Summer Entertaining preparation
Summer is around the corner… the nights are a little longer and temperatures getting warmer. This past Labour weekend prompted a few of the Home Show team to take the plunge and haul the barbecue out of storage in anticipation of summer entertaining & nights at the grill. We expect we’re not the only ones. But with this first step, it became clear that perhaps we’re not as summer ready as we’d like to be. You might be feeling the same way, but don’t worry. November is a great time to take a fresh look at all of your outdoor living spaces. Because, maybe they’re looking a tad tired and bedraggled (a little bit like how some of us feel after the long, wet winter) — it’s ok. With a little effort and planning, these areas can be ‘summer-fied’ in no time.
Clear the decks
Firstly, let’s start with a clean slate… by that we mean spruce up your deck, patio, grassy yard, or balcony (really any space you’ll be enjoying outside this summer). Starting with a clean slate is always easier. Clearing clutter in the yard, checking the state of plants and ornaments and removing items that have seen better days.
If you have a large deck, waterblast it and then scrub with the recommended cleaning agent that suits your decking surface. Smaller decks will require just a little elbow grease with a stiff broom or wire brush. Ask yourself if you need to stain or treat the surface, or is it holding up ok. Or do you prefer the weathered look? Best to do this earlier to ensure you get the look and finish you want. Check for loose boards, and slip zones that may need cleaning, repairs or replacement. Once you’ve cleaned and cleared, take a minute to think about your lifestyle and entertaining needs. The idea is, after all, to create a space you can live your ‘best summer life’ in. So is it a haven that’s easy to maintain and low fuss or entertainment central where you may need to think about storage for accessories like throws and cushions? Either way it should be a place you will look forward to using.
Dress up the space for Summer Entertaining
Adding or replacing furniture, lighting, features and planters will refresh your outdoor spaces. Think about your exterior in much the same way you do your home interior design. A little planning to ensure cohesiveness will see you reaping the rewards. Many households start and finish an interior renovation before moving to an exterior plan; more often than not they don’t consider the correlation between interior and exterior — which leads to a disconnect. We say think of your deck or patio as an extension of your home — after-all it is a living space that exists outside. Done right it shouldn’t feel like something separate.
Why not think a little outside the box? These days you can use traditionally interior objects in new ways. Take a mirror; this can make a stylish addition to your patio or deck by placing it in an area that needs to be opened up. As reflective surfaces do inside, it will create space and direct light to darkened spots. Simple touches like tea-lights in jam jars can add instant ambience and make the space feel a little more seasonally festive and perfect for Summer Entertaining outdoors.
An easy way to link the interior to the exterior is to pay attention to furniture and colours; If your interior design shouts modernist minimalism, echo this into the outdoors with sleek outdoor loungers and tables, and clean lines and muted colours.
Likewise if boho chic is more to your taste, find some outdoor pieces to match. The ranges of pieces available in speciality outdoor shops and on the internet are forever growing. You are bound to find items that fit your personal preference and taste.
It’s up to you what type of furniture you choose — wood, wrought iron, wicker, aluminium — once again think about how you entertain and the overall look you want your area to have. With outdoor furniture opt to shop for value over price where possible. Flimsy materials, or furniture that requires complicated assembly is often not worth the trouble and frustration. Unless you truly like an ‘Ikea type challenge’, then go for it. Thoroughly test and inspect the furniture before buying! Really sit on benches as you would at home, lie back on the lounge and pull chairs up to their table to make sure you’ll be comfortable. Ask questions regarding waterproofing, expected lifetime, and special care tips and recommendations to extend its life. While mixing and matching styles & finishes can be effective to add interest, and means you can splash out on key pieces and pull back on others, aesthetically it is a fine line to tread.
Features and Flowers
On a larger scale, if you’ve got the room, you may wish to maximise the use of your deck by installing a spa pool or hot tub; perfect for summer entertaining. Or by using large potted trees to help decorate the area and soften harsh edges. Ensure privacy and shelter from winds by making use of screens, trellises or planters to create cosy spots. Raised flower beds filled with plants can provide extra seating as well as adding fragrance and colour. If you have an outlook or view that’s not pleasing you’ll want to block it out. Try growing flowering vines up trellises or hang potted plants in hanging baskets in strategic positions to break up and disguise unsightly areas.
Having one large item, to give your lawn, patio or deck a central focus is a good idea. Anything from a tree, a bird bath, water feature or sculpture works. A fountain or pool not only becomes a feature of the area but has a fresh and cooling effect on summer evenings.
Putting in the extra effort will add to your home’s resale value. As well as creating a safe environment where your family and friends can relax and make the most out of all that summer and the outdoors offer. Enjoy!”