How to… create an outdoor entertaining space

If you’re a hostess with the mostess take note: the only way to entertain nowadays is outdoors and forget high tea in the summer house, it’s now all about outdoor kitchens, relaxed seating and teppan-yaki hot plates.

According to the home improvement expert Michael Holmes “entertaining at home has become the new dining out, so making more of outside space is increasingly popular”, which would explain the trend for roasting spits, pizza ovens, and warmer draws.

Outdoor kitchens have become more than a barbecue and a cooler, they are often as – if not more – luxurious than the conventional indoor kitchen. Where space may be limited inside, outdoor space limitations disappear and hot plates and warming draws become viable luxuries. By integrating cooking and entertainment spaces the hostess can be in the party rather than in the kitchen.

This outdoor seating area is an extension of Ruth Ko’s oriental inspired La Costa, California home, proving that outdoor rooms do not need to be limited to rattan furniture and plastic covers. This room is semi-outdoors and the fireplace makes this a usable space for more than just the summer months. 

When designing an outdoor entertaining area think about the layout and how you intend to use the space, do you want to optimise your view or centre around a feature, such as a pool?

Remember when choosing materials for an outdoor kitchen, they need to be weatherproof and durable – not all appliances are suitable for outdoor use. Teak or cedar are the ideal choice of wood as they are rot proof but stone and stainless steel are more popular.

Harry Sheppard, of Strutt & Parker’s Country House department, have seen an increase in outdoor kitchens being installed and “it’s not that they add much monetary value but they make a house more saleable; they have a lot of appeal.”

Keep your outdoor living area consistent with your garden landscaping and interior design themes to maintain continuity and flow from inside to outside. Ko has accessorised and personalised her outdoor space with her own sculptures.

Lighting is an important feature to consider and requires as much – if not more – thought than internal lighting. If much of your entertaining is going to be done at night, consider what type of ambience you want to create. Lighting is not limited to aesthetics, you don’t want anyone falling in your prize coy pond of infinity pool, make sure paths and drops are well lit.
Outdoor living areas can be created on a shoe string or a big budget and outdoor kitchens are much the same, starting from around £6,000 up to £20,000+ depending the size, quality of appliances and materials.
If Ko’s home has inspired you to make the most of your outdoor space and the last few weeks of summer, post your job for free on to be put in contact with up to 3 tradesmen, who will provide you with quotes. Review the tradesmens’ ratings and select the one who’s right  for you. 

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  1. It sure is delightful to have an outdoor space at home. Be it an outdoor kitchen, patio, porch or deck, home owners can transform it into stress relieving gems inside the property. It is true that homes with outdoor areas are now popular when it comes to entertaining visitors. There are many design options that are simple or luxurious, functional and safe. In terms of safety, railing systems is one solution that house owners can consider especially if there are children at home.

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