Tips on how to create a summer outdoor entertainment space… and when to do so.
In South Africa we live for the summer and unlike European or Canadian weather, our summers are almost three quarters of the year long. This means that the ideal value adding extension to your home is the addition of a well-equipped outdoor entertainment area. The ideal time to do these upgrades are of course in the short winter months.
In the USA, Canada and the UK, this outdoor space is referred to as an outdoor kitchen. In South Africa we call it a patio, “stoep” or braai-area. It makes sense…. Since braai involves food preparation and the cooking thereof in an informal and relaxed manner, the term “braai-area” is widely used to define the space where families and friends get together for enjoyable times.
Most homeowners start out by looking at the value adding effect of an extension or renovation to the home. We identified the top 5 value adding additions in South Africa as:
- Extending living space of the home if the property allows it
- Upgrading bathrooms and kitchen
- Building or expanding an existing patio / braai area
- Going green with the addition of solar panels, insulated roofs, gas appliances and double glazed windows.
- Landscaping of the yard
This may also indicate that more and more home owners opt for renovations rather than selling a property that is no longer perfect for their needs. The need to create more living space directly points to the importance of a functional outdoor entertainment area as this is usually where space is available.
As the addition of the outdoor entertainment space should be value-adding, it is important to make sure your planning is perfect and cover all important aspects.
The best entertainment areas are as functional as an indoor kitchen, as hospitable as a living room, and as enjoyable as a family room. A patio / braai-area can be as humble as a mobile grill, picnic table and camping chairs, or as extravagant as a fully operational kitchen complete with built-in appliances, seating and washroom facilities. Although an unpretentious and straightforward patio / braai-area can be set up by a homeowner, designing a lavish and great space is best left to a professional.
Let’s look at the most critical traits to consider before jumping into the project.
- Location, location, location….!
If you want the entertainment area as a direct extension of the home, you would probably keep it close to your existing living areas.
If your aim is to keep guests and children out of the home, you would probable build the patio / braai area on the other side of the pool and ensure it is well equipped with amenities and appliances.
If you want to space to be basic and not have to install a complete 2nd kitchen, you would probably want to keep it as close to the existing kitchen as possible.
- The size of the space
The size of the patio / braai-area is determined not only by the space available but also by how well equipped it should be. A University student can create an ideal braai area on a 2 x 1 meter balcony and have it equipped with a tiny mobile braai device and two camping chairs.
For the more serious home owner the layout, space and size of the entertainment area would be determined by factors such as the addition of (fixed) items like:
- Built-in braai
- Fire place
- Food preparation area
- Dining table
It is important to ensure functional flooring that is safe as well. If a swimming pool or Jacuzzi is close by and regular wet feel will pass the area, it is advisable to stick to a floor that is slip resistant and easy to clean.
Having the area covered with a roof or pergola will allow for shelter against rain, sun and wind. This will make it the ideal space to relax in and still enjoy the comforts of the indoors.
- Electricity and Water supply
Should your patio or braai-area not be fully equipped with electricity, basins, refrigerators and so on, it is best to keep it close to your kitchen. Otherwise, proper planning for the installation of electrical power and water supply should be priority.
Individual preferences regarding the comfort level will determine the kind of appliances that would be installed. A fully installed kitchen would include basin, fridge, dishwasher, possible (pizza) oven, gas and fire facilities and more. The layout and proximity to the rest of the property and home is very important.
If you are choosing to keep the area fully stocked up and independent from the main home, good storage is key to comfort here. Having enough storage to keep the space clean and uncluttered will add to the level of enjoyment experienced in the area.
Most important is the mood you create in the space. Lighting, décor and layout of the space will greatly add to the ambience. The type of furniture used will also make a huge difference in terms of how the space is utilised.
Call Deborah today to book a consultation to plan your perfect summer entertainment area. You will add value not only too your life but also to your home.