Everyone likes a summer barbecue, and one of the reasons for this is the simplicity of it all. A grill, some meat and good company (and good weather!) are all that is required. So what could possibly go wrong?

Hosting a problem and stress-free barbecue is not always as easy as it sounds. With BBQ season now in sight here are five tips to keep in mind to help ensure your event is a success.

1. Add Some Excitement to the Menu

If you want to do something a bit different from the standard burgers and bangers, it never hurts to get a bit more inventive. There is no end to what you can cook on a barbecue, including fresh seafood like squid or tuna steaks, whole roast chickens, vegetable kebabs and even hot chocolate and banana deserts.

If you want to stick to something more traditional, at least go beyond supermarket burgers and seek out some top quality steaks. If you want burgers, think about making your own; this is a simple task that can be done in advance, giving you extra kudos with your guests. And don't forget the side dishes, especially if you can go beyond a standard salad and make something a bit more interesting.

2. Entertain Your Guests

A good barbecue involves more than just the food that you serve up – it's also about good entertainment. Sitting around in a pleasant summer garden can be entertainment enough, but it never hurts to have a few games on standby to keep everyone happy, which is even more important when children are present.

Set up a volleyball court in the garden, get out the paddling pool for the kids, have a frisbee, tennis rackets and water pistols handy, and you'll ensure that everyone has a great time.

3. Plan Ahead

If everything turns into a mad rush on the day, you won't enjoy the experience as much and you won't be around to keep your guests entertained. The secret is to plan well in advance.

This involves marinading the meat the day before to improve the flavour, and preparing the side dishes and leaving them in fridge. If you get all the time-intensive tasks like chopping vegetables out of the way, you can then focus on simply grilling the main meal, entertaining your guests and enjoying yourself.

4. Work on the Setting

Any old back garden is a perfect setting for a barbecue, but you should still put a bit of effort into making the surroundings look pleasant before inviting your guests around. The week before your barbecue, do all the basic tasks like mowing the lawn and cutting the hedge, but then go beyond this for a barbecue to remember.

Buy some stylish lanterns to create a pleasant atmosphere once the sun has set, place a few citronella candles around the garden to keep mosquitos at bay, buy a new tablecloth, hang a few fairy lights around the tree, and generally make an effort. It will be appreciated by your guests. If your furniture is feeling a bit sorry for itself and you want to truly achieve the wow factor, consider investing in a good quality new outdoor dining set – something that will last you for many more years and barbecues to come.

5. Stay Safe

Food poisoning is a real risk in barbecue season, and the last thing you want is for your barbecue to make all of your friends sick. Whatever other steps you take to make sure your barbecue is a success, always ensure you follow safety standards to avoid food poisoning.

This involves cleaning all the utensils before using them, cooking all the meat through properly – you may want to buy a probe thermometer to check that food is hot enough inside – and keeping uncooked meat away from cold salads and cooked meat.

These five simple tips will help you to make sure your barbecue is a resounding success this summer. No one wants their barbecue to be remembered for the wrong reasons, so keep these tips in mind and you will ensure that your reputation as the King or Queen of the barbecue remains intact.