Getting Acquainted with Your Outdoor Groove
Whether you are having a simple meal with family or an extravagant event with dozens of people, your outdoor area provides an excellent opportunity for entertaining that you simply cannot achieve indoors. Let’s face it, the outdoors is FUN! There are no walls to contend with, bulky, weird, or out of place “features” that are inside your home. You can basically have an open clean slate that you can change with every event (if you want to). No dedicated family room, living room, or formal dining area to contend with. You can experiment with different styles and arrangements. Not only does being outside lend itself to the festive feeling, but the physical layout of most outdoor spaces offers ample opportunity to create an entertainer’s dream that cannot exist between 4 walls and a roof.
Beyond the Glass
First, let’s look at the area just outside your sliding glass door. For most homes, this area is a concrete pad, the width of the house and extending out at least 12’ if not more. Beyond that there is grass or, often, even more hardscape for various entertaining options. Because of the lack of walls and other physical barriers you find indoors, you can rearrange and move your dining area and your lounge areas till your heart’s content. North-South / East-West, reversing, inverting, shifting – you can play with all sorts of configurations – almost innumerable. This is the fun and joy of the outdoor area and being outdoors, it lends itself to this playfulness and being able to easily change the aesthetic, something that would take a lot more work and money to do indoors (i.e., removing walls, pulling up flooring, and the like).
John & Tracy’s King Size Dining – Looking Towards the Pizza Oven – Patio World Client – Temecula, California (Wine Country)
Most dining tables need to be at least 5’ long and 3’ wide for a service of 6 people. To serve more people, there are unlimited sizes and shapes. Sparing the expense of having a custom table made, manufacturers have pre-made table designs up to 10’ long and 42” wide. These will usually accommodate 10-12 people depending on the style and size of the chairs. You can also utilize benches instead of individual chairs, which will increase the amount of seating, no matter the size of the table. Or if you have children, you will be amazed at how many kids will fit (or should I say squeeze) onto a bench.
If you’re looking to seat even more, another option is to place tables end to end, as our clients, John and Tracy did (pictured). We demonstrated that by using two 10’ tables, placed end to end, they would be able to seat 18 people! This was achieved with very large, “King-Size” dining chairs as shown. Imagine how many more people could be seated with armless chairs or benches.
John & Tracy’s XL Dining Area – Patio World Client – Temecula, California (Wine Country)
Now imagine if you did 2 rows such as this, that’s 36! Or 2 rows side by side that’s 72 people! WOW!!!
Patio World Client – Riverside, California
Many of our clients utilize a lounge area which consists of sofas, love seats, club chairs, and the like. These can be used in tandem with a dining set for your guests to eat or can be THE AREA to munch on BBQ, sample cheeses & wine alfresco, or just inhale a bag of Doritos. By using chat height fire pits or coffee tables (which are @ 4″ taller than normal), these functional pieces have been designed specifically to make the lounge area versatile for eating, snacking, and relaxing. And unlike your indoor furniture, if someone spills wine or rubs their grubby Dorito-Fingers on your cushions, the outdoor fabrics do not stain like their indoor counterparts. Just a wet rag and mild soap makes it look like new or if your kids and their friends create a Cookie Monster/Oscar the Grouch type mess, just take a hose to the kids and furniture! All of them! Seriously, this is how I clean my cushions (sans the kids) at my home. A hose, a wet soapy rag, rinse, an hour in the sun, and they are dry and ready for life. They are designed to be cleaned in this manner and will increase the life of your cushions.
Go Party & Have Fun
Jim & Tammi’s Lounge – Patio World Client – Norco, California
Hopefully you are now hungry to have fun and get creative with your outdoor space. Truth be told, the more comfortable and relaxing you make the space, the more you will use it. Personal example. I had a dining set for years in my back patio. While it was nice and we did use it, the story completely changed once I placed a sofa, a couple of club chairs, and a fire pit alongside the dining set. WOW. We use the space exponentially more: Holidays, Birthdays, Anniversaries, or simply, just a few moments in the evening or morning to “get away” and zone out for a while.
Do you have an idea or question, but are hesitant or don’t know where to start? Shoot me an email, I’d love to hear from you, and I will respond personally. I may not have all the answers, but I can usually point you in the right direction. I am here to help and I will try to put my 40+ years in this arena to good use.
Thanks for reading and happy backyarding!
Patio World Client – Lake Arrowhead, California