29 Backyard Graduation Party Ideas (+ Food & Decorating Tips)

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Are you planning to throw the best graduation party and looking for some backyard graduation party ideas to make it a surefire success? Then, you’re in the right space. You’ve been waiting for this day to come, and now it’s finally here. It’s surreal, for sure. But bask in it. It’s your child’s moment, so give it your best effort.  

One of the best parties happens outside, mostly in one’s incredible backyard. It has the space for all games, dancing, and decor that go with your chosen theme. Don’t worry about how to start or where you start planning. We have a list of graduation backyard party ideas you can use or take inspiration from. Scroll, read, and take notes of the options you like. Add them to your list! 

Popular Outdoor Backyard Graduation Party Ideas 

Bring your party to your backyard. The outside space brings much charm to the party and allows you to invite more guests. You have all the freedom to set up your tables, chairs, decors, grilling station, music stations, and more. Furthermore, you can just mix party ideas with a backyard party, giving every guest a lovely time regardless of age. 

You can set up a play area for kids, a drink section for adults, and graduation memories on another side of the yard. Here are the best backyard graduation party ideas for your child according to categories – there are high school and college grad party ideas as well. 

Most Popular High School Graduation Ideas

graduation backyard party ideas

High school never ends, they say, but it does. Why not end it in the best way possible? Check out these backyard graduation party ideas before formally closing your young adult’s senior year. 

Hang Your Graduation Year Balloon

Balloons are a must decor for any party you’re going to throw. They’re colorful, cute, and easy to match with other party decorations. You can hang them on a wall. You can make it a backdrop – really, the options are endless. 

Create personalized invites and e-vites

It’s the modern world, and we no longer go by just paper invitations. Today, we have e-vites and don’t worry. There are free platforms where you can do that. Try out Canva and make a personalized e-vite. Send them via messaging apps! There are even e-vites complete with teasers and confetti. 

If you’re more comfortable doing DIY paper crafts, then create your usual invites made of unique papers. There are also printable custom invites available online that you can check out. Just unleash your creativity and go from there. 

A Photo Booth + Props!

Another way of entertaining guests during the party is having a photo booth with some props. No party is complete without a photo booth. It’s easy to make. You must use cute backdrops, balloons, drawings, and caricatures. You don’t have to provide the camera since your guests will just be snapping photos using their phones! Check out this 50 pack of props, to ensure there’s always plenty to go around.

Don’t forget the props to give the photos some flare. For graduation parties, fun props are always a hit. 

For more young adult backyard party ideas take a look at our Sweet 16 Backyard Party Ideas post too.

Most Popular College Graduation Ideas

backyard graduation decorating ideas

Graduating college is a milestone for your child, so make sure to let him know how proud they are of throwing a great party. Here are some of the top backyard graduation party ideas to consider. 

Use Outdoor Party String Lights 

Party string lights are always on the list for small backyard graduation party ideas. It’s perfect for backyard events with its warm glow. Hang them in the tree, along the fences, or on decks or other structures. Turn your backyard into a magical and intimate place. Make it the best send-off night to adulthood! 

Combine string lights and a banner with this graduation themed gold and black graduation banner with LED lights. It costs less than $10 and looks great!

Go for Casual Buffet Tables 

Everybody loves buffets for many reasons, for example, the various food options in one lay! You can play with the serve wares you choose. Bring in some colors and fresh flowers to the tables. Play the idea in your head and be impressed with how incredible it’ll turn out. 

Outdoor Graduation Party Ideas for Guys

backyard bbq graduation party ideas

Who says we can’t be specific? Of course, we can. Gender matters, too, because you can’t just put flowers and butterflies as decorations when you’re son graduates from a senior year of high school or college! Remember to read below for the backyard graduation party ideas for the guys. 

Photo Displays 

You just got to love the trip down memory lane, and so will your son, his friends, and all the guests. Take all the yearbook photos from kindergarten to college and display them for all to see. 

Taco all the way! 

Nobody hates tacos. These are food for the soul! Bring it to the party and give everyone the mustache and perhaps some straw hat to make the experience more authentic. Don’t forget the taco balloon kit on Amazon.

Sports Memorabilia Displays 

This is an excellent idea if your son is into sports. Show off their sports memorabilia on the wall, such as jerseys, trophies, medals, shoes, balls, and whatever sports-related items your son has. 

Get the BBQ party going! 

What’s an outdoor party without some grilling? This is one of the best backyard graduation party ideas on this list, regardless of gender. Have some coleslaw, ham sliders, pulled pork, and others on the BBQ menu. This graduation themed garlands are a simple way to decorate with going over the top.

Outdoor Graduation Party Ideas for Girls 

outdoor graduation party ideas

You may want a more specific themed party for your daughter. There’s nothing wrong with being particular. After all, your daughter might be more drawn to specific party decors. Check out these backyard college graduation party ideas for the girls. 

Rent or Buy a Chalkboard 

Make a sign board welcome guests to the party. This way, they know where the fun will be – in the backyard! 

Make it boho

Everyone is charmed with the chic boho backyard party, so why not try it? Color coordinate your decors. Add some adorable pink and gold balloons, centerpieces, and other items. Put some similar shade of table cloths and serve wares too. 

The ribbons tied around chairs above are any easy way to decorate in specific colors and will look fantastic waving in the wind. Choose lightweight crepe paper for a more inexpensive option.

Do some S’mores

There shouldn’t be any rules at graduation parties. Give your guests some free time to do what they like. But make sure that there are activities ready for them like s’mores! 

Evening Graduation Party Ideas

backyard graduation party tent ideas

A party at night and a party during the daytime are different, not only in time but also in decor, food, and atmosphere. There are pros and cons to having the backyard graduation party during the day. The same goes true if you have it at night. Here are some inspirations for an evening graduation party. 

Make it a Game Night

Engage everyone by making the party fun with a game night. Look for games that involve a large number of people. Get the guests excited with party games that are good for all ages. There are also graduation themed party games available.

Mystery Drink Pong 

This game works for high school or college graduation, but that depends on the kind of drinks you’re serving. Keep it safe and sober by using mocktails, cordial or soft drinks. Be creative and fun!

Cocktail Bar

This graduation party idea works best if you’ve got a senior high school graduate off to a science-related path in college or a premed grad. Have a cocktail bar with a lab design, test tubes, beakers, and others. It’s a whole new experience drinking their favorite drinks from flasks! If your graduates aren’t old enough to drink yet, make it mocktails instead!

Table Ideas for Graduation Party 

backyard graduation party food ideas

How about the table setting and seating? Sometimes, planning your backyard party can be difficult, especially when choosing the best table setting for your theme. More than that, you need to think of the centerpieces too! This list is for you. 

Use the school colors

Using the school’s color for the table set-up can never go wrong. If they go with yellow and blue, you can use a rustic farm table and strategically place all yellow and blue utensils in a clear plastic cup. If you’re going for the sports theme graduation bash, you can use banners and balloon’s in their school color. 

Have a graduation bar! 

Put a graduation bar on the side of your backyard or wherever it fits. You can choose to have a popcorn bar, a pretzel bar, a pasta bar, a nacho bar, and whatever the crowd’s favorite is. It would look like a charcuterie table, except it’s personalized to the guests or your son/daughter’s favorite snack. 

Mix and match tables 

Don’t just settle with the traditional tables. Mix and match with high-top tables. Make it varied and give your guests a lot of options. Let the others have the chance to stand and mingle with others while giving them a space to put on their drinks and plates. 

This allows you to use many kinds of centerpieces too! You can unleash your skills in creating beautiful centerpieces with different table heights and lengths. Add some floral arrangements, candles, and balloons to complete your table setting. 

An excellent party doesn’t have to be expensive and lavish. You just need to have the right backyard graduation party ideas for you. Transform everyday items so you won’t have to spend more on renting pieces. 

Repurpose your wooden ladder

Check the storage for a wooden ladder and put in some wooden slabs as table tops. This can become your sports memorabilia section, a series of graduation photos from kindergarten to college, this can even be your graduation bar.

Make it fun with lawn games

Don’t focus on the decor. Entertain the guests with fun games too. Prepare activities for the kids, card and drinking games for the adults, or maybe games that are played regardless of age. Here are some suggested backyard games that are fun for all ages:

  • Team badminton
  • Corn hole
  • Charades
  • Ladder Ball
  • Giant Backyard Jenga
  • Ring Toss
  • Dodgeball 
  • Guess the year the picture was taken
  • Trip to Jerusalem 

Backyard games also make a great addition to adult birthday parties at home, regardless of age.

Frequently Asked Questions About Backyard Graduation Parties

inexpensive backyard graduation party ideas

What do you serve at a backyard graduation party?

Go for easy food foods. Have some burgers, bacon cheddar ranch pinwheels, buffalo wings, veggie trays, fruit kabobs, root beer float, etc. 

How do you throw an inexpensive graduation party?

The best way to do this is by splitting the cost. Keep the party intimate and invite over family and close friends. Consider a pot-luck and ask families to bring in things like tables, foldable camping chairs, and other things. You don’t have to rent or buy items anymore. 

How do I decorate my outdoor graduation party?

There are easy ways to decorate your outdoor graduation party, using balloons, some rustic lights, table decorations and more. Check out Amazon for cheap party decorations, and browse dollar and thrift stores for things you can upcycle.

How do you do a graduation party at home?

Keeping people well fed and hydrated is the key to a successful party. Order party decors such as streamers, banners, collage posters, balloons, pop-ups, and more. You can also have personal touches, a book-themed party, a guest book for them to sign, and others. Also, it’s best to prepare a Spotify playlist and keep the hype going! 

How do you entertain guests at a graduation party? 

You can do several things to ensure guests are entertained at your party. You can have fun outdoor games, traditional party games, or other fun DIY options. This may include a Guess Who game. It’s a classic and always a hit! Another is the game of superlatives. You can make this yearbook-inspired. Simply gather your child’s best graduation photos and pin them on the wall. Leave some space below for the guests to write their superlatives. Read the superlatives at the end of the graduation bash! 

There you go. It’s quite a long read but certainly has all the best backyard graduation party ideas you could ask for. It’s a grand day, and the graduates deserve all the love from all the years at school. Make it a day they won’t forget.

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