The perfect entertainment space

Lazing in the garden with friends and family is an important ritual not to be missed out on during the long, and hopefully hot, days this summer.

When considering your garden design, it is important to take the needs of the users of your space – you, your family and friends – in to account to make the experience a comfortable and inviting one which will have them wanting to come back for more.

A simple checklist can be used to make sure you’ve thought of all the factors which could make or break your outdoor entertaining space this summer.

Aspect: It is important to locate your terrace, deck or patio in a warm, sunny position. I find that often afternoon gatherings soon lead on to evening ones, so it is best to have a position which receives the last of the evening sun and if possible much of the afternoon.

Make it easy for your guests: You don’t want your guests traipsing long distances to the fridge or toilet, nor do you want to be far away from the action when preparing the food, so think carefully about location. Ideally position your space close to or with good access to the kitchen or main exit from the house. Make sure access to, from in and around the entertaining area is considered too. Make a feature of changes in levels such as steps, and also ensure they are easy to negotiate when it’s dark, by illuminating them after dusk.

Scale and furnishing. To provide ultimate comfort for your guests it is important to furnish the area correctly. Similarly to inside your home, terraces should be well sized to allow an appropriate table and seating to be incorporated.

Engage the senses. Naturally, planting should be attractive and inspirations, as well as in keeping with the rest of the garden. Summer scent and colour are always on people’s wish list but it is also important to consider all year round structure and form of the planting. In design terms we sometimes consider planting as the walls of the outside room we are creating and often in such a space, overhead planes or your ‘ceiling’ is created from either trees or arbours. Providing this sense of enclosure to your space will keep your guests content, as they will have a similar feeling to being in a living or dining room.

Now all that is required is good food, conversation and a barbeque. Who needs to go on holiday when England is this good!

Chris James

Garden Designer at Graduate Landscapes