Things to know before planning your next gathering.

Gaby Dalkin Crate & Barrel Backyard Dining
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You might have seen Gaby Dalkin on your For You Page on TikTok or on Instagram. (That’s how I discovered her delicious recipes!) Or maybe you’ve read her blog, What’s Gaby Cooking, for years. You might also own some of her cookbooks. No matter how you’re acquainted with her, we have Gaby to thank for giving us some easy, inventive, and tasty recipes to impress our family and friends and upgrade our weeknight dinners.

Gaby Dalkin Portrait
Gaby Dalkin in her backyard.

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Just in time for prime outdoor entertaining season, Gaby and her husband worked with the Design Desk at Crate (Crate & Barrel’s interior design service) to redo her backyard so it’s the ultimate space to host gatherings this summer. “We knew the vibe we wanted and shared outdoor spaces from some of our favorite hotels with the Design Desk team,” Gaby says. “Crate & Barrel’s design experts took it from there, pulling together products that fit our desired aesthetic and creating renderings of our favorite options in the space. It was a dream to work with them! Not to mention, these design services are available to anyone and 100% free.”

Gaby Dalkin Crate & Barrel Outdoor Dining
The Batten Extension Dining Table Set

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Gaby’s transformed backyard is now fully equipped to host any type of gathering—big or small. It’s outfitted with Crate & Barrel’s Batten Extension Dining Table Set (which can seat 10), and there are two seating and lounge areas that can fit up to 20 (yes, 20!) people. “We chose the 5-Piece Outdoor Sectional from the Batten collection and absolutely love how easy it is to rearrange the pieces and even add more, to fit our seating needs,” she says.

Gaby Dalkin Crate & Barrel Outdoor Seating
The Batten 5-Piece Sectional

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And because it’s prime outdoor entertaining season, we asked Gaby for some of her best tips and dos and don’ts. The biggest mistake you can make? Making things complicated, Gaby says. “No one is looking for a complicated menu, everyone wants delicious food they can easily enjoy while chatting, she explains. Keep it simple with an approachable menu that you can prep ahead of time so you can enjoy yourself too!” Some of her favorite, crowd-pleasing recipes she recommends are her Steamed Garlic Salmon (a one-pot dish that’s great for a big group) and Chicken Parmesan Meatballs (you can make them ahead!).

Gaby Dalkin Crate & Barrel Outdoor Lounge
A comfortable lounge area for guests.

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Preparation is also key. You don’t want to be running around at the last minute and stressing out when hosting. Gaby says the day before hosting an outdoor gathering, she makes sure the backyard is cleaned up, the baking is done, all the groceries are bought, and the day-of prep schedule is set. “The morning of the party I start prepping anything that can be done well ahead of time so that when the guests arrive, all I have to do is put the finishing touches on the sides and throw the mains on the grill!” she adds. Gaby also highlighted some of her other top tips below:

Gaby Dalkin Crate & Barrel Cocktails
The drinks station.

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1. Batch your cocktails and drinks ahead of time. You don’t want to be checking everyone’s drinks the whole party. 

2. Pick your playlist ahead of time and get it playing even before your guests start rolling in.

3. Snacks and bites ahead of the main meal are a must so people can have something when they arrive while they grab a beverage.

Gaby Dalkin Crate & Barrel Backyard Makeover
The space is party-ready now.

Crate & Barrel

4. Make sure the space is warm and inviting. Are there already pool towels for everyone? Are there some fun areas for the kids? Can the adults hang somewhere and watch their kids without hovering? 

5. Invite a mixture of people that may not know each other, a mix of guests that are fun, talkative, outgoing and ready to make new friends! 

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