5 Tips for Creating the Ultimate Outdoor Entertaining Area
Designing a modern outdoor entertaining area can be a daunting task especially since there are so many different elements that help to make an outdoor space functional and aesthetically pleasing. Before you start buying up big on outdoor furniture, appliances and plants, browse through our top five tips for creating the ultimate outdoor entertaining area. From making the most of your space to budgeting for the expenses involved in revamping your backyard, you’ll find some great ideas that will help to make the process easier.
Make the most of your space
Before you get started bringing your outdoor entertaining area ideas to life, it’s important to take stock of how much space you have to spare. Measure the area, including the width and depth, to calculate the actual size. These measurements will be crucial when deciding on outdoor appliances, furniture and other essentials throughout your outdoor renovations.
If you don’t have a lot of space to play with, creating a sense of cohesion between the outdoors and indoors is key. From the incorporation of large glass windows and doors into your design to ensuring that the colour palettes work together, there are plenty of great ways to bring the indoors outside and make your backyard an extension of your living space.
If your backyard is large enough, you may even want to consider creating several different zones that cater to the needs of your household. From a covered dining area and an outdoor kitchen to a leafy oasis perfect for settling in with a cup of tea and a good book, there are plenty of ways to create zones with different activities in mind. Think about how you, your family and your friends spend their time outdoors and tailor your designs accordingly.
Ensure you have the essentials covered
Shade and shelter
Both shade and shelter are key to protecting you from the sun and the elements as you spend time outdoors. Shade can come in many different forms, from awnings and pergolas to established trees, while shelter is a more permanent solution that could be attached to your home or stand alone as a separate structure. If you hope to enjoy your backyard even when it’s raining, shelter is a must, while shade can help to cool down the space on a hot, sunny day.
While outdoor areas are often well lit by the sun during the day, without the right lighting you may find that the party stops once the sun sets. If you plan to use your outdoor space after dark, ensure that you choose lighting to suit your style. From fairy lights and lanterns to strategically placed downlights, there are plenty of great options on the market. Choose to have hardwired fittings installed or enjoy the flexibility offered by solar-powered lighting.
Although lighting can be a great way to create ambience in your outdoor space, it’s also important for practical reasons too. If you plan on creating an outdoor kitchen, you’ll need adequate lighting for preparing and cooking your food, while strategically placed lights can help to ensure the safety of your family and friends if there are steps, slopes or uneven surfaces within the area.
When you think of relaxing in your backyard, the last thing you want is to be overlooked by your neighbours or people passing in the street. To help ensure you enjoy some privacy while making the most of your outdoor space, consider incorporating hedges, well placed screens and other elements into your design.
Heating and cooling
If you’re wanting to enjoy your outdoor space all year round, heating and cooling can be great additions to your outdoor renovations. In regions with a warmer climate, you may want to consider outdoor fans, while homes in cooler locations may be better suited to outdoor heaters. If the region you live in tends to get very hot in summer and quite chilly in winter, you could even look to install both.
Create a space that’s practical and stylish
The primary aim of creating an outdoor entertainment space is to give yourself somewhere to host guests and spend time with your friends and family. While the appearance of the space is important in making it a place that you’d like to spend time, you should also look to incorporate practical elements that will help to improve your time outdoors.
If you enjoy cooking, an outdoor kitchen, complete with a hotplate, sink and preparation area, can allow you to cook up a storm without having to worry about missing out on any of the action outside. Outdoor kitchen costs can be quite high, but there are plenty of great ideas online for DIY outdoor kitchens too. Storage, whether it comes in the form of baskets, shelves or clever furniture with space to stow items, is also well worth incorporating into your design, helping you to keep the space tidy and organised when it’s not in use.
Another key consideration is the amount of space you have available to fit the furniture required to seat your family and friends comfortably. You’ll need enough room for a dining set, an outdoor lounge or whatever other furniture you’ll be using. Be sure to leave enough room to allow everyone to walk around and between the furniture too.
Have fun accessorising
Once you have all the essentials covered and have created a practical space that you can enjoy with your family and friends, you can look to add the finishing touches. Helping to draw the design elements of the area together, furniture, soft furnishings, decor and feature plants are all great ways to accessorise.
When choosing furniture for your outdoor entertaining area, it’s important to select pieces that will hold up well when exposed to the elements. Look for furniture that’s made of outdoor-grade materials that won’t fade when left in the sun, rot when exposed to the rain or tip over easily in strong winds.
Helping to make your outdoor space comfortable and inviting, soft furnishings can be the perfect finishing touch. Cushions, seat pads and tablecloths can all be great for introducing colour, pattern and texture. Have fun coordinating and contrasting to create an area that is as visually appealing as it is comfortable.
If you don’t have space for a landscaped garden, it doesn’t mean that you need to live without a touch of greenery in your backyard. Look for plants that suit the amount of space you have to spare and, if you’re not wanting to spend your spare time tending to your plants or clearing leaf litter, low maintenance options.
Settle on a realistic budget before you begin your outdoor renovations
Whether you’re planning on overhauling your backyard yourself or are thinking about hiring contractors to get the job done, it’s important to settle on a realistic budget early. Outdoor renovation costs can add up quickly when you take into consideration the costs of landscaping, furniture, decking and more, so it’s a good idea to know exactly how much money you have to play with when you start.
Get in touch with contractors, suppliers and anyone else who would be involved in the renovation and ask for quotes so you can get a better idea of how much everything will cost. Once you’ve done this, you can use the quotes to help you develop a more realistic breakdown of your expenses. If you’re wanting to stay on top of your budget, think about bucketing your funds into different key areas, such as flooring, furniture and appliances.
Just like any other type of home renovation, it can be a good idea to give yourself some breathing room within your budget in case your materials or labour ends up costing more than initially planned. Instead of stopping work until you can afford the next stage of your outdoor overhaul, you’ll have most costs accounted for.