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How to create a great entertaining space

An outdoor entertaining space is essential in Australia. After all, we are blessed with great weather all year round, so we have to make the most of it, right?

Whether you have mostly lawn and you like the idea of a patio, or your lawn is looking past its best, we have some great ideas for creating an outdoor entertaining area. Done well and you’ll be hosting BBQs in no time, plus you’ll add value to your home when the time comes to sell.

Laying New Paving

A paved area is ideal for an outdoor entertaining space. It gives you somewhere flat and level for a table, chairs, and BBQ. Decking is always popular but decking needs regular maintenance, so if you prefer to avoid that, lay pavers instead.

To get started, you’ll often need to dig out the are where you intend to pave to allow room for compacted base.   If you want to be spot on, use a laser level to check that the fall is in the right direction.  Not so steep that you’d notice when walking on it but enough so that water won’t accumulate after rainfall. Hire a 60kg plate compactor, 80kg plate compactor, or 140kg plate compactor to compact your road base or crusher dust base in preparation for your bedding sand.

If you need to lay water pipes in the future, now is a good time to provision for them.  The Hydraulic Trencher is a compact machine great for minor trench work. If you are also building a retaining wall around the patio area, an upright rammer is often used to compact the backfill behind your wall to ensure the earth doesn’t move when you build on top of it.

Continuing with base preparation, next spread a base of bedding sand for the paving stones to be laid on. For this, you need a screed to level it out and a screed rail set is also really handy to have for this process. The sand layer allows you to achieve a level and consistent surface with your pavers.

Once you have your base ready, it’s time to lay the paving stones. Remember this is the bit that you’ll need to look at day in day out, so take your time and get it right.  Run a string line along the starting edge to ensure your job is square.   Often open edges of paving have the first course of pavers locked in with a small amount of concrete. This helps to stop the pavers moving over time.

As you add pavers, use your level off a previous paver to make sure it is level – horizontally, vertically AND diagonally. Just a few taps with the mallet will help even it out but make sure it’s still flush with the string line when you’re done.

Once they are all in place, broom a dry sand mix into the gaps, often called gap sand as this will help to lock all the pavers in place. The excess can be broomed off and the remainder can be washed off with a gentle hose.

Complement Your Patio with a New Lawn

If your existing lawn has seen better days and is fighting a losing battle with weeds, bare patches or lawn grubs, it may be easier to pull up your old lawn and replace it with some new turf. Spend some time making sure that the soil is “new turf ready” by loosening the existing soil, raking it and removing roots, rocks and breaking up large dirt clusters. Hire a lawn roller to lightly compact the prepared ground so that you can see what your levels are like.  Remember that once you have laid your turf and are using the lawn roller on it, it is only pressing the turf into the base, not flattening it out.

Outdoor Lighting

A quick internet search on garden lighting reveals a huge array of options to light your outdoor area and garden, in fact there’s a whole industry of professionals that specialise in designing and implementing outdoor lighting plans.  If you decide to DIY, we’ve got ladders and other equipment that will ensure you’re able to complete your project safely. Remember, a licenced electrician will be required to install any permanent light fittings.

A bit of hard work over a weekend or two and your outdoor entertaining space will be inviting and cosy. If you’ve got any questions on what equipment you may need, contact our friendly hire desk team now for assistance.

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