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Decorating Home Exteriors by Barbara Jennings

There are varying factors on preparing the exterior of your home when you are planning a holiday party that vary depending on the time of year, the climate where you live and the unique look you are seeking. Take time to survey the property, trying to view it as a guest would view it and attending to all matters that need attention.

Don't paint the outside unless you were going to do it anyway.

Make sure the number of your house is easy to find and easy to read, especially at night from the street. Consider placing some party-type elements in the front yard, like baloons, streamers, luminaries and such so that there is instant recognition that a party is about to start.

Check over the condition of all plastic or wooden furniture outside. Hard plastic is particularly vulnerable to cracking. Wood furniture might give a guest a splinter. Make sure your furniture is in great condition.

Remove the basketball net on the hoop and all children's toys. If you are expecting small children, try to have all the toys in one area where children can be easily monitored and where they will not infringe on the enjoyment of the party by adults.

Mow the lawn. Rake the leaves. Don't cut the lawn on the day of the party, however. A freshly cut lawn can cause allergies and be messy for guests.

To avoid bugs, burn citronella candles or tiki torches, especially during the spring and summer months. You might even want to consider having the area sprayed a few days in advance, especially if you're in an area where flying insects are a real problem. Start your decorations out front to get your guests in the right mood before they step into your home.

Be sure to provide adequate outdoor lighting if the party extends into the evening hours. Do restrict loud music and conversations to the inside of the home once 11:00 PM arrives.

Be sure to have a safety gate surrounding a pool or spa if you are expecting young children. Allow plenty of time between pool maintenance and the party if you plan on using the pool during the party.

Protect your pets from getting alarmed by a large crowd. Pets can easily become irritable and unpredictable. Make comfortable accommodations for your pets in the garage, at a neighbor's or at a pet hotel. It is in their best interest as well as your guests.

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(2004-05 Copyright Barbara Jennings)

Barbara Jennings
is the West Coast Pioneer in Redesign, author of 7 decorating books, a published artist, corporate art consultant, and furniture arrangement consultant. For training in professional furniture and accessory arrangement, or to start your own redesign or art consulting business, please visit: