Year-Round Outdoor Entertainment Area Ideas
An outdoor entertaining space can extend your home’s square footage and provide a relaxed atmosphere for hosting. But many families only use their outdoor spaces during the spring and summer and miss out on opportunities to enjoy the outdoors the rest of the year. Check out these year-round outdoor entertainment area ideas to get the most out of your space!
Winter: Adding Warmth & Coziness
Winter is one of the trickiest seasons when it comes to outdoor entertainment, but with a little extra preparation, you can make your space functional all year long. Here are our outdoor entertainment area ideas that make the most of the chilly weather.
Make Your Space Festive and Cozy
If you want to entertain outdoors in the winter, you’ll need to first invest in a heat source. A fire pit and/or outdoor heaters are a great place to start. Once your outdoor entertaining space is warming up, you’ll also want to decorate to make it feel even cozier.
Add blankets, pillows, and other soft, warm touches that will make the space feel inviting. You can also decorate for the holidays with festive lights, greenery, and other wintery touches. Finish off your entertaining plans with a festive menu, including hot drinks and a warm and filling meal.
Invest in All-Weather Patio Furniture
Much of the hassle of entertaining outdoors in the winter is setting up and tearing down your furniture. Investing in a high-quality set of all-weather patio furniture can be a game-changer and help you get more use out of your space all year long.
While we do still recommend covering or bringing in your outdoor living furniture during inclement weather, all-weather patio furniture will hold up much longer than traditional furniture when exposed to cold winter temperatures. And many all-weather options are also very low maintenance, just needing an annual cleaning to keep them looking their best.
Spring: Taking Control of the Weather
Entertaining outdoors in the spring can be tricky because of the variable weather. It’s not unusual for the temperature to drop or raise 30 degrees overnight in Pennsylvania and the spring rain can be very unpredictable. Here are our weatherproof outdoor entertainment area ideas for spring.
Adding Shelter & Shade
The first step to successfully entertaining outdoors in the spring is to add both shelter and shade to your space. There are a variety of shade options to choose from, including:
- Retractable awnings
- Sun sails
- Shade structures like pergolas and pavilions
Adding one of these shade options will prevent rain showers from ruining a beautiful day and will also shield you from the sun throughout the rest of the year.
Start Your Gardening Early
Another way to make your yard and outdoor entertaining space feel welcoming early in the spring is to plant fall bulbs so you have early blooms. Bulbs are a great choice as they are very inexpensive and easy to grow. They don’t have a strong preference for shade vs. sun and they can grow in nearly any soil.
Some of our favorite spring-blooming flowers include:
These plants will all add beautiful color to your yard and will bloom throughout the spring and early summer until you get any annual plants in the ground. And, since they’re perennials, they’ll come back year after year with little maintenance.
Summer: Enjoying Your Space in Its Prime
During the summertime, you’ll likely spend time outdoors nearly every day. Here are some of our favorite outdoor entertainment area ideas for summer to help you make the most of the nice weather.
Cooking & Dining Outdoors
Summer is the perfect time to eat outdoors. Whether you head outside for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert, you’ll be greeted with beautiful weather. Here are a few of our favorite ideas for cooking outdoors with the whole family.
Grilling is a summer staple for a reason – it’s easy and delicious. Check out some of our favorite recipes to cook on the grill this summer:
- Grilled White Chicken Pizza
- Beer-Grilled Pork Chops
- Grilled Corn Salad
- Sizzlin’ Margarita Steak
- Buffalo Corn Ears
If you’re looking to extend your grilling, consider purchasing a flat-top griddle that will allow you to cook more meals outdoors. Eggs, pancakes, paninis, cheesesteaks – the possibilities are endless!
Fire Tables & Campfires
Outdoor fire tables and campfires are another easy way to cook outdoors. Hot dogs, fish, and meat and veggie kebabs are all flavorful cooked over an open fire. And cooking over an outdoor fire table is a great way to get kids involved in cooking and preparing food. Just don’t forget the marshmallows for after dinner!
Smokers are another great investment and will make you the envy of the neighborhood. They are best for large pieces of meat like brisket, pork, and chicken. But, they can also add a smoky flavor to plenty of other dishes, like mac and cheese and queso.
Host an Outdoor Movie
One of our favorite outdoor entertainment area ideas of the summer is to transform your space into a movie theater! For a theater-like experience, you’ll want to invest in an outdoor projector, but a TV and some extension cords will work in a pinch! Rearrange your outdoor seating to ensure everyone has a great view, then invite friends or family over for a feature film. Bonus points for providing freshly-popped popcorn and a few classic movie candy options.
Fall: Extending the Outdoor Living Season
It can be tempting to pack up your outdoor living furniture on the last day of summer, but if you do, you’ll miss out on some beautiful days and evenings outdoors. Here are our top outdoor entertainment area ideas to embrace as summer turns into fall.
Lean Into the Season
While fall can be dreary and chilly, it can also be crisp, fresh, and beautiful! Part of enjoying the outdoors during the fall is leaning into whatever nature throws your way. In addition to space heaters and some sort of overhead cover to protect from rain, decorate your outdoor entertaining space to feel as autumnal as possible. Pumpkins, mums, hay bales, and more all look right at home and can make even the greyest fall days feel festive and bright. Add a few strings of overhead lights to help your space feel warm and cozy.
Serve the Flavors of Fall
If you’re serving a meal outdoors during fall, there’s no question that pumpkin and apple are the stars of the show. These classic autumnal flavors make any gathering feel festive.
Here are a few of our favorite pumpkin- and apple-based recipes for fall:
- Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
- Maple Pumpkin Spice Popcorn
- Autumn Pumpkin Dump Cake
- Penne with Pumpkin Cream Sauce
- Apple Orchard Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette Dressing
- Apple Fritters
- Cinnamon Apple Chops
- Wisconsin Cheddar and Apple Fondue
Serve up any of these recipes with hot apple cider or hot cocoa for the perfect outdoor meal!