Holiday entertaining  

Make the most of your outdoor space this festive season

Holidays are a time for family, friends, festive indulgence and outdoor games. But they can turn into long, sunburned afternoons with everyone huddled in cramped spaces, not enough chairs to go around and as the stifling heat begins to radiate out of the kitchen, emotions increase and dishes pile up. Here are a few tips to help lighten the load on those hot summer days…

Adding a deck to your home is a great way to extend your living space. South Africa is blessed with blue skies and sunshine most of the year and this gives you the perfect opportunity to entertain while making your living space larger and easier to navigate.

Keep it cool

Regardless of whether it's timber, composite, tiled or concrete, if your floor is in the sun for most of the day, it's going to get hot. If you don't have the luxury of big, shady trees, putting UV resistant gazebos or umbrellas up in strategic locations at the beginning of the day will make for cooler spaces (and floors). Remember that as the sun moves so will your shade. If you are worried about your gazebo flying away, a few ropes and sandbags will help keep it secure. Tethering your umbrella or gazebo to existing rail posts also works well in stabilising it.

A temporary rug may also do the trick in keeping your floor cooler, especially for little feet. Keep in mind that rugs may pose a tripping hazard. Misting sprays can easily be installed around your deck or along your handrail to effectively keep your space cool and fresh. Here’s how you can easily build one yourself.

Braai with less mess

If you have a built-in braai, chances are you already have some kind of deck protection in front of it. For those bringing out the trusty old Weber, we suggest placing a rubber mat or something similar underneath it to avoid any hot coals or fat falling onto your flooring.

If you happen to spill food, drinks or sauce on your deck, try to clean them up as soon as possible. If you have capped composite deck boards, a damp cloth should work, even if left for a few hours. If your deck is made of uncapped composite deck boards, wipe the spill up and clean it with soapy water. If there is a minor stain, this can easily be removed by either scrubbing with a coarse brush or dish sponge, or sanding it very lightly until the stain disappears. General rule is; the quicker you clean it up, the less chance of staining later.

Festive lighting sets the mood

Battery operated fairy lights suspended from beams, rooftops, tree branches or railing are a great way to illuminate outdoor spaces and create a dimmed ambience. If you don't fancy burning tea lights or other small candles, you could try some LED candles or outdoor solar lamps. If you are still in the deck-planning phase, consider adding deck lights into your build. They really add a great effect to nighttime entertaining.

Extra seating is a must

A few well-placed chair cushions or scatter cushions around the edge of your deck provide extra casual seating for guests. You could even scatter them around a low coffee table for a relaxed boho feel. Don't have a table for all your friends to dine at? No problem, lay out a few blankets and camping chairs and enjoy a festive picnic.

Summertime tips:

  • Stay hydrated - keep large jugs of ice water out in the shade. Add some fresh mint, cucumber or strawberries for a little extra flavour.
  • If you have kids out in the pool all day and worry about sunburn, bring an egg timer to the party as a signal to your kids to reapply sunblock.
  • Avoid walks back and forth between your kitchen and deck. Keep a large cooler box or ice bath near your party area stocked with your favourite refreshments. A spare blow up pool could also do the trick.
  • Trying to keep your space relatively clean during a long day? Place a closed lid bin outside to make it easy for everyone to clean up as they go.

Enjoy the outdoors!

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