A Flexible Entertaining Area - The Room Outside

I am often asked about the “room outside”, how to use it, how to improve it, lighting, furniture.... the list is endless but here are a few quick ideas and tips for you to make the most of summer (when the rain stops!)

“There seems to be a frenzy of activity in most households across Britain! Summer is here and people are thinking about BBQs, perhaps re-laying a new patio and even extending the kitchen at the back to open up into an outside kitchen cum dining area. Whether grown-ups are looking forward to evenings filled with aperitifs and canapés or having family get together- extending that living room into the greenery and re-assessing your garden needs will go a long way towards having a flexible entertaining area.”

I am often asked about the “room outside”, how to use it, how to improve it, lighting, furniture.... the list is endless but here are a few quick ideas and tips for you to make the most of summer (when the rain stops!)

What homeowners can do to update living rooms which have French or concertina doors onto a patio/garden and make them ready to entertain in?

  • To make your living room flow into your patio, you can look at using the same floor tiles/slabs for the outside. An interior design trick, this fools the eye into thinking it looks bigger and will extend your “room” to the outdoors

  • Use the same plant pots that you have in the living room on your patio, this will give continuity to the indoor/outdoor feel

  • For your outdoor furniture, complimentary cushions which are in the same colour tone as the furniture inside but with a different texture will add interest (and comfort!) to your outdoor entertaining space

Patios/terraces/courtyards- what needs to be done to these areas in time to enjoy the summer? Do you need to replace or update with new slabs/decking?

  • Ensure you have a path to connect all the functional areas of the garden, such as from the patio to the herbaceous borders to the shed. This will link your whole garden together and any entertaining you do will ensure visitors can stroll through the garden

  • Flexible space and multi-functional spaces are best for any garden. For example a deck could be used to conceal a sand pit for children or even a pool!

  • Make sure you have space for storage. Good storage space allows children’s toys to be put away easily when the adults need an entertaining area without clutter. You could use the storage boxes as smaller tables for the kids to eat at.

  • Choose the style of the patio to complement the house – too fussy and it will look messy, too simple and it will be bland.

Gardening extras: garden furniture, maintaining the garden, garden lighting, buying new pots

  • If you do a lot of entertaining outdoors, then make sure your furniture is as flexible as possible with extending tables, chairs that stack away, and surfaces that are easily wipeable if you have children

  • BBQ should be situated away from children’s playing areas, it’s safer but make sure the cook is still close enough to everyone so he/she does not get left out of the conversation!

  • Lighting the garden is all about less is more: it fulfills a practical function but should also be used to enhance gorgeous trees, beautiful sculpture and architectural planting. Lighting should be an integral part of any garden design.

 

Françoise Murat & Associates specialise in interior, garden & landscape design.

She also runs Interior Design workshops and Grow Your Own workshops.

For more garden and interior design information visit us at www.francoisemurat.com