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With the summer in full swing, most of us want to spend as much time outside as possible. 
Having friends or family around for impromptu BBQs or garden gatherings is one of summer’s greatest pleasures. Having functional outdoor seating and entertainment areas set up and ready to go in your garden or outside space means hosting them becomes a doddle! 
Whether you’re working with a large, grand garden or a bijou and compact courtyard area, we take a look at ways in which we can turn our outdoor areas into perfect entertainment spaces. 

Let’s talk Lay-out 

Just as you would approach the design of an internal room in your house, it’s worth spending some time thinking about what purpose you want the space to serve. 
Do you want to cook outdoors on a regular basis? Are you a sun worshipper or a shade seeker? Will you be hosting large gatherings that will call for a sizeable outdoor dining space or are you simply after a chill-out area for two? 
If your available space seems overwhelmingly large, do you need to consider creating specific zones or a focal area? Perhaps you might even consider commissioning a garden building or summerhouse to ensure you can utilise your outdoor space when the British weather’s not quite playing ball. 

Get your seating sorted 

Firstly, think about how much outdoor seating you need on a regular basis. If you often host huge soirees, you’ll obviously need a lot of seats! 
But in reality, most of us need only a small intimate space to entertain. A quality picnic bench will ensure you always have space at which to eat, whether it’s for an alfresco lazy brunch for two or an ‘invite all the neighbours’ summer BBQ. 
Adding space for a parasol to provide some shade is always a good idea! 
Depending on your desired style, sustainably sourced Oak with raw steel can give outside furniture a strong industrial look while remaining elegant and stylish. 
Placing a few individual benches around, particularly in an especially sunny spot, will give you both additional seating and an individual space to retreat to, with a couple of cushions, a glass of something cold, and the latest ‘page-turner’. 
For smaller courtyards, why not well and truly get into the swing of outdoor living, with a bespoke garden swing set, complete with incorporated shade cover, These pieces work well in smaller gardens with limited space, as you can add side tables as necessary, or in larger spaces they can create a quiet place to retreat to mid raucous garden party! 

Functional Outdoor Living 

Once you’ve got your seated sorted, think about ways in which you can incorporate things like BBQs or an outdoor kitchen area. 
The great thing about going bespoke when it comes to your outside space, is that you can specify what’s important and approach it creatively. This old whiskey barrel is transformed by adding a hardwood top and incorporating a BBQ. 
Love nothing more than chewing the fat with friends around the fire on late summer evenings? Why not consider some bespoke seating designed around a firepit? 
Need to keep the kids entertained? If you’ve got the space, why not add in a play area? By commissioning a solid, reclaimed wood swing set, or even a magical kids-only treehouse in keeping with your more ‘adult’ areas, say by using the same wood or steel-framed design, your garden can serve all the family’s needs and still look super stylish. 

Let there be light (and maybe some bunting!) 

It’s easy to forget the importance of outdoor lighting to establish mood and atmosphere. As the sun sets, you’ll want to know that you have sufficient light to keep the gathering going, but this is not the place for harsh floodlights. Think about dotting solar lights throughout your outdoor space to show off garden features and alongside favourite plants or trees. 
String lights are fabulous for creating a party atmosphere whatever the season and create that magical, twinkling stars effect. If you’re going to use them, factor this in during your planning stage and ensure you have enough outdoor sockets to avoid dangerous and unsightly trailing cables. 
Garden bunting works in a similar way to fairy lights to create a party atmosphere and is a trend that is here to stay. Whatever style of bunting, whether it’s shabby chic and homemade or a more modern metal and glass creation, it’s sure to get the party mood going. 

Outdoor Furniture Enhanced by the Elements 

At Chunky Monkey we use Green Oak for our outdoor furniture, typically recently salvaged from storm damaged trees around our local area. As such the wood still has a relatively high moisture content and will still be drying. In fact, the wood continues to dry even after it is shaped and joined into furniture. This process actually strengthens the piece and enhances its character as it weathers and settles. 
Using salvaged or reclaimed wood in the garden is a gift that keeps on giving… 
Check out our range here or for bespoke enquiries, get in touch! 
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