For some people, barbecuing is just an occasional thing you do in the summer: haul out the grill and the charcoal, throw on some burger, and call it a day. But for others, it’s a way of life. Your barbecuing is legendary—and so are your barbecue parties. But if you really want to throw some parties this summer, you’re going to have to do some landscaping. What can you do to turn your backyard into the top spot for outdoor parties? Here are a few ideas

Fix Up Your Lawn. The first thing you need to do before you invite people over is make sure your lawn looks good. If you’ve got brown patches, or bare patches, you might want to reseed. Also consider bringing in some potted plants, to add to the atmosphere. You can even have a potted herb garden, and impress your guests by picking fresh thyme or rosemary and bringing it straight over to the grill to season the meat.

Have a Covered Seating Area. You can seat people out in the open if you like, but it’s best also to have a covered area large enough to contain all your guests, to protect them from the elements. Ideally, you should have a patio area with a stone, brick, or cement floor and an overhanging roof. You can also build a gazebo out of wood or metal. If you do seat people out in the yard itself, though, you can also set up a temporary covering, such as a large, open tent structure, big enough for your guests to gather under.

Have Good Lighting. While it’s true that the sun is up for longer in the summer, unless you’re in Alaska, it’ll still likely get dark before the party is over. So make sure to have plenty of good lighting, to keep things going as long as you want. A single backyard porch light probably won’t cut it. Put a few floodlights around the yard, and hang some lights from the ceiling as well. Most importantly, though, make sure to have ground lighting. Either a series of individual lights or a few strings of lights, should clearly mark the pathway from your backyard out to where your guests parked their cars, so that they can leave safely and without injury.

Put in a Pool. What’s better than a backyard barbecue? A pool party! Especially if you have kids, a pool is a great landscaping idea that’s sure to add fun to any gathering or event. You have a traditional pool dug into the ground, or get an above-ground pool that’s easier and cheaper to install.

Put in a Pizza Oven. While a bit non-traditional, an outdoor, stone pizza oven is a great way to expand your menu beyond the traditional barbecue. Not only can you make pizza in it, you can do rotisserie chicken, steak, and more. If you’re an outdoor cooking connoisseur, it’s sure to be the hit of the party.

A backyard barbecue can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. You can go the whole nine yards and have a tent, a sound system, a pool, and more… But all you really need is a few friends, some good food, and a nice yard, and your party is bound to be a success.