For many of us, outdoor entertaining is ingrained in our culture. In Australia, one in two homeowners updates their outdoor space with entertaining in mind, that’s the highest percentage of all 13 countries covered in Houzz’s 2017 landscaping study. Firing up the barbecue is something people across the globe enjoy doing with friends and family, and in Australia, with the promise of thousands of sunshine hours every year, there’s even more of a focus on creating a space that’s set up for eating and playing al fresco. If you’ve just moved home and can’t wait to start hosting garden get-togethers and planning backyard barbecues or you’d simply like to make more of your current space, take a look at ways you can step up your outdoor entertainment set up.
Your outdoor kitchen
The grill is usually the first thing we reach for when we’re preparing food outdoors, but research shows that we’re getting a little more adventurous and testing out other ways of preparing food outdoors too. The Houzz research shows that one in ten Australians is investing in items such as built-in cabinets, sinks and outdoor refrigerators in order to create a dedicated outdoor kitchen space. In the US, 88% chose to update their outdoor living areas with elements such as dining furniture and benches to seat everyone more comfortably. If the idea of supporting your outside culinary efforts with new gadgets and furniture appeals, you could consider adding some of these popular pieces of kit:
- A pizza oven, for a better than restaurant quality slice
- A smoker to add depth and flavour to meats, fish and vegetables
- Umbrellas, awning or pagodas to provide shade for guests
- A bar area or refrigerator for premium refreshment
- A fire pit or chiminea provides a cosy spot to gather round
Your outdoor play options
Do you rely on your outdoor pool or traditional garden games to keep everyone entertained at parties and gatherings? Of the 13% of homeowners carrying out pool updates as part of garden projects, 67% installed an in-ground pool, showing that having a swimming spot in the backyard is still at the top of the list for many Australians. There also appears to be a focus on creating the perfect ambience with 58% installing outdoor lighting, of which ten per cent chose to use modern smart technology. Over in the US, tech is starting to play more of a major role in outdoor entertainment, with 18% upgrading their outdoor entertainment systems to include items such as TVs and speakers. If you’d like to get in on the action, look for generators for sale to provide a suitable outdoor power source or consider using solar power where possible.
Your outdoor theme
Often, when we inherit a space, we add things here and there gradually, without a clear plan in mind. If you’d like to give your outdoor area a completely new look, you could look to your travels for ideas. According to data from the recent Adbri Masonry Great Australian Backyard Survey, adding elements of garden design seen in popular holiday destinations from Japan to The Hamptons is an increasingly popular way to give outdoor spaces – or areas of them – more design direction. Would you like to add your own Zen garden as a quiet chill out area or create a pristine garden lawn with lots of Long Island details?
If you’d prefer not to commit to giving your garden a permanent makeover, why not consider holding some themed outdoor events instead? Hosting a get-together around a special concept allows you to explore creative decorating options, fun dress codes and of course, related food options too. Going the whole hog and sending out pretty printed invitations is a great way to elevate your outdoor party from a get-together into an ‘occasion’ and will make your entertaining efforts really stand out. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- A garden party themed around a favourite movie. Get your guests to dress up as characters, make some themed food and arrange a showing of the film.
- Host a teddy bear’s picnic for the kids and their friends
- Hold a camp out in the backyard complete with s’mores, hot chocolate and stories around the campfire
- Hold a black-tie garden party complete with outdoor dining table and drinks trolley, or stretch the budget and hire in waiters and cocktail staff.
Are you all about outdoor entertaining? How do you ensure your guests have a great time? Do you have any unusual outdoor updates or unique occasions in the pipeline?