As the great Australian summer rolls around, you’re going to want a place that you can take refuge from the heat while taking advantage of our perfect weather for entertaining outdoors.

Switching up your outdoor area gives you a whole new room to add to your living space. When you’re not entertaining, it affords you a magnificent area to simply enjoy all year long, and an upgrade won’t set you back nearly as much as interior renovations usually will.

In fact, whether sprucing up your backyard for a sausage sizzle or setting up for a large-scale party, there’s a whole range of cost-efficient ideas to bring some sun into your life and play host to a quality entertainment area for your family, your friends, and yourself. Here’s a couple of our top picks for this year:

Blur the lines between living space and the outdoors

One of the best things that you can when designing an entertainment area outside is to bring the inside to it. By making the outdoors feel like an extension of the house, like an additional room that happens to get a lot of breeze and more greenery, you’ll double your available space while making it look sleek and modern. Plus, when you’re finished hosting, blending the indoors and outdoors is a fantastic way to make your house feel more spacious.

If your house can support it, a good way to go about achieving this is to combine a wide glass door feeding out into the backyard with some decking in the same general colour and design as your flooring. This essentially widens up the room nearest to the backyard into a conjoined design.

By implementing a transitional setup such as this, you’ll have the luxury of airing out the house in a larger, open-plan format during those sweltering summer days, and fit a lot more people into any backyard gathering. You’ll allow a cool breeze to permeate the house, while still allowing it to be closed off in case of drizzle or during the cold months.

Light it up

One of the main things that many people forget to consider while designing their outdoor area is lighting. Lighting dictates where people sit, how much available space there is during low-light, and the overall atmosphere of the space – nobody wants to huddle round a single footlight, unable to see what they’re eating!

Investing in a few different types of lights can transform your entertainment space from a pokey table of people huddled around a lamp into a fully functional area. Footlights are a good starting addition, as they provide illumination without detracting too much from the atmosphere.

From here, you can go with a more intimate setup of wind-protected candles, which, while perhaps the most atmospheric, require the most maintenance and setup. Alternately, a decorative hanging light over any awning you might have will provide a decorative centre-piece whilst also being functional.

Awnings and Coverings

Whether you’re smack bang in the middle of the red desert or in a spot known for high precipitation, an awning, gazebo, or other covering is almost compulsory for an outdoor Australian gathering.

A covering for your entertainment area covers two bases: firstly, it prevents against your best laid plans being rained out, and secondly it stops your attendees from passing out from heat stroke after hours in the sun.

The actual design is up to you entirely, but make sure that you get something with some water runoff that’ll feed into any plants around the area, that it’s enough to cover everybody, and that it protects against both sun and rain.

Fully functional outdoors

The final step in setting up an entertainment area is to make sure nobody has to dart in and out of it constantly, and the hosts don’t spend the entire night inside the kitchen, cooking or fetching drinks.

The two basic things you’ll need outdoors to keep it functional are a bar fridge (and the necessary electrical work to get it out there) and a barbeque and bench.

A bar fridge can be replaced with an esky or cooler in a pinch, but there’s something to be said for having a completely stocked fridge at your disposal, ready to whip out a drink in a moment when somebody’s parched. It’s the sort of thing that transforms a space from a backyard to an entertainment area, even if it’s not strictly necessary.

Consider picking out some water-resistant furniture (or something you don’t mind getting water-logged) in the form of cabinets or drawers to keep minor things that you might need outside. Have a drawer for some common bug repellant things, some cutlery and plates (whether paper or proper), and any other odds and ends that will make your job more convenient on the day.

Don’t forget the barbeque

A barbeque is simply a staple of the great Aussie backyard. Heading outside for a cook-up with the family, or sharing the space with your extended family and friends, is the ultimate way to celebrate the heat and host a party without turning your kitchen into a sauna.

For a lower budget outdoor transformation, try something like a portable Charcoal Kettle BBQ that you can maneuver around to wherever the action is. However, if you’re planning a complete outdoor makeover, consider installing one of Jetmasters Outdoor Wood BBQs. An outdoor wooden BBQ adds a whole new dimension to any outdoor space, adding to the overall aesthetic and best of all doubling up as an outdoor woodfire for the chillier months.

Transform your outdoor space

Enhancing your outdoor area not only creates space and provides a wonderful new entertainment area, but it can also add significantly to the overall value of your home. Australians are lucky to live in a country where we are blessed with beautiful weather and long summers, so why not make the most of your outdoor space and consider upgrading your backyard today.