How to Design an Outdoor Entertainment Area
For some homeowners, designing an outdoor entertainment area can be tricky, not only does it have to suit the kind of entertaining you want to do, but it also needs to be built to stand up against harsh outside weather.
If you're unsure how to approach your outdoor entertaining area, here's some of the best expert advise and ideas to design the front or backyard area of your dreams.
All about the layout
- Deciding the layout of your outdoor entertainment area is your first goal, as this is the stage where you decide exactly what you do and don't want to include. Try drawing out different zones for cooking, eating, relaxing and even a kids’ area for playing. It's always good to know the measurements and shape of the area you have to work with, that way you can really start to map the layout properly.
- For the cooking area, design it to be functional. If you're going for a built-in barbecue bench or a outdoor cooking area, make sure it has good ventilation or an exhaust and is placed away from door ways or windows so that smoke doesn't blow directly into the house.
There are a lot of YouTube videos that can show you how to build a barbecue bench. Alternatively, you can buy a quality portable BBQ so that you can move it depending on where people are sitting and which direction the wind is blowing.
- Don’t forget about lighting for your outdoor area. Solar lights can be useful if you have a large garden area or a patio-type yard and don't use any electricity. Deck lights on the other hand are well-suited to any stairs or steps. You can also use lanterns which emanate warm light and make for an atmospheric evening.
We don't recommend the use of candles however, as they are not suited for windy conditions and can pose a safety risk if left unattended.
- There are many decorating questions to ask yourself, like what type of flooring will you have? Timber decking and dark coloured pavers are the most low maintenance option, being easy to clean and polish. They both also create a sophisticated look to your outside area.
- When choosing your furniture, make sure it goes with your flooring, is comfortable and large enough for your desired event, but most importantly, designed for outdoor use. You can cover your outdoor chairs or sofas with blankets or throw-overs during the cooler season to keep your family and friends warm and cozy. You might also consider outdoor heaters so you can enjoy your entertaining area all year round.
- Garden or patio furniture are a good option for relaxed outdoor areas. Furniture like wrought iron chairs with protective coatings and plastic tables can withstand all types of weather.
Wicker outdoor chairs are also a good option for shaded areas, but they don't withstand bad weather as well. Plastic and wicker sets are also light enough that they can easily be arranged into different formations depending on your occasion.
- If you want to cover unsightly views over your fence or just want to have some privacy with family and friends, you can put up extra insulating, decorative walls or bamboo screens. These can be found at your local Bunnings or other hardware stores.
- Plants can create a sense of calm and serenity, even in limited space. Make sure your plants are suited to your area, as different areas of Australia can experience vastly different temperatures. Always choose plants that will thrive in your given climate.
Plants can also provide welcome shade in a large outdoor area - you could plant shady trees in corners or along your fence and then mix small trees with large shrubs and small plants throughout the space to create a natural flow of outdoor flora.
- If your outdoor area isn't so spacious, think about using large potted plants and hanging baskets with bright-coloured flowers. These can create a great atmosphere in even the smallest of entertaining areas.
- There is also the option of a water feature in your patio/outdoor area. The flow of water creates calming white noise but at the same time, it cools the surrounding air.
- If you only want to create an outdoor entertainment area for a small number of guests, putting up a pergola can be a good option. Additional climbing plants near the base is also a great touch, because as they grow they will provide shelter and cool down the pavements and furniture underneath.
- During summer, make sure your outdoor area is prepared for the heat. You can use shade cloth to protect certain areas - it filters out a lot of the suns rays but also lets breeze through and allows air to circulate.
Entertainment Choices to Enliven the Mood
- An outdoor audio/video system will help you entertain your guests all year round. Invest in a quality sound system so everyone will be able to hear it and dance the night away with your friends, or have an exciting movie screen instead.
- You'll also need to decide where to install your speakers. Do you want them to cover only the lounge area or reach the whole yard? Just avoid installing speakers that are too close to your neighbours and make sure that the installation area or speaker equipment is entirely water proof.
- To entertain kids, consider a space where they can play but where you can still keep an eye on them. You can find plenty of children's equipment online, like swings, slides, and seesaws, just make sure everything is built and installed properly so it is safe.
Does that give you some great ideas for your outdoor entertaining area? Planning and building your dream outdoor area will not only provide a great space to relax in your home but also the perfect space for entertaining guests.