests can quickly get their food. 

bbq party

If I host a family day with outdoor water activities, I will brainstorm a way to keep the water activities in one area and the seating in another so the parents can stay dry. 

Get creative, and don’t be afraid to move things around in your backyard to maximize the space for you and your guests to enjoy. 

#2 – Keep The Decorations Simple

When you think party, your mind might immediately go to decorations.

But, an easy way to go over budget quickly is to go and buy a bunch of decorations, which, truthfully, you don’t need! 

Think about it – who needs a store-bought theme when Mother Nature is your decorator?

Let your outdoor space shine, and maybe throw in some cheap treasures like vibrant paper plates

Or you can go to the dollar store. Look for anything classic or with bright colors that will stand out.

If you have a color scheme or theme, keep that in mind with your decor so everything you buy will be cohesive!

Are you having an outdoor movie night? Add some string lights or fairy lights to the tree branches for added ambiance. 

The possibilities are endless! 

So, roll up your sleeves and get creative with how you can decorate for this party without spending much money. 

#3 – Opt For A Picnic Area For Eating

Ditch the fuss and fancy, and set up a picnic area for eating instead! 

If you already have an excellent outdoor eating space, great! It will probably be easier to use that space.

picnic outdoor

But, if you don’t, setting up a picnic area in your yard for guests to eat adds a theme to the party, makes it even easier to decorate, and will make your backyard party so much fun! 

Think floor cushions, picnic blankets, an outdoor rug, etc. 

Another idea is building a DIY fire pit in your yard and having a picnic there. 

If you’re in a DIY mood, you could also make your own picnic tables. Be careful, though! All your friends might want you to build themselves one after they see how awesome it is!

#4 – Plan A Simple-To-Execute Food and Drink Menu

There’s almost nothing worse than being so stressed on the day of the party trying to get all the food and drinks ready in time that you don’t even get to enjoy yourself! 

While making your own food is essential to stick to a budget, it doesn’t need to be complicated! 

One of the first places I go when planning a party is Pinterest, and planning outdoor parties are no exception! 

You can find plenty of simple and whimsical outdoor party food ideas that other bloggers have tested already. You don’t have to figure this all out yourself! 

Search for make-ahead dishes, potluck ideas, and appetizers you can whip up in a pinch. 

If Pinterest isn’t your jam, here are some other simple food and drink ideas for backyard parties that you can totally steal.

  • Hot Dogs
  • Burgers
  • Taco Bar
  • Taco Dip
  • Salad Bar
  • Fresh Fruit Platter
  • Vegetable Platter
  • Mason Jar Desserts
  • Cookies
  • S’mores Bar
  • Bars
  • Iced Tea
  • Lemonade
  • Water

#5 – Set The Tone With Music

What’s a party without a killer playlist? 

Getting the tunes pumping is a fun way to get everyone in the party mood without spending a small fortune. 

Before any outdoor party, I always make sure to have a playlist set up and the Bluetooth speakers all charged. 

Of course, if neighbors are nearby, be considerate of them during the quiet hours. 

But music is an easy way to spice up a party without spending a dime! 

You can also get Amazon Music for 30 days for FREE for your playlist. This gives you unlimited access to 50 million songs on demand (no ads). You can cancel it before the 30 days is up so you don’t pay for the subscription.

#6 – Plan Some Outdoor Games

Now, here’s where the fun really starts! 

No matter what kind of backyard party I plan, I always like to include some simple entertainment on a dime! 

outdoor games

These are great for keeping the little ones entertained, but it doesn’t hurt to have them planned for the adults to enjoy, too! 

I’ve got games like cornhole, ladder toss, or croquet at the ready whenever I need them. 

Here are some other outdoor party games your guests might enjoy! 

  • DIY Twister – You can use regular Twister or turn your lawn into a colorful battleground with a DIY Twister game. All you need is some spray paint or airbrush paint (and an airbrush if you’re going the airbrush paint route) and a little creativity. 
  • Giant Jenga – Buy the actual game or grab a few 2×4 wooden blocks from your local hardware store, paint them if you’re feeling fancy, and stack them up. It’s like regular Jenga but supersized and super entertaining.
  • Water Balloon Frenzy – A water balloon fight is the ultimate cool-down activity, especially for a hot summer day. Fill them up, take cover, and let the watery chaos commence! 
  • Lawn Bowling – You can buy the game or raid your recycling bin for empty plastic bottles, grab a soccer ball or another round object, and let your guests roll and knock them down. It’s like bowling meets backyard charm; the casual vibe is a budget-friendly win.

#7 – Set Up A Swimming Pool

Okay, I know you probably think, “There’s no way I can afford a swimming pool!”

pool party

But did you know there are ways to build DIY pools right in your backyard? It’s actually easier than you might think. 

All you need are wood pallets, a tarp, and a way to climb in! 

Check out this blog post with 15 DIY Wood Pallet Pool ideas.  

Having a pool in your backyard makes it really easy to plan a summer party for your backyard! 

If you don’t want to DIY it, there are also ready-made options like this kiddie pool or this larger inflatable pool for adults and kids.

Fair warning, though – having a pool will make all your friends want to come over and hang out a lot more, especially on hot days! 

#8 – Avoid Having A Large Crowd

I know it’s tempting to invite everyone to your backyard bash! 

But the reality is that the more people, the more it will cost to host your party because you’ll need more food and drinks. 

So, avoid having a large crowd and instead focus on inviting your closest friends and family only! 

If you want more people at your party, ask everyone to bring a food dish or drinks to help reduce the cost. 

Okay, now that you’ve got some great backyard party ideas on a budget, let’s talk about how to plan specific kinds of events for your backyard.

Casual Backyard Party Themes

When planning any party, having a focal point can be helpful. 

A theme can help determine the kind of food and drinks you serve, your planned activities, and so on. 

So, if you still need to pick a theme, here are some of my favorites! 

  • outdoor movie nights
  • yard games
  • garden parties
  • cocktail parties
  • potluck dinner party
  • barbeque 
  • swimming party

These will work for birthday parties, retirement parties, wedding showers, baby showers, outdoor weddings, etc. 

If you’re looking specifically into a wedding, here are tips and tricks for a backyard wedding on a budget.

Planning Special Occasion Events In Your Backyard

Is it just me, or is there a special occasion around every corner? 

backyard party themes

You’ve got: 

  • birthday parties
  • graduation parties
  • wedding showers
  • baby showers
  • outdoor weddings

This list goes on and on! 

A great way to enjoy these special occasions on a budget is to host the party right in your own backyard! 

And even though all the tips I shared above work well for these special occasions, there are some extra things you can do to plan a backyard special occasion on a budget! 

Keep The Party Favors Simple 

When it comes to party favors, it’s not about going big; it’s about being thoughtful. 

Instead of splurging on expensive trinkets that may end up in a drawer, opt for meaningful tokens that’ll warm your guests’ hearts. 

Think of handwritten thank-you notes on special stationery, a small potted plant, or a mix of homemade cookies. 

Buy Used Decorations

A special occasion may call for more decorations than a simple backyard barbeque would, but that doesn’t mean you need to go and spend a fortune. 

Consider looking for used decorations that you can use for your party. 

You can look at a nearby thrift shop and Facebook Marketplace to see what people have that they might be selling. 

Make DIY Decorations

If you’re good at or enjoy DIY projects, sprinkle these into your party decor plans! 

Google search or look on Pinterest for some unique and creative DIY options! 

You’ll find a gold mine of how to make your own: 

  • signs
  • banners
  • centerpieces
  • paper flowers
  • streamers
  • lanterns

Also, keep in mind that being outside only requires a little decor. 

We’ve already talked about how hanging string lights can give you the ambiance you’re after! 

You could also consider just stringing some ribbon through the trees or adding plants from your garden into mason jars.

You can also decorate your tables.

Whether you’re aiming to have more of a formal outdoor dinner for your event or want some beautiful tables for the food to sit on, there are some beautiful ways you can decorate the tables on a budget. 

table decors

Use Mother Nature as your inspiration! 


  • Greenery with fairy lights. 
  • Brown paper placemats, napkins, etc.
  • Lanterns

​Planning Your Backyard Party 

Now that you’ve got my backyard party ideas on a budget – it’s time to get to planning! 

​Grab a pen and paper, and start listing what you’ll need to do or prepare for your backyard party. 

Throwing a backyard party can be a fun and memorable experience for everyone. 

And by using some of the ideas mentioned in this article, such as DIY decorations, potluck-style food, and simple games, you can truly create a memorable event without breaking the bank.

It’s important to remember that the key to a successful backyard party is not how much money you spend but rather the effort you put into creating a welcoming and entertaining atmosphere. 

By focusing on the people and the experience rather than the cost, you, as the host, can ensure guests have a great time and leave with happy memories!

If you’re looking for more budget party planning ideas, here’s an article on the best tips for entertaining on a budget.

Enjoy your backyard party!

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