How to make the most of your backyard and expand your outdoor entertaining options
If you yearn to extend your entertaining space without committing to expensive home renovations, the answer could be right in your backyard. You may already have an outdoor BBQ space that gets plenty of use in warm weather but languishes unloved through the winter months. Simple outdoor entertaining extras such as extra heat, shelter and light let you enjoy the good times all year round.
In the cooler months, outdoor heating can turn an external area from Icelandic to inviting in a matter of moments. The available styles, purchase price and running costs of outdoor heating varies and it’s worth doing your homework when choosing.
Solid fuel burners such as clay chimineas andmetal braziers offer an inexpensive heat source but sit close to the ground and may pose a threat to young children.
Patio gas heaters produce rapid, radiant heat from overhead gas elements and are commonly designed with a reflective, umbrella-style top to radiate warmth over several metres. Various styles are available utilizing bottled and natural gas. As well as tall, free-standing appliances, patio heaters are available in panel, wall-mountable and hanging designs. Electric outdoor heaters are also available in a range of styles with flexible options.
As well as providing much needed shade in summer, outdoor shelters work all year round offering protection from the elements.
For a quick fix, shade sails are an attractive option and are relatively inexpensive, quick to install (look out for a DIY shade sails kit), durable and great looking.
From wide eaves and wooden pergolas to gazebos, awnings, umbrellas and other portable structures, the options in outdoor shelter are virtually endless.
Outdoor lighting is a boon if you plan to continue to party past sunset and into the winter months. As well as being practical, lighting can be used to highlight visual features and create atmosphere in your outdoor entertaining space.
Check out the many stylishly designed, user-friendly garden lights on the market. Extra low voltage (12V) garden lights and solar garden lights offer an easy DIY solution to outdoor lighting. Use different lights for different purposes; for example, spotlights or outdoor grill lights need to be bright and strong for night time barbecuing whilst a strand of garden fairy lights gives instant atmosphere.
Candlelight is simple, festive and inexpensive. Protect the flames from the breeze by encasing them in glass candleholders or decorative lanterns. Citronella candles on stakes lend resort-style ambience as well as helping to keep insects at bay.
Solar lights are an increasingly popular, practical and affordable option. Look for units which come with a remote solar panel, allowing you to place the lights in shaded positions while the panel is positioned in direct sunlight to charge.