Winter Outdoor Entertaining
I love to entertain however I find it a lot harder in those colder months of the year to balance the warmth and comfort of my guests with avoiding stains and spills on the carpets inside. With little to no cover and a pool, my backyard is definitely more suited to entertaining in those warmer months. So, my question has been: how do I make my backyard more suitable for winter outdoor entertainment at the least possible cost?
The first and most important step to winter outdoor entertaining is to create a warm environment. This I mean both temperature and feel. If your guests feel cosy and comfortable you have successfully created the illusion of warmth.
- Heating: If you have the money, invest in some sort of outdoor heating. Trust me when I say it is money well invested! Whether it is a single heater on a stand or wall mounted heaters, anything will help. Just knowing that a heater is present will actually help to warm up your guests.
- Comfort: Throw some cushions and/or blankets on your outdoor furniture; bring the indoors out. Comfort in the cold is the ultimate draw card. Pillows and blankets create a sense of familiarity, ease and warmth. Make sure that these are not bright colours, keep the sense of warmth using browns, deep blues and greens etc., as they are an aiding tool and not meant to be a social distraction.
- Lighting: This is a powerful tool which people don’t often give too much thought about. Make sure that your entertaining area has warm lighting. This could mean installing soft orange coloured down lights, hanging white fairly lights or using warm coloured cellophane over spot lights.
- Space: Use the space you have wisely. Do not over crowd but provide enough seating for your guests. If your backyard is lacking in space or is mostly grass then throw down some picnic rugs and/or floor cushions as well as using some chairs.
- Direction: When you create a space for your guests to be in you don’t want them hanging around for long in unwanted areas, thus you need to subtly direct them to the main space. Don’t make indoors too much warmer then outdoors. If you have the heating at full blast inside your guests are going to linger and be more inclined to stay indoors. Allowing the back door to be left open and the cold to come inside prevents the discomfort of going out into the cold and gives all the above steps the allure they are meant to have. If you are going to have music, have the main speaker outside.
These 5 things, when utilized well should create a space where your guests feel comfortable and warm regardless of the actual temperature. Of course, it is up to you as host to play your role and use your personality to aid in the comfort of the space as well but I hope these design tips are able to help you as they have helped me.
Don’t let winter and the cold stop you from entertaining!