How to Create a Garden Entertainment Area

Blend indoors and out with an outdoor kitchen, intimate dining area or simple relaxation space.

Extend Living Space Into Backyard Room

Extend Living Space Into Backyard Room

A sail like awning will help shade a patio.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

A sail like awning will help shade a patio.

Elements for constructing your outdoor garden room are readily available, from exterior tiles and decking for barefoot garden access to instant “walls” constructed from decorative screen panels or “hedges” of potted bamboo. Make a “ceiling” using a pergola festooned with night-fragrant jasmine, or fit a sail-like awning for summer shade. Many stylish sofas and armchairs are designed to stay out no matter the weather. Impromptu seating (from raised beds at sitting height) is perfect to encircle a fire pit.

Finish with paints and stains, matching cushion fabrics and china to interior color schemes. Dress your outdoor room with topiaries and sculptural foliage in contemporary containers. Add drama at nightfall with low-voltage lighting. Colorful, hard-wearing furniture creates a versatile outdoor room.

Key Design Elements for an Outdoor Living Space

  • All-weather surfaces: Many contemporary doors roll back or fold, blurring the barrier between indoors and out. Mirror your flooring—choose feet-friendly tiles, smooth paving, and decking that repels rain and is frost-proof.
  • Outdoor lighting: Dramatic choices include recessed neon deck lights and colored floods that turn plain walls into modern art, while candles, oil lamps, and string lights woven through plants create atmosphere.
  • Dining space: Al fresco summer dinner parties with flickering candelabras or lunches in the dappled shade of a vine-clad pergola can be stylish, memorable events. Bring out the best tableware for a dinner party.
  • Privacy and shelter: Need shade at midday? Try a sail-like awning. Being out of the wind is essential; being beyond the gaze of neighbors is desirable if you want to float in a hot tub or doze in a hammock.
  • Outdoor furniture: Weatherproof, comfortable, and practical, furniture should also add to your garden’s design. Whether you prefer a traditional feel or modern style, pick furniture and fabrics to mirror interior luxury. 
  • Food preparation area: Cooking and eating outdoors is an epicurean delight. Outfit a kitchen with easy-clean surfaces, a stove, and perhaps a wood-burning oven. Grow a range of herbs close by to enhance your cookouts.
  • Fire pit: A fire pit will draw people together at social gatherings and makes a captivating focal point, so position soft seating to make the most of it. Some designs have safety guards and some can be used for cooking.

Other Additions to Consider:

  • Garden art: Turn your garden into a gallery with pieces that enhance the style of the surroundings.
  • Pools and fountains: Choose a pool with night-time illumination or a sparkling fountain to add movement.
  • Soft seating: Convert steps, walls, and raised beds into comfortable perches with outdoor cushions. 
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