Summer is time for outdoor entertaining! From Saturday barbecue to Sunday brunch, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the great outdoors right from the beauty and comfort of your own back yard.
But before you invite the guests or plan the menu, you need a space that will set the stage for the event you plan to host. And before you plan the space, you need to know what type of events suit your lifestyle best. Whether you love to cook or prefer to lounge, host large parties or more intimate gatherings, there is a landscape design meant for you.
Today we’re talking about creating an outdoor space for the wine lovers out there, whether you sip slowly on a rich red or mix up a white wine spritzer. The best part is that designing a space with these ideas will not only make your wine sampling a spectacular success, but it will leave you with a yard that you can enjoy day after day, year after year, event after event!
Why interrupt the party to run back and forth into the house for the next wine sampling? For outdoor imbibing, consider a small refrigerator or wine chiller. But why stop there?
A refrigerator can be part of your overall outdoor kitchen, where you can include great features like a grill for everyday barbecue, a countertop for slicing a bit of cheese and preparing your charcuterie plates, cabinets for storing drink ware, and plenty more.
A kitchen can be as large or small, as elaborate or as simple as you want it to be. It can include everything from plumbing and running water, to cooking surfaces or pizza ovens. A little wood-fired pizza cooked in your stone pizza oven would pair divinely with wine.
And if you have hair-raising memories of cooking in the summer sun right along with the burgers on the grill, then include an awning, pergola or overhang for beauty and protection. Add a ceiling fan for extra cooling and you might not step foot into your indoor kitchen for the rest of the summer!
A wine-tasting event is a social event. There are times for solitude, but this isn’t one of them! Whether it’s an intimate affair with a few people or a large gala event, you’ll need appropriate seating where guests can settle in for some fun.
Borrow concepts from indoor seating and think in terms of groupings – a collection of chairs around a low table, a sectional, or a handful of Adirondack chairs surrounding a cozy fire pit.
Drinking wine should be a leisurely affair, so be sure to consider the extended comfort of your guests. Backless stone benches may be ok for a short rest along a garden path, but won’t be as conducive to sitting and sipping as a deep, cushioned chair, perhaps with an ottoman and a few extra pillows.
Feel free to choose multiple types of seating to suit multiple personalities and needs. Upright chairs, loungers, sofas, armchairs, even patio swings will suit the occasion, and give you plenty of options for future back yard enjoyment.
Choosing multiple seating types gives you built-in flexibility, too. A large outdoor sectional, for example, can be complemented by several smaller, lightweight armchairs that can be more easily moved around depending on where guests are congregating.
Be sure to arrange chairs to facilitate conversation, and add a few small side tables where guests can place glasses and snacks down.
Perhaps the wine is particularly good and your afternoon party is turning into an evening soiree. Or perhaps you prefer to indulge after dark. Either way, you’ll need good lighting to keep the party going.
Not just any lighting will do, especially when it comes to an evening of elegance and enjoyment. Use lighting not only to illuminate, but to set the mood and imbue ambiance into your setting.
String lights hung above a patio area are just made for a wine tasting event. Moonlighting in trees is another excellent option for setting the tone and adding a soothing glow. Lanterns, stake lights, and even spotlights set to highlight a unique tree or special piece of artwork can dramatically enhance your experience.
If you really want to add beauty and create allure, include lighting in a water feature like a garden bubbler or patio water garden. The soothing sounds and enchanting glow can be naturally intoxicating – in the best of ways! – and create a real sense of relaxation and well-being that pairs perfectly with a mellow glass of wine.
Part of the mystique of wine is its multi-sensory appeal. The nose, bold or delicate, floral or woodsy – the color as it catches and reflects light, from translucent whites to rich reds – and of course the taste, with more notes than anyone could possibly describe.
In fact, the most satisfying moments that we extract from our experiences are multi-sensory. It’s the same way we enjoy our outdoor spaces, too, from the visual beauty of colors, shapes and textures, to the sounds of birds or running water, the scents of blooms, the sensation of grass under our feet, and so much more.
Consider all of these as you plan your landscape and space. A water feature, for example, can be as simple as a bubbling basalt column, or as elaborate as a full ecosystem pond. Spill bowls, pondless waterfalls, or koi ponds all offer the sights and sounds of water, along with the beauty and pleasure of wildlife.
Water also has the added benefit of muting other, unwanted sounds, like traffic and street noises, and can enhance privacy for nearby conversations.
For an extra taste sensation, include an herb garden, with selections like mint, basil or oregano, all of which can be added to complementary hors d’oeuvres.
If you enjoy some light pop, jazz or background music with your cabernet, add an outdoor speaker or two. They can be easily incorporated and hidden in gardens to create the illusion that the music is emanating from the landscape itself.
And of course, don’t forget that the surrounding landscape – from tall grasses to summer blooms, container plants, ground cover, natural stone and more – will all contribute to the setting that you and your guests will enjoy.
If you’re planning a wine tasting, or just love to sip a glass on a summer day, we hope you’re inspired to think about how your outdoor space can be the ideal place to indulge. If you’d like to learn more about planning the seating, cooking, or entertaining space to do it, contact us for a consultation. We’ll listen to your ideas, learn about your outdoor preferences and lifestyle needs, and design a space that will be your favorite entertainment space no matter the season or event.