So, you’ve been dreaming of a backyard that’s perfect for entertaining with your friends and family, but you’re not sure where to start. Whether your project is big or small, the principles for planning it are the same. Get ready to wow your friends and family with your stylish yet welcoming entertainer’s garden. In this guide, we take you through the steps you need to take to plan and successfully design and plan your ultimate outdoor entertaining area.

Think like an interior designer

Consider the various elements of your garden the same as your interior, fences are like walls, pergolas and trees are the roof, plants are extremely versatile as they can be structural, screening, sculpture, flooring! Yes, your furniture should be stylish, but it is really important that your furniture is comfortable and welcoming also. Place your furniture so that it works well for conversations. Layer with cushions, floor rugs and throws for an added feeling of comfort. Consider the flow and connection of your indoor/outdoor areas.  You may wish to open it up with bi-fold or French doors. The style of your outdoor spaces may need to blend with your indoor spaces.

Create your brief

Consider the elements that you would like to be included in your outdoor area. Write down the all possible options, you can prioritise and  eliminate some once you have considered all possibilities. Who will use the space and how would they/you like to use the space? If your outdoor space is small – do you need to consider making the space multi-functional? There are many tricks that can be implemented to make a small garden work well and look great at the same time. What will be the best option/s for you and your family? What will your budget allow? Do you have a tight deadline? This combined with a limited budget can cause stress and problems down the track…

Set the Mood!

Start a Pinterest board, or create a mood board, this can be on your computer or on an actual board. Include images of furniture, paving, outdoor art such as metal screens or sculptures, favourite plants, paint colours, material samples and fabric swatches. Basically, anything you would like to include in your outdoor entertaining area, this is important as it will help you decide if your choices work well together.

Alfresco Dining & Outdoor Kitchens

outdoor-kitchen-mosman-sydney-landscape-architect Outdoor kitchens make entertaining outdoors so easy and enjoyable it’s no wonder that they are still trending as a must have in your outdoor entertaining area. In Australia we are very fortunate to have the weather to match! Obviously, your budget and available space will be key issues when deciding which features to include. If you have the room and the budget, features you could consider are:
  • Is your chosen area close to your indoor kitchen and dining?
  • Hot and cold running water
  • Fridge and Wine Fridge
  • BBQ Grill with side burners, warming drawer
  • Pizza Oven
  • Smoker
  • Storage drawers and cupboards

Fire Pits and Fireplaces

outdoor-fireplace-sydney-landscape-architect.jpg As the weather turns chilly fire pits and fireplaces are a great way of extending your time outdoors. Fire pits and fireplaces make a great place to gather for conversations, just add some comfortable furniture, food, drinks and some music and you have a natural ambience. Possible design styles to consider include a circular pit, Indoor/outdoor fireplaces, double sided fireplaces. Always consider the size and scale of your garden when choosing your fire pit or fireplace. If you are in a Bushfire Prone Landscape or have a small urban garden with limited space for firewood, there are good alternative fuels to wood such as natural gas or biofuel. Research the rules and regulations and ensure that you meet Building and council codes which vary in each area from a safety point of view. Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed at Urban and Rural Design we have the experience and qualifications to ensure that your design is constructed to industry standards and in line with current legislation.

Water Features, Pools & Spas

Water as an element in your garden has a cooling, soothing and relaxing mood. So naturally including a water feature, pool and/or spa remain popular features in an outdoor entertainment area providing enjoyment for friends and family. The feature or features you choose should be dependent on a number of factors such as the size of your garden, your budget and who will be using the space. Again, do your research as there is a lot of legislation around water features, pools and spas which must be adhered to. Council is there to ensure that things get done the right way so that your garden is safe. Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed at Urban and Rural Design we have the experience and qualifications to ensure that your design is constructed to industry standards and in line with current legislation.  

Reflective Quiet Zones

exterior-design-gordon Creating quiet spaces in your garden for activities such as yoga, meditation and other forms of exercise is very beneficial. In recent times the importance of being able to retreat to recharge the batteries without leaving home is becoming essential. Other possible design ideas to consider are:
  • She Sheds,
  • Man Caves,
  • Studios for work or creativity,
  • Game/play rooms for children,
  • Daybeds, and
  • Reading nooks.

Outdoor Play Zones for Children

Rural-landscape-design-glenorie This design element will not be important to everyone but for some of you it will be an important part of your outdoor entertainment area. Outdoor play zones don’t have to be brightly coloured and plastic. They can be designed to look natural so they blend with your other design areas. Think balance bars, stepping logs, sandpits, swings, tree houses, cubby houses or perhaps an open, level lawn area. It is advisable to buy equipment from reputable compliant suppliers or build to code. If you are unsure check with PlaySafe Australia  or check our Urban and Rural Design’s portfolio for some inspiration on how we can help you.

Don’t forget the Lighting, Irrigation and Music

sydney-sandstone-waterfeature-rural When the sun goes down your party may just be getting started, so it is important to ensure that the lighting is just right to set the mood. For example you might find that up-lighting a beautiful tree is amazing, but you don’t want this same type of lighting on your steps! The planning stage is the perfect time to work out where your lighting, irrigation and music will be going so you can install it before your plants and hardscape materials are installed. We can help you to make a success of your project. With over 30 years’ experience, there’s little in the landscaping world that we haven’t seen or done. Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed at Urban and Rural Design we have the experience and qualifications to ensure that your design is constructed to industry standards and in line with current legislation.

What’s Hot

Go Natural with Biophilic Design – as humans we desire a connection to nature. Biophilic design is about creating this connection through the use of natural materials and colour palettes and a jungle-like planting scheme with features such as vertical gardens or green walls and hanging baskets. biophillic-landscape-design-paddington  


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Hello, my name is Angela and this is my blog. With 30 years of experience as a Landscape Architect and Horticulturist, I now have the pleasure of sharing my love of design, sustainable landscapes and horticulture with passionate homeowners.

Want more great advice?

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CALL: 0416397258

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