As summer is well and truly here, now time to move outside and enjoy the Australian sunshine.
I love to entertain and for me, being able to have a space that can accommodate family and friends is important. However, my little house on the farm just isn’t big enough to fit everyone (I normally host an average of 20-30 guests) – so outside it is!
Some simple tips for making your outside area more enjoyable:
Nothing ruins your outdoor enjoyment more than bugs. Especially when you’re trying to eat!! So here are a few ideas you might like to try:
- Change your outside light globes to reduce the number of bugs being attracted to the light. Try a warm blue globe or yellow spiral globe (available from Bunnings).
- Add some bug-repelling plants around your entertaining area. Try lavender, marigolds, rosemary and scented geranium. The daisy flower family are also a natural bug deterrent and come in a variety of colourful flowers. Place them in pots so you can move them around easily.
- A resident of outback Australia who is constantly bombarded with flies and mosquitoes suggested this little pot of magic. You can buy it in some camping stores as well as online.
Most family functions are held here at our farm. The large number of family members, plus the open space and sheer quietness makes it an ideal location. Last year I hosted a party for my sister’s 30th birthday. I love that with a few clever design choices, you can make an event either elegantly formal, or casually relaxed. I opted for a rustic country garden party with a relaxed elegant feel. Some of my design choices included:
- Hanging net curtains around the deck with string tie-backs
- Hay bays with lace runners for seating
- Placing the tables in the middle of the lawn for the food
These simple and inexpensive decorating ideas created a beautiful, informal setting. By moving the food tables out onto the lawn, it made the most of the open space and avoided congestion as everyone went to fill their plate. It then left the green space between the decking and the food table for people to relax, mix and mingle.
Another aspect you need to consider for easy entertaining outside is your seating. Your standard outdoor setting generally only seats 4, 6 or 8 people, depending on the size. My tip to make the most out of space is to swap your chairs for benches. They’re so easy to look after (look out for tips to look after your outdoor furniture coming soon) and move around. So not only do I now have bench seats that I can move around the garden, but I have an 8-person outdoor setting that can now seat 12. Happy days…
Games are another great addition to have available to entice the kids outside. I have the standard totem tennis and cricket set, but why not add some old fashion wooden games like ring toss and croquet.
I was very lucky to have a special person make a large wooden ring toss for the farm. I just love it and so does everyone else who comes to visit.
It doesn’t matter whether you live on a farm, or in the suburbs. With a few tweaks to your outdoor space you too can entertain more outside this summer.
Have a close look at the space you have to work with and identify how you’d like to use space. If you want to barbeque more, create a space to keep your bbq set up to avoid bringing it out of storage every time you want to use it. You’ll use it a lot more if it’s set up, ready to go. If you get some morning rays in a corner of the garden, set up a small table and chairs in the sunshine to enjoy your breakfast at with a hot cuppa. A perfect way to start the day, even mid-week.
So even if you’re stuck inside because of work, family, cooking, cleaning and the 100 other things that keep us indoors, try and spend some time outside this summer. Invite some friends or family over for dinner, cook a barbeque, make a salad and enjoy a glass of wine. A perfect end to a perfect Australian summers day. Enjoy.