backyard graduation party ideas

20 Easy Backyard Graduation Party Ideas

A backyard graduation party is a great way to celebrate the end of school or college.

Graduating from college or high school is so essential to a person’s life and the party at the end is a great way to wind down and celebrate after years of hard work which has finally paid off!

You get to see your friends, possibly for the last time – and you can get really wild before the serious hard work begins. 

When it comes to planning a graduation party though, it isn’t always simple and when you have so many guests, it’s often best to move the party outside to the backyard.

But you’ll need to make it look amazing and make it somewhat inexpensive. 

If you’re looking for some of the easiest and best backyard graduation party ideas – you’re in the right place. Here’s our picks!

Backyard Graduation Party Themes 

20 Easy Backyard Graduation Party Ideas

Sometimes, one of the easiest ways to plan a graduation party and to save money (and hassle) is to make it into a theme party.

To reduce costs further with a graduation party theme, try to choose a theme that doesn’t cost too much to decorate or choose clothes for.

For example, you could select a spooky theme and put up your Halloween decorations and wear your scary outfits that you’re likely to still have somewhere!

If this is your theme, you can set up an apple bobbing station and put some spooky tunes on the speakers!

Depending on the weather, you could host a summer theme party and everybody turns up in their summer wear, and you put classic summer songs on the mix!

Maybe you’d prefer to have a graduation party with a Hawaii theme? It’s pretty easy to do and relatively inexpensive to purchase Hawaii style things. 

You could even go for a school colors theme which you’re bound to have plenty of things for. This is also a great excuse to get rid of your old stuff!

Whichever theme you decide to go on, just ensure you can make the entire area look amazing. When graduation season is upon you, you want to make it the best! 

Backyard String Lights 

When it comes to outdoor graduation party ideas, you can’t go wrong with choosing some outdoor lighting.

The party is sure to go on into the dark times of the evening and night, so having plenty of lighting is essential.

Moreover, it gives you a chilled out vibe and atmosphere which everybody will feel right at home with.

If you go to a party store, you can pick up these sorts of lights for very little cost and some don’t even require power from the mains to be powered. 

Ticketed Event 

If you’re looking for an absolutely crazy and fun graduation party, the best way to do this is by investing in it. 

Now, we all know that students aren’t exactly rich, but here’s what you do. Create some cheap tickets in your house using your printer and sell them to your prospective guests for five bucks a pop. 

Once you’ve sold enough, preferably all of your tickets – you can use this money as an investment for lighting, music, activities, food and drink. 

But remember, if people are paying to party – they’re going to expect something epic, so don’t disappoint!

You’d be wise to plan out exactly what you’re going to do, because many party goers will want to know what they’re going to expect by paying out.

Photo Banner And Station 

backyard graduation party
Photo credit Savannah

Having a photo station is the best way to preserve the memories from your backyard graduation party! It’s simple to do too.

All you need to have is a bit of cardboard with painted words like “class of x” on it or the name of your college or high school. 

People being photographed will hold this up and have their photo taken.

If you do this with a digital camera, you can create a collage which can become a photo banner – and let’s not forget, you can put all of these pics on social media to preserve the memories for years to come. 

Epic Graduation Centerpiece 

When you’re in the backyard with so many people, you’ll want to have something that draws the eye for everyone to come together and socialize in the same area.

It’s also a great place to meet back up with someone if you’ve lost them when they went to the bathroom!

Some ideas are a homemade wooden mascot, a huge ice sculpture or you could simply have lots of flowers and a graduation banner. 

Any college grad will tell you that these sorts of things are amazing photo opportunities and bring about some perfect memories from your graduation party. 

Graduation Party Games 

Party Games

Let’s face it, it’s not a grad party without party games! Some classic graduation party games can change a gathering into a real party. 

One of the most favored is beer pong – simply rack up a triangle target of red cups on both sides of a long table and throw a ping pong ball into the cup when you’re in a set of two teams, or a singles’ effort. 

Whoever has a ping pong ball thrown into their cup has to drink from it!

Arm wrestling is also fun, especially when you set up a league table. Automatically enter your guests into the league and have everybody face off against each other. The person with the most wins… wins. 

Yard golf is another inexpensive and fun game for parties too. You can use an empty cup with a ping pong ball or golf ball and put the cup in very difficult spots throughout the yard. The person who gets a pot wins. 

Remember, keep away from breakable things!

Card games are always fun too. You could play ring of fire, poker, blackjack or any card game that you can think of! Just don’t do it for money! 


One of the unique ways to host a grad party is to have a karaoke set up. Karaoke should be enjoyed in between real, recorded music (otherwise your guests might get tired of it!). 

We all love to sing, so a karaoke set up in your backyard, preferably on a little stage will get your guests bouncing around, and the party will go down in epic history. 

Rap Battle

Similar to the previous idea, rap battles don’t often happen at a grad party – but everybody wants to see it.

If you have a mic system set people to face off in some rap battles. The crowd will determine who wins each battle!

It’s easier than you think to set this up, and it’s not that pricey either.

You can use your computer to download free software, use some large speakers which you can source cheaply from a music store if you have them for rental, and a microphone. 

If you’ve got a talented DJ friend – they’ll know what to do for the tunes!

Graduation Party Tunes, Tunes, Tunes!

Let’s not forget that each backyard graduation party will need music and music will make or break the party. If you’ve chosen a theme party, the music choices will be simple and everyone will know what to expect.

However, if you’ve gone for something else – you’ll need to play music that fits in with the vibe of the night.

Always pay attention to how people are doing and if they’re getting tired of your music choices.

Sometimes, switching things up to more energetic or even golden oldies is a great way to make things new.

Just be careful not to switch things up too early or at the wrong time, because that will clear the yard and ruin your grad party. 

Balloon Darts 

It’s very cheap to buy personalized balloons and some hilarious games that can be played involve them and darts.

You could put pictures of subjects or things you don’t like on the balloons and challenge your friends to throw darts at them.

Bursting the most balloons wins the game! Just be careful when playing and don’t stand behind the balloons.

Desserts Stand 

Everybody loves a dessert right? Why not sweeten up the deal by making an entire stand which has desserts all over it! 

You could have ice cream, cakes, chocolate – the whole thing! Of course, be aware of the climate for things melting and unwanted bugs. Check out our post for how to make an amazing dessert table yourself.

Hot Tub Or Pool

Okay, so this isn’t the cheapest option but if you have the means – make sure you use it. Hot tubs and pools can make a party super awesome, especially in hotter months. Plus they are great fun for a backyard graduation party. 

Get your friends to bring appropriate clothing ready for the night and enjoy these things. It’s wise to keep a towel station nearby though!

Backyard Graduation Party Ideas – Final Thoughts 

Grad parties are amazing, and they’re so important to get right.

When you’re planning them for your backyard, you’ll be restricted to costs and activities. But this doesn’t mean it can’t be epic! Good luck with your graduation party planning!

About Author

Author Image

Jane Sheriff is the founder, creative director, party planner and mom of three. She started Darling Celebrations back in 2012 to share easy and beautiful ideas for celebrating the special events in life.

Similar Posts