Blog / Ideas and Inspiration

How to create an outdoor entertaining space

4th April 2016

Having an outdoor entertaining area is an essential space if you wish to entertain during the warmer months. Outdoor entertaining spaces are really simple to create and really easy to maintain, in this article we go through step by step how to create an outdoor entertaining area.

The essentials of an entertaining space

Outdoor entertaining spaces are generally planned around a patio area which will have a central focal point such as a fire pit. The area will also have a BBQ zone for cooking, cosy seating and a dining table. Atmospheric lighting and stylish and simple decor will transform your outdoor entertaining space. See below for ideas on how to perfect the essentials of an entertaining space.

Covered patio with dining area

Our British weather is often the cause of many ruined garden parties, however if you choose to have covered patio area no garden party can be ruined with wet weather.

To create a covered patio you'll need a permanent structure such as a veranda or pergola. These come in lots of different styles and are ideal for growing climbing plants such as grape vines. BBQ shelters are also a great option and if you are at seasoned DIY, then they can be easy to build. 

Focal Point

create a focal point such as a garden fire pit

Fire pits, stone bake ovens and outdoor stoves can create a lovely focal point in your outdoor entertaining space. Keep it away from your dining space so that you have an 'after dinner' area for guests to hang out. Surround the fire pit with cosy seating or simply a few logs; just keep some blankets handy for when those summer nights get chilly. See our guide on creating a DIY fire pit here. 

BBQ zone


We love our BBQS here in Britain and having a dedicated area for your BBQ is perfect for entertaining. We suggest keeping it slightly away from the dining space to avoid covering guests in the fumes. Try integrating nifty storage so that when you are cooking you have enough space to load up platters!

Atmospheric Lighting

Atmospheric lighting will add the finishing touch to garden party

Lighting will transform your entertaining space. Use a mixture of planted solar lights around flower beds with outdoor fairy lights and candles for the perfect atmospheric lighting. Outdoor lighting doesn’t have to be expensive either recycle jam jars to put citronella tea lights in and make lanterns using old tins. Wine bottles can also be turned into mosquito fighting lanterns. Get creative!

Stylish simple decor and zoning

stylish simple decor and zoning

Framing your space helps to ‘zone’ the area. Raised beds can keep your dining and after dinner areas separate whilst adding colour to your space. Large pots with big plants and flowers can make a big impact with little effort. Plants and flowers such as hydrangeas and Phoenix Palm trees are ideal for this.

Zoning is all about using colour, texture and materials to define areas. Zoning is used in the home however it is important to use it in the garden too. Use different materials such as slabs for the dining area and decking for the after dinner ‘zone’ to keep the areas defined.

How to create your dream outdoor entertaining space

Research ideas and create a mood board

Before you start create a mood board with all of your favourite outdoor spaces, any little details and inspirational ideas. At this stage don't worry about what is possible in the space that you have, this can come later when you plan. Pinterest is a great place for finding lots of great ideas you can see our outdoor entertaining ideas board here.

Follow Waltons Garden Buildings 's board Outdoor Entertaining Area Ideas and Inspiration on Pinterest.

Make a list

Start a wish list of everything that you want in your entertaining space. Do you want a large dining table or a cosy seating area around a fire pit? What sort of lighting do you want? Any ideal materials and textures? Once you have your wish list you can work out a budget.

Draw out a plan

Planning out your space will really help when it comes to buying materials and briefing any labourers.

How to draw up a simple garden plan

  • Measure your garden on all sides using either a metric wheel or a laser measure tool
  • Mark out the shape of your garden on graph paper – use one big square as one metre
  • Mark out any obstructions such as levels, fences or anything that you don’t want to change
  • Start marking out your zones eg. Dining patio, relaxing area, fire pit, structures
  • Once you've added your zones you can add in any flower beds etc.

Now that you have a rough idea of where everything will go you can work out exact quantities of items such as decking and paving.

Decide on your budget and narrow down

Now you have your wish list and your plan it’s time to set a budget. Split your budget into sections: Ground work (levelling/paving/decking etc.); structures; furniture; lighting; planting. This will then give you an idea of what is realistic and if you have to make any compromises.

Get started

Depending on what needs doing, we suggest starting from the ground up. Decking and paving will require clearing and levelling and will probably take you a weekend to complete. However once the initial ground works are everything else will fall into place.

We hope that you found this guide on How to create an outdoor entertaining area helpful. If you are planning a garden makeover let us know and we will feature you on the blog.


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