Skip to Content

47 Best Backyard Graduation Party Ideas

Graduation is a huge milestone, and with graduation season coming up, you’re probably looking for some grad party ideas. The following are unique backyard graduation party ideas that you can use as inspiration if you’re planning a graduation party in your backyard. This article highlights ideas to spice up your backyard graduation party, from DIY decor and themes to food and games for your party.

Backyard Graduation party ideas

Backyard Graduation Party Ideas

Hosting an outdoor grad party in the backyard is easy and cost-effective and yet can still be a graduation celebration to remember. Whether you choose to have a pool party or a more formal sit-down meal, be sure to include the following party ideas to host the most creative backyard graduation party.

1. Snack Table

A party is not complete without an array of snacks and treats for your party guests. Serve some popcorn, candy, crackers, chips, nuts, etc. Display these beautifully and tie ribbons on the snack containers to match the theme.  

graduation snack table
Image Source: Pinterest

Looking for more graduation party food ideas? Check out 50 Affordable & Delicious Graduation Party Food Ideas.

2. Epic Graduation Cake

Every party needs an epic cake like this one; a marble effect cake with macaron, edible gold, and a graduation hat to complete it. 

graduation cake
Image Source: Pinterest

For more cake options have a look at our list of 38 Best Graduation Cake Ideas.

3. Mimosa Bar

Serve a variety of drinks and fruits to go with them.  Make your graduation party extra special with a DIY mimosa bar! Celebrate with a little bit of bubbly and fresh fruit, and of course, some flowers or table decor to match!

mimosa bar
Image Source: Pinterest

4. Elegant Picnic Seating

This is the perfect graduation party idea in the summer. Pillows, lanterns, teepees, and a set table are all you need.  

picnic graduation party
Image Source: Pinterest

5. Blush Balloons and Flowers

This setup works perfectly for your backyard graduation party if you’re looking for something elegant.

balloons and flowers
Image Source: Pinterest

6. Photo Booth

A photo booth adds such fun to any party and helps guests make your grad party even more memorable. Whether you choose to decorate your backdrop with lights, balloons, flowers, or photos, they’re pretty easy to set up and will make such an impact.

graduation photo booth
Image Source: Pinterest

DIY Outdoor Graduation Party Ideas

If you’re handy, you can choose an outdoor graduation party idea from this list and make it yourself. Several ideas will make your outdoor event stand out. 

1. Graduation Hat Decor DIY

We made these cute graduation caps for gift jars at my son’s graduation. They’re actually super easy and make great place cardholders. Filling them with candy makes them great take-home gifts as well.

2. Balloon Arch Backdrop

Every party needs a balloon arch and a grad party is no exception. There are so many colors to choose from. Decorate with flowers, banners, garlands, or year signs.

Balloon Arch

123 Pack Gold Black Balloon Arch Garland Kit, White Gold Black Confetti Balloons for Graduation Party Wedding Birthday Baby Shower Decorations

Kit Includes:

  • 110pcs pure color latex balloon (color in black, white, and gold, size in 12inch, 10inch, 5inch)
  • 20pcs gold and mixed color confetti balloons(12inch)
  • 1 roll of white ribbons
  • 1 roll of 16ft arch balloon strip tape
  • 1 roll of 100 dot glue

3. Photo Board DIY

photo board
Image Source: Pinterest

You can either hang memory photos of your years at school or college, or you can get guests to take polaroid pictures at your grad party and hang them on your board.

Photo Board Pegs & Twine

Mini Natural Wooden Clothespins with Jute Twine, 250pcs, 1 Inch Photo Paper Peg Pin Craft Clips with 66ft Natural Twine for Scrapbooking, Arts & Crafts, Hanging Photos (Natural Color)

Includes:

  • 250pcs of natural color craft clothespins
  • Small wood clothespins measure 1” (L) x 0.35” (W) x 0.12”(H)
  • 66ft (20m) of natural jute twine

4. Chalkboard Grad Sign DIY

chalkboard signs
Image Source: Pinterest

Chalkboards are super handy for writing welcome messages and can be reused again and again. If you don’t feel like making your own you can get ready-made chalkboards online.

Rustic A-Frame Chalkboard

Rustic Magnetic A-Frame Chalkboard Deluxe Set / 8 Chalk Markers + 10 Stencils + 2 Magnets! Outdoor Sidewalk Chalkboard Sign / Large 40" x 20" Sturdy Sandwich Board (The Deluxe Set)

Set Includes:

  • Quality A-Frame Chalkboard
  • 8 Vibrant HBCY Creations Chalk Markers
  • 10 Universal Chalkboard Stencils
  • 2 Rustic Magnets that match your A-Frame

5. Wine Bottle Centerpieces

If your grad isn’t into flowers or a photo centerpiece, you can use old wine bottles and spray paint them any color to match your decor or theme. Add some tassels or grad hats to complete the look.

wine bottle centrepiece
Image Source: Pinterest

6. DIY Graduation Party Paper Lanterns  

DIY graduation party paper lanterns
Image Source: Pinterest

7. DIY Cupcake Setup  

Arrange your cupcakes to spell out the graduation year.

DIY cupcake year
Image Source: Pinterest

8. DIY Donut Bar

Excite your guests with these amazing donut stands.

Donut stands
Image Source: Pinterest

9. Marquee Letters

marquees letters
Image Source: Pinterest

Spell out GRAD, the year 2022, or your grad’s name, and place these in your backyard. You can fill it with balloons or LED lights and use this as a photo backdrop as well.

Marquee Letters

3FT Tall Mosaic Balloon Frame Letters Big Marquee Light Up Letters DIY Kit for Birthday Party Wedding Backdrop Decor Letter C Pre-Cut Foam Board

Includes:

  • 3FT Tall Alphabet Letters
  • Pre-cut letter frames
  • Choose individual letters
  • Foam board

10. Pallets and Crates Drink Bar

pallets and crates bar
Image Source: Pinterest

Grab some pallets and wooden crates and stack them on a table or bench to create this awesome drinks bar. If you don’t have crates lying around you can find some online.

Wooden Crates

MyGift Rustic Dark Brown Wood Storage Boxes with Handles, Nesting Open Top Crates Design Bins, Set of 3

Set Includes:

  • Set of 3 nesting crates
  • Distressed vintage brown finish
  • Large – 15.7 L x 11.8 W x 5.7 H
  • Medium – 12.8 L × 9.2 W x 5.3 H
  • Small – 10.0 L × 6.3 W x 5.0 H (in inches)

Outdoor Venues For Graduation Party

  1. Local park.
  2. Home backyard.
  3. Home poolside.
  4. Restaurant garden.
  5. Basketball court.
  6. Local golf club.
  7. Picnic grounds. 

Backyard Graduation Party Decoration Ideas

Outdoor parties allow you to play with the graduation party theme and add several decor items to create a memorable backyard graduation party. You can even include balloons and table covers in their favorite colors or school colors. Mix and match the backyard decor ideas to create the perfect setting for your garden party.

1. Balloon Arch

balloon arch
Image Source: Pinterest

The balloon arch theme is buzzing, thanks to its compatibility with all parties. Choose an appropriate color for your balloon garland and create an arch at the entrance of your backyard party. Add these cool stackable graduation balloon boxes to complete the look.

GRAD Balloon Boxes

Graduation Party Decorations 2022 - 4 Pcs White Graduation Balloons Boxes with 1 Pc "GRAD" ,"CLASS OF 2022" and "PROUD OF YOU" Letter,for School Congrats Grad,Preschool High School College Graduation Decorations Party Supplies

Package Includes:

  • 4pcs 11.8 * 11.8 * 11.8 inch white Transparent balloon boxes
  • With white letters “G-R-A-D”,“Class-OF-20-22” and “PROUD-OF-YOU-🎓”
  • Made of white cardboard and transparent PVC
  • Please note that balloons are not included

2. String Lights and Lanterns

Buy string lights and lanterns at your local decor store or online and run them from one side of the backyard to the other. This will create an under-the-stars theme that works perfectly for an evening backyard graduation party. 

string lights and lanterns
Image Source: Pinterest

3. Grad Sign

grad sign
Image Source: Pinterest

The only way to mark a graduation party is by adding a grad sign. This is a non-negotiable when planning a backyard party. Use cut-out signs, LED grad lights, or print-outs and place them at a strategic part of the backyard. 

Graduation Sign

2022 Graduation Decorations Gold and Black Yard Sign - 7PCS Large Xmas Yard Stakes-Giant Graduation Decor Signs for Garden Waterproof Lawn - Graduation Party Supplies

Package Includes:

  • 7 graduation yard signs
  • 14 plastic stakes
  • Made of weather resistant corrugated plastic
  • Suitable for outdoor use.
  • Stacked GR and AD signs measure 40 x 12 inches

4. Rustic Table Centerpieces

If you have a table and chair layout, a centerpiece adds to the decor and overall theme of the party. Get some cute mason jars and fill them with easily-available fresh flowers, add some water and finish the look with burlap for a rustic theme. You can choose to add your favorite school picture to personalize it.

rustic table centrepieces
Image Source: Pinterest

5. Graduation Photo Walkway

Lead your guests with this kind of lawn decor by lining up photos from kindergarten all the way to graduation year along the driveway. You could also choose to add balloons and other graduation decor pieces.

photo walkway
Image Source: PlayPartyPlan

Outdoor Graduation Party Games

You’re never too old to play a fun outdoor game with your friends. Here are some fun backyard games that never get old.

1. Giant Jenga

This remains a fun game to play with kids and adults at your backyard celebration.  

Giant Jenga

Jenga Giant JS7 (Stacks to Over 5 feet) Precision-Crafted, Premium Hardwood Game with Heavy-Duty Carry Bag (Authentic Jenga Brand Game)

Pakcage Includes:

  • 54 precision-crafted premium hardwood 7.15″ X 2.38″ X 1.43″ blocks
  • Each one nearly 15 times the volume of a classic Jenga block
  • At setup, starts at 26 inches high, and can stack to over 5 feet high in play!
  • Includes a Heavy-Duty Jenga GIANT Carry Bag

2. Backyard Bowling

Use recyclables and a ball to hit them. Create a bowling-like layout and take turns playing.  

3. Ladder Toss

You will need a ladder with three tiers and three bollards. The top tier earns you three points, the second two points, and the last one. The winner is the player who racks up as many points.  

Ladder Toss

GoSports Pro Grade Ladder Toss Indoor/Outdoor Game Set with 6 Soft Rubber Bolo Balls, Travel Carrying Case and Score Trackers, Black

Set Includes:

  • 2 targets with score trackers
  • 6 rubber bolos
  • Carrying case
  • Plus rules

4. Toast to the Grad

Fill cups with water and line them up on a table. Players stand about 15 feet away and will use foam balls to knock the cups. The team that hits the cups the fastest wins.  

5. Dice Games

Get a jumbo set of dice and create an interactive session where all your guests can participate. 

Looking for more outdoor games? Check out our Ultimate Guide with Outdoor Games For Teens

Simple Graduation Party Ideas

1. Pallets and Paper Flowers

pallets and flowers
Image Source: Pinterest

Pallets make a perfect backdrop and decor background for any party. Together with store-bought or DIY paper flowers, they create a unique backdrop for your guests to take photos. 

Paper Flowers

Gejoy 20 Pieces Paper Flower Tissue Paper Chrysanth Flowers DIY Crafting for Wedding Backdrop Nursery Wall Decoration (Color Set 1)

Set Includes:

  • 4 sizes of flowers in a bag (6 inches, 8 inches, 10 inches and 12 inches
  • Come with 5 colors
  • Instructions

2. Polaroid Guest Book Table

polaroid guest book
Image Source: Pinterest

A simple idea you can add to complement the decor at your party is a polaroid guest book. Guests can create memories and leave their wishes in the guest book while capturing fun moments at your party. 

Polaroid Camera

Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Camera with Fujifilm Instant Mini Film (60 Sheets) Bundle with Deals Number One Accessories Including Carrying Case, Selfie Lens, Photo Album, Stickers (Blush Pink)

Includes:

  • Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Instant Camera
  • Fujifilm Instax Mini Film (60 Sheets)
  • Carrying Case
  • Photo Album
  • Selfie Lens
  • Cleaning Cloth

3. Memories Board

A simple pallet and strings running from both ends make a perfect memories board. You can pin your old photos and have guests add to the collection, adding a decorative aspect while keeping your guests entertained.  

memories board
Image Source: Pinterest

4. Simple Welcome Sign

A creative way to welcome your guests is by adding a hand-written welcome message on a simple chalkboard. A few balloons or flowers around the board will do the trick. 

welcome sign
Image Source: Pinterest

5. Simple Table Setup

You can have a set table for your guests without breaking the bank or doing too much. Have a simple table mat, a plate, a regular napkin, and cutlery. Use what you have and finish the setup with a DIY graduation hat. 

table set up
Image Source: Pinterest

Small Backyard Graduation Party Ideas

1. Chips & Salsa Bar

Create a simple chips and salsa bar for your guests. Spread chips directly onto the table or in bowls. Add your favorite salsa dips and your done.

salsa bar
Image Source: Pinterest

2. Build Your Hotdog Bar

Set up a hotdog bar with all the fillings and sauces. A small table at the corner of the backyard will do. You will have a complete setup that does not take a lot of space, and your guests can build their own hotdogs. 

build hotdog bar
Image Source: Pinterest

3. Pool Party Decorations

If you’re hosting your party in your backyard, why not utilize the pool for decorations.

Grad pool decor
Image Source: Pinterest

4. Infaltable Drinks Board

With this inflatable drinks bar you can celebrate your graduation anywhere.

inflatable drinks bar

5. Party Favor Table

Have a little package for your guests to take home after graduation. The party favor table will add decorative aspects to your setup while adding value to your guests’ presence at your party. 

party favor table
Image Source: Pinterest

Backyard Graduation Party Themes

1. Picnic Style Theme

Set up a picnic in the backyard with pillows, balloons, tablecloths, and flowers. This theme works best for a small group of people. 

picnic style theme
Image Source: Pinterest

2. Formal Tables and Chairs Theme

Create a traditional setup with rectangular tables and chairs. Build a backdrop and polish the design with flowers, tablecloths, a dessert table, and a food station. 

formal table grad celebration
Image Source: Pinterest

3. Cocktail Theme

A simple setup for your backyard graduation party can be a cocktail theme, where you can serve cocktails and a few snacks. Decorating with paper lanterns is a quick and easy decor tip.

cocktail theme
Image Source: Pinterest

4. Under The Stars Theme

An under-the-stars theme is ideal if your graduation is scheduled for the evening. Spice up the decor with fairy lights, globe ball string lights, flowers, floor lights, and greenery. You can create stunning walls of lights or even canopies with light using different styles of outdoor lights. Hang lights from trees or wrap around tree branches for the perfect backyard evening event.

Under the stars theme
Image Source: Pinterest

5. Pool Party

A pool party can switch from day to night time. For nighttime events, you can add some floating orbs or even glow stick balloons in the pool to light it up.

pool party
Image Source: Pinterest

6. After-Dark Party

If your grad would prefer an after-dark graduation party or even create a glow-in-the-dark themed party, then be sure to add some lighting like light paper lanterns, jam jar lanterns, fun glow sticks, and glow-stick balloons at night. 

after dark party
Image Source: Pinterest

Backyard Graduation Party Food Ideas

1. Chips and Dips Board

Display various types of chips and different dips on a board. Your guests can serve from the board to party plates, and you give them the option to choose the chip-dip combo they like.  

Chip & Dip board
Image Source: Pinterest

2. Graduation Brunch Setup

Bring out the bites and lay them out on a table for your guests. Mix up meaty bites with vegan options and variety.  

Brunch
Image Source: Pinterest

3. Food Bar Setup

You can provide a variety of foods for your guests, especially if the party is bound to happen around meal times and includes all ages. Have salads, potatoes, dips, meats, tacos, etc.  

Food Bar
Image Source: Pinterest

4. Baked Potato Dinner Board

Potatoes are versatile and come in handy for any party. Serve baked potatoes with a variety of dips, meats, and salads. 

Baked potatoes
Image Source: Pinterest

5. Tea Club Sandwiches

This is an excellent idea if your backyard graduation time is set to run for a short period and you are looking for a quick and easy snack to serve with tea. 

Tea club sandwiches
Image Source: Pinterest

What time of day should I have a graduation party?

The most appropriate time for a graduation party is an afternoon party between noon and 6 pm. You can have one late in the evening, between 4 pm and midnight, if you want an overnight party. 

How long should a graduation party be?

A graduation party should last between 3 to 5 hours. It can be longer if you incorporate games and other interactive sessions, but guests are likely to stick around for this amount of time. 

How do you throw a graduation party on a budget?

You can throw a graduation party on a budget by using items you already have at home and keeping the guest list to close friends and family. Have your graduation party at home and cook all the meals and snacks to save some money. 

What kind of food do you serve at a graduation party?

Here are the kinds of food you can serve at a graduation party:

  • Tacos
  • Pizza
  • Veggie tray
  • Hamburgers 
  • Hotdogs
  • Wraps
  • Donuts
  • Cupcakes
  • Chips and dips
  • Buffalo wings
  • Crackers 
  • Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Sandwiches 
  • Finger foods
  • Fruit skewers

How do I make my graduation memorable?

You can make your graduation memorable by taking photos at the party, including interactive games and activities, and serving lots of food and snacks to the guests. Create a photo board of the day and have a guest book in which people can leave a message.

I hope that this list of graduation party ideas will help you throw an amazing backyard graduation party. With the right table decor, balloons, lights, tasty food, and favorite drinks, you’ll have an amazing party.