A well designed and decorated outdoor space (backyard, porch, lawn, you name it!) can do wonders when it comes to effortless entertaining under the sun or stars. And given our never-ending quest to be the ultimate hosts, we turned to the pros at Tilly, an online landscape design company, for some expert advice on how to create an outdoor space that our party guests never want to leave. Read on to learn how you, too, can accomplish that courtesy of Tilly's lead landscape architect and CEO, Blythe Yost...
What makes for a great outdoor entertaining space?
- Consider fixed or temporary lighting to extend the life of the party! Exterior lighting creates a great ambiance and is really important for safety.
- Fun decor! A beautiful outdoor rug, a stunning grouping of planters, a specimen tree or a bubbling water feature are all great ways to breathe life into your entertaining space.
- Room for circulation. Be careful that you don’t over furnish or clutter the space — it's important to allow plenty of room for guests to move around your patio or yard.
What tips do you have for people who love entertaining al fresco, but have limited outdoor space?
- If possible, invest in a retractable awning. They can be pricey, but are great for shade and don’t take up any room on the ground.
- Small folding tables and chairs are your best friends! They're easy to store in a closet and can be moved outdoors and placed anywhere you need to maximize real estate.
- Spread out the food and drinks. This is where guests tend to congregate, so situating them together can cause bottlenecks and traffic jams. Spread them out so people make the most of your space and don’t feel crowded.
What avoidable faux pas do people make when designing their outdoor space that result in the dreaded party foul?
- Lack of Shade. Shade is key to being comfortable when gathering outside. If you lack shade from trees, invest in umbrellas, an awning or a great shade sail. Pergolas can be costly, but can also be visually beautiful and a feature that will create a statement in your yard. These features really add to the decor when done right!
- Lack of intimate spaces for gatherings. When we say intimate space, we mean areas for people to relax and have conversions: around a fire pit, at a great outdoor dining table, or relaxing on outdoor lounge furniture.
Lastly, what are your three musts when it comes to party-friendly landscape design?
- Good indoor/outdoor connection. For example, make sure it’s easy to access doors — don’t have furniture too close so it creates a bottleneck. If you happen to have french doors, pop them open to allow traffic to flow in and out.
- Fire pits to extend both the seasonality and the length of the party — there are so many different fire pit options (including portable!) that can fit any space and style.
- A centrally located bar that's easy for people to access is also key. Just make sure there is enough room for a few people to be ordering or pouring their drink at a time.
To learn more about Tilly's services and how you can elevate and maximize your outdoor space, head to their website by clicking here!