You don’t have to rent a reception hall for the biggest event of the year. Your backyard is perfect! Whether you rent a tent and plan the party yourself or hire a professional to do the dirty work, you want to minimize the damage to your lawn. Start with a checklist and put a plan into place before your company arrives. By Alexia Jones
Heavy foot traffic can damage the lawn. Take note of paths and walkways and be sure there’s enough room between flower beds and shrubbery for people to get through. Place patio furniture, the grill, and other outdoor items into a lined walkway to create a specific traffic pattern. If you want folks to stay off a particular piece of sod, it’s OK to have a nicely worded sign that says so. But don’t get upset if your request is ignored — it happens. If the backyard has a natural pathway, add some stepping stones to protect the grass and lead guests to a preferred direction. When the party’s over (and other times of the year), move outdoor furniture around so as not to damage the grass underneath.
Before setting up tables and chairs, make sure the lawn is even, dethatched, and weed-free. Mow and water a day or two before the party, so there’ll be a cushion on the surface. Proper lawn care is the best way to prevent damage from heavy foot traffic. The grass needs nutrition — organic fertilizers are best — as well as oxygen, water, sunlight, and room to spread. Be careful not to overwater! Overly wet grass becomes muddy, especially with a lot of people milling around.
As soon as the party’s over, pick up garbage and hose down the lawn — chances are spills from food and drink are seeping into the soil.
What’s a party without a dance floor? Wooden planks will protect the lawn from heavy foot traffic, but they can damage the grass if they’re left on the ground too long. Dance floors placed on real grass is a challenge because, besides being moist, the ground is uneven — that can cause injury. Outdoor dance floors must also be able to withstand ultraviolet rays. You can rent a dance floor, but if you want it on the lawn, it’s best to have the professionals set it up. You can also set the dance floor on a more solid surface like a driveway or cement patio. If you put a platform on the lawn, be sure to remove it as soon as possible for the grass to recover.
Consider putting a portable firepit in a corner of the patio. It will serve as a focal point and gathering space and keep people off the lawn.
Whether you’re having a large party or small backyard barbecue, it’s always a good idea to have something for kids to do. Place sand or fine gravel around swing sets, jungle gyms, and game areas. If they’re on the grass, large items like corn hole games, Jenga, and kiddie pools should be moved around from time to time.
The Party’s Over …
When the cleanup starts, you’ll want to determine the damage the lawn has suffered and whether that damage is merely cosmetic. The weight of tables, chairs, people, musicians, food, and everything flattens the grass blades but doesn’t damage the roots. Flattened grass needs time to heal and bounce back. Lightly raking grass blades may help — keep kids and pets away, too. You may want to reseed some areas.
Parties come in all sizes, from small soirees to large dressy affairs. Renting outdoor event gear makes the whole process easier, and lets you focus on making your home more inviting to guests.
Alexia Jones owns a landscaping company whose services include repairing and winterizing sprinkler systems. She is an expert in sustainable lawns and landscapes and efficient irrigation systems.
From tents and tables to silverware and serving dishes, dance floors and décor to lighting and linens, Broadway Party & Tent Rental has the Minneapolis party rentals you need for your next event. Visit our online catalog and contact us to learn more.