In our humble opinion, few things are more iconically Australian than the backyard BBQ – from a simple sausage sizzle to a big birthday bash, we Aussies love to entertain outdoors. And, while our warmer climate certainly makes it more comfortable, our obsession with living outside is about so much more than soaking up the sun. It’s a celebration of the laidback lifestyle, hospitality, and sense of community that make Australia one of the most liveable places in the world.
The key to a successful backyard BBQ is a well-appointed outdoor entertaining area. While it can be quite expensive to set up a living space outside, it doesn’t need to be. By focusing on getting the basics right, you can create an area that is stylish, practical, and cost-effective.
If you’re thinking about refreshing your outdoor entertaining area, but are not sure where to start, here are our top tips.
Tip #1: Make sure there’s shade
In Australia, our relationship with the sun is… complicated. While our country and culture flourishes (both literally and metaphorically) in the warmth of Summer, we are acutely aware of the damage too much sun can cause.
A well designed outdoor entertaining area should take this into consideration and allow you to shield your guests from the sun. From overhead protection (like retractable roofing, umbrellas, etc.) to shade screens (like outdoor blinds made of sunscreen material), there are many ways to protect your friends, family, and furniture from harmful UV rays.
Tip #2: Provide protection from the elements
It’s not just the sun you need to worry about – wind, rain, and even bugs can quickly ruin an otherwise lovely occasion. Having the right structures and protections in place (like retractable roofing, outdoor blinds, etc.) can help maximise the time you can comfortably spend outside – including in the cooler months!
Tip #3: Extend the indoors, out
If set up correctly, your outdoor entertaining area should be just like another room of your house. This connection can be created by carrying your internal design aesthetic (colours, materials, furniture styles, etc.) through to your outside living space. Features like a servery window and bi-fold doors can also improve flow and make the area seem bigger.
Tip #4: Kit out the space
Once you’ve sorted out the structure of your outdoor entertaining area, it’s time to furnish it. Exactly what you need to get will depend on the type of entertaining you do and your budget, but things you should consider include:
· Seating – You can never have too many places to sit! Having a mixture of fixed and movable seating gives you more options and can help you to split your space into smaller areas.
· Cooking – From a single grill portable BBQ to a plumbed in professional outdoor kitchen, your cooking setup can be as basic or as lavish as you want.
· Entertaining – Outdoor AV options have never been more affordable. If music is a critical part of your get togethers, consider installing a sound system. If you love to have people over to watch sports games and movies, a projector can quickly turn an outdoor blind into an open-air cinema.
Tip #5: Let lighting set the mood
Often, the party is just getting started as the sun goes down, so good lighting is a must. Beyond the practical and safety considerations, lighting is also one of the quickest and easiest ways to add visual drama to an outdoor space. Whether you use a statement pendant, dimmable spotlights, or fairy lights and lanterns – or a combination of all of these – your lighting plan should reflect the tone of your event.
Want more information? At 1800 Blinds, we love entertaining outdoors and are always happy to offer advice on getting the most out of your space. We also supply a wide range of outdoor blinds, shutters, and awnings at affordable prices. To learn more about setting up an outdoor entertaining space, contact the team at 1800-BLINDS today!