The arrival of milder temperatures means dining al fresco, hosting neighborhood cookouts and enjoying intimate cocktail parties under the stars. When creating a backyard oasis to entertain family and friends this summer, it's important that it be both inviting and able to withstand the wear and tear that goes hand-in-hand with warm weather fun.
Here at AWT, we suggest the following tips:
Maximize your space. Think about your deck in terms of different activities - and dedicate separate areas for relaxing, grilling, dining and socializing. Consider creating a simple seating nook or an elegant outdoor bar. Structures like trellises, or even tall potted plants, can help establish settings for cozy conversations between guests - while a pergola may offer much-needed relief from the summer sun.
Create a "full service" outdoor kitchen. If you're planning to spend most weekends entertaining on your deck or patio, consider adding an exterior kitchen to your home. Incorporate elements like a grilling station, cooking range, sink, compact refrigerator - or even a built-in rotisserie or pizza oven. You'll be able to prepare and serve food while outside conversing with guests - rather than being stuck inside behind the stove. Just remember to build your outdoor kitchen in an area protected from the elements and make sure that its style - whether modern stainless steel or rustic country - complements the look of your home's exterior.
Choose low-maintenance materials. Spills, splashes and other mishaps are inevitable when entertaining outdoors. If you want to spend more time enjoying - rather than maintaining - your deck, choose materials that need only a soap and water cleaning to retain their enduring good looks.
High-performance, wood-alternative decking resists fading, staining, scratching and mold growth - even after several summers of dropping grill tools, spilling barbecue sauce and moving around heavy outdoor furniture. And while these materials offer the natural look of wood, you never need to worry about sanding, staining or painting.
Design with distinction. Select a style and color scheme for your deck that best complements your home's exterior and reflects the natural environment. Today's wood-alternative decking offers high-definition wood grain patterns and rich, saturated colors inspired by the outdoors - with a vibrancy that remains unchanged for years. When combined with a modular railing system that provides similar high performance and long-lasting beauty, composite decking offers endless mix-and-match options for incredible design flexibility to suit the style of any home.
Don't forget the finishing touches. Customize your outdoor living space to make family and friends feel truly welcome. Add ambience for evening cookouts with dimmable LED deck lighting, and create an inviting lounge area with comfortable, durable furnishings - or even outdoor speakers. You can choose to truly "deck out" a space with luxuries ranging from flat screen televisions to stone fire pits, but if the budget is tight, adding vibrant pillows or tropical flowers and plants serves as a quick and colorful pick-me-up.