If you do a lot of entertaining in your home, or if your family likes to dine al fresco and spend time with each other on lazy Sunday afternoons in the back yard enjoying the sunshine, then chances are you’ve often dreamed about creating an outdoor entertaining area for just this purpose. Planning a renovation to create an outdoor living space or expanding on your existing outdoor entertainment area can be fun, letting your imagination run wild. Spend some time online drawing inspiration from others who have built outdoor areas and get an idea of what you want to include in yours. To get you started, here are some ideas for some things you could include in your plans.
An Outdoor Pizza Oven
An outdoor pizza oven is one of the first things that people associate with an outdoor entertainment area, and for good reason. Pizza is one of the quintessential family al fresco meals, particularly when cooked in a wood fired pizza oven like the Ooni Karu. It’s also a fun way of getting the guests or family involved in creating their own pizza from an assortment of toppings, and since they cook quite quickly in a good quality pizza oven from Ooni, guests won’t be left waiting for their pizza for very long at all. Look for a pizza oven that is large enough to cook good sized pizzas and capable of withstanding the high heat that makes a wood fired pizza so delicious.
A Barbecue and Grill
No backyard in the country is complete without a big gas grill. It’s quintessential to the outdoor entertaining space, and a must have if your family love a good hotdog or hamburger grilled to perfection. While every man loves an impressively large grill, don’t go too big here and take up unnecessary space that can be used for other things; just get something big enough for your average family barbecue.
Plenty of Seating
Not including enough comfortable and well positioned seating would be a big mistake when it comes to an outdoor entertainment area. Decide if you want to build some of it in by creating concrete or wooden benches, or if you’re going to go for a few free-standing seats, chairs or even couches. Consider the elements, and make sure any fabrics can either be removed and moved indoors or into a storage bin, or the furniture can be covered with a waterproof cover. Your seating is going to set the design standards for the space, including things like materials, colors and styles, so choose these elements wisely and with purpose.
An outdoor entertaining area is going to be used to prepare, cook, or serve food, and thus having sufficient work surfaces is important. You’ll want a surface you can use to prepare food and where you and your guests can assemble those pizzas to go into the pizza oven, and you’ll want somewhere that will service a grill. Underneath these work surfaces is also a great place to create storage in the form of lockable watertight storage cupboards and drawers to store things that you’ll often need in your outdoor entertainment space.
If you want to make your space more formal and avoid eating from your knees, don’t forget to include space for a dining table if you want one, chosen and laid to match the color schemes and materials of your seating.
Well Designed Lighting
For those warm summer evenings when the sun goes down and you want to make use of the outdoor space, you’ll want to install some effective lighting solutions. The best way to plan out your lighting is to break up the area into zones, making note of the different lighting that is required in each.
Zones that need brighter lighting like work surfaces should have directional spotlights bright enough to be able to see what you need to, while the seating and dining area would benefit from more ambient, warm lighting that isn’t too bright. Dimmable lights that illuminate the dining table and seating area give your lighting versatility and allow you to dim these areas when you want to create a more relaxing atmosphere. Don’t forget to make light switches and controls accessible, or for bonus style points, install smart lighting that is voice or app activated and controlled.
A Hot Tub
For the ultimate indulgent addition to the home, a hot tub is certainly right at the top of many people’s wants. They’re not out of reach when it comes to cost, and certainly add a place where you can relax with a glass of your favorite wine and unwind from a long day. If you’ve ever spent time just soaking away in a hot tub while the soft bubble jets wash away your troubles, you’ll know exactly why they’re so desired by homeowners. Most hot tubs are powered by electricity, but for a more rustic and outdoorsy experience, consider a wood-fired hot tub.
A Fire Pit
When the food is cooked and the meal is eaten, guests will start to move to the seating areas, and in the colder months or just to create an ambience, a fire pit will be a welcome addition to this area. It doesn’t need to be very big to create an impact, and the soft warm fire glow will create an atmosphere that nothing else can replicate. It will also give your entertainment area the wonderful smells of a wood-burning fire.
Planning for at least a part of your entertainment area to be under shade during the heat of the day will give those looking for a cooler spot to sit some respite from the heat. Ideally, the dining and seating area should be shaded, but allowing some seating to still be in the sun is ideal. Of course, the best shade installation is one that is retractable or louvered so it can be controlled.
A well-chosen shade solution can also double up as protection from the elements if you want to use the outdoor area when it’s raining too, so make sure it’s waterproof.
A Way to Watch the Game
If you’re a passionate sports fan, or if you want to create a place that the family can enjoy the outdoors and watch a movie together, then installing a video projector or a screen that can be removed or secured and protected from the elements is a wonderful way to get more use out of the area. It will also mean installing some speakers, which can double up for music when you’re entertaining.
Since you’re outdoors, you might find yourself pestered by bugs, so installing a bug zapper, or having a way of deterring bugs in the space can be quite important. Tiki torches filled with a citronella oil create some ambience and deter bugs, so they are a great choice.
A well-designed outdoor entertainment area is a part of the home you’re likely to spend a lot of time in. It’s a fantastic way of enjoying more of your time outside and giving you and your family a place to spend some quality time together. Of course, an outdoor entertainment area can also add huge value to your property, so it makes a solid investment choice too.