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4 Outdoor Entertaining Ideas for the Ultimate Summer Party

Throwing an outdoor party this summer? Here are the best ideas and tips to take advantage of your outdoor living space and throw an unforgettable hot-weather bash! 

Coordinate the Logistics

Before you get down to the fun, make sure you’ve handled the logistics so that everything can run smoothly. Whether or not you’ve sent an official invitation, make sure your guests know the following:

  1. What they’ll be eating: If you’re planning to serve only drinks and finger foods, make sure they know they should eat a full meal beforehand — and try not to schedule your party during a typical mealtime. If you’re grilling out, make sure to let guests with dietary restrictions (vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free) know if you’ll have food for them, or whether they should bring their own.
  2. What should they wear: Is this a swimming party? A formal summer cocktail party?

Next, you’ll want to do a little space preparation. Make sure you’ve got enough seating for everyone — even if it means dragging some of your indoor furniture outside. If you’re hosting a big party, you might consider renting some equipment. Folding chairs start at just $2 a seat, and you can also rent speakers, coolers, and a bigger grill if necessary. 

Finally, make sure it’s your guests who are doing the eating — not the bugs. Get rid of any standing water, where mosquitoes breed, and light citronella candles around the yard, which will banish the bugs and provide a lovely glow for a nighttime soiree. 

Create a Vibe

The great thing about an outdoor party is that the lack of walls means there’s less to decorate. Still, you want your yard to look its best for your summer bash, so make sure the lawn is mowed and weeds are pulled. Summertime decor is best when it’s simple and natural, so feel free to steal right from your own garden! Floating gardenias or peonies look positively magical in a centerpiece bowl, as do vases of flowers spread around your food table. 

For something a little more fun, try hanging a colorful banner or bunting, or — for nighttime affairs — string paper lanterns around the perimeter of your yard. You can even wrap your trees in string lights for a romantic glow. If you’re expecting kids to be in attendance, hang a piñata from a patio roof and let them go to town, or even fill it with loot for the adults if this is an adults-only party.

Plan Your Menu

A summertime party is all about fun, whether you’re in the pool, racing down the Slip ’n Slide, or throwing water balloons. That’s why the food you serve can be much simpler and lighter than any other time of year. If you plan to grill out, make sure you have veggie burgers and/or roasted vegetables to accommodate alternative diets. Chop up a rainbow of assorted fruits and veggies for a platter of snacks that won’t spoil in the hot summer sun. 

If you plan on making any dairy-based foods — especially creamy dips and dressings — fill a cooler or large bowl with ice, and sprinkle it with kosher salt. When you place your dish on top, it will stay cooler for longer — an absolute must in the Texas heat. 

Cold drinks are crucial at any summer party, so make sure you’re well stocked and that guests can serve themselves for ultimate convenience. Have at least three coolers on hand — one for water, one for alcoholic beverages, and one for non-alcoholic drinks. If you’re offering cocktails, stock a small table or bar cart with all the essentials — glasses, liquor, mixers, ice, a cocktail shaker, and garnish — so that you can have fun without playing bartender all day long. 

Offer Some Fun in the Sun

If you’ve got a pool, you’re in luck, because there’s not much else a summertime party needs. If you don’t, make sure to have plenty of diversions — especially if you’re expecting kids. Here are some of our favorite summer entertaining ideas to keep everyone cool:

  • A sprinkler, Slip ’n Slide, and beach balls
  • Backyard games like croquet, bocce ball, or bean bag toss
  • Squirt guns/super soaker wars
  • Lawn Twister
  • A balloon toss

Make sure to set up plenty of shade — rent or borrow some extra umbrellas if you’ll need them — to keep guests cool so your party can last all day long. If your yard doesn’t have a pool and you’re worried about extreme heat, consider a nighttime bash instead. You can host an after-dark movie night easily — just hook up a projector to your laptop, and display your favorite summer movie on a hung sheet or blank wall. Just don’t forget the popcorn!

Looking for more ways to enjoy your outdoor space this summer? As custom home builders in Austin, we design spaces customized to your needs, and we know how important it is to have an outdoor space you can enjoy all year long. For more information about how we can create your personal dream space — pool included! — contact us. Let us use our custom home builder expertise to get started on your new forever home.

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