5 ways to improve your outdoor spaces for summer entertaining

There’s so much more to outdoor living space design than many realise.

If you follow these tips, you’ll have an outdoor area that is ideal for summer entertaining in no time.

1. Divide and conquer

To create a sense of intimacy in a large, open outdoor space, consider dividing it into zones for different purposes.

Depending on how much space you have at your disposal, some key zones to create might include an area for preparing food, one for eating and one suited to conversation.

Get creative with your furnishings and layout to effectively zone off each area.

Wall in Resene Aspiring with mottled Mediterranean-style effect in Resene FX Paint Effects medium coloured with Resene Moon Mist, bench in Resene Aspiring, left wall and lattice blocks in Resene Moon Mist, deck in Resene Woodsman Uluru, chair in Resene Yuma, table and large plant pot in Resene Teak, smaller plant pot in Resene Siam, tray in Resene Flax and DIY striped painted throw in Resene Yuma and Resene Flax, vases in Resene Thistle and Resene Eagle and tea light holder in Resene Bitter. Rug from Mocka, cushions from Adairs and Allium, carafe and tumbler from CittĂ .

2. Flexible furnishings

Having outdoor furniture that can be easily moved and adjusted depending on the size of the crowd in the space will be a bonus during summer barbecues.

Consider your headcount and whether it’s necessary to provide a seat for every guest. For smaller gatherings, take into account whether your guests are family or friends and whether they would mind cosying up on a sofa together, or if they would need more personal space.

Also make sure you have surfaces where guests can rest plates and glasses. Flexible tables that can be rolled out on demand are a good idea – especially if you can provide them at a height that will suit the seating type. If you have an eclectic mix of furniture styles you can easily refresh them with your favourite Resene colour to bring them into your outdoor space’s colour palette.

Wall in Resene Triple Merino, deck in Resene Woodsman Tiri, ombre screen in (from top to bottom) Resene Ebb, Resene Soothe, Resene Paper Doll, Resene Coral Tree and Resene Merlot, plant pots in (from largest to smallest) Resene Ebb, Resene Alabaster, Resene Coral Tree, Resene Paper Doll and Resene Merlot and pendant lamp shade in Resene Alabaster. Sofa and coffee table from Outside Space, cushion from Collect Living.

3. Screen time

Placing a lattice or two in your yard can help you carve out your zones and also create visual interest. These open frameworks made from wood or metal that often feature a crisscross, diamond-shaped pattern are lightweight and affordable, so they can be used temporarily for an event if necessary.

You can even attach two or more framed lattices together using hinges and Resene paint or wood stain to create a folding screen divider that can separate spaces within a larger outdoor space. Use coordinating Resene paint colours to ensure the divider will complement your home.

Wall in Resene Triple Merino, deck in Resene Woodsman Tiri, screen in Resene Kashmir Blue, trolley and tray in Resene Indian Ink, planter boxes in Resene Smokescreen with hand-painted patterns in Resene Indian Ink, breeze block bench seat in Resene Triple Merino, ottoman in Resene Settlement, large plant pot in Resene Alabaster and small plant pot (on trolley) in Resene Kashmir Blue.

4. Aesthetic agility

Now it’s time to get down to the details. Apply interior design principles to your outdoor space, and think of ways to create repetition through colours or textures.

The types of gatherings you plan to host will determine how much you want to invest in your decor – expensive decorative items might be able to withstand a civilised cocktail party, but not a rowdy teenage event or a kids birthday party! Also be sure to take into account how your decor will withstand changing weather.

Colour goes a long way in making a space look inviting. Play with colour through your furniture and accessories, as well as with paint. Use paint on decorative accents to create a cohesive outdoor space – you can use Resene Colour Match online or visit your local Resene ColorShop to find the closest colour or an ideal accent hue to go with your existing decor. Most Resene testpots are made with Resene Lumbersider, which is designed to be durable for outdoor use without the need for a clear coat.

Wall in Resene Triple Merino, deck in Resene Woodsman Tiri, screen in Resene Bounty (frame) and Resene Big Stone, large ombre plant pot in Resene Gull Grey and Resene Balderdash, medium plant pot and pendant lamp shade in Resene Alabaster, small plant pot in Resene Bounty. Sofa and coffee table from Outside Space, cushion and throw from Collect Living.


5. Squeaky clean

If you have a pool or live close to the beach, an outdoor shower is a highly useful addition to your outdoor area. It will allow guests to rinse off without having to take sandy or dirty feet inside, or when you’re not entertaining it’s helpful for rinsing muddy dogs or grubby gardening equipment.

And it doesn’t have to be an eye-sore – get creative to make the shower work with the space. Paint or stain it with your favourite Resene colours, either in a solid colour or an attractive pattern, or Resene FX Faux Rust Effect can help you achieve a rustic effect.

Wall in Resene Green Meets Blue, deck in Resene Woodsman Uluru, striped shower back in Resene Nepal and Resene Sea Fog, timber shower platform and shelf stained in Resene Woodsman Pitch Black, breeze block planter in Resene Sea Fog and Resene Green Meets Blue, hook rack and soap dispenser in Resene Nepal and mirror in Resene Breeze. Showerhead from Plumbline, chair from Cintesi.

If you need help choosing colours for your decorating project, use the free Ask a Resene service, and visit your Resene ColorShop.

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House Tour: A Light and Airy Oasis in The Perfect Garden Setting

When the owners of a heritage-listed Art Deco home enlisted studiofour to design their extension, the brief was to create a space that connected a new living space to the garden.

The home is within the much sought after Hedgeley Dene Gardens precinct, and the owners wanted a stronger link to its surrounds.

The site was previously occupied by a dwelling that had no connection to the landscape and turned its back on the borrowed views available into Hedgeley Dene Gardens. In essence, the brief was for the new addition was to be fluid, permeable and highly connective with the landscape.

Kardella Street Residence by studiofour

The design is minimal in materiality and detailing, placing emphasis on the backdrop provided by the gardens beyond. Interior elements retain simplicity and are extended outside to create a minimal transition between inside and out.

Grounded in a sense of calm, the integrated interior and exterior improves function and enhanced user well-being. This double-height space houses the heart of the home, with a focus on providing a real and tangible connection to the landscape.

The new extension provides an indoor/outdoor transition zone, gently stepping down from the house interior to the garden. Like a residential scale amphitheatre, the design allows for for many varied levels of entertaining, including outdoor cooking, integrated seating and outdoor dining area.

Kardella Street Residence by studiofour

The colour and material palette is soothing and neutral, and doesn’t distract from the view. The beautiful flooring is Blonde Oak from Embelton Floors and the walls are painted in the popular Dulux Natural White. In the kitchen the bench top and splashback are HI-MACS Solid surface in Satin White. HI-MACS is a composition of acrylic, minerals and natural pigments that combine to create a smooth, non-porous, thermoformable and visually seamless surface.

Kardella Street Residence by studiofour

Photography by Shannon McGrath