Summertime is synonymous with outdoor gatherings, garden parties and the national pastime – the ubiquitous braai. Creating the ultimate backyard space for these occasions not only enhances your enjoyment of your home, but also its value.
“We’re blessed with the perfect climate for outdoor entertaining,” says Cobus Odendaal, CEO of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in Johannesburg and Randburg.
“Because an appealing outdoor entertainment area features high on many buyers’ wish lists, it makes good sense to create an inviting outdoor space to share with family and friends and to attract more buyers when the time comes to sell.”
Have a plan
“Before you start buying materials and furniture, you need a well-thought-out plan, and it’s important to consider several key elements.”
- Layout and flow: Designate areas for cooking, dining, lounging, and entertainment, ensuring a smooth flow between these zones for easy access during parties.
- Budget: Determine your project budget, considering landscaping, furniture, and equipment costs. Research available options and shop around, being realistic about what you can afford.
- Permits and regulations: Check local regulations, such as zoning laws and building permits, before making any major changes.
- Landscaping: Plan your greenery, from flowers and shrubs to trees and lawn space.
The dining area
“When creating the ideal dining area, it’s worth spending a little money and time rather than trying to make the available space work with your old furniture,” says Odendaal.
- If your budget and available space runs to it, install a patio or deck as the foundation for your outdoor dining space.
- Invest in weather-resistant dining sets and comfortable seating options.
- Add an umbrella, pergola, or retractable awning to avoid dining in full midday glare.
- Install outdoor lighting to create ambiance during the evening.
The perfect cooking space
Choose the best quality braai you can afford, and that suits your needs. Consider built-in options for a seamless look.
Elevate your cooking game with an outdoor kitchen complete with countertops, sinks, and storage.
These depend largely on budget and taste but can really finish off your outdoor entertainment area.
- Add outdoor rugs to define seating areas.
- Incorporate colourful cushions and pillows.
- Hang outdoor-friendly artwork or sculptures to personalise your space.
- Consider an outdoor sound system.
- A plunge pool or hot tub can be a luxurious addition.
- Invest in outdoor storage solutions for cushions, garden tools, and equipment.
- Avoid hasty and potentially costly decisions and take the time to consider layout, budget, and your specific needs.
- While it’s tempting to fit in as much as possible, overcrowding can lead to discomfort and a cluttered appearance.
- Check local regulations and zoning laws to prevent costly setbacks.
- Lack of shade options can make your backyard unbearable during scorching summer days.
- Inadequate or poorly placed lighting can be a safety hazard and affect the ambiance of your outdoor space.
- Take precautions to keep mosquitoes, flies, and other pests at bay.
- A beautifully designed backyard can quickly lose its charm if you neglect maintenance.
“Remember that your outdoor space is an extension of your home, and with the right care and attention, it can become your favourite place to unwind and socialise during the summer season,” Odendaal says.