Tips on maximising a small outdoor entertaining space

As someone who just loves to entertain family and friends, especially now we’ve got such a beautiful garden, and if we get the weather, an impromptu barbie is likely to be on the cards. Therefore, my next project is to try to create a cosy outdoor space on a shoestring budget.

  And so, in order to fashion a rural oasis where we can relax, wine, dine or just read a book, this is what I am planning to do.

  Make the space feel cosy with a functional patio set consisting of four chairs and a round table in either green or blue. You see, bright colours work best up against grey exterior walls. I’ll also buy a selection of poufees (or as the Americans call them…ottomans) to scatter around and provide extra seating and focal points in the garden.

  Additionally we have an old, drop leaf table with chairs that collapse and store underneath. This can be sanded, repainted to match the patio set, and once opened up set up beside it to create a food prep area that doubles as a bar with the chairs and cooler boxes placed around it and underneath it.

  Setting up a small nest of tables or mismatched coffee or occasional tables with appetisers and crisps, dips and nuts will not only allow guests to mingle; it’ll also make a small outdoor area appear larger.

  If you have a moveable metal cart, or find one at a car boot sale, clean it up and cover it with a fancy tablecloth; it can look fab as a mobile drinks trolley and can be wheeled in or out whenever it’s needed.

  A must-have for outdoor entertaining is fairy lights; they brighten the food prep area, make it easier for your guests to see where they’re going…especially the tipsy ones, and they add a magical atmosphere to the evening, making everything more enchanting and welcoming.

  Candles will add a certain amount of charm to your outdoor area, but place them in appropriate and recommended lantern holders, terracotta pots and other suitable containers designed to hold them. Remember to make sure to extinguish them before going to bed.

  If you can afford it…and I can’t, but get some built-in, weather resistant, all year round seating made and sunk into a bespoke designed concrete patio and simply add pillows and cushions and a matching throw rug on the ground whenever the weather allows for it.