Summer means blue-sky days spent playing in the grass, lengthy evenings relaxing in the backyard, and a desire to never, ever be stuck inside. That's why Amazon teamed up with TV personality Sabrina Soto to give you some tips to enhance your summer get-togethers.

Set reminders to help your garden flourish

Nourishing the plants in your yard and home can be so satisfying, and it’s one of the best excuses to spend all day outside. But gardening can be difficult, and one of the hardest things is remembering what you need to water—and when. Soto shares how Alexa takes the stress out of caring for plants and helps keep the garden ready for guests.

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“Gardening is one of my favorite hobbies, even though I may not have the greenest thumb! Alexa Reminders on my Echo Show 15 help me get in the groove with watering and pruning my plants when they need it. I’ve also started growing my own sage, parsley, and mint to take my dinner parties to the next level and give my recipes some fresh flavor. For the best tips and tricks to maximize your garden, I highly recommend checking out the Carmen Johnston Gardens Alexa Skill. Just say, ‘Alexa, open Carmen Johnston Gardens.’”

Cook it all with Alexa

Summer allows for lots of fun at home, but it’s also one of the best times of year to travel. Unfortunately, extended time away from home can leave you with spoiled food in the fridge. While the sage, parsley, and mint from the garden can be essential additions to any recipe, devising meals as you clean out the pantry is a challenge. But with Alexa, Soto says, you can turn that stress on its head.

“The days leading up to summer travel are when I love hosting the most, because I can cook everything in my fridge that would expire or just sit unused for the next week. Whether it’s an assortment of fruits and veggies, or meats and cheeses, I can turn it into a feast for friends and family. I love experimenting with flavors, but if I’m ever stumped on new ways to combine ingredients, I ask, ‘Alexa, what can I make with cheddar cheese, mint, bell peppers, and lemon?’ for help.”

Movie night under the stars

Nothing goes better with a meal than a movie, but moving your TV outside is a hassle. And if you’re hosting a big watch party, you need a big screen. The Fire TV Stick 4K Max can turn nearly any projector into a backyard movie theater. Stream more than 1 million movies and episodes (subscriptions may be required) right in your backyard. Soto outlines just how easy it is.

An image of Sabrina Soto in a backyard putting a bucket of popcorn on the floor. There are throw pillows in the bottom and a projecting screen in the background. There's a Fire TV stick plugged to a projector in the center.
An image of an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max connected to a projector. In the background is a girl eating cookies and popcorn in a backyard.

“Summer movie nights are one of my simple pleasures, and I love creating the ultimate viewing-party experience in my backyard. Using my Fire TV Stick 4K Max, a portable projector, and a foldable screen (a basic white sheet works, too!), I can easily transform my backyard into a movie theater. I also use this setup to watch live sports, or to play a silent black-and-white film and add some background entertainment to any cookout or hangout.”

The party starts when the sun goes down

While setting up an outdoor movie is a breeze with the Fire TV Stick 4K Max, it doesn’t mean you won’t be busy prepping food, arranging the patio, or dealing with the other details of any great summer hang. Luckily, Alexa can help you take care of the rest. Soto shares how she uses Alexa to cover all the bases.

“When hosting friends and family, small details tend to slip my mind—but with Alexa Routines, I never have to worry about the ambiance. I simply say, ‘Alexa, bring my backyard to life,’ and my colorful Philips Hue spotlights turn on, my twinkle lights start to glow, and my favorite dance playlist starts. It especially helps when I have my hands full. My daughter Olivia thinks I have magic powers!”

Don’t let uninvited guests suck the life out of your summer evening!

There’s nothing like getting home at the end of a long day—or a trip away—and kicking your feet up in the backyard. But few things can disrupt that blissful feeling like mosquitoes—summer’s great pest. Soto’s an expert at bringing utility into her decorations, and she’s got some tips for keeping the bugs away with style.

“I don’t know about you, but the mosquitoes have been out of control the past few years around my place. My go-to summer party additions, which also serve as décor, are citronella candles and tiki torches! Trust me, you’ll thank me later. For more tips, just ask, ‘Alexa, how do I get rid of mosquitoes?’”

Do you have any favorite summer outdoor activities? Or, have you come up with cool new ways to use Amazon to get the most out of your yard, deck, or patio? Let us know! You can email us, or tag us on Twitter or on the Instagram pages for Alexa and Fire TV.