When you think about the places you can entertain people in your house, it can be easy to forget about your outside areas. But actually, your garden can be a fantastic outdoor social space.
Don’t waste your outside space – improving it can not only help you make the most of your property, and it could increase its value too. Here’s how to transform your outside area into somewhere you can enjoy with friends and family whatever your budget.
Create your perfect outdoor social space any time of year
There’s no wrong time to start thinking about how to create a great outdoor social space. Gardeners and landscapers in the Quotatis network usually have more customers in the spring and summer months, showing that property owners tend to want to do gardening work when the weather’s warmer. It’s usually more comfortable if you’re doing DIY, and you might get to soak up a bit of sun while you’re at it.
However, don’t be put off if you’re reading this in the autumn or winter. The cooler months can be a great time to find available tradespeople, or pick up discounted DIY materials and furniture, like decking, paving and seating. Plus, it’s the ideal time to work on ideas or start creating your outdoor social space if you want to start enjoying it as soon as the warm weather hits. Or if you’re particularly hardy, get a fire pit or heater and get started straight away!
Try these 5 tips to help you use landscaping, lighting, seating, greenery and more create an outdoor social space that’s attractive, comfortable and great fun to be in.
1. Think about landscaping
Start by thinking about your landscaping. Don’t get put off if you’ve got a small budget – you can invest in landscaping as little or as much as you want to. Hire a landscaper to completely redesign your outside area (we even have a list of landscaping ideas to help you know where to start). Or, simply make the most of what you’ve got by clearing spaces or putting up fencing to create separate sections.
There are several different surfaces you can use to create the floor of your social space. These include:
Make sure you pick one that suits both your budget and how you want to use your social space. For example, if you want to have an outside dining table, decking or paving will probably be the best options to give you a level surface. However, if your budget won’t stretch to this, grass will be fine as long as you pick a level area.
Gravel can also be a fantastic low-cost way to create an attractive look for your outdoor social space. Pick your colour carefully to coordinate it with your walls and furniture.
Decking and paving are great ways to give your outside space a polished look that’s here to stay. Use decking for a natural, subtle look, or light-coloured paving to open up a darker area. That said, it’s possible to get paving and decking in a range of colours, so your chosen shade doesn’t necessarily dictate the material you use.
Make sure you get a surface material that suits your habits too. If you want something low maintenance, get gravel or use a paving material that’s easy to clean. Decking is best avoided, unless you don’t mind doing some simple maintenance work once or twice a year.
2. Choose your ideal social seating
To create a great outdoor social space where everyone is comfortable, you need some suitable seating.
If you’re aiming to host dinner parties outside, invest in a good quality set of table and chairs. Make sure you get something that’s durable or you can easily cover or move indoors in bad weather. Or, if you’d prefer something a bit more casual, get a sofa or benches with comfy cushions. Again, preserve your seating by ensuring the cushions are removable or investing in covers.
Like landscaping, it’s easy to find an outdoor seating option that suits your budget. If you’re happy to invest, you could ask a landscaper or carpenter to create your seating. Or you can get some great pieces online and in DIY stores. Alternatively, pallet seating is a great way to create ample outside seating at relatively little expense.
3. Pick plants that suit you
Adding a bit of greenery is a really easy way to decorate your outdoor social space and blend it into the rest of your outside space. Whether you love or hate gardening, or simply have very little time, there are plants out there that’ll suit you.
If you want to keep things really simple, go for plants like grasses, perennials and shrubs. These require very little maintenance and can last for a really long time. Some great low-hassle flowers include:
Of course, you can also get in touch with a professional gardener for help and advice creating your greenery.
One thing to keep in mind if you plan on cultivating a more luscious garden is that weeds can be quite a nuisance. We have plenty of advice on how to protect your flowers and shrubbery from all kinds of common weeds – including couch grass, ragwort and Japanese knotweed.
4. Experiment with lighting
Lighting isn’t essential, but it can be a really effective way to give your outdoor social space a cosy, welcoming atmosphere. Plus, it’ll help you make the most of your area, as you’ll still be able to use it when it gets dark.
There are lots of different outside lighting options to choose from. If you want something quick and easy, go for some battery-powered outdoor fairy lights or wireless solar lights. Simple to put up and move around, these are great choices if you want cheaper lighting you can experiment with.
If you’d prefer more powerful and reliable lighting, go for post, ground or spotlights. Pick a style that suits your space and enjoy a long-lasting lighting system that won’t let you down. Make sure you get in touch with a professional electrician for help installing your lighting.
5. Invest in bifolds
The most effective outdoor social spaces are the ones that lead seamlessly from indoors to out. This makes it easy for guests to move around spaces, and helps you access them whenever you need to.
A feature that’s great at enabling this is bifold doors. When open, they fold away neatly, leaving plenty of space for you, your friends and family to move inside and outside easily. And when closed, they’re a really effective way to let natural light into your rooms.
Bifolds require quite a bit more investment than outdoor lighting and seating. You’ll need to hire a professional to install them and ensure they meet building regulations. So, don’t go for them if you want to keep costs down. But if you’re happy to commit, a set of bifolds could really transform and add value to both your indoor and outdoor areas.
So, whatever the time of year and whatever your budget, it’s possible to create a charming outdoor social space. Not only will this enhance the look of your property, it’ll also help you make the most of it and enjoy your home.
For top results, get professional help by filling out our contact form below. We’ll put you in touch with a handful of tradespeople that can help you realise your vision for the ultimate outdoor social space.