Create an Amazing Outdoor Entertaining Area

Want to create a beautiful outdoor entertaining space to enjoy this summer? Shaynna Blaze is here to help with her expert tips! 

Technically the festive season may be over, but we’re in the throes of summer so, if you’re anything like me, outdoor entertaining is still front of mind, at least until the sun sets on February!

If you live in Australia’s first city of food  – Melbourne – as I do, your outdoor entertaining area is NOTHING without a full-on alfresco kitchen and you can expect this trend to continue to gather momentum countrywide.

What are the ingredients for a credible outdoor culinary oasis you ask?

  • Start with a kickass barbecue (because these days a disposable from the supermarket just won’t do). A decent barbecue is an investment piece so I recommend you pick a weatherproof stainless steel model so you’ll never have to worry about exposure to the elements (although I do recommend covering it during the harsh winter months).

  • I installed a Gasmate Platinum Six-Burner Series barbecue from Outdoors Domain in Peter and Debbie’s Blackburn indoor/outdoor area on Deadline Design – it’s the same model I have on my own deck at my Melbourne studio. The BBQ has a viewing window in the hood for roasting or high-heat grilling, a ceramic rear burner for healthy rotisserie cooking, and the six burners give you the capacity to cook enough sausages and veggie burgers for a small army!
  • A weatherproof stainless steel sink and tapware are outdoor living essentials – you don’t want to have to carry grubby plates and greasy barbecue tools back into the house when clean up time comes. My sink at the studio has a detachable, commercial kitchen-style, Swedia stainless steel tap with normal stream and spray action options. It’s almost enough to make you volunteer to do the washing up!

  • Next add a generous scattering of really comfortable outdoor seating. I chose an Outdoors Domain corner lounge and dining table with chairs for Alex and Cathy’s Doncaster indoor/outdoor living space. They chose to go neutral with their furniture fabric and spruce things up with leaf-print cushions, but you also have the option of adding personality to your outdoor area by covering your furniture in some of the amazing, durable, fabric around at the moment.

  • I chose Fabric Pavilion's Coraline, Indigo from Grant Dorman and Inform's Ticking, Indigo, for Peter and Debbie’s outdoor sofa and chairs and the fabrics added undeniable wow factor to the space.

  • A sturdy dining table and chairs are a must. Pick something comfortable enough that you’ll want to linger over lunch, and durable enough to withstand whatever the Australian weather throws at it.

  • Top with a fabulously functional pergola. Stratco installed the pergola I chose for Alex and Cathy’s Doncaster indoor/outdoor area on Deadline Design. The combination of louvered and fixed roof, and the addition of heaters and down lights, create a sanctuary they can luxuriate in, whatever the weather. And, if your budget doesn’t stretch to a pergola, a cantilever umbrella is a great investment, providing oversized, flexible, shade.
  • Garnish with good, sturdy flatware and glassware and a sprinkle of big comfy floor cushions for late afternoon lounging!

There are so many advantages to entertaining outdoors, not least that eating outside seems to simplify food preparation and cut the amount of cleaning up you need to do afterwards.

Commit to making the most of those advantages to the max this summer by setting up your alfresco space right from the get-go and there’s no reason why you relocate all cooking and entertaining outside this summer.

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