Designing a backyard fit for a party

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Designing a backyard fit for a party

If you’re one of those people who love to entertain and throw a good party, then your backyard really should be an entertainer’s paradise. There’s nothing quite like summer nights spent under the stars (with some fairy lights perhaps), some delectable food on the table and a refreshing glass of wine in hand.

Designing that dream space isn’t that hard, but it is a highly individualised process, depending on space, style and budget. However, here are some tips for ensuring your next party can be held in the great outdoors.

Consider the space and how you can use it

Planning your backyard starts with the space you have. Of course, if you’re starting from scratch, you’ll have much more control over where things go and how much space to allocate for your deck, for example. However, if you’re working with an existing space, you’ll need to plan accordingly.

First things first, decide what you want to include. If it’s an outdoor kitchen, a table setting and a lounge space, well then you need to make sure you have the right amount of space for all of that. You’ll also have to ensure you have the right budget for your desires. Of course, when looking at the budget, there are areas where you can save a few dollars so you can get a couple of extras in other areas. For example, you don’t have to get the top of the line appliances if you’re not going to use them that frequently. This may alleviate some of your budget to spend on nicer, more durable furniture.

When it comes to hosting a lot of people, you also need to consider the traffic patterns. How will people move from the inside of the house to outside and is there enough room to do so? It’s also wise to plan your access point from a well-used area such as the kitchen or living spaces. The last thing you want is people traipsing through your bedroom or study to get to your backyard.

Furnish the space

If you’re going to be hosting a lot of people outdoors quite often, you’ll need to have the right furnishings to accommodate this. Whether it’s a dinner party for eight or a party for 50, you’ll need some seating areas. A great idea is to create a couple of different areas where people can relax.

For example, right off your main living area, you may consider building a deck. This can act as an extension of what’s already inside and if it’s undercover, you can really go to town on finding some beautiful furniture to complement your indoor décor. This is especially true if the furniture is going to be protected from the elements, giving you a wide variety of materials to choose from.

In addition to this, you can create an ‘outdoor’ seating area, which is open to the outdoors. For example, you can lay some stones or pavers in the middle of your garden, with an outdoor fire pit in the middle. The pavers can be built up to create a seat wall and the fire pit means you can head out there for some warmth even in the cooler months. Already, you have provided guests with two main spaces to enjoy your garden.

Remember the lights

While you’re going to enjoy the garden during the day, you’ll need to ensure it’s versatile at night as well. Getting the lighting right is key. If you have an outdoor kitchen, ensure it is exceptionally well-lit so whoever is cooking can actually see what they are doing. Or if you have an outdoor table that’s undercover, consider putting some downlights in the ceiling. If you really want to create a mood though, you can put these on dimmers so you can lower the intensity when needed.

You can also use lights on your fences to ensure the whole backyard is visible, and you can light up any plants or trees as well to create a feature of them.

One point to remember, make sure there is adequate lighting wherever there are steps or a change in edges or materials, for example, from grass to decking. This prevents accidents at night.

Create different zones

Just like indoors where your living area may be separated from your dining area by using different furnishings or walls, so too should your garden be zoned.

The wonderful thing about it being a garden is that there is a multitude of different ways you can do this. Whether it’s changing from paving to grass to signal a different use or using pots and hedges to block off certain areas, any option you choose also creates another layer to your garden.

By using plants or hedges to separate areas, you’re also bringing in some colour, brightness and warmth to the area.

The great thing about this as well is, if you are having a party, this gives your guests different spots to mingle, depending on whether they want to be in the thick of the action, or prefer a quiet conversation space.

Planning is everything

Regardless of whether you are working with an existing space or starting from scratch, everything should be designed and planned before executed. Not only does this ensure you get everything you want, it also means you’ll stick to your budget and it means you can give yourself some wiggle room for any future plans you may have.

Michael Kobi

DIY, gardening, design lover and doting dad. I want to bring practical and beautiful together in the one design.

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