Long, balmy evenings filled with backyard banter, a few beers or a good wine and, streaming chilled out tunes is an institution in Western Australia. And with summer about to settle, it’s worth exploring how these gatherings can be taken to stylish new heights – without too much effort, of course.
Before you go out and buy that great value for money 4-piece lounge or that large timber table and chairs, take the time to really think about how you are going to use the outdoor area. Will you really use that huge table or will it just take up space and gather dust? Or are you going to lounge and relax with casual gatherings and spur of the moment barbeques?
A lounge or daybed, combined with mismatched small tables and stools creates a multipurpose, fun and eclectic vibe. You can also make a seat with shipping pallets stacked 2 or 3 high, then cover the top with a single foam mattress and cover. Add cushions, but get ones that are specifically for outdoor use and try to take them inside when they’re not in use if you can.
If your style is to entertain regularly in a more formal way with long lunches and summer get-togethers, then an outdoor dining table and chairs is a good investment. A white cloth will makes even the cheapest table look smart. Mix chair styles and colours and go for distressed painted timber in pastel for a vintage feel. Deck chairs in navy blue for summer days and white chair covers make for elegant evenings.
You can also pull up the dining table to the built-in or pallet seat lounge. Then add chairs or ottomans for the best of both entertaining worlds. A little bit of planning will identify where you need to invest.
Once you have the key pieces, mix it up with accessories and fun pieces that are perfect for your ‘every occasion’.
If you’re serious about outdoor socialising, a built-in bbq could be a great investment in your enjoyment. You could even consider a smoker, wood-fired pizza oven and mini fridge so you’re all set for every occasion!
Outdoor lighting instantly creates ambience. Spotlights or downlights are used for visibility but for atmosphere, think candles in old coffee and jam jars. String up some battery-powered paper lanterns over the dining table, or select solar powered garden lights which are widely available in so many styles. You can choose from coloured bulbs for party time, fairy lights for a twinkle touch or Edison bulbs for a sophisticated look. But some are better quality than others, so spend more if your budget allows.
Another way to dress your alfresco is with coloured ceramic pots or glass bowls with succulents, which add colour to a table, while larger pots are great for balconies or courtyards. If space is limited you could think about a vertical garden which will allow for a stunning wall of gorgeous greenery without taking over. For continuity of your indoor / outdoor lifestyle, choose colours that compliment your interior scheme.
Even after a long summer day, we can feel a chill in the evening. To get the most enjoyment out of your outdoor dinners all year round, think about installing an outdoor heater, or cosy fire pit. On the days when the hot weather just won’t let up, a ceiling fan can make you and your guests a lot more comfortable and will also help with keeping the bugs at bay.
Outdoor floor rugs are a great way to define an area, as well as add interest and colour to your outdoor space. They also keep paving cooler underfoot. You can buy online, at outdoor furniture shops and Bunnings.
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