Outdoor living is part of the modern lifestyle. Who wouldn’t rather be cooking a storm up on the barbie than standing behind a stove? In spite of this, outdoor entertainment areas have often been afterthoughts in home design. This is changing though. Today, architects and interior designers look at your outdoor entertainment area as an integral part of your living space and lifestyle.
Planning your outdoor area
Before you dive into revamping your outdoor area, take the time to do some planning. Factors to think about include:
- Layout – where is everything going to go? Sketch it out or get help from a design professional. A landscape designer, drafter or even an interior designer can help make it functional and gorgeous.
- Materials – bear in mind everything is going to be exposed to the elements, so don’t skimp on your materials. Rather over-engineer and it will all last a lot longer.
- Professionals – who is going to do all the work for you? Take the time to talk to a range of businesses before you decide to hire and make sure you get at least three quotes.
- Budget – last but not least, how much is it all going to cost? Look to get a firm idea of your materials and labour costs, together with a buffer for the unexpected.
Now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty. Here are 5 ways, with a range of budgets, to transform your outdoor area, so you actually want to spend time out there!
1. Create an outdoor room
Do you need more living space, but don’t want a walled-in home extension? Then consider installing an outdoor room which is really just a fully furnished room with no walls. The key feature of any outdoor room is that it should connect seamlessly with your indoors often via bifold doors that open as wide and allow you to move freely between the two spaces.
2. A deck is a must
What is not to love about a deck? Besides being one of the most cost-effective ways to expand your outdoor lifestyle, they also add value to your home. Hardwood timber decking is the way to go for maximum wow factor and durability, though you should also consider composite – a mixture of recycled wood and plastic.
3. Go all out with an outdoor kitchen
An outdoor kitchen is alfresco living’s hottest trend. Instead of just including a barbecue, many modern outdoor entertainment areas go all out and include fully equipped kitchens and dining areas. You could spend tens of thousands of dollars on getting yours looking just right, but if you are frugal, you can definitely do it for less. Avoid putting in items like a sink, to avoid the plumbing costs, but don’t skimp on materials for your cabinetry as they will be exposed to elements.
4. Cool down in a pool
A swimming pool is sure to be a hit with family and friends, but be prepared to pay for the privilege. Besides the initial costs – anywhere from $6,500 for a fibreglass shell to over $50,000 for a concrete pool – you also need to factor in ongoing maintenance. In terms of planning, look to integrate other elements such as seating and decking, for the ultimate outdoor entertainment area.
5. Don’t forget to landscape
Landscaping is integral to the look, feel and functionality of your outdoor entertainment area. This is one job you definitely need some expert advice on. A professional landscaper will be able to suggest new ideas, show you innovative products and help you meet your personal preferences.
An inspiration board can help you choose the elements of an outdoor entertainment area you want to include in your design. Simply choose the photos that appeal to you the most, add them to your inspiration board. What appeals to you the most? Is it the covered barbecue area? Is it the verdant garden? Do you like the idea of being able to extend your living area by adding on an enclosed patio?
If you want your entertainment area to be not only covered, but enclosed, don’t dismiss the idea as unaffordable until you’ve looked into the new breed of screen enclosures that are available today. Imagine, for example, being able to convert your open patio into an enclosed patio at the touch of a button. With today’s sophisticated technology, this is entirely possible and surprisingly affordable.