Host a Poolside Party Complete with Sunny Décor and Cool Bites

outdoor table with place settings under canopy
Photo: Laura Hull

Summer. Pool. Good friends. For one L.A. design team, it all adds up to a party.

01 of 13

The Perfect Place for a Party

poolside outdoor table under canopy
Laura Hull

Ron Woodson couldn't avoid entertaining if he wanted to. His backyard in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, with an alluring tiled pool and lush landscaping, seems to naturally call for a party. No doubt his friends with a social yearning love to get an invite "ping" from Ron on their devices.

02 of 13

Dream Design Duo

ron woodson and jamie rummerfield
Laura Hull

When it was time to host a summer soirée, Ron teamed with his design partner, Jamie Rummerfield, to augment his colorful backyard with an effortlessly chic table scheme. (The duo, pictured here, owns the L.A.-based firm Woodson & Rummerfield.)

03 of 13

Cool Under the Canopy

outdoor table with place settings under canopy
Laura Hull

Ron and Jamie wanted the beaming sun to accessorize, not steal, the show. Their solution? A protective cabana-style tent trimmed in pool blue and tangerine. Underneath, the pair assembled a host of textures that range from chairs with a chunky, sweater-like weave to fabrics with geometric and paint-splotch patterns.

A Boutique Tents cabana shades JANUS et Cie's "Tosca" armchairs and "Mirthe" table. Tumblers from Devine are as colorful as Bloom & Plume flowers and Inner Gardens kumquat trees. The "Commodore" lantern and rug are from Harbinger.

04 of 13

Coral and Gold Place Settings

orange patterned napkin on place setting
Laura Hull

Those lucky guests who got the ping toasted with peach fizz cocktails, followed by chilled cucumber soup, grilled salmon with pasta primavera, and melon-basil granité.

A runner in "Shiboni" fabric, placemats in "Splat," and napkins in "Basket Case," all from Perennials, dress the table set with metallic gold chargers and Wedgwood "Nantucket Basket" plates.

05 of 13

Vintage Style

four vintage blue and white glasses
Laura Hull

The blue-and-white glasses are vintage from Ron's collection.

06 of 13

Fashionable Lounge Chair

close-up square-patterned pillow
Laura Hull

The pillow (and Jamie's dress) are from Trina Turk.

07 of 13

Sitting Pretty

close-up costa mesa medallion pillow
Laura Hull

The "Costa Mesa Medallion" pillow is also from Trina Turk.

08 of 13

Succulent Decor

succlents in wavy ceramic container
Laura Hull

A wavy ceramic container from Inner Gardens holds succulents.

09 of 13

Refreshing Flavors

close-up silverware on place setting
Laura Hull

The design team of Ron Woodson and Jamie Rummerfield beat the heat with a delightfully light and refreshing summer luncheon menu. Recipes are by Los Angeles chef Mary Payne Moran.


  • Peach Fizz Cocktail
  • Chilled Cucumber-Cashew Soup
  • Grilled Pasta Primavera
  • Grilled Salmon with Thyme and Lemon
  • Grilled Ciabatta
  • Grilled Watermelon with Melon-Basil Granité

Shopping List

We've organized a shopping list to make shopping for this party menu easier for you. Package sizes are included so you have enough for duplicated recipe ingredients.
Note: Unless specified, when we call for "butter" we mean the unsalted variety. When we call for "brown sugar," we are calling for light brown sugar.

Check your pantry for these necessary items before shopping:

  • Ground cumin (need 1/2 teaspoon)
  • Kosher salt
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • Non-stick cooking spray with olive oil
  • Good quality olive oil (need 6 tablespoons, plus enough for Grilled Ciabatta)
  • Granulated sugar (need 1 cup)

Specialty grocery store

  • Champagne vinegar
  • 1 small wedge Parmigiano Reggiano


  • 3 peaches (enough for 24 slices to garnish six cocktails)
  • 3 lemons (enough for 8 tablespoons juice and zest)
  • 1 large cantaloupe
  • 1 large seedless watermelon
  • 3 pounds cucumbers
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 2 small tomatoes
  • 1 zebra eggplant or regular eggplant
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow summer squash
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 large portobello mushroom
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 bunch fresh dill weed
  • 1 bunch fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 bunch fresh chive
  • 2 bunches fresh basil


  • 1 (12-ounce) package dried spinach fettuccine or linguini pasta
  • Filtered water, enough for 3 cups

Baking aisle

  • 1 (5- to 6-ounce) package roasted, unsalted cashews

Seafood counter

  • 6 (4- to 6-ounce) skinless salmon fillets, about 1-inch thick


  • 1 pint half-and-half
  • 1 (8-ounce) container sour cream


  • 1 (16-ounce) loaf ciabatta


  • 2 (750-milliliter) bottles Rosé Prosecco (to make six cocktails)
10 of 13

Peach Fizz Cocktail

peach fizz cocktails
Peter Krumhardt

A simple garnish of peaches and thyme changes a glass of prosecco into an elegant summer aperitif.

Champagne cocktails with slices of fresh peaches and sprigs of thyme fill blown-glass "Barre" flutes from Simon Pearce. They are set on a handled seagrass tray from Target.

  • 6 ounces Rosé Prosecco
  • 4 fresh peach slices, skin left on*
  • 1 sprig of thyme

Add peach slices to sparkling rosé. Garnish with fresh sprig of thyme. Makes 1 serving.

*Tip: Freeze peach slices before using to help keep wine cold.

11 of 13

Chilled Cucumber-Cashew Soup

bowls of cucumber-cashew soup
Laura Hull

The combination of dill and cashews brings depth to this refreshing, light summer soup.

  • 1/2 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
  • 1-1/4 cups half-and-half
  • 3 pounds cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill weed, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • Fresh dill, cucumber, and lemon peel for garnish

In 2-cup measure, combine cashews and half-and-half. Let stand 20 minutes.

Add half of cashew mixture and half of cucumber to blender container. Cover; blend until very smooth. Strain through fine mesh sieve. Add remaining cashew mixture, remaining cucumbers, green onions, sour cream, lemon juice, champagne vinegar, dill weed, parsley, and cumin to blender container; cover, blend until smooth. Strain; combine with first mixture. Discard solids.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover; chill 2 hours or until thoroughly chilled. Garnish with fresh dill, julienned pieces of cucumber, and shredded lemon peel, as desired. Makes 6 (3/4-cup) servings.

12 of 13

Grilled Pasta Primavera

bowl of grilled pasta primavera
Peter Krumhardt

Grilling the vegetables for this primavera gives this classic dish a new twist.

  • Nonstick spray with olive oil
  • 2 small tomatoes, each cut into 4 slices
  • 1 zebra eggplant or regular eggplant, sliced 1/2-inch thick on bias
  • 1 zucchini, sliced 1/2-inch thick on bias
  • 1 yellow summer squash, sliced 1/2-inch thick on bias
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rings
  • 1 portobello mushroom, stemmed and gills removed, sliced into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
  • 1 (12-ounce) package dried spinach fettuccine or linguini pasta
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon snipped fresh chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon snipped fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano

Spray vegetables with olive oil spray; season with kosher salt.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Grill vegetables 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until grill marks are dark and vegetables are just tender. Remove vegetables; transfer to sheet tray.

Toss grilled vegetables with lemon juice, champagne vinegar, and 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; transfer pasta to very large bowl. Immediately toss pasta with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 teaspoons salt. Cool slightly. Add grilled vegetables, parsley, chives, and thyme. Toss gently to combine.

Season to taste with additional salt, pepper, and olive oil. Top with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano to taste. Serve with Grilled Salmon and Grilled Ciabatta Bread. Makes 6 (2-cup) servings.

Grilled Salmon with Thyme and Lemon

  • 6 (4- to 6-ounce) skinless salmon fillets, about 1-inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

Rinse fish; pat dry. Brush both sides of salmon with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Top salmon with parsley, thyme, and lemon zest.

For charcoal grill, place salmon on greased rack of uncovered grill directly over medium coals. Grill 8 to 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily, turning fish once halfway through grilling. (For gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place fish on grill rack. Cover and grill as above.)

Halve fillets by cutting crosswise. Serve salmon alongside Pasta Primavera with Grilled Ciabatta. Makes 6 servings.

Grilled Ciabatta

  • 1 (16-ounce) loaf ciabatta bread, cut into 12 slices
  • Olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt

Lightly coat bread with olive oil and salt. Heat grill to medium-high heat. Grill bread 2 minutes on each side or until lightly charred and toasted. Makes 6 servings.

13 of 13

Grilled Watermelon with Melon-Basil Granité

bowl of grilled watermelon
Peter Krumhardt

A granité is basically a shaved ice dessert. It can be made at least two days ahead and kept covered and frozen.

Dessert is served in Villeroy & Boch's "Flow" bowl.

  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups cantaloupe, diced, then pureed
  • 2 cups seedless watermelon, diced, then pureed
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 9 quartered watermelon slices, grilled*, rind left on
  • Small basil leaves

In medium saucepan combine water and sugar. Cook and stir on medium heat until sugar has dissolved.

Stir in pureed cantaloupe, watermelon, 1 cup basil leaves, and lemon juice. Let stand 30 minutes.

Use slotted spoon to remove and discard basil leaves. Pour liquid into 3-quart rectangular baking dish. Freeze 2-1/2 hours.

Use the tines of fork to scrape mixture into ice crystals; flatten down ice crystals. Place granité back in freezer another 30 minutes. Repeat process until mixture is light, fluffy, and can be scooped like ice cream, about 2-1/2 hours more.

Scoop granité onto each grilled watermelon slice. Garnish with additional small basil leaves. Makes 9 (1-cup) servings.

*For Grilled Watermelon, dry each slice of watermelon well. Spray each slice with light nonstick spray. Heat grill to very high heat and sear watermelon quickly on one side. Remove; allow to cool before serving granité on top.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles