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7 Elements of an Ideal Outdoor Entertainment Space

Homeowners who’ve watched Field of Dreams remember the line, “if you build it, they will come.” Those wishing for cozy family gatherings in the outdoor kitchen should build one. Those entertaining business associates or just networking should have one.

Outdoor entertainment spaces are about relaxation, interacting with friends and family, and soaking up the miracles of the outdoors. People are more at ease and open to ideas when they’re outdoors. How can homeowners create this outdoor entertainment space?


Homeowners generally build their outdoor living spaces just off the house on a deck or patio. Homeowners with no patio or deck put up a table and chairs beneath an umbrella on the grass with a grill and small work table near the house.

Those with large properties might place their outdoor living area within the gardens, beneath shade trees, or beside a creek running across the property. Some even put their outdoor living areas in the front yard.

The size of the property and placement of the house will dictate where a homeowner’s outdoor living space will go. Then homeowners can put it together.


Homeowners will first plan what they want in their outdoor entertaining space. A fire pit, waterscape, privacy wall, outdoor fireplace, and outdoor kitchen and bar will all require plumbing, electrical, and landscape professionals. The homeowner should plan what he wants around his outdoor bar and cooking space that’s within his budget and consult the necessary contractors.


Homeowners without a patio or deck have exciting choices to make. Should their outdoor entertaining space be built atop concrete, pavers, wood, or brick? Should the outdoor room be covered or open to the sun and stars? Will homeowners need a privacy wall?

Cooking Area

Now that the basics are covered, homeowners will plan how their outdoor cooking area and bar will work. What are the necessary parts of any cooking area? Storage, such as outdoor kitchen cabinets, is the first item any cook desires. Counter space for prepping food is usually second. Other cooking area needs are a cook top, sink, fridge, and coverage to prevent dirt from blowing onto the food.

The homeowner will consider the floor plan of the outdoor entertaining space. Is there enough room to plan a long cooking area? Will available space dictate an L or U shaped area?

Depending on available space, perhaps the outdoor bar could be integrated into the cooking area instead of separate. Bar stools could be set on the opposite side of the counter top with a shelf of glasses and bottles hung overhead. If there’s enough room for the bar parallel to the cooking area, the cook could easily move from one to the other to serve his guests.


A dining table and chairs are usually placed close to the outdoor cooking area for ease of serving. Guests can dine at the outdoor bar and on outdoor living room seating. Just like cozy groupings of chairs, ottomans, and small tables give a living room a relaxed aura, so do similar outdoor groupings for guests.

Some homeowners make a whole living room outdoors complete with sofa, chairs, and end tables. Others group comfortable chairs around the fire pit or waterscape. Seating built into the privacy walls are another option for guests dining outdoors.

Many homeowners worry about their outdoor furnishings suffering mold and mildew when rain hits them. Careful cleaning and airing will prevent this from occurring.

However, furniture manufacturers are aware of the proliferation of outdoor living spaces arising from people watching cable home renovation shows. They understand the need for all-weather furnishings. It won’t be difficult for homeowners planning such an outdoor space to find the right furniture for their purposes.

Outdoor Lighting

While Tiki torches and Christmas lights strung around the outdoor living area suit some homeowners, others prefer chandeliers hung from the cover. Some homeowners use lots of recessed cans in the cover. Many use numerous sconces, floor lamps, and decorative landscape lighting. Homeowners even use floods to light up the night.


Lush, colorful landscaping adds a personal touch to outdoor cooking areas and bars. Pots of flowers, grasses, and small trees strategically placed add a touch of elegance to the area.

Homeowners also use color in the furnishings’ cushions and throw pillows. Colorful items on end tables and dining tables could include candles, vases, and accessories like figurines, interestingly shaped lamp bases and colorful shades.

Any homeowner who has watched Joanna Gaines hang extraordinary things on walls has probably hung barn doors complete with barn hardware or an old mill water wheel on the outside walls bordering the outdoor living area. Outdoor living is about comfort, yes, but it’s also about imagination, so go for it.