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Prepping your backyard for Thanksgiving

By RST Brands
November 24, 2014

Althoughthe weather has cooled off by Thanksgiving, your outdoor spaces are still plenty useful. Fall leaves make your yard a beautiful setting for your holiday feast, so don't neglect the space. As you plan your menu, decorate your home and invite friends and family, take some time to get your yard in Thanksgiving shape. Here's what you'll need to do before that highly anticipated Thursday arrives:

Make room on the grass
Lawn space is valuable during Thanksgiving, as many familiestraditionally grab the old pigskin to play a game of football. If you and your loved ones enjoy this sport around the holidays, then you know you'll need room - it's hard to tackle safely when you're dodging lawn ornaments. Rearrange your yard so the grass is free of obstructions, such as bird feeders, outdoor furniture sets and fountains. You'll be able to put everything back after the holidays, but for now, it needs to make way for the big game.

You can also set up end zones in your yard. Use chalk paint to mark the goals so your family won't debate whether a run was in fact a touchdown - this may just put an end to common Thanksgiving disputes!

Create warmth on the deck
Your deck or porch is the perfect spot for football spectators as it's away from the grassy playing field. Place your outdoor sectionals on your deck and face the pieces toward the lawn. That way, grandma can watch the family play football in comfort - or she can get in the game! Besides, relaxing outside after all that good food will be nice - you just need to make sure you and your guests will be warm. Drape throw blankets on the backs of your chairs that feature fall colors.

If you have a stone porch, you can place your firepit on top so you'll have a way to heat up the space. When your family needs to warm up their fingers (cold hands don't catch footballs very well), they'll be able to spendhalf time by the fire. Save all the leaves you rake for your firepit, as they produce a fragrant scent sure to put you in the mood of fall.

Decorate for the occasion
While you want your lawn to be free of obstacles, you can deck out your porch for the holiday. Get cushion covers in fall colors, such as red, orange or yellow. Place gourds on your coffee table along with branches to create a autumnal centerpiece. Wheat, grasses and leaves also make for great additions to your decor. For instance, instead of filling a vase with just flowers, fill in your bouquet with stalks of Indian rice grass. You can even turn pumpkins into candle holders by carving a hole down the middle.

Serve warm beverages
While you're doing your Thanksgiving shopping, pick up ingredients for warm drinks. That way, your family can sip on something hot as they enjoy your backyard or take a break from football. For the people who don't drink alcohol, hot cocoa and apple cider are perfect options. Those who do drink may enjoy a rum cider recipe.