Sick and tired of your backyard? Wish you had a better space to entertain friends and family? Or just to enjoy on your own?
With another long weekend ahead of us, it is the perfect time to think about remodelling your outdoor area. James from Outdoor Living Direct has kindly guest authored today’s post to help our readers “get it right”.
Before You Do Anything Else
When the seminal 1980s glam band Mötley Crüe released their very first single Stick To Your Guns, a young Vince Neil sang “what’s right for you ain’t right for everyone”. He probably didn’t have home renovations in mind when delivering these lyrics, but these sentiments apply exceedingly well to designing an outdoor entertaining area.
There is no “one-size-fits-all” outdoor entertaining space that’s perfect for everyone. What works for you will depend on who you are and what you want to do with it. The perfect courtyard for a retired couple with grandchildren will look very different to the perfect courtyard for a childless couple in their twenties.
So before doing anything else, think about who is going to use the space and what they will use it for. How many people will you actually be having over? Will it be during the day, at night, through summer, through winter? Does it need to be child friendly? Will you be holding wild, raucous parties? Quiet, relaxed occasions? Family barbecues? Will you be sharing this space with any furry family members (i.e. pets)?
Your flooring is, quite literally, the foundation of your entire outdoor entertaining area. There are many options here: concrete slabs, tiles, concrete pavers, natural stone, timber decking and brick are some of the more popular.
Here are some pros and cons to help with your choices:-
Concrete slabs are very low maintenance but are a difficult DIY project and cracks are hard to fix.
- Concrete pavers will cost more than a concrete slab but it’s much easier to fix cracks as individual pavers can be removed and replaced.
- Timber decking is an approachable DIY project for those with the tools and know-how but to have any longevity it will need to be treated and resealed every few years.
Weather reports are pretty good these days but unpredictable things still happen. Whether it’s the sun or the rain you need to avoid, shelter is crucial in an outdoor entertaining area!
For permanent shelter you can consider pergolas, verandahs, patios or gazebos.
Cantilever umbrellas really come into their own when planning permission is a hassle as they are easily moved.
They differ from traditional patio umbrellas as the pole is located at the side, creating a more luxurious sense of shade.
If you’re going to entertain at night, lighting is crucial. This can be handled simply and inexpensively with candles or outdoor torches, or if the area ever gets windy you might want to consider firepots.
Solar powered outdoor LED lights are an inexpensive way to add lighting to an outdoor area as there is no need for wiring or to replace globes.
Not a lot of entertaining can happen in your outdoor entertaining area without somewhere to sit, relax, converse, and set your food and drinks down!
Lounge suites, dining sets, chairs and tables are all obvious places to start when considering how to furnish your outdoor entertaining area.
If space is limited, cube settings are a great way to minimise the footprint of your outdoor setting. With a cube setting, the chairs and stools can be tucked away under the table, minimising the space the setting takes up.
And don’t forget the simple hammock – a wonderful way to recline when the weather’s nice.
You don’t have to cook outside – there’s nothing wrong with cooking in the kitchen and then bringing out the food. Cooking outside does lend itself to a more convivial atmosphere though, as the host can keep talking to his or her guests while cooking up a storm.
Barbecues are very popular throughout Australia and it’s not hard to see why. Not all barbecues are the same. Round “kettle” style barbecues work by application of indirect heat, similar to an oven, while grill style barbecues work by application of direct heat, much like a stove. Kettle barbecues tend to be more economical with both money and space, while grill barbecues let you cook more things at once.
If you’re really in the mood to be extravagant, think about installing an entire outdoor kitchen, complete with sink, bar fridge, storage space, maybe even a pizza oven.
To put the finishing touches on your new space, accessorise.
An inspired choice of wall art, outdoor beanbags, a sculpture, or some other little extra can be all the difference between a good space and an outstanding one.
Well I hope James has provided you with inspiration for remodelling your outdoor entertaining area.
Please comment below and let us know what changes you have been inspired to put into action this weekend.