With summer on the way it’s time to make sure your entertaining area is sizzling!

Make your backyard an entertainment haven. Your home’s alfresco area can add value to your home and become an all-important feature when selling. Amp up the entertainment value of your home and enjoy the beautiful Aussie climate with these sizzling ideas!

Blend indoor and outdoor living

Enhance the flow between inside and outside by opening up the house to the outside with large sliding, folding or concertina glass doors that push back or fully retract and visually disappear. Create a seamless connection between indoor and outdoor spaces by having both floor heights the same and using similar flooring and wall colours.

Alfresco areas that can see the backyard are perfect for keeping an eye on the kids playing.

Extend out with timber decking

A timber deck is a great way to extend your indoor living space outdoors.

Timber decking is a sleek and contemporary outdoor flooring option and makes an ideal sturdy base for an outdoor entertainment area. Its natural wood vibe blends perfectly with any outdoor space.

Create shade

Don’t sizzle in the Aussie heat! A well-designed pergola or veranda can add value, entertainment functionality and improve the look of your home while protecting your family and guests from harmful UV rays or bad weather. Having shade and privacy is also important. Using trendy window coverings or awnings can help reduce glare and protect you from the sun, while increasing privacy.

A backyard fire pit

No-one wants to sit outside in the cold…Summer nights can get cool, plus, in the cooler months, outdoor entertaining can become less appealing. A sizzling fire pit is the perfect addition to your entertainment space to warm your guests on chilly nights. It’s great fun to sit around a fire pit chatting with your family and friends; and it looks fantastic as well!

Coordinate your garden

When creating your alfresco area, keep in mind that your guests will see your back yard, so your garden needs to live up to expectations. If you’re a green thumb, you can impress with your skills. If gardening’s not your thing, then hire a specialist if the budget allows, or stick to native plants, so all you need to do is whack them in the garden and let them do their thing. Use ferns, ponytails, and bromeliads to fill open spaces around a patio or veranda.  

Vertical gardens work a treat in small spaces and along fences. Potted plants, climbers, trees or bushes can enhance your outdoor area, but be careful not to over-do it.

Try a feature wall 

‘Greenwalls’ of living plants or vertical gardens make ideal features and are great space savers. Alternatively, an exposed brick or painted wall, can make a statement.

Alfresco kitchen 

Get your outdoor cooking sizzling this summer with an outdoor kitchen.

Adding a barbeque, sink and bar fridge can increase the potential and value of your outdoor area. If your budget allows, opt for one of the complete outdoor kitchen units currently available. For extra sizzle, add a gorgeous stone pizza oven; there’s nothing like serving piping hot pizza to your guests!

Limited for space? Then free-standing pizza ovens, two or three burner barbecues or portable barbecues are great compact alternatives.

Lighting

Once the sun goes down, people need to be able to see. Lighting adds to the atmosphere and is an affordable and effective way of transforming your outdoor entertainment zone.  Try some of the following lighting options to create a relaxed space:

  • For food prep outside, dimmable LED downlights work well
  • Wall lighting can create a relaxed environment
  • Use spotlights to highlight features like vertical gardens, water features, sculptures or seating areas
  • Outdoor fairy lights add a festive, fun addition
  • Even basic candles or lanterns can up the ambience

Whether you opt for outdoor solar options or light in the form of candles, guests will appreciate both the visibility and the mood-setting.

Offer ample outdoor seating

For comfort and relaxation, you’ll need a reasonable amount of seating. Ensure that there’s a proper balance between seating space and open space, so guests can spread out, rather than all being crammed into one small area.

Avoid crowding by adding various types of seating such as corner seating, hanging seats, a dining table, to keep things fun, flexible, and social. Set up several different areas, so guests are enticed to mingle. And have a couple of comfy chairs especially designated for the oldies! 

Go for flexible furnishings

Consider outdoor furniture that can be easily shifted and moved around if your entertaining ranges to both small and large groups. Stacking chairs and a collapsible table are great options and can be stored away when not in use. 

Add a sizzle of colour

It’s best to choose timeless outdoor furniture that will stand the test of time. Add sizzle to your alfresco area with brightly coloured and patterned cushions, throws and table decorations. It’s a simple, inexpensive way to update as colour trends come and go.

Make cleaning a breeze

Your alfresco area should be easy to clean and maintain. Select low-maintenance and weatherproof outdoor furniture. If you have shutters or screens, remember to dust every two weeks to keep them looking guest-ready. Flooring material should be resistant to footprints and wine spills.

Beat sizzling heat with a pool

A swimming pool can really increase the entertainment value of your backyard and also be a focal point if you go to sell. You can turn it into a resort-style oasis, with the addition of seating with colourful cushions, lounges, plants and even walls with water features If you have the budget.

Hide Eyesores

For the perfect space, you’ll want to hide some of those unsightly things we all have in our backyards

  • Paint that ugly fence in a trendy tone.
  • Turn the backyard shed into a green oasis with creeping and climbing plants or vertical gardens on wooden pallets. For perfect camouflage, paint it the same tone as the fence or go all out and give it its own original design!
  • Screen, or fence off, the ugly water heater, aircon unit and garbage bins. If you have decking, use the same timber and add some greenery to the space.

Acknowledgements: Homestolove, Bunnings, Australian Outdoor Living, Alex Kuchel, Justine Stedman, Vault Interiors, Great Aussie Patios, House and Garden