With spring having just arrived, its time to dust off all the cobwebs from your BBQ and patio and start using your outdoor space again to kick back, entertain and enjoy the warmer weather. If your outdoor entertaining space is lacking character, try brightening it up with a few DIY simple fixes. Some extra lighting, sitting space and spring plants are enough to create your new outdoor living room.
Begin with a rough sketch of your area including table and chair dimensions, BBQ, access to house and garden configuration. Think realistically about what you and your family want and need and try not to over complicate or over crowd the design. Do you need a water feature or is this going to make it difficult when entertaining families with small children. Do you want to prepare and cook meals outside or simply just use the BBQ? Do you like hosting large parties or small, intimate dinners?
Seating is a large decision when planning and buying furniture. First it must be determined how many people you need to seat. Do you want day beds for lounging under the sun? Do you want barstools for entertaining by the bar at night? Hammocks are ideal during both the day and night and are easy to put up and take down. Ottomans are great for leg rests, seats or tables. If space is minimal, consider seats or couches that open up with storage space inside.
Your outdoor lighting can make or break an entertaining area as it is able to set the mood of the setting. If you only have spotlight lighting then it will be difficult to set the mood for an intimate dinner party. If you only have paths lights then it will be difficult to prepare and cook meals in the dark. A mixture of spotlight, accent lighting and path lighting is aimed for in order to established mood, safety and security.
Shade is an important consideration when planning an outdoor living space. Other than providing cover from the sun, it will also provide cover from some of our cooler winter elements such as wind and rain. Sometimes as little as an umbrella will do the trick but in other situations a shade cloth or even hard-structured pagoda is necessary. If you are planning on installing an outdoor kitchen, a hard structured rooftop is the way to go. Plants also provide fantastic shade if of sufficient height.
Finally, the last step is to accessorise your area with personalised colour, pillows and flora. Pot plants can be both aesthetically pleasing and practical if filled with herbs and vegies. Even consider hanging artwork or sculptures if you have the hanging capacity and security.
Your outdoor living space should be like an extension to your house. Start planning now so that when the warmer weather arrives, you are ready to entertain and enjoy!