Laurie Louis Designs

Laurie's Journal


Blog posts designed to help you entertain and host the southern way. We will provide you with menu ideas, tablescape ideas, design ideas and recipes.

Southern Hostess - Ladies Lunch - Low Country Boil - Beach House - Southern Parties - Tailgate Traditions - Holiday Entertaining

Summer Cookout Checklist


The weather is warming up so it is time to make your backyard is cookout ready.

Dust off your barbecues, summer party season is here and there are three main areas of focus to ensure sure you are ready to host cookouts. We’ve broken those areas down along with a corresponding checklist of things to do.


1. Look for any signs of rust. Look for any screws or pieces that may have rusted over the cold winter weather. Replace any pieces that can’t be cleaned.

2. Look for any bugs that might have made their home the during the winter. Be sure to look up under the grill for any hives or nests.

3. For gas grills, be sure to check the lines and connections. Try running soapy water over the line when the gas is running and check for bubbles. If bubbles exist tighten your connections and if still necessary, replace the line.

4. Clean the inside from top to bottom using a heavy brush and garden hose. If burner tubes are removable, remove, clean and replace. Don’t forget to clean our the grease tray as well. Use a brush, soap and water to scrape and clean any grates. Some suggest heating up your grill and and then rubbing an onion cut side down on the grill.

5. Check your propane tank. The last thing you want is to have everything ready to grill and the tank be empty.

Once your grill is ready to go, a light coat of cooking spray will prevent food from sticking


1. Clean all your furniture with a bucket of sudsy water, a sponge, a soft brush, and hose. Be cautious when scrubbing with a brush, though, as this can scratch resin and remove paint from rattan and wicker.

2. If your furniture has seen better days, and the colors are faded or flaking, touch up with matching paint. Clean the surface first. Then paint with an outdoor-safe primer and spray paint. Make sure to get the correct paint according to your furniture Surface. Your local paint store or hardware store should be able to help.

3. Check out all your furniture cushions and look for snags or holes that can be mended or replaced. If your cushions need a refresh, make or purchase slip covers for the cushions or purchase new ones.

4. Finally, check any glass table top for nicks or cracks. Most hardware stores sell glass and will cut it to size.


1. Check out your entertaining supplies. The most important items would be plates, napkins, cups and silverware. Melamine plates are a popular find these days and can be found at places like Pier1 and Target. Our shatterproof cups are great for outside cookouts and they fit perfectly in the top shelf of the dishwasher for cleaning.

2. Cold drinks are a must at a cookout, especially in the heat of summer. Our Lucite Ice Buckets are perfect for small dinner parties and holding ice or even a bottle of wine. For bigger parties, think about using a metal gallon bucket or even a wheel barrow filled with ice.

3. When setting your food table, think about a using table cloth or table runner. Not only does it help with your decorating but it protects your table from food spills. Our disposable placemats not only work on a dinner table but can be used in a line as a table runner.

4. The last thing to think about is serving dishes. Cute plastic plates are perfect for dressing up your table but consider using tinfoil disposable pans to keep everything warm until serving.

SOUTHERN HOSTESS TIP: When planning your menu, be sure to add a vegetarian and gluten free item to your list just in case.

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