A guide to creating and maintaining the perfect outdoor entertaining area

Outdoor planning – a guide to creating and maintaining the perfect outdoor entertaining area.

Before you get started on designing your outdoor area, think about how you plan to use your space and consider the key things you want in it. This handy article will guide you through the different steps involved in creating and maintaining the perfect outdoor entertaining area.

Outdoor considerations

Ask yourself ‘what will this area be used for?’ Do you intend to create a relaxing space to sit back and unwind or to you intend to use the space for entertaining family and friends? Consider how much space you have to work with and if need be create different zones within the area. If you plan to build a deck or a pool consider their location in comparison to your house and the rest of your outdoor space.

Budget is another very important factor. How much money do you have to work with? Create a list of what you intend to do outside and factor in the cost for each. Sticking to a budget is important and will ensure your project runs smoothly and effortlessly.

Style is another important consideration. What will your area look like? What colours will you use? Will you continue your internal house colours outside creating a natural flow from the inside out? What is your personal style? What do you like and dislike? All of these questions will determine the look and feel of your space and will help when it comes making important design and style decisions.

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Image via Pinterest

Also ask yourself who will be using the area? Adults, kids, both? Will it be a space for entertaining? Will it be a space for relaxing? And will there be different zones for the adults and the kids? If kids will be using the space it’s important to consider safety factors at this point of the planning stage. If you intend to install a pool for example ensure you adhere to the safety guidelines when it comes to fencing. If your plan is to build a deck ensure you have adequate railing and all safety guidelines are met.

Choosing outdoor furniture

Similar to planning your outdoor area, there are many considerations when it comes to choosing outdoor furniture.

Firstly consider the area in which the furniture will sit. A lot of these decisions will be made in the planning stage. Do you have a covered area or is it exposed? How much space do you have to work with? What type of flooring will the furniture be sitting on? All of these questions will determine what type of furniture will best fit your space.

Following on from area, consider the type of furniture you would like, that would suit your area best and that would fit the purpose of your space. Is it a lounge, modular or occasional, a dining set, a sunlounge, a day bed or an umbrella that you’re after? The purpose of your space will determine the type of furniture.

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Image via Pinterest

Choose materials that will stand up to the elements in which you live and that will be suitable for your space. If your area is exposed we recommend to avoid timber as timber requires a covered area with minimal sun exposure. If you do intend to purchase timber and you do have an exposed area consider a waterproof outdoor cover to protect the timber from the elements. Aluminium and rattan are both durable materials suitable for outdoor use. Both are low maintenance materials, ideal for all types of areas. Similar to timber though we do recommend covering your furniture, even if it is undercover to protect it from dirt, dust and insects. There are also various fabric options, so it’s best to look for fabric that’s been UV treated. This generally means it’s ideal for outdoor use. However similar to the framework of outdoor furniture we recommend covering cushions or bringing them inside when not in use to prolong the life of the fabric. For more information on how to care for outdoor furniture click here.

When choosing outdoor furniture it’s also important to consider colours. Choose colours that you personally like and ones that will tie in with your existing house colour scheme. Colours can calm, stimulate and energise us and have a powerful impact on how we’re feeling so be mindful in choosing a colour scheme that you’ll be comfortable with for many years to come.

The ‘try before you buy’ motto will always be a good indication as to whether the comfort levels are up to standard. Trying before you buy will ensure comfort levels are met and you will enjoy your setting for many years to come. Outdoor Living Direct have 2 Melbourne showrooms where you can ‘try before you buy’. You can visit us at either 337 Warrigal Road Cheltenham VIC or 283 Old Geelong Road Hoppers Crossing VIC. If you’re unable to pop in-store and would prefer to purchase online ensure you look for clear product photos that show details such as cushion height, cushion quality, rattan type, colour and overall look.

Invest in quality. As the old saying goes ‘you get what you pay for’. Shop with care and do your research into varying outdoor furniture materials, processes, styles and comfort levels before making your decision.

Determine your budget before venturing into the outdoor furniture world. Your budget will determine what you can and can’t afford, as there are varying pricing levels and standards when it comes to purchasing outdoor furniture.

Consider storage during the cooler months. Do you have a place to store your outdoor furniture if need be? Outdoor furniture will last much longer if stored away or covered during the winter months.

Caring and maintaining should also be considered. Ask yourself, ‘how much time am I willing to spend maintaining my outdoor furniture?’ Depending on your answer, the material(s), environment and the set itself will determine how much or how little care is required. Most shoppers prefer low maintenance furniture so they can spend their time enjoying their new set as opposed to maintaining it. For low maintenance furniture options check out Outdoor Living Direct online.

Maintaining outdoor furniture

Rattan care guide:

1. Brush down the rattan using a soft brush to remove any loose dirt or dust.

2. Wipe down the rattan using a damp cloth and mild, soapy water. Avoid chemical products.

3. A soft bristled brush can be used at this step to remove any tough or dried on dirt.

4. Rinse off the soap using a bucket of warm water.

5. Dry using a clean cloth.

6. Sit back, relax and enjoy your clean outdoor furniture!

Timber care guide:

1. Once purchased, unpack your timber furniture from its original packaging.

2. Assemble your furniture (if need be).

3. Once assembled, wipe down your furniture using a soft brush to remove any dirt or dust particles.

4. Lightly oil with a quality outdoor timber oil. The number of coats you apply will determine how light or dark you’d prefer.

5. Repeat the oiling process regularly (we recommend every 6 months) to maintain the quality of the timber and it’s golden, honey colour. Depending on your environment this process may be undertaken more often.

Cushion care guide:

Generally most outdoor fabrics are both UV treated and weather resistant. However if exposed to the sun these fabrics will fade and deteriorate over time. Australia has a harsh UV climate and fabrics will most often than not fade quite rapidly. Accordingly, it is most important to keep cushions inside when they are not being used, or ensure they are covered with a waterproof outdoor furniture cover.

For more great tips and ideas check out Outdoor Living Direct online.

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