No matter how big or small your outdoor space is, maximising how you use it will increase the value of your property and most importantly, enhance your lifestyle.
For us, outdoor spaces are to be used all year round and are best shared with friends and family. We embrace the seasonal changes by simply adapting the way with live outdoors. We laze on daybeds in the warmer months and snuggle on comfortable lounges as the temperatures drop. In summer, we’re sharing food amongst friends and dancing bare feet on the grass. In winter, we huddle around a fit pit with a glass of red wine and endless tales.
Here, we speak with Myles Broad of Eckersley Garden Architecture to get his advice on how to make your outdoor space more social, even in the cooler months.
Keep your outdoor space simple
The best outdoor spaces that accommodate entertaining are those that are kept simple, explains Myles. Focus less on the big kitchens that rival your indoor setup and instead stick with a simple BBQ on a trolly, stand or built-in bench.
“It’s all about casual dining and easy to prepare food,” says Myles. “If you need a rangehood and a wok, go inside.”
Protect yourself from the elements
“Heat and shelter are the big ones for us down south as we head into the cooler months,” explains Myles. Eckersley Garden Architecture are well known for their creeper-covered pergolas above outdoor entertaining areas.
Myles explains you can still have the creepers and greenery by installing a roof that spans the main structure. This way, the roof isn’t so apparent and keeps the space feeling garden-like with plenty of protection.
If you are roofing your outdoor space, think about ventilation as well, says Myles. “There’s nothing worse than being under a sun trapped clear roofed patio with no air flow. It just get’s stuffy and unpleasant.”
Similarly, if there’s a fire pit or brazier nearby warming up the outdoor space on a chilly night, smoke can get trapped in a poorly-ventilated area and will be an instant party killer.
“Spaces need a bit of intimacy to feel good socially,” says Myles. “If you’ve got 100m2 of paving, you’ll want to fill it with 100 guests so that it doesn’t feel desolate.”
Don’t be afraid for people to bump shoulders with each other as you squeeze a few extra guests into a small space. People will adapt and improvise to their surrounds. They’ll end up sitting on wine crates or the edge of a table if there isn’t enough furniture to go around.
Once you have your main elements sorted, you can then add the extras that enhance the atmosphere such as heating and lights. And don’t forget the most important aspects of any good outdoor space – music, tasty food and delicious wine.