1. Party Into the Night
One easy way to keep your guests cooler without investing money in your outdoor living areas is to simply schedule your gatherings later in the day.
With some well-designed lighting, you and your guests can fully enjoy your entertaining areas after the sun goes down.
This allows you to host outdoor parties without worrying about the sun or heat putting a damper on your soiree.
If you are concerned with your party going too late into the night, or if children with bedtimes will be attending, start your party around 5:00pm so that the temperature has had time to drop a bit, and families with children will be able to enjoy hours of fun before it is time to go.
2. Keep Fire Features at a Distance
Fire pits and patio fireplaces provide a focal point, a central gathering place and a welcoming environment at parties, but when the weather heats up, it might be best to forgo the fire features.
If you really want to have an inviting fire to help set the mood, hold off on lighting it until after dark and after the temperature has dropped significantly.
You should also make sure you have plenty of seating options that are away from the fire feature to allow guests to avoid the heat, if desired.
Sitting away from the fire still allows you and your guests to enjoy the light and ambiance without feeling the heat.
Keep in mind that the hotter, drier months of summer can also increase the risk of danger or damage, so be sure to follow basic safety precautions when using your fire feature.
3. Keep Guests Out of the Outdoor Kitchen
Keeping cooking on your patio to a minimum can help you avoid excessive heat outside, just like minimal indoor cooking can help keep your home cooler on hot days.
However, summer gatherings are often based around backyard cookouts, and this is the season when most of us want to use our barbecue grills as often as possible.
The good thing about this is that opting to prepare meals outdoors will help keep your house cooler and more comfortable when you head in for the night.
The bad thing is that it can make an already hot day even hotter.
If you have a portable barbecue grill, you can move it away from your main outdoor living areas to allow your guests to mingle away from the heat.
If you have a stationary outdoor kitchen, encourage your guests to hang out elsewhere by creating inviting seating areas away from the heat of the grill.
4. Keep Your Guests Hydrated
Much like the way summer gatherings are centered around grilling, they also tend to be centered around imbibing beer and other adult beverages that worsen dehydration.
And while the adults are enjoying beer or wine, the kids are usually drinking sodas, which are not nearly as hydrating as good, old-fashioned water.
Encourage your guests to drink water by making it readily available wherever they can grab a drink.
Make sure your beer and soda coolers or buckets also have some bottled water, and make it more appealing by filling a large drink dispenser with water and adding sliced lemons, limes, oranges or cucumber.
Tea has caffeine, so it is not as hydrating as water, but serving iced tea can also help keep your guests hydrated and cool.
5. Use Shade Wisely
If you are fortunate enough to have lots of shade trees or covered patios, use this to your benefit.
Even areas near fences or structures that are shaded during certain parts of the day are an advantage and can be put to good use for parties.
Create various groups of seating options set in these shady areas to provide cooler, comfortable spots where your guests can gather for smaller conversations or take a break from the action and cool off.