Summer doesn't technically start until June 21, but its unofficial start date has always been Memorial Day. That's when you know it's OK to take the patio umbrella out of storage, dust off the grill and put the cushions back on the lounge chairs. To get you in the swing of things, we've rounded up a few items designed to help you celebrate this May date — and the rest of your summer — at home in style.
Turn your backyard into your new favorite dining spot with this Cookout Peterboro Picnic Basket, made by Crate & Barrel in partnership with Reese Witherspoon's lifestyle brand Draper James. The 18-by-12-by-9-inch Appalachian white ash and brass basket is handmade by a company that's been making baskets in New Hampshire since 1854. $50 at Crate & Barrel in Manhasset and online at crateandbarrel.com.
Make the most of your grill by adding a pot, such as this Dutch Oven Enameled Cast Iron one, which is specially designed by Big Green Egg for grilling. The round 4.2-quart pot has a lid that doubles as a shallow baking dish, and the entire pot is heat-resistant to 450 degrees and dishwasher-safe. $79.95 at Costello’s Ace Hardware in Bellmore (2667 Merrick Rd., 516-221-0010), and online at biggreenegg.com.
Serve up drinks, dinner and dessert with a side of camp with this oversized Outdoor Oasis Watermelon Melamine Serving Tray. The 16.25-inch-wide tray is dishwasher-safe and can withstand heat up to 212 degrees. $32 at JCPenney stores in Roosevelt Field, Westfield South Shore mall, and Smith Haven Mall, and online at jcpenney.com.
Blue plate special
Give disposable paper plates the boot and upgrade to these reusable Rustic Outdoor Melamine Dinner Plates from Williams Sonoma. Although they look like vintage earthenware, the 11-inch-diameterplates are actually made from top-rack dishwasher-safe shatterproof melamine. Not recommended for microwaves. Available in six colors. $12.95 each, with select colors available individually in store at Roosevelt Field; sets of four also available for $51.95 at williams-sonoma.com.
A little corny
Make your corn on the cob even more fun to eat with this eight-piece Green Character Corn Holders set from Sun Squad. The hand-washable set features a cactus, cockatoo, dinosaur and whale, and the interlocking design keeps sets paired for storage. $7 at Target stores in Huntington, Commack, Hicksville, Bay Shore, Levittown, South Setauket, Westbury and Sayville, and online at target.com.