It is summer and time to entertain. Now is the ideal time to plan that outside entertainment area or if you already have one to give it a now look or feel.
Here are a few points to consider before you design that relaxing outdoor living or entertainment area.
When designing your area it is important to look at the following;
- The space you have available
- Your needs, what do you like doing for example: do you need a grill area?
- The type of entertaining you will be doing; is it mainly during the day or at night
- Do you need a theme?
- A list of "must haves"
- Your budget
When you have answered the above you can start with the design of the area.
Most outdoor space will require shading. You might even be thinking about adding an area with a roof for protection against other elements like rain.
Shading does not have to be expensive. Adding arched trellis covered with vines or a wooden or steel pergola can be sufficient.
When thinking about shading you should also think about climate control. For warmer days you can add a few fans and water features if the shading is not efficient enough. For colder days a fire pit or outdoor fireplace or even a Jacuzzi can do the trick.
A good idea is to start with cover against the sun and then to add a roof or solid structure after a while. So often the most beautiful spaces are created but then they are soon forgotten. Make sure of your requirements before you spend any money.
Lighting and Fire Pits
Any space inside and outside needs good lighting to create the right ambiance.
When you plan the lighting keep the following in mind;
- Make sure there is enough day time light for when you are entertain during the day
- Do not consider harsh spotlights but instead rather make use of hanging lanterns, pathway lights or candles when you entertain at night
- Make use of strategically placed lights to bring attention to flowers, plants and water features
- Make sure that your dining area is well-lit and if not candles or lanterns on the table can provide not only the right light, but also atmosphere
- If you are planning a bar area it must be well-lit
- Lastly, make sure the path ways and steps are well-lit at night time
The popularity of fire pits and the fire effects they produce in the garden is one of fastest growing trends in outdoor design. The allure of sitting around a fire ring has been around since the beginning of mankind. Fire provides warmth, light, a cooking source and, of course relaxation. A dancing flame has a mesmerizing affect that encourages you to unwind and settle in. The popularity of fire pits, or conversation pits as they are commonly called, has grown rapidly in recent years. Proper design and construction will ensure a safe and enjoyable feature that will last several decades.
Fire is a great way to enjoy the view. If you have a lot with a view, locate fire features at the edge of the property in a place where people will have a chance to enjoy the fire while taking in the surroundings.
Consider the view from indoors too. Place features where they can be easily seen from your interior living and entertainment space so people can enjoy the show indoors and out. Fire pits are almost always preferred on view lots over fireplaces.
Locate your fire where warmth will be most welcome. Placing fire near the spa, for example, provides a way for people to continue to enjoy the area in comfort in or out of the water.
You can never have enough seating arrangements. Of importance is to go back to your design and to plan the seating according to your needs.
- If you want to entertain in a casual manner you can use sofas, armchairs, swings, ottoman’s, hammocks and a bar with seating.
- If you want to entertain in a more formal way you will have to think about tables and chairs and a serving area
Make use of furniture which can quickly be used as seating for example storage chests. It can be used for storage during the day and by adding a few cushions it can also be used as seating at night.
The outside area is just as important as any other room in your house, therefore you should not neglect what you will be adding to it. Adding a theme can create just that little bit extra you are looking for.
Accessories do not have to be expensive. Colourful pillows, table cloths, rugs, lanterns and decorative candles and candleholders can create a fantastic atmosphere.
"Shop" in your own home. Look for those items that you are no longer using and have stashed away in the garage. You might be surprised at what you will find.