One of the nicest ways to spend a summers evening, is having some friends and family round to spend outside, enjoying some food and their company. Or at least we think so! Making your guests feel comfortable and enjoying the outdoors is sure to make a lasting impression on them.
In the article I will go over some great tips to think about when designing your space to maximise its entertaining capabilities.
Tip #1 – Include a patio or decking area
Including a hard surface outside for your guests to relax on is a great idea. Not only do they look great, but they also make it much more inviting. Having a deck area or patio will mean you can set out tables, have space for chairs and furniture, all whilst minimising mud and dirt from the grass.
Decking or patio areas really add another dimension to outdoor areas, creating zones in your garden that help guide guests as to where they should be. It will also help level your garden. If you have slopes, bumps, or ruts that you could do without, make sure you plan you area to cover this – you’ll be left with a perfectly flat area that will be much more useful.
Tip #2 – Use lighting
You’re not going to want to go inside just because it’s getting dark, as this is when it is the nicest to enjoy a fire and appreciate a different side of nature. Adding lighting will help you for a start to see where you are going – so place lighting along paths and at steps or near walls or any obstacles. This will reduce any possibility of injuring your guests and ruining the occasion!
Using lighting for ambience is also a great idea. Using different colours will create a different feeling in your garden. Having a party? Opt for bright lighting, or even colour changing lights. If you would prefer creating a more relaxed space, warm lighting in more neutral colours such a yellow, will bring warmth and a welcoming feeling to your garden.
Using fairy lights or strung lights throughout your garden is a great way to transform your garden at night, illuminating the area whilst not being too powerful – they’re also not too expensive!
Tip #3 – Choose the correct outdoor furniture
Having enough comfortable furniture for your guests is a great way to ensure they enjoy their time. Opt for furniture with plenty of cushions and comfort, and make sure there is tables for everyone’s drinks. Guest who put their drinks on the floor are almost guaranteed to have them knocked over – not an ideal scenario!
A large dining table is also a great option. They’re such a good place for displaying your cooking skills, spreading out a varied range of foods for your guests to enjoy and savour. They’re also great for conversation or games – everyone is in the same place within hearing distance from each other. If you have a small garden, this may be the best piece of furniture to invest in, maximising how many people you can entertain in your garden.
Tip #4 – Having a Heat source
You don’t want to be stuck inside, just because it is slightly too chilly to go outside! Having a heat source outside creates a centre piece, with everyone around.
Purchasing a wood-burning fire pit is the cheapest way to create warmth outside. It makes an outdoor area so welcoming and cosy, creating an irresistibly ambient glow which will make guests want to stay until the early hours. They are the ultimate focal point and are a perfect centre piece in which to surround with seating, cushions, and rugs. A fire can also be used as a cooker – something as simple as a metal plate balanced on the wood will cook food such as steak with ease, all whilst creating a rustic outdoorsy appeal.
You could also look at using other heat sources such as a gas fire, which are much more controlled. However, they don’t create as much heat, so may be more use in a much warmer climate, where they are used for ambience rather than heating.
Tip #5 – Have a cooking area
Cooking outside is a great way to showcase your cooking skills! Even if you are not too sure, having a barbeque on display along with a place to prepare your food, will really help bring the inside out. Its much more sociable, meaning you can still interact and socialise with your guests whilst preparing the food. Much better than having to be in the kitchen out of sight and on your own, wondering if there is any conversation going on outside.
Above are five great tips that will really help your garden to feel so welcoming to any guest that you invite over to your house. Its entirely up to you whether you choose to follow them – its your garden after all!