garden partyParties in the yard are the best ... kids playing in the baby pool, long lazy evenings that turn into drinks under the stars, the romance of a warm night. Bliss! Alas, being outside has its downside -- namely that fireflies aren't the only winged guests who would like to come to your party. Short of spraying everyone with DEET and banning flowery perfume, what's a hostess to do?

There are actually quite a few tricks to keeping mosquitos and other pests away from your party, and you'd be surprised at how nice they can look (and smell!).

1. Insect repellent lanterns. Yes, these exist! Lanterns are lovely to look at, and you can place them strategically around without worrying about anything catching on, you know, fire.

2. Plant or decorate with marigolds, rosemary, and lavender, all of which have properties that repel mosquitoes. How pretty!

3. Mosquito netting draped around your deck or in the garden. Mosquito netting is a really alluring and romantic looking material, and it's so lightweight, you can easily tack some up to an awning, a support beam, or even a tree branch, and let it fall prettily down. No need to try to hermetically seal your deck, even a side or two will help protect your guests. String some white Christmas lights along with the netting for a truly beautiful effect.

tiki4. Citronella torches. Torches burning in the twilight looks so nice, and you can get them inexpensively at most home and garden and hardware stores.

5. Insect-repelling candles. Citronella isn't the only scent these come in, and you can have them closer to where you're gathering than the torches. Find some pretty glass jars or candle holders, and they'll cast a magical glow while casting out biting bugs!

6. Clear dome covers over your platters will look a little extra "fancy" while preventing wasps and flies from smelling your delicious food.

Do you enjoy entertaining outdoors?


Image via Ishan Manjrekar/Flickr