How We Prepared the Farmhouse and Garden for Hosting 20+ Labor Day Guests
We may be mid-kitchen renovation but that’s not going to stop us from hosting guests at the Farmhouse for Labor Day! Our small town holds a fair and rodeo every year, which has been a Labor Day tradition since Garrett and I were kids (long before we knew each other). We’ve hardly missed a year! Labor Day in our small town has even become a tradition with out-of-town friends and family who come stay with us, don their cowboy boots, and soak up the festivities. We look forward to it all year long!
This year we have 20+ houseguests coming (including kids and dogs) and we couldn’t be more excited! We’ll have a full house (one family per bedroom!) and spill out into our camp trailer, the Landlady. And we’ll be hosting a bbq in the garden that will swell to over 50 attendees…our first party in this space! So today I wanted to share how we rearranged our garden for hosting such a big group, plus how we made the Farmhouse as welcoming as possible!
Preparing the garden for guests!
We’re expecting the garden to be where we spend most of our time outside this weekend. So we spent a couple hours prepping it. (psst: you can read more about this garden here.)
cleaning the patio FURNITURE
First I washed all the cushions with soapy water and a scrub brush. Our kids are pretty rough on the cushions - building towers with them, piling rocks on top, and inevitably getting food smudges on them - so it was time. They look almost as good as they did brand new! Here’s a reminder of what the cushions look like up close (these next 2 photos are from May)!
I swept off the patio and sprayed it down with a hose. My single biggest complaint about our patio is that the pea gravel always ends up on the pavers…and on the furniture…and on everything. The kids LOVE to play with the rocks and no matter how many times I remind them that “rocks stay in the rocks” it always ends up elsewhere. Such is life right now 🤪
rearranging for more seating
We also rearranged the patio furniture to accommodate all of our weekend guests. The lounger (everyone’s favorite piece of furniture!) was laid down on one side of the patio to create a bench. This creates a large “U” shaped seating that I’m hoping will double our seating in the garden. Modular furniture is SO awesome!
a second table
We brought in a second table, a hand-me-down metal table that’s old and rusty and kind of perfect. We still don’t have enough table space for all of our guests, but hopefully enough for the adults while the kids run around and build rock piles on the patio 😉
beer on tap
We have a kegerator that comes out on occasions like this (it’s a relic from our pre-kids years when we often had beer on tap at home 😝). It’s now full with a keg of Bale Breaker’s session IPA. Most of our houseguests are beer lovers too, so no domestic brew for us. And in case you’re wondering, yes kegs are crazy less-expensive than bottles/cans! As we’ve gotten older, we’ve found that a session (low-alcohol) beer makes for happier mornings for everyone 😉
tidying, trimming, and pruning
This is probably no surprise to gardeners, but our pumpkins and tomatoes have gotten a bit unruly. A few weeks ago we cut the pumpkin vines out of the walkway, and I did it again in preparation for guests. I also tidied up the raspberries along the fence line (if you can ever really ‘tidy’ raspberries), and took out a couple low-hanging tree branches. We also collected a lot of tomatoes to ripen for the bbq, but we did leave plenty on the vine for the kids to pick.
Lastly, we plugged our string lights in and made sure they were ready to go. I love spending time in this garden at night as much of during the day! But lately, we’ve been busy with our kitchen remodel and haven’t really been out here at night.
I love this space at night! If you can imagine the sounds of crickets chirping and the owls hooting…it’s a bit of pure country magic.
A few other things we did around the Farmhouse to prepare for such a large group of houseguests and make the weekend run smoother….
Stock the fridge (with planned meals)
Good food and drink seems to be the common denominator for successful parties, don’t you think?! So Garrett and I worked up a low-key meal plan for the weekend. It includes things like bbq burgers, pancakes, and a keg of local session-IPA (we’re pretty familiar with our guest’s food preferences so we felt comfortable planning the meals without their input.) Then I sent out the meal plan to our guests and let them know where they could contribute. We picked up groceries yesterday and we’re ready to go!
side note: our fridge is FINALLY out of the living room!
Clean, clean, clean!
Labor Day is the perfect time for a deep clean. We pressure-washed the exterior of the house and put away all of our tools and construction materials. The inside of the Farmhouse got vacuumed, picked up, mopped, and scrubbed. All in all it’s taken us a few days to get the house looking orderly (we were cleaning up from a kitchen renovation, after all), but it looks great! Not only do we feel ready to welcome guests, but we’re also feeling more ready to welcome fall.
wash all the linens
Over the past few days, we’ve helped the kids tidy up their bedrooms and get them guest ready (our kids will bunk with us in their sleeping bags on the floor). One of my favorite things about living at the Farmhouse is line-dried linens (not that you couldn’t hang clothes to dry in the city, but we never did), so I like to give our guests the same treatment. So I’ve washed all the sheets and blankets and line dried them.
With so many houseguests, we needed more seats, both outside and in. In the living room, we rearranged furniture and brought up the old IKEA sofa we’ve been storing in our basement since the Porch House wrapped up. We may just have enough seats in the living room for everyone on our annual scary movie night!
In the summer it’s easy to ignore burnt out light bulbs, because you just don’t need to turn them on much. But with the sun setting earlier and the expectation of late nights spent with friends this weekend, we finally took stock of lights and replaced all the bulbs that needed replacing.
I think we’re party ready! Hope you have a fun and relaxing Labor Day weekend!