Patios mean a lot to us Austinites. The first chance to comfortably sit outside and enjoy happy hour signifies that summer has arrived. When the rest of the city becomes aware of the shift in the weather, Barton Springs Pool holds a steady crowd and the wait for happy hour gets longer.

Instead of staying indoors in order to avoid traffic and unruly wait times, we suggest you make the party come to you! Here at ABC Blind & Drapery, we know a thing or two about entertaining and as Austinites, we also know how to take advantage of a breezy summer day. Here are some tip & tricks that we’ve gathered along the way to help you make your home the place to be this summer.

There are a couple of things you need to address before you open yourself up to a neighborhood block party or volunteer to host this year’s family reunion. It’s important to be realistic about the time and space you have available, as well as to what degree you want to commit. If you take a look at our Products page, you’ll notice that we work with The Corradi Group, a company that designs and creates outdoor living spaces with products like Pergotendas, outdoor furniture, and retractable awnings. If you consider yourself a frequent backyard entertainer, we highly recommend their products, as they completely transform outdoor spaces and help ensure you’re always prepared for company.

If you’re without patio furniture, Lowe’s carries stackable patio chairs that are just $18 and are available in several different colors. Otherwise, you may have to pull from indoors to keep guests comfortable. This isn’t to say you should empty your living room. We all know that Texas heat doesn’t resign itself to midday. Unless you have a pool that people can cool off in, expect guests to seek the comfort of air conditioning at some point. If you have a closed in porch, or are looking to save money on your energy bill, we carry drop roller solar screens that can be attached to the sides of an existing covered patio or installed over exterior windows, French or sliding doors to block harmful UV rays.

When it comes to food, stick to the basics. If you own a grill, hamburger & hot-dogs are a summer staple. If you want to take it up a notch, vegetable kebabs are a simple, but delicious option. Add a fresh fruit salad and you’re sure to please your guests. Another way to turn an outdoor gathering into a party is by making these Adult Capri Sun pouches from She Knows. It’s a simple recipe that will add some flair to the beverage table. As for entertainment, we found a Buzzfeed article with 27 different outdoor games that range in the degree of set up required. The majority are kid friendly, but could be tweaked if it’s a 21+ get together. Once the space, entertainment, food and beverage are decided upon, all you have to do is decide who is coming to the party!

Feel free to post any party pictures to our Facebook page, we’d love to hear some of your outdoor entertaining ideas!