Peter Walsh talks with experts about enjoying the best of the warm weather with outdoor entertaining and discusses important things to remember when preparing for your outdoor party.

Designer and former fashion-model-turned-restaurateur B. Smith knows a few things about entertaining. B. shares her tips for pulling together a sophisticated and successful outdoor event.
  • Choose a theme. Whether you're choosing to host a casual beach party or a more sophisticated fete, B. says choosing a theme is the first and most important step.
  • Prepare well in advance. "Know exactly what you want to do and have an idea of how many guests are coming," B. says. "I always tell people who are not used to entertaining a lot to start small."
  • Enlist the help of a friend. Whether it's your best friend or your next door neighbor's kid, engage someone who enjoys helping out to assist you in preparing for your party.
  • Prepare for the unexpected. More guests may show up than anticipated or the weather may be bad, so prepare some extra food and have an indoor plan just in case.
  • Keep a sense of humor. Hosting a party should be fun! Keep a positive attitude and know that not everything will go perfectly.

One of the best ways to get children excited about being outside is to help them create their own gardens. Katie Brown, author of Katie Brown's Outdoor Entertaining: Taking the Party Outside, says gardening with children is easy—just pick fast-growing fruits and vegetables so kids can feel the satisfaction of watching their gardens grow. Veggies like sugar snap peas, butter lettuce and sunflowers are great choices.

Katie says a butterfly garden is another great way to get your kids involved with gardening. Plant things like parsley, chives, purple coneflower, daffodils, sunflowers, ginger lilies, Rose of Sharon and daisies. "These are things that if you put them in your garden, you will get a whole bunch of butterflies flying around," Katie says. "It makes it more lively, and what more reason for kids to want to go out and play in it?"

Katie says the garden can be any size from a window box to a section of your garden or even a separate area on your property. If you want to attract butterflies for a longer period of time, provide host plants like thistle, sunflowers, milkweed and broccoli for them to lay their eggs on.

Tips for Planting a Butterfly Garden:
Patches of plants that flower at the same time are more attractive to butterflies than a single plant with a few flowers.
  • Try to avoid or minimize the use of insecticides and herbicides.
  • Plant your flowers in sunny places and provide some rocks or stone walls where they can "bask" in the morning to warm up. Also provide a few sheltered areas, like shrubbery or brush piles, to protect them from wind and rain and to provide caterpillars with a nice place to pupate.

For celebrity chef and restaurant owner Rick Bayless, having the right food can make or break a party. "What I love about food is making it dramatic—making something about the food itself be the centerpiece of the event," Rick says. "It's a lot about the creation of a dramatic experience for the guests that are there."

Rick says it's not only about the cuisine that is served, but also the whole experience that food brings to the event. He says food is the catalyst for a bigger, broader experience.

Throwing an outdoor event can be a lot of fun, but it's important to organize it in an environmentally friendly way and honor the great outdoors, says Starre Vartan, author of Eco Chick Guide to Life: How to Be Fabulously Green. "We can each do our part, and I think part of that is thinking about the products we use and trying to use ones that actually will biodegrade and have a shorter life in the environment," she says.

Starr says in addition to using biodegradable products, you should avoid plastic as much as possible and use LED lights to save energy when entertaining in the evening. Also, think about investing in some inexpensive flatware that you can reuse for future parties instead of buying new each time.
The opinions expressed by the hosts, guests and callers to Oprah Radio are strictly their own.