The Social Space You’ve Always Wanted
If you’re a social person that absolutely loves having guests over, then finding the right space in the home can be one of the most aggravating tasks. Perhaps you don’t have the room that’s quite big enough or perhaps your home is more a series of little chambers that break up any social gathering into distinct, separate groups. If you can’t find that social space inside the home, then perhaps it’s time to look outside. Unless it’s really tiny, even smaller gardens can be arranged to offer not only space but the comfort and enjoyment that your social scene could really use.
Pretty it up
Obviously, if you want people over, then you want to make sure they’re in a space that they’re comfortable with. It has to look pleasant, not like an eyesore that will only detract from the enjoyment that your guests get from the space. Gardens can grow unruly, so make sure you’ve got a schedule to deal with any bushes, trees, and grass so it doesn’t quickly turn into an overgrown jungle. You can add more curb appeal by landscaping it as well. Landscaping allows you to shape your lawn so that it doesn’t just look like a wild patch of grass and create clear boundaries between flowers and the rest of the garden, giving it a more pleasant, organized aesthetic.
Consider the kids
If you have kids and they bring their friends over, you also need to ensure that the garden is safe for any younger guests as well. Ensure that you stay away from any sharp edges that might cause them pain and keep any tools, including hoses, out of their grasps. Keep an eye out for any irritating or thorny plants and keep them from spreading through the garden. If you have any concrete areas, make sure they’re kept in a boundary from any safer play spaces like the lawn. Concrete patios without any safety railings or boundaries can be a real hazard to running children.
If you want a garden to socialize in, then you’re probably going to want some concrete or wood in there. Lying with your feet in the grass might feel pleasant and novel, but when it comes to hanging out on a regular basis, you want some space that’s a little more civilized. Stone or concrete patios might take less effort to maintain and look a touch cleaner, but if you don’t have a huge budget, then you can also build your own garden decking as well. It’s a good idea to keep it separate from the grass, perhaps on a raised plane, so that you don’t risk the social area being overtaken by weeds or vines.
Choose the right space
All too often, people get a patio fitted in hastily to make sure that their garden is ready to socialize in as soon as possible. However, without the proper consideration for what space you should really be using, you could end up making a huge blunder. You could put that social space in the part of the garden that rarely, if ever, sees the sun. When you’re fitting your hangout area, you should take the time to learn about the sun’s path throughout the day and which areas get the most exposure to it. That might be the best place to put your patio or decking. Of course, you should also have the option for some shade, too. But awnings and big stationary parasols can give you cover a lot better than a shaded corner can give you sunlight.
Give yourself good reason to get out there
You also have to consider why you might want to hang out in the garden in the first place. Sure, the weather might be fine and you would prefer that everyone is out there enjoying it. But there are ways to make the garden a more entertaining area, as well. Having a barbecue or some kind of outdoor cooking space can make it a lot easier to convince everyone to come out, for one. You can also consider Techradar’s guide to building an outdoor cinema. That way, you can really entertain the guests you convince to follow you out.
Somewhere to sit
Naturally, if you want people socializing, then a patio or decking isn’t enough. You need to consider the furniture they’re going to be using, as well. There are plenty of tips that can help you find the right aesthetics for the furniture, but you need to consider space and comfort first and foremost. You need things that feel good and are sturdy because, just like your indoor furniture, they’re going to be used often. But you should also consider how they cope with the elements of the outdoors. It’s easy to bring in the fabric parts of the garden furniture when the weather turns nasty. But what about the foundations and frames? To that end, metal, teak, and cedar are examples of materials that can withstand plenty and stay comfortable.
Going in for a splash
You should never underestimate the power that water has in a garden, either. If people are able to take a dip and have some fun, it can make it a lot easier to stay out there no matter what the weather is. For one, we all know the appeal that a pool has in the summer. Somewhere to cool off without having to go indoors will really maximize the time you spend out there. But a hot tub can be just as good for that and help you keep the garden social even when the weather isn’t at its best. Hot tubs seem difficult to fit and maintain, too, but they needn’t be. As Portable Tubs HQ’s Coleman blow up hot tub review shows, there are hot tubs that can provide plenty of usable space without needing a whole effort to set them up. Hot tubs are a great way to make the garden more relaxing in general. You don’t have to be socializing to enjoy some hot bubbles and a cold drink.
Fit for all times
What about when the sun goes away? Does that necessarily mean you should be sending everyone else away, as well? If you’re smart about how you light your garden, that may very well be the case. As well as more general lighting, consider task lighting for individual tables or areas of the social space, as well. A well-lit garden looks a treat at night and it’s essential if you want people to be able to use a pool or a hot tub safely.
Fit for all seasons, too
Sometimes, it’s just going to be too cold to really suggest going out to hang out in the garden unless you have that tub. However, even if you don’t, you can help keep a garden pleasant for a lot more of the year. Besides lighting, consider how you heat it as well. Installing some patio heaters can help you keep the area generally warmer, though it might not be able to fight off some of the most biting winter heat. If you have a safe area that’s not made of wood, then you might want to consider fitting in a fire pit, as well. These work best when the area is a little enclosed, but open enough to give the fire space that it doesn’t become a risk.
Your own little haven
The sensation of the garden, how entertaining it is and how warm and comfortable it is aren’t the only things that matter. The mental sense of comfort is just as important. To that end, you need to consider privacy. How private or public do people feel? The chances are that they can’t really cut loose and relax if they feel they might have eyes on them, especially if you have a pool of a hot tub. Similarly, having noise and distraction cut in from the outside world can ruin that sense of privacy too. Check out Soundproof Your Home’s Guide on barriers and fencing that can help you create a more insulated and isolated haven out of your garden. Hedges, trees, and even running water features can all contribute to masking the sound outside the garden as well.
Open the boundaries up
You don’t necessarily have to rely on the outdoors alone. You can open up a lot more space for socializing if you break down the boundaries between interior and exterior a little. One of the easiest ways to do that is to open up your kitchen with a patio door. This creates a much better flow between indoor and outdoor spaces so that people can move as their comfort or needs dictate without separating themselves from the rest of the group. It also allows more light out at night, while letting more natural light in during the day.
Just remember to take good care of your garden if you plan on using it to socialize. Not only should you be trimming hedges and mowing lawns. Make sure that any fabric furniture pieces aren’t left to the elements and that you care for any patio or decking material to keep it looking and feeling good.