Outdoor entertaining has now become a year-round possibility. The trick is to get the outside transformation user-friendly for all seasons and you will be fine dining outside more than you imagined.
This will be one of your most important elements with setting the mood for perfect outdoor entertaining. Not only consider the lighting in the outdoor dining area but also in the garden. This will create the illusion of the area is larger than it is and highlights your favourite areas in the garden.
Outdoor water features
This is a great way to promote a sense of calmness and serenity. It gives people a tropical feel, even if they can’t see it. But if you do go to the trouble of putting in a water feature, go the extra step of giving it some light to draw attention to it. If you are concerned about water usage, most water features run off their own recycled water.
We all love an indoor fireplace, it is just the same feel for an outdoor space as well. Even if you are not interested in the traditional wood experience which for some, may spell work and mess, you will need some form of outdoor warmth so instead of thinking about a patio heater which only a few people can huddle close to, think about several people casually sitting in front of a visually pleasing flame. It is said that there are two things people cannot take their eyes off…a flickering flame and running water.
Comfort, comfort, comfort. Tables with bench seats are very casual and outdoorsy BUT, about half an hour after sitting with no back support you may find people squirming or slouching as it is not a natural sitting position for a prolonged period of time. The frame of your furniture is not so much of a concern, rattan, wicker, whatever takes your fancy. It’s the comfort and density of the cushions that is the most important thing.
Obviously choose something that will withstand the elements, not that you will have your table and chairs in the pouring rain but there will be dust and the wind to consider and possible sun fading. Also, try to avoid white chair covers, outdoor eating for some reason seems to produce more mess than inside eating. Consider a cover to incorporate your table and chairs. Most are generic sizes but it isn’t hard to find custom sized covers.
The size and functionality of this cooker are totally dependent on what you like to eat whilst entertaining outdoors. There are different sizes in barbeques and different versions, e.g. gas or charcoal. You may want to have a wok burner, a teppanyaki grill or different trivets for searing. You can invest in smokers, rotisseries, barrel cookers and many other variations. You can be having people for dinner and put the meat on to slow cook in the morning. Their experienced staff can make your outdoor cooking dreams come true.
When you set up your outdoor entertaining area, you aim is to avoid having to go back inside as much as possible.
A dedicated cupboard with cutlery, plates, pepper and salt, cooking utensils, napkins, salad servers, etc. is essential. Make sure there are plastics for the kids (and maybe the adults). You want to make the experience the least labour intensive as possible. There is nothing wrong with plastic cutlery or paper plates. If you are insistent on real crockery, consider melamine, it is unbreakable and dishwasher safe. Insect repellent and sunscreen can also be housed here.
So, you’re not in and out to the inside bin all the time, have a small bin out the back. The baby wheelie bins are a great size. Worst case scenario, a plastic bag tied to a nail will reduce mess just as easily.
You don’t have to always use the lighting, candles also create a relaxing atmosphere.
Bugs are part of outdoor dining. Perhaps plant some citronella bushes or burn some citronella candles. You could have the insect sprays that affix to the wall that sends out a measured spray at scheduled intervals to keep the nasties at bay.
If you don’t have an outdoor fridge, a wet bin can be just as useful. Take chilled drinks out of the fridge and put them on ice in the wet bin to avoid having to go to the inside fridge for drinks.