Planning & Designing an Impressive Outdoor Entertaining Area

Adding an outdoor entertaining area to your home can be beneficial on many levels in providing extra living space, fuss-free entertaining and adding increased value to your home. When planning your outdoor entertaining area there are many factors to consider including:* What the space is to be primarily used for – ie. is it to keep the weather out, for entertaining purposes, an area for the kids to play in or a combination of all three.* What outdoor feature/s will suit the style of your home – ensure any additions blend in with your home’s existing style. This is especially important when adding pergolas, patios, decking, privacy screens, opening roofs, sail shades and awnings to the exterior of your home. This includes selecting colours, materials and structural designs that enhance your existing home.* Estimated budget and associated costs* Time frame for completion* Size or dimension of the outdoor area required.Sizing up your Entertaining AreaWhen planning to add an outdoor entertaining structure such as pergola, patio or sail shade it’s important to firstly determine the size of the area you require for entertaining.When adding a pergola a key design tip is to try and line up the proposed structure with the ends of the walls, house or facia’s. This tends to make the structure look like it was meant to be.As a general guide, the easiest way to determine the size of the entertaining area that you will require is to position your outdoor table and barbecue where you envisage they will be situated. The place your outdoor chairs around the table ensuring to pull them out to the level that you would normally be seated at. Once you have your outdoor settings placed as desired allow enough room around them so that you can easily walk to and from the house and around the outdoor furniture. Plus you will need to take into account the likelihood of inclement weather and how this will affect the size of your entertaining area in terms of remaining sheltered from any rain blowing inwards.As a minimum allow a width of 4 metres for your entertaining area. You may wish to extend this size for your own personal needs allowing for extra items such as pot plants, an outdoor bar, extra seating and so on. Remember to allow enough room in your new outdoor living area so that it will be of a sufficient size to enable you to enjoy your lazy days and entertain in comfort.© Greg Jacobs, Pergola Land – 19th November, 2007

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