DIY How To

How to create the perfect outdoor space for socialising

If you ensure your outdoor space is as pleasant as your indoor one, you can add value to your property quite easily – as much as 10 or 20 per cent, in fact. More importantly, by paying attention to the quality of your garden or terrace, you can squeeze every last ounce out of your property.

So read on for our top tips – including advice on outdoor lighting and planned seating -to achieve a perfect outdoor space for socialising and potentially increasing your home’s value at the same time.

Outdoor space for socialising

Outdoor lighting
When done well, outdoor lighting can set the ambience for any social occasion.
To highlight a feature, take a minimalist approach. Too many lights or focal points can confuse the eye. Up-lights should be placed on both sides of the feature – and of course you need to ensure diners have enough light if you’ll be eating after dark.

Depending on your budget, you can fit permanent lighting by employing an electrician. Or, if you’d prefer a less expensive or more flexible solution, then why not opt for lanterns, solar stakes and candles, all of which can give a romantic feel to a garden – and at a fraction of the cost.

For permanent solutions, your outdoor lighting options include decking lights, ground lights, wall lighting or spots. String or curtain lights can also provide a great party atmosphere. Consider energy efficient lighting such as LEDs or fairy lights, too.
Adding an integral PIR motion sensor to outdoor lighting also offers added security for your home.

Seating
Adapt to the size of your garden and the type of socialising you envisage. Will you be dining outside or serving drinks? If so, this will help you decide on the size of table and number of seats required.

Fold-away furniture and built-in benches save on space. Raised, walled flower beds can also double as seating. Extendable tables offer even more flexibility.
Position your furniture where the sun stays for the majority of the day: an early evening cocktail tastes so much better in the rays of the setting sun.

Cooking
From barbecuing to a full outdoor kitchen, there exists a huge choice for al fresco cooking.

Barbecues can take many forms. You may prefer to be able to store your barbecue when it’s not in use or you may prefer to have a fancy permanent one. Stone ovens are another option, or you can even take the indoors outside with a full outdoor kitchen. Either way, place them away from your diners when cooking to avoid immersing them in smoke.

Whether you’re cooking outside or indoors, ensure the cook can face your guests and has easy access to the kitchen.

Weather
As we know, the British weather can be unpredictable at best, so choose waterproof furniture to avoid having to replace it often. Also consider heating with gas or electric patio heaters or a fire pit, and ensure there is on-hand protection from the sun or rain with a canopy or parasol.

Music
Music is a great way to create the mood for your get-together. Play from inside your home or choose all-weather speakers for the ultimate outdoor experience.
Follow these simple tips to impress your guests as well as protecting your property investment.

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