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10 Outdoor Entertainment Area Ideas To Prepare For Summer

Winter- Ready Homes: 8 Tips for Canterbury Residents

The long, warm evenings of summer are on their way! If you’re anything like the Auckland Home Show team you’ll be looking forward to having your friends and family over for a relaxing social evening or a meal outside.

So, if you’re getting ready to play host during the outdoor entertaining season, we’d like to share our top 10 ideas to help prep your Outdoor Entertainment Area in advance and keep things stress free on the day of an event.

Come time to party, you can enjoy your gathering just as much as your guests.   

1. A Clean Slate Makes A Good Start For Your Outdoor Entertainment Area

This may sound obvious but cleaning your outdoor surfaces and any furniture is a great start. You’ll see what’s held up over the winter weather, what areas could do with a touch up or repairs and what could do with replacing.

  • Power wash exterior surfaces like decks and patios. Or to save water, sweep floors and spot-treat as necessary with a bucket of water and a scrub brush.
  • Refinishing decks as needed should be done right off the bat.
  • Smooth out gravel patios with a rake and buy a few more bags of gravel to fill in any gaps.
  • Clean any outside furniture and identify any items that require special attention.
  • Reupholster worn-out cushions or oiling wooden outdoor furniture.  

Summer Outdoor Entertaining Area Preparation - Power wash, Water blast, Clean

2. Ideas For Additional Seating For Your Summer Outdoor Entertaining Area

Is it time to upgrade your outdoor furniture? Make sure you measure your space before shopping, otherwise you might fall in love with beautiful but impractical furniture for the area you have. Speak to the experts about properly taking care of your furniture. Day to day you might only require a modest set of outdoor furniture.

But if you’re planning on entertaining larger numbers from time to time, plan ahead and avoid scrambling for extra chairs on the day of a party. We suggest having inexpensive folding chairs that are easy to store as back-ups. Or multi-use pieces that can move between the indoors and outdoors, or ottomans that can double as storage spaces.

Assess your seating options and fill in with these suggestions; consider low outdoor walls that can double as seats by adding cushions and rugs to make them more comfortable. And you can’t go past the good old kiwi staple…  beanbags! (make sure the fabric is hard wearing if using outdoors). 

Summer Outdoor Entertaining Area - Additional Seating ideas

3. Throw Shade On Your Outdoor Entertainment Area

Investing in a quality shade structure, shade sail, louver roof or even a vine-covered trellis can increase the comfort level for your guests during summer gatherings. Canterleaver umbrellas are a great option no matter what time of day you’re entertaining since you can reposition easily. And they’re a great non-permanent solution if you’re renting.

Sliding shade sails are great for controlling just how much sun or shade you’d like. If you want to weather proof all year round, now is the time to add a more permanent louver structure to let in as much or little of the elements as you want. We love this Louvre pictured below from NZ Louvres!  

If this isn’t the year to invest in a year-round setup, plan on picking up a few good-size sun umbrellas to cast pools of shade over a sunny patio or lawn. Or make use of existing mature trees, (if you have them) by moving outdoor furniture under leafy canopies for a sheltered dining area. 

Throw Shade On Your Summer Outdoor Entertaining Area

4. Lighten Up Your Summer Outdoor Entertainment Area Ideas

Have you got a feature tree or wall in your outdoor area? Add strategic outdoor lighting; maybe at the base of a tree shining up, or pointing down onto a trellis wall of vines and greenery. To really transform an outdoor space into a party ready area hang some strings of fairy lights or ‘cafe-style’ lights.

While cheap string light kits are fine and do the job, you’re better off investing in higher quality outdoor patio lights that are waterproof, if you’re entertaining often. Speak to an electrician about underground or perimeter run cables and connections to play it safe. Never underestimate the difference good mood lighting will make!  

Lighten up you Summer Outdoor Entertainment Area

5. Try an Outdoor Rug To Add Extra Texture to your Summer Outdoor Entertaining Area

Adding Texture to your outdoor entertaining area is a really underrated consideration. You can conveniently hide decks or outdoor flooring that you didn’t have time to clean, or disguise patching scratchy grass with an outdoor rug or two. Some outdoor rugs can feel wonderful under bare feet, and it will make sitting on the ground (with a few cushions) a lot more inviting.

Our tip is to find outdoor rugs that are made of recycled plastic, nylon or polyester; that are water-resistant and best of all super easy to hose down for a quick clean up… party accidents do happen.  

Outdoor Rug To Add Extra Texture Summer Outdoor Entertaining Area

6. Splash out In Your Summer Outdoor Entertainment Area

Adding a swimming pool certainly is a higher investment in your outdoor entraining space, but there’s no denying the impact it will make for years to come. Nothing screams summer fun like pool party. You might have trouble getting your guests to leave at the end of the party!  

A smaller, more cost effective and less permanent plunge option would be adding a spa pool to your area. Guests might appreciate an area to wind down and there’s no better location than a Spa Pool to maintain that social vibe.  

Splash out In Your Summer Outdoor Entertainment Area

7. Add A Bar Cart Your Summer Outdoor Entertaining Area

Often the Kitchen is the place where your guests gather. But we have an easy way to get guests outside: invite them to serve themselves by having an inviting (but low-key) outdoor bar cart or drinks station.

This could be an up-cycle project by finding a small table to repurpose for the season. check out our ‘DIY Bar Cart’ Pinterest page for ideas. Or you can simply set up a make shift bar area in the backyard under shade. Keep a couple of chilly bins nearby to home ice for drinks in one larger one to and keep bottled drinks on ice.

If you’re prepping for a party, buy the basics — like sparkling water, soda, juices, and a few bottles of wine.  Asking guests to bring something they enjoy, to share is a great way to keep drink options interesting. 

Add A Bar Cart Your Summer Outdoor Entertaining Area

Bonus Tip: Having 1 signature cocktail will keep things simple and your budget intact not having to purchase multiple spirits. This also keeps your shopping list simple. Save on stress by offering one punch or cocktail. And have other basics on hand for guests to help themselves. If you’re lucky enough to have herbs, fruits, or other cocktail inspiring ingredients growing in the garden, perhaps centre your cocktails around the ingredients you’ll have on hand all summer from your garden. Items like mint for mojitos or berries for a fruity punch will go down well. Level up with specialist spirits like locally made Imagination Distilling‘s gin.  


8. Should You Upgrade or Replace Your BBQ?  

The easiest way to tell if you need to replace any part in your BBQ is if you notice that your BBQ is giving inconsistent heat. The flames are uneven, you get flare-ups, or if its just performing poorly and taking too long to cook.

If you notice any of these indicators, firstly inspect for parts that are rusting, flaking, or showing any deterioration signs. Once you have determined which part is causing the problem, it might simply involve replacing some of the components or parts. But consider the age of your BBQ and cost of repairs. Sometimes it’s just time to say goodbye and replace your BBQ with a newer or even bigger model, especially if you plan to entertain a bigger crowd. BBQ’s & More have terrific options suitable for any needs.  

Should You Upgrade or Replace Your BBQ?  

9. Plan for Cool Evenings When Entertaining In Your Outdoor Area

Don’t let nightfall put a chill on your outdoor entertaining. Keep the party going by simply having a few warm throw blankets ready for draping over cold shoulders. Or level up and invest in a fire pit. There are permanent or moveable options available.

Or strategically place an outdoor heater where guests will be gathered. Keep things cozy outside after dark with warmth and light. Outdoor heaters from EuroBlade are ideal to keep your guests warm well into the evening.  

Plan for Cool Evenings When Entertaining In Your Outdoor Area

10. Host A Movie Night Or Create A Sports Fan Zone Using Your Outdoor Entertaining Area

As the weather warms up, why move inside to watch movies or grand finals? Technology has improved so much that you could transform your backyard into a movie theatre!

There are TVs that are made to be hung up outside all year round, and portable projectors are at far more reasonable price points than ever before. That means movie nights outdoors are far more feasible and something that all ages will love.  You can make it extra special, with tasty snacks and cozy seating, plus fabulous decor that offers the perfect ambiance.

Check out Samsungs Terrace TV, it is your year-round solution for outdoor entertainment. No matter the season, its weather resistant rating delivers full performance and protection from the outdoor elements including humidity, dust and heat. And an example of the perfect projector for indoors or out is the new Freestyle Projector also from Samsung.  

Will you be making the most of the long, warm evenings of summer coming your way? How are you getting ready for hosting outdoors? Do you have more Summer outdoor entertaining at home tips of your own we should add to our list? 

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