10 DESIGN IDEAS FOR YOUR OUTDOOR ENTERTAINMENT SPACE
How To Design The Best Outdoor Entertainment Area For You
The warmer weather and spending time in your backyard with friends and family will soon be here. With more of us spending time at home many homeowners are focusing on improving their outdoor spaces by creating a warm and inviting environment. Here are some design ideas to help you build your perfect outdoor entertainment space.
I designed my backyard with a sitting area, outdoor kitchen, pool, and dining area because I love entertaining my family and friends.
What Should You Consider When Designing Your Outdoor Area?
When it comes to designing your outdoor space, size does matter. Do you host a lot of parties? Is it a large gathering? Do you have children or pets who require access to the outdoors? Do you need a peaceful place to unwind and relax after a long day?
Consider your backyard a blank canvas, and designate areas for specific tasks, such as a small sitting area for morning coffee and email catching up, or a place to interact with your children. You might even think about getting a pool or a hot tub!
You'll also need to factor in essential elements like plumbing, dedicated gas lines, electrical, heating, climate, and privacy, especially if you plan to have an outdoor dining and kitchen area!
Tip #1 - Outdoor Swimming Pools, Hot Tubs and Saunas for Your Outdoor Area
Installing a pool in your backyard is a great idea if you have the space, but there are also lots of smaller options available. A pool is a great place to entertain guests, for kids and their friends to play outside, a welcoming setting for hosting BBQs, and a healthy way to stay active – all while staying safe in your own home. On a beautiful sunny day, my children and grandchildren love coming over to play in my pool.
Swimming Pool from Leisure Pools, Unit 19
Fibreglass swimming pools and hot tubs are easy to install and maintain, so I recommend them. Fibreglass pools are more durable and long-lasting than vinyl pools. The fibreglass construction allows for greater customization and comes in a variety of styles and sizes. Algae-resistant fibreglass structures with a gel-coat finish are easier to clean and maintain, and require fewer repairs. With fibreglass pools, all you have to do is add salt to keep the pH levels at their ideal levels. This will extend the life of the pool's surface.
A swimming pool is not a do-it-yourself project. To ensure that the pool is adequately supported with sand and pea gravel, professional installation is required. It's critical to seek advice from a qualified professional, such as those at Leisure Pools, Unit 19 and Leisure World, Unit 21 & 22.
The best thing about these pools is that they can be used all year. Yes, you read that correctly. You can actually keep your water in and use it as a skating rink during the winter season, which I love.
Hot tubs are another great way to relax with friends and family but they can also help reduce muscle pain, tension, and stress. They’re great if you have a smaller space too and plan to use it all year long.
Another cool feature is an outdoor sauna! There are many styles to choose from, including barrel, wood-burning and portable ones too!
Outdoor Wooden Sauna from Casa De Sauna, Unit 215
Tip #2 Outdoor Lounge and Patio Furniture - Tables, Chairs and More!
Make your outdoor space a welcoming place to spend the evening with family and friends by using a series of outdoor lounge sofas and chairs. Choose outdoor furniture that is comfortable, functional, weather-resistant, and washable whether you are dining, relaxing, or entertaining.
CanadaLux, Unit 286 provides a wide range of options to create the perfect outdoor space.
The colours, patterns, and design you have inside your home should continue to the outside of your home to create a cohesive atmosphere and seamless transition between areas. Depending on the size of space, you may have room for a dining table and chairs and even a lounge area. The choices are endless.
If the space isn't protected from the elements, make sure your furniture can withstand the elements or have a chest or hidden storage space to protect the cushions from the elements.
Tip #3 Outdoor Lighting
Lighting your home's exterior is not only important for safety and security, but also for ambiance. Use layering and different types of lighting in your outdoor entertainment area to create a welcoming atmosphere. Consider a combination of hanging lights, post lights, and wall lights, or a group of patio torches or hanging lanterns, to create a functioning and welcoming space.
C&C Lighting, Unit 64 provide a wide range of lighting options for all your outdoor needs.
The importance of pathway lighting, particularly along stairwells, in preventing trips and falls cannot be overstated. Accent lighting can create drama by up-lighting and down-lighting nearby trees and gardens, fencing, and pergolas.
Under-tread lights from C&C Lighting, Unit 64
Tip #4 - Outdoor Kitchens – Design a Functional Cooking Area
The logic and functionality of an outdoor kitchen must be carefully considered when designing an outdoor entertainment space. A small, portable charcoal or gas grill, and a rolling cart can provide counter space and storage. This is ideal for smaller backyards. Modular models with interchangeable components, such as grills, side burners, storage cabinets and drawers, sinks, bar cabinets, and refrigerators, are also available.
However, remember to use products that are weather and UV-resistant to the elements, such as stainless-steel and aluminum. Splurge on a fully custom built-in kitchen if you really want to go all out, but remember this will likely require permits, including electrical and plumbing.
Outdoor Kitchen by GT Kitchen & Bath, Unit 28, 29
Adding a sink to your outdoor kitchen is a bonus and convenient. Great for rinsing things, hand washing and food prep but additional plumbing will require a consultation with a licensed plumber.
And lastly, it's essential to ensure your cooking area is fire safe and remember a vent hood is required if your outdoor kitchen is covered.
What Type Of Grill Should You Get For Your Outdoor Kitchen?
The grill, also known as a BBQ, is usually the centre point of any outdoor kitchen or cooking area. Your imagination is the only limit, add a side burner, an infrared rear burner, a rotisserie system, pizza oven and stainless-steel storage cabinets. Cabinets can also be used to store plumbing and gas lines, as well as propane tanks.
BBQ from Toronto Home Comfort, Unit 174/175
Tip #5 - Outdoor Dining Area Design
Make sure there's enough room for everyone to move around comfortably. Another important consideration is to locate your outdoor dining area near your kitchen and bathroom for added convenience. Consider your neighbours and the noise level if you plan on having large gatherings and possibly outside speakers.
For those of you who have seen my Holmes Family Holiday special, I found this very cool glass igloo by CanadaLux Contracting for my home. We made it into a giant snow globe! It brings a whole new level to an outdoor entertainment space.
Glass domes are also a great option for creating a unique outdoor dining experience.
Glass Dome from CanadaLux Contracting, Unit 286/287
Adding twinkle lights can help you create a unique dining experience that can be used all year long, no matter where you decide to install your glass dome! CanadaLux also provides stretch walls and ceilings, awning and so much more!
Tip #6 Smart Pergola, Awnings, and Patio Umbrellas
Protect your outdoor space and create some shelter to make your backyard inviting and comfortable. Trees and shrubs strategically planted, a patio umbrella, or an awning can provide shelter. A pergola, or better yet, a smart pergola, is a more elaborate option.
Looking to upgrade your outdoor space with new fencing or pergola? Check out Burton Exteriors Inc., Unit 248 for all your needs.
Glass Railing created by Burton Exteriors Inc., Unit 248
Drapes, louvred panels, and retractable panels can all be used to create privacy. These features provide sun and wind protection while allowing natural light and fresh air to circulate without jeopardising privacy.
I installed glass railings in my backyard for sun and wind protection, and for privacy too.
Consider Installing A Smart Pergola
I installed a smart pergola at my house last summer, and it’s fantastic. The pergola is built of extruded aluminium and can resist any weather. This includes the ability to survive heavy snowfall and strong winds. It can open, close, rotate, and slide to meet my requirements.
One of my favourite features is that I can quickly adjust pivoting louvres to follow the sun's direction throughout the day, enabling me to choose the amount of sunlight I receive. On a clear day, I can open the roof and view the stars, and at night, I can see the stars.
My pergola's biggest feature is that I can control it remotely or via an app on my phone. The sensors adjust to any weather scenario, rain or wind. When the wind picks up the louvres open to allow the wind to circulate and when it rains the louvers close to protect your furnishings. Brilliant!
Tip #7 - Outside Fire Place
Adding a fire and heat source to your outdoor space will allow you to continue to enjoy it during the cooler months while keeping you warm and comfortable.
Photo from my latest show, Holmes Family Rescue, available to watch on Crave!
GTA Heating and Coolingm, Unit 351 and 352 provide a wide range of fire and heat source options.
Also, stand-alone portable heaters are another option and come in both electric and gas varieties. This will provide you more flexibility in your backyard, as you'll be able to move your seating area as needed, whether you're alone or have more people around.
Tip #8 - Transition Your Living Space to the Outdoors with Timber Decking
You can make the most of your outdoor entertainment space by creating a smooth transition using similar and complementary elements, from your indoor space. The use of uniform or complementary flooring throughout the two sections will create the sense of a bigger space with help from TruNorth Decking.
TruNorth Decking, Unit 194 provide a full range of services for your outdoor space.
You can alsointegrate glass railing for an unobstructed view of your backyard with help from Burton Exteriors Inc.
Install floor-to-ceiling glass accordion or sliding doors from WINDOORAL, Unit 327 which will seamlessly integrate natural light into your home environment. To ensure a smooth transition, keep your lighting and design themes consistent for an easy transition.
WINDOORAL, Unit 327 provides a wide selection of retractable doors for your home.
Tip #9 - Hire a Landscape Designer to Create a Plan with Zones
Another crucial part of building your outdoor entertainment space is having a good landscape design. The great thing is that you can find several landscaping experts all under one roof at Improve to help you design your perfect backyard! Contact LandDesign Canada Inc., Unit 345 for help designing your outdoor space and creating 3D renderings to help you visualize how it will all come together.
LandDesign Canada, Unit 345 offer a full range of design services.
Landscaping not only adds colour and natural aspects to the exterior of your home and backyard, but it also lets you to divide your space into distinct zones for different purposes, such as a lounge, a play area, and a dining area.
Use flowering garden beds, trees, shrubs, raised beds, and even retaining walls by Gripblock Solutions, Unit 352 to divide your property into sections.
Don’t have a deck but want to create specific zones? Consider using flagstone or interlocking stone by Unique Interlocking and Design Centre, Unit 252 to create zones.
Interlocking by Unique Interlocking and Design Centre, Unit 252
This is ideal for creating areas like your porch, steps, walkways, patio or driveway. Flagstone is durable, non-slip and able to withstand the elements while retaining its natural beauty.
Matt’s Landscaping, Unit 14 & 15 provides a full range of landscape design and installation services.
Tip #10 - Set-up a Games/Recreation Area
If you have small children or grandchildren, try setting out some time for them to play. During the summer, a pool will give hours of fun or a hot tub is a wonderful alternative. But what if you don't have access to a swimming pool or hot tub? Consider a jungle gym, trampoline, badminton net, horseshoe field, or bocce ball.
Check out this jungle gym from Leisure World, Unit 21 & 22.
Or how about a golf simulator, from Ultimate Golf & Leisure, Unit 55, 102, 103? The only limit is your imagination and available space!
I’ve also discovered that you can create a home entertainment area outside with the right team, like the AV Guys Inc.. These guys are designers of intelligent home and office space, providing everything from lighting solutions to home security.
Home Automation by the AV Guys Inc., Unit 93
The exterior and outdoor space of your home is an extension of your house, and with the right plan can be tastefully integrated into areas for entertainment, play or relaxation. Visit Improve Canada for all your interior and exterior solutions and be inspired!