Outdoor barbeques are a big part of Texas culture. Enjoying good food, a cold beverage and the company of friends and neighbors becomes a way of life in the summertime. Beating the Texas heat can be a real challenge when hosting a backyard dinner, but here are a few tips to keep your family, guests and even your dog a little more comfortable. Whether you have a home in Lakeway or a condo in Marble Falls, these tips can make any outdoor area a pleasant oasis this summer.
Creating as much shade as possible is the first line of defense against the Texas heat. Even if you have a covered patio, additional shady places help cool the area and provide more inviting gathering spaces. There are many options for remote shade. One versatile and inexpensive possibility is shade sails. They come in square and triangle shapes and can be mounted to walls, fences or trees to make either a pocket or expanse of shade. Canopies are an option that can either be used occasionally or set up as needed to create a cool seating space for backyard visitors or to create a shaded barbeque spot for the cook. Gazebos and pergolas provide shade and can add to the atmosphere of the backyard as an attractive touch. Large umbrellas are a cool and attractive feature in any backyard.
Pergolas, archways and trellises can create shade, entrances and seating places. Using a pergola or trellis in the garden is a beautiful way to mark the entrance. Planting some vining plants and wrapping and weaving them around the structure makes a romantic and shady archway. This is also a good place to add some stepping stones, bricks or pavers, creating a doorway into your garden.
H2O is the Way to Go
A misting system on the patio is a good way to lower the air temperature. Most people opt for the restaurant style mister that is installed overhead and hidden among beams and plants. A quality misting system can cool the air up to 30 degrees depending on the temperature and relative humidity. The most expensive part of a misting system is usually the pump, this is what creates the microfine water droplets that create evaporative cooling to the area. This sort of cooling system is less effective in areas that do not get very hot and when the humidity level is over 80%. There are also large umbrellas and canopies that come with built in misting systems for a more portable option. Ponds and fountains are one of the best ways to create a sense of life and tranquility, just being near it has a cooling effect Fountains can be found pre-made or created using a variety of items from stones to pottery or buckets with tubing and a pump.
Become a Fan of Fans
Creating your own cool breezes when there are none is key to making your own cooling oasis. Many homeowners install ceiling fans on their patios to provide cooling air circulation. This is a good idea, but also consider using portable fans to keep other shady areas cool. Moving air feels cooler and helps sweat evaporate to keep everyone cool, dry and comfortable when enjoying an outdoor dinner. Fans used in conjunction with a misting system is sometimes the perfect option to keeping your backyard the coolest place in town!
Garden and patio furniture adds extended living space for your home, It also offers comfortable seating for you and your guests to enjoy the surrounding beauty you have created. Umbrella tables are a nice way to create a shady spot for dining al fresco, colorful hammocks can provide a comfortable and relaxing place to read or watch the clouds or stars, adding benches or Adirondack chairs painted in shades to compliment the garden flowers provides comfort and added appeal.
Ice, Ice Baby
Whether you have guests, or it is just the family enjoying an outdoor dinner on a summer evening, keeping an ice chest supplied with lots of ice, a good supply of cold drinks and some cooling gel packs can make a nice time even better. Staying hydrated and the keeping body temperature down allows everyone to enjoy themselves and feel comfortable.
Dog Day Afternoons
Dogs enjoy being with the family outdoors, and there are things you can do to make your dog’s summer more fun too. Set up an inexpensive wading pool for him and toss in some dog toys that will float around and entice him to get them. When playing “fetch” toss the ball into the pool to keep him cool and add to the fun. Make an ice puzzle by placing water, a couple of toys, some carrots or berries, and a couple of dog cookies into a large bowl and freeze it. Once it is solid take it out to the patio and remove it from the bowl. Hours of cooling fun and treats for the dog and some good entertainment for the family.
Beating the summer heat in Texas sometimes be challenging. By adding a few things to your outdoor living space, you can enjoy the company of your friends and family and take a little vacation every weekend without ever leaving your home!