Ideas for a Great Backyard Entertainment SpaceMarch 19, 2021
Carving out defined spaces for dining, playing and relaxing is one of many tips for making outdoor space fit for company.
If you’re blessed with a backyard space, maximizing its potential can do wonders for your social life. That’s especially true these days, when people are feeling more comfortable in the open air rather than in close quarters indoors.
Designing the area takes some know-how, which is exactly why we turned to the design pros for their top tips.
Know How You’ll Use the Space
“Do you have many family celebrations with children and pets running around, or is this an adult space for cocktails and conversation? Do you want to cook outside or have enough seating and surfaces to serve small bites? Multiple zones geared to specific activities help drive the flow of outdoor spaces; creating zones for cooking, dining and lounging.
“Natural stone is timeless and lasts forever. It feels authentic to the outdoors and also comes in a wide variety of options. If you have a pool and children running about, you have to be extra mindful of slippage and select a material that has a subtle texture
to avoid skinned knees and stubbed toes. But always maintain enough grass, plantings and trees to ensure you feel like the backyard is part of mother nature and not a concrete jungle. Limestone is terrific as it doesn’t keep a lot of the solar heat, so no burned feet. It also comes in many shades and tones.
“Always keep the main paths of egress free and clear. Getting in and out of the house needs to be effortless and unobstructed. I also love symmetry and balance and tend to create spaces that have a similar footprint. One side can house the outdoor kitchen and dining, while the other side lounging, resting and reading. Always design for the space’s size; it’s essential to have flow and freedom.
“Have various kinds of seating to accommodate different uses. A mix of sofas, club and lounge chairs, and pool lounges with umbrellas and plenty of side tables so everyone can put a small plate, drink or book down with ease. Mixed materials like teak, outdoor-graded metal and synthetic woven pieces are long-lasting. We tend to stay away from glass, even if it is tempered because it only takes one quick moment for a mishap. We also love high-end melamine plates and glassware for safe outdoor use for casual meals.”
— Kendall Wilkinson of Kendall Wilkinson Interior Design in San Francisco
Make it Inviting
“Have designated areas for lounging and dining provides little nooks that allow for a more intimate setting. By adding covered seating, mood lighting, outdoor rugs and lush landscaping, guests will feel welcome and relaxed.
“Create little vignettes in your backyard space. Keeping furniture to a minimum and grouping it in different areas helps create an inviting vibe.
“Creating an indoor/outdoor living area provides a seamless flow. You want your guests to move freely and be able to access all the different areas of your outdoor space.
“Outdoor speakers and lighting set the tone for your outdoor space. Pairing some gorgeous candles, flowers and stunning table settings creates ambiance guests are sure to appreciate.”
— Tiffany Isaacs of Simon Isaacs Real Estate in Palm Beach, Florida
Consider a Pergola
“It’s also important to think about outdoor upgrades in terms of return on investment. How can I create a space that can be used year-round? Will the upgrades increase my property value? The answers to all of these questions will help inform choices well beyond furniture selection, like whether to add fixed structures, water features, or built-in appliances.
“As with interior design, a well-designed outdoor space needs to offer both comfort and function. In addition, an outdoor space must be designed to withstand the elements. Even the most well-curated outdoor lounge or kitchen will remain underutilized unless it can be protected from rain, sun and extreme temperatures.
“Pergolas offer protection and durability. The motorized pivoting louvers, which can be shifted at the touch of a button to let the sunshine through or to optimize shade, can be fully closed on rainy days. StruXure products are made from durable, powder-coated extruded aluminum, which makes them scratch-resistant, non-corrosive and nearly maintenance-free. Pergolas can also serve as anchors, helping to define unique spaces within a larger, multi-purpose backyard design. Pergolas can be matched to your home’s architecture and color scheme—and then turning into any ‘room’ your family desires: outdoor living room, theater, kitchen, spa.”
— Scott Selzer CEO of StruXure outdoor pergolas
Look to Logistics
“When designing an outdoor space, make sure you have some sort of lighting. LED string lights are a great option for ambiance, or even lots of candles.
“We love putting down artificial turf when styling a backyard space. This is definitely something you will want to consider if you live in a city, because it provides that option to throw down a quilt and sit comfortably on the ground.
“I love using benches around a large rectangular dining table because it provides the most flexibility for seating and accommodating any number of guests. Having a great set of vintage folding chairs is also helpful to bring in and out as needed, since they can be placed anywhere and moved around without taking up a lot of room. A secondary seating area with lounge or Adirondack chairs also allows for an additional conversation area. This can be a casual place that people return to after a meal. You can always find quilts on Etsy or Ebay to keep in a basket outside which can be thrown on the ground for quick, casual seating. I would much rather throw down blankets as needed than deal with outdoor rugs.
“Lastly, you’ll want music when entertaining outdoors, bluetooth speakers are the most convenient.”
— Holly Waterfield, principal interior designer for The Brooklyn Homein Brooklyn, New York
For this and more renovation services, Skyway Home Improvement can help you to have your dream backyard entertainment space. Call us and scheduled your appointment now.