How to create the perfect outdoor entertaining space
By Michael and Carlene Duffy
From play spaces to entertaining, here’s a guide create the ultimate outdoor living space.
The temperate Australian climate makes outdoor entertaining particularly appealing. When building or renovating, it’s a good idea to consider how you entertain outdoors and account for that in the planning phase of the build. Although there’s no reason you can’t transform your existing deck or patio into the ultimate entertaining space and here, we tell you how.
Zone your space
Creating zones within your entertaining space is key. Multiple zones allow your guests to use the space with more freedom and fluidity and visually, zones make for a more interesting and layered scene. In addition to your dining table, you may wish to include relaxed seating areas within your space to promote conversation. A stand-alone bar cart or drinks trolley is another good addition to the space. These seem to have replaced the built-in bar that was popular in the 80’s and allow guests the freedom to help themselves. The fact that its mobile means the cart be put to other uses when you’re not entertaining.
Use layers for warmth and comfort
Your outdoor space should be an extension of your interior space and adding layers is just as important to your home exterior as it is indoors. Utilise outdoor rugs to help anchor the furniture and soften the hard surfaces. Advancements in the manufacturing of outdoor rugs means they are starting to mimic indoor rugs in terms of look and feel (many people even purchase outdoor rugs for indoor use), but unlike indoor rugs, they will hold up to the weather. Upholstered seating, scatter cushions, and throw blankets also help add colour, softness, and life to an outdoor space as well as encourage your guests to relax. Plants add another dimension of visual softness and using a range of different pots and varying types of plants creates a lush and leafy oasis.
Utilise outdoor materials
Working with materials that will withstand the elements is paramount to an outdoor space that stands the test of time. Quality furniture should withstand years of rain, wind and sun. Also keep to specific outdoor upholstery fabric and soft furnishings, which you can add to with your indoor collection when entertaining. Just make sure to return your indoor soft furnishings after use, as these fabrics are subject to fading and mould spores.
Stick to routine maintenance
Maintaining your outdoor space through regular upkeep is the key to keeping the area fresh and ready for use. Cleaning your BBQ after each use will prevent grime build-up and means it’s always ready for action. Similarly, regularly blowing or sweeping the leaves off the ground allows for spontaneous entertaining and on a practical note, prevents the leaves (especially gum leaves) from staining the decking or tiles. Finally, make sure the plants you purchase are suited to the conditions of your outdoor space and tend to them regularly to prevent casualties, which can be costly to replace.