Outdoor Thanksgiving Checklist


October 12, 2020. By Oscar Ortega: While this year it may be a necessity, hosting Thanksgiving outdoors has become tradition for many of our clients. Why? It’s fun! Giving thanks outside saves time and hassle, simply by extending the timeline for preparations. Follow our weekly checklist to ensure nothing distracts you from the main event, whether that is family, food or football.


November 1: Create a Ground Plan

While your home’s floor plan determines the flow of an indoor Thanksgiving, outdoor entertaining can give you and your guests greater freedom.

This weekend, identify two to three gathering points that will ensure a nice physically distanced flow as guests collect food, beverages, and gather with one another.

November 7: Do Some Dirty Work

Cleaning can feel just as onerous as cooking! Luckily the deep cleaning done outside can last all year. Much of the deep cleaning for an outdoor Thanksgiving can be done weeks in advance, or at your leisure over several weeks. This weekend:

  • Prune and dead-head plants, particularly focal points
  • Plant colorful fill-ins where needed: Big Blooming Screen and Fall Color Sustainability
  • Add fresh mulch for a clean look and fresh cedar fragrance
  • Scrub down lights, rocks, and containers
  • Plant containers to add bursts of color


November 18: Plan the Menu

    Whether or not you’ve planted fall veggies, your native garden may have ingredients to share:
  • There may be a feast waiting in your garden! Can you harvest your hedge?
  • Once you know what you have, check out new recipes or integrate natives into family favorites.
  • Check your garden for almost-ripe fruits – Citrus? Persimmon? Pomegranates?
  • Several fall veggies will be at the tail end of their harvest and squash will be ready!
  • Look to Cook’s Catering recipes for additional organic Thanksgiving recipes that incorporate Wild Eats!

    November 23: Do the Heavy Lifting

      Much of the heavy lifting can be completed the weekend or even the week before Thanksgiving. This is time to:
  • Place furniture where you envision people gathering
  • Place lights to emphasize focal points where you’d like people to congregate
  • Place heaters where people will be sedentary for a stretch
  • Position potted plants for color or to protect places that might have difficulty supporting foot traffic
  • Notice anything impeding your envisioned traffic flow
  • Clean/ready water and fire features for optimal performance and safety
  • Wipe off focal point rocks and plants for sparkle and charm

    November 24:  Morning Workout

    With all the deep cleaning and heavy lifting out of the way, Thanksgiving morning cleaning becomes a joyful stroll in the garden:

    • Give walkways and patios a good sweep
    • Wipe off outdoor furniture
    • Pick fresh veggies and herbs from the garden


    November 24:  Final Touches

    • Set the table to ensure it can withstand a fall breeze
    • Have blankets ready for those who get cold in the evening
    • Have kids gather fall leaves for fun and fall craft projects
    • Cook, serve and enjoy!

    Of course, if you want a completely hassle-free Thanksgiving with peace of mind that every outdoor detail is handled, contact us. We’ll walk through your space together, planning the layout and the timeline of tasks to ensure your party is as memorable to you as it is to your guests. In any case, we at FormLA wish you a beautiful, fun-filled and very Happy Thanksgiving!