Maybe you’ve seen your mate’s new backyard, complete with a built-in BBQ area, kitchen sink and plenty of space to kick back and relax. This is referred to as an Alfresco Entertaining Area. These outdoor spaces usually incorporate more than just a barbecue, table and a few chairs – they’re the next level in outdoor entertaining and, as Aussies, we love a bit of backyard action, no matter what the season. Even in Winter, there’s a bunch of us that break out the fire pit with a cup of hot chocolate (or a beer/wine, if that’s your thing) and enjoy the beauty of our own surroundings. Having an outdoor kitchen & dining area makes this prospect even better.
More and more, we’re looking to extend the entertainment sections of our houses to include backyards. Whether it’s a kid’s party, having friends over for dinner, a lazy Sunday afternoon get-together or brunch with the family, if this is your idea of a weekend well-spent then read on because an outdoor entertaining area is probably exactly what you need…
WHY AN OUTDOOR ENTERTAINING AREA?
It provides more space for hosting your events. Often our indoor spaces are purpose-built to suit the number of people living in the house. For example, a 2 bedroom home rarely features a grand separate dining room with room for an 8 seater table. These indoor spaces usually also have specific furniture that suits the size and shape and are often not appropriate to accommodate many more people than the number of beds in the house.
So what to do? Utilise your backyard space! Even if you don’t have a large backyard, you’d be surprised what can be done to extend the entertaining area of your home and provide a space where your friends and extended family can really enjoy themselves. As an added benefit, the cost involved in developing this is not wasted – an outdoor entertaining area are in high demand and you’ll find it adds a great deal of value to your property.
So, you’ve decided this is something you want. What are the main things to consider when renovating your backyard to become an outdoor entertaining area?
Barbecues are usually the first thing on most people’s list so we’ll start with these. There are so many types and styles to choose from, it can be rather daunting. From gas to electric to charcoal to wood, the variety of options are dizzying. So, where do you start?
First things first. Work out the size of your average gathering. If you’re a family of 4 and you often have another family of 4 over for weekend do’s, your BBQ’s going to have to accommodate a fair amount of food. If you’re a couple with no kids and have the occasional small group of friends over then you can get away with a smaller set-up. Obviously, we need to consider the space and location as well. Once you’ve mapped this out, you can start thinking about types, styles, finishes and colours.
PREP SURFACE, WASHING UP & REFRIGERATION
Part of the reason outdoor entertaining areas are so popular is they allow for the party to stay out of the house. Think about the last time you had a get-together inside? You probably cleaned the entire house, top to bottom, had the party then cleaned it all again because everyone was everywhere. With an outdoor entertaining area, you can contain the mess in (mostly) one space. For this reason, it’s a great idea to include a preparation area, wash-up and even a fridge. Storage is also essential. The aim of the game is not to have to go inside for everything you need.
Unless you’re a cocktail connoisseur, a bar is often seen as an extravagance, especially if you’re short on space. They sure can add a bit of pizazz to your backyard and because a bar is generally a long benchtop design, there’s plenty of under-bench space for bar fridges and storage cupboards.
For those that don’t have a lot of space, trolley bars are extremely trendy right now and can be found for as little as a couple of hundred dollars. These bar carts can be wheeled around to suit your set-up and usually have multiple levels for keeping the essentials at hand. Some designs even include an esky compartment to keep drinks cool in the warmer months – great if you don’t have the space for a fridge.
Why not? Show me a person who doesn’t like pizza? Pizza ovens, like barbecues, come in all kinds of variations – electric, wood, charcoal, gas and the sizes can be as small to fit the dimensions of a single pizza base or come larger than a car! So, the space you have to play with will very much determine the size and type of pizza oven you can accommodate.
As you can probably tell by my name, Giovanni Adesso, my family originally come from Italy, so having a pizza oven in the yard is essential. When we have friends or family over, we either make our own dough or buy some from the local pizzeria. We love nothing more than gathering around the pizza oven, with everyone making their own pizzas, laughing and having a great time. It’s especially great in Autumn and Winter – a built-in outdoor heater!
ASPECT & LIGHTING
It’s important to understand where the sun is or isn’t throughout the year and take that into account when designing your outdoor entertaining area. If you get full sun in the afternoon/evening in Summer then you’re going to want to ensure you have shade built into your plans. So too in the cooler months, if your backyard is in shade, it could be worth considering a fire-pit or outdoor gas heater for everyone to sit around.
Lighting! It’s the last thing people think about in their outdoor space renovation but it can have such an impact on the atmosphere. Small, twinkly lights will give an ethereal and romantic feel while larger bulbs strung across a courtyard, for example, will give a real party feel.
Finally, we can’t forget the furniture. There are plenty of outdoor furniture options available nowadays. Options to think about include; doing table and chairs, lounge and coffee table, a daybed, sun lounges, stools and benches. Materials range from wood, wicker, plastic, metal, and glass, depending on the look and feel you’re going for. Not to be forgotten, there’s a range of accessories you can build up over time that are perfect for outdoor entertaining. Things like barbecue tool sets, cushions, grazing boards, hammocks, statues, bird feeders and the list goes on.
In the end, your outdoor entertaining area should be a haven for you. A place to escape the hustle and bustle of the world. If you’re thinking about doing something like this and we’ve given you some food for thought, get in contact with Adesso Building Renovations to discuss your ideas.