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How to enjoy outdoor entertaining all year round

Posted in Life

With winter in full swing you may think that the time for outdoor entertaining is well and truly over. But with some clever adjustments to your alfresco area you can enjoy it all year round!

Cover up!

Possibly the most important part of  a year round alfresco area is the overhead cover. Not only does it protect you and your guests from any annoying showers, but it helps to hold heat in the area and keep everyone toasty warm! If you don’t currently have a cover over your outdoor dining area, there are some relatively cheap options out there. Read our article on outdoor covering options for ideas.

Keep the space warm

It’s important to keep the area warm so that everyone isn’t uncomfortable. Outdoor gas heaters are a great way to add warmth to an area to make it usable on cooler evenings. There are a range available, from standing, portable heaters to overhead fixed heaters.

If you would rather something with a little rustic ambience, consider a small fireplace. They add warmth, charm and a great centrepiece for everyone to assemble around. Just ensure that you have adequate ventilation, and do not have any low ceilings or trees above it.

You can also add throw rugs to chairs for added warmth for your guests. It gives a cosy and intimate feel and is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than heating options!

Light for warmth

The correct lighting is essential. Like any dining situation, you want an outdoor space to feel warm and ambient, but not so bright that people feel as though they are under interrogation! You can often get away with making outdoor dining areas a little darker than indoor scenarios, as then they have more of a rustic camping feel.

Candles are a great addition to an outdoor setting to give a feeling of warmth and romance – or even better, a fireplace if the area permits. If you are using light globes, choose warm white rather than cool white to give the area a hotter feeling. Fairy lights can also be a great addition to add ambient rather than direct light.

And don’t just think about lighting directly around your table, but extend lighting further into your garden. This ensures there is not a pitch black, cold view to look at, but a warm and intriguing light-speckled garden. Solar lights are a great choice to dot around garden paths or fences, as they tend to be robust and don’t add large sums to your electricity bill when you forget to turn them off!

Bring the cook outdoors

It’s a great idea to move the cooking outside as well as the table and chairs. This way, the cook can interact with everyone as they prepare, the delicious cooking smells will entice guests outside, and the cooking appliances add extra warmth to the area.

It can also be unappealing to move from the warm indoors to the seemingly cooler outdoors later in the evening, so cooking outside gets everyone out there early in the night.

Inbuilt outdoor kitchens are ideal, but also BBQs or Webers are perfect for small areas.

Prepare your guests

One of the simplest tricks to make your outdoor events a success is telling your guests what you have planned so that they can come adequately prepared! Avoid people leaving early because they are cold or uncomfortable by letting them know you plan to enjoy the outdoors. This way they can wear warm clothes and shoes and make your job easier.

There’s no reason to neglect your alfresco area half the year! With these few simple tricks you can keep your guests warm and happy, and have a romantic and rustic getaway right in your own backyard!