7 Ways to Landscape Your Outdoor Entertaining Area for Summer
From summer barbecues to backyard parties, outdoor entertaining is synonymous with the Australian way of life. We’ve got the perfect recipe – warm weather, a love of food and drink, and sociable attitudes. Now all you need is the perfectly landscaped outdoor entertaining area to back it up.
If you’re alfresco area is looking a little dull, start thinking about what you can do to jazz it up. You’ll be spending a ton of time out there so it pays to…
Maintain the lawn
A good lawn will support your outdoor entertaining area in a great way. It looks great, it reduces the local ambient temperature (keeping you cooler), and it provides a space for the kids (and big kids) to play. To promote growth in your lawn and keep it looking healthy:
- Aerate your lawn: Push aerator spikes down into your lawn every 30 centimetres for water and nutrients to enter the roots quickly and more effectively.
- Add fertiliser: Attach some organic fertiliser to your hose and spray evenly across your lawn.
- Apply a lawn builder and wetting agent: Lawn builder helps promote new growth but it works well as a maintenance tool for established lawns too. Spread evenly and if your soil seems to be repelling water, spread a wetting agent too.
- Water your lawn: Give the surface a good soaking to maximise the benefits of the products you’ve applied.
Use low-maintenance and attractive plants
You want to enjoy your outdoor entertaining area, not just maintain it. Keep things simple and beautiful with these attractive low-maintenance plants:
- Aloe vera: The aloe plant boasts vibrant green leaves and is best known for its medicinal properties. Being part of the succulent family it requires very little water and lots of sunlight.
- Snake plant: The perfect plant for the forgetful, the architectural snake plant keeps its stripy lush leaves even after weeks of neglect.
- Bromeliad: One of the toughest plants on the market, bromeliads add an instant tropical feel to your outdoor space.
- Bird of paradise: If barbecues and backyard parties are part of Australian culture then birds of paradise plants are too. Blooming all year round their unusual bird-like shape and tropical flowers are a must for an Aussie backyard.
Use the right pavers
The right pavers can transform your outdoor entertaining area. Get creative with multiple colours and textures and enhance the surrounds using a basket weave, running bond or herringbone pattern. The options are limitless! Try using these paving ideas:
- Flagstone and pebbles: Lay large granite pavers and fill the gaps with garden pebbles for a natural, laid-back look.
- Bluestone and concrete: Lay bluestone rectangles mortared over a concrete base for a sleek, modern look.
- Charcoal hues: Lay oyster limestone pavers tightly to form a clean, modern surface. Finish with a neutral grey-white-black colour palette.
- Stone and grass: Lay Leggero travertine stepping stones with bright green artificial turf in between. Pair with a raked stone garden, a sheer-descent brass water feature and wood decking and accent walls for a modern zen look.
- Marble: Lay marble pavers for beauty, sophistication and tremendous durability. An interlocking mosaic of minute crystals gives marble an unmistakable look that’s the epitome of luxury.
Add a water feature
A water feature is one of the easiest ways to add interest to your outdoor space and an added bonus is the cooling effect it has over summer. In hot climates, the sound of water is ideal for creating cool ambience. Some ideas include:
- Water wall: Stainless steel water walls are best suited to modern spaces, creating a moving surface and cooling element. They are easy to maintain too as there is little water involved.
- Raised pond: A raised pond with a spilling urn is a classic way to add a focal point in your outdoor space. A pond with fish and aquatic plants will also create a living ecosystem that helps keep water fresh and mosquito larvae down.
- Articuterual feature: Modern sculptures often feature water and they can be a talking point at your next backyard barbecue. From intimate tabletop fountains to larger scale pieces you can draw the viewer into quiet contemplation.
- Bronze: A simple bronze fountain of the god Pan combined with a dramatic pear tree and well maintained lawn creates a classic green garden. As the tree grows it will provide shade for guests and screening from overlooking properties too.
Get lighting right
Lighting can make or break your outdoor space so it pays to put some careful thought into it. Done right, lighting enhances and extends the usability of your space while setting an appropriate mood for the space. Consider lighting the space with:
- Spike lights: Best for illuminating trees, statues and garden features. Try to angle the light to reflect into foliage if you can.
- Bollard lights: Sm
- all machined fittings made from bronze can be blended into plant material along pathways to light the way.
- Hanging lights: A string of lights adds an element of magic to the space and they can be hung from just about anything. Here’s a way you can hang lights without the need for walls.
- Wall lights: Overhead lighting directly above a dining table can be too harsh. Use wall lights to light your dining table from outside in.
Think about an outdoor kitchen
There’s one thing that’s more satisfying than eating outdoors – preparing your food outdoors too. With these outdoor kitchen ideas you can both prepare and enjoy your food under the warm sun or glittering stars:
- Rustic outdoor kitchen: Perfect for a traditional style property a shabby chic kitchen using whitewashed wall cladding pairs beautifully with a natural stone floor.
- Minimalist smoker: If you have a small space to work with, a minimalist outdoor kitchen is low fuss but high style. Add a ceramic smoker and a water dispenser instead of a sink and tap.
- Clay pizza oven: Everyone’s favourite food is pizza so why not make it the best you can with a clay pizza oven. A pizza oven will give you the added bonus of warmth and a subtle golden glow too.
- Prep station with pergola: An open pergola over your kitchen area formalises it and adds a touch of luxury. Hang a couple of lanterns off the side for added ambience.
Read our complete outdoor kitchen guide to learn everything you need to know about designing and landscaping.
The type of furniture you add to your space will be dependent on the type of entertaining you do. Suitable options could be:
- Modular sofa: If you switch between having guests and hanging as a family then a modular sofa is a great way to transition the two. Have a couple of side tables on standby and separate pieces only when you need to.
- Extension dining table: If dining space is limited, keep it minimal when you need to with an extension table. Alternatively opt for two smaller tables and push them together when you need to.
- Cafe table: To gain a “breakfast patio” feel add some French-style cafe chairs and a stone table.
- Patio fire bowl: If you live in an area where the temperatures are still cool at night add a relaxed seating area around a stone fire bowl.
For ideas on how you can use pavers when landscaping your outdoor entertainment area, talk to the experts at Armstone.
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