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Creating Your Perfect Outdoor Entertainment Space

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With UK homes getting steadily smaller, it makes sense to maximise your outside space. Here’s how to create an outdoor space for home entertaining.

What is it for?

Start by defining what you want from your outdoor space. Will it be a place for outdoor dining and enjoying drinks? Or more of a tranquil space where you can sit chatting with friends and family. Likely, it will serve a combination of uses, so define and zone areas for all your outdoor activities, from reading a book to hosting a dinner party.

An outdoor kitchen can be a great choice for al fresco dining. Why not invest in a designed kitchen built with durable materials to handle the British climate? Kitchen designers have 3D design options so you can configure your space from the comfort of your sofa. And with pubs and bars getting costlier, building an outdoor bar allows you to socialise at home and save money on your drinks bill. Backyard bar sheds are trending and their timber construction creates an organic feel to your space.

Atmosphere

Creating an atmosphere depends on the people present but the setting and ambience help things along. If you want a cosy but active entertaining space, 365 days of the year, then patio heaters are a great option, and adding some light with outdoor candles makes a difference. Outdoor lighting is a factor in mood-setting, particularly on long summer evenings when the day gradually turns to night. Keep lighting ambient – you don’t want a blazing security light effect when your guests step onto the patio! Use lighting to highlight garden features – buried ground lights can uplight an ornamental statue, a bush or a tree.

And don’t forget audio when sorting out the visual. For summer get-togethers, fit speakers that can play music, making sure they are UK weatherproof!

Furniture

Ideally, your outdoor space will flow from the inside of your home, so choose furniture wisely. Go for easy-to-care-for outdoor furniture. A stone patio can be transformed for alfresco dining with a table and comfortable, weather-resistant seating. Removable covers are a good idea so you can machine wash them. A wicker sofa and other feature seating, such as a rocking chair or a hanging egg chair, can make an alternate living room on hot summer evenings.

And zone your seating space with a quick-drying outdoor rug. They’re comfortable for bare feet and add a splash of colour during the winter months.

Privacy

When extending your indoors to the outdoors, you’ll still want privacy. Gardens can be overlooked by neighbours, so use subtle screening. Pergolas offer a sense of enclosure, cosiness and privacy, particularly if you grow climbing plants over them. Clematis is a great choice and can offer a year-round shot of garden colour. Climbing roses, grapevines (enjoy their hanging fruit in summer) and beautifully fragrant honeysuckle are other choices. Add trellis panels to support their growth and also to give you extra shelter and privacy. Retractable awnings and large garden umbrellas also offer privacy and shelter from the sun or adverse weather.

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