With property such a valuable asset and the backyard being the ‘hero’ of the family home, it is a waste to ignore the backyard in winter, according to Landscape expert and Adbri Masonry Brand Ambassador Jason Hodges.
“I don’t think Aussies want to hibernate for three months of the year to just stare at the backyard through the windows. I believe the reason more backyards aren’t used through winter is that it has never been given the attention it needs to be a transitional space that is equally popular in summer and winter.”
Jason shared his ideas to help you ensure the backyard remains the best spot to entertain year round.
Don’t walk mud through the house!
A major deterrent to outdoor entertaining in winter is damp, muddy areas that lead to guests walking dirt through your house.
“To make the most of your outdoor space during winter the important thing before you even think about heating, is laying a solid foundation,” Jason said.
You need to consider a solid base that creates a seamless transition between the indoor and outdoor rooms. A concrete paver is always a great choice for alfresco areas and paths because they are built to last outdoors and are low maintenance.
Large format pavers such as Adbri’s Euro® Classic pavers are hard wearing and they look great making them a perfect option to give you a firm, flat base for your new entertaining area.
Another serial offender each winter is the side of the house. In most homes, there’s one side that receives little sun and it can become a real mud pit. A stepping stone side path is one of the easiest DIY projects you can do to reclaim this valuable space.
Once you get this base right, you’re ready to add the other elements to prepare your garden for winter enjoyment.
Light it up
As it gets darker earlier and we are settled into shorter winter days, a well-lit garden is essential if you want to continue entertaining into the night. The product options in outdoor lighting have come so far, we can pick from different styles to create different looks for entertaining areas.
“For smaller, intimate entertaining you could look at fairy lights through the garden and around vertical poles. For more formal entertaining, consider festoon lighting which will completely transform the look and feel of your area. Whatever you decide, do not underestimate the value in stronger, practical lighting around the outdoor dining table, as no one likes eating in the dark,” Jason said.
Dress it up
Selecting the right furniture is imperative to achieving the desired look and feel and maximising the time spent in the backyard. While we want to be outdoors, we do need to remember it is winter and we can have fun embracing this.
If you have a garden retaining wall, you can buy cushions for the top to ward off the winter chill, creating informal seating and some colour in the garden. Finish the look with some complementary throw blankets to ensure no one has a reason to leave the party. Think about your choices for furniture and start by considering how you anticipate the outdoor room will be used.
Lounges and deep seaters are perfect for those who like to relax whereas dining settings are best for those who love long family meals.
Now turn up the heat
Firepits have become increasingly popular as the must-have centrepiece for any backyard. Not only does the firepit create a wonderful atmosphere but it also provides warmth as well as a great cooking source, perfect for entertaining guests.
According to Jason, a firepit is nature’s TV.
“They bring a natural and enjoyable feature to your outdoor area. As soon as you build a fire pit, it will automatically become the focal point and main gathering spot for socialising and entertaining. Get it right and your guests won’t want to leave.”
While there’s many great ‘off the shelf’ fire pits available, a waste free alternative is to build a concrete block firepit and is easy to do yourself at home in just a few steps.
The best part, while you can down stack the blocks to clear the area, you can keep the pit there and repurpose it during spring and summer as a veggie patch.