Best Gifts for Outdoor Entertaining
Want to have the best outdoor area for your guest, make a list of the Best Gifts for Outdoor Entertaining for your family and friends for this years Christmas list. This is one way to get the best for your patio or pool area without putting out a big pocketful of money.
Just follow along for some ideas to make your list something that will make your outdoor entertainment area one that everyone want to visit over and over. Go ahead get your note book out to write down some of theses ideas.
Having the right light will give you the correct mood for your outdoor areas. Path lighting for your guest to find the front door, string lighting to light up your sitting area or flood lights for security after every one leaves. Each style of lighting will serve its purpose. Lets look at some of the details.
If you have an area that does not have access to power from the house, a solar lighting solution will work well. With path lights, umbrella lights and security lights all available with the solar lighting power, most with rechargeable batteries when the sun goes down to give you light for several hours.
The advantage of the solar lighting is that no power cord to a 110 volt or low voltage power source will be needed. Just need to have some sun on the solar panel for several hours a day to have lights after dark. The only thing that is needed is to keep the solar panel clean and replace the batteries every few years.
This type of lighting will mostly be used for pathway lighting. Several designs of fixtures are available from the plain ones to stain glass or directional lighting.
Low voltage lighting is not as popular as it once was, the fact that you need a transformer hooked to an 110 volt power source, run a power cord under ground for power to fixtures makes it a lot more difficult to install than solar lights.
You will get a little more light from a low voltage setup than the solar lights for each fixture, the low voltage will be a great setup for illuminating a walkway for your guest safety. For more on the needs and sets available, see my post here on low voltage lighting.
Any lighting that runs on house current will be considered line voltage. Most of these fixtures will be mounted on an exterior wall or on a post in the yard. Line voltage lights are best used for security and safety around the exterior of your home.
The light can be much brighter than low voltage or solar fixtures. You can light up a larger area with just one or two fixtures. The biggest drawback will be that you have to connect to a 110 volt power source. If you do not have an powered outlet where you want a fixture, you may have to call in an electrician to properly install your fixture.
For more information on line voltage light fixtures, see my post here.
For those who do not have a permanent cover over their outdoor patio area, shade will be very important if you have a lot of sun when you want to use your space. Several things can give you the lower temperature of shading yourself from the direct sun.
For the most choices in shade colors and styles, the patio umbrella will work well to shade your outdoor area. Several styles will be available for purchase. Table type umbrellas can have solar lights like the one in the picture or just have different designs to match most decors.
Several different sizes are available from half umbrellas that work great for balconies or small decks to offset umbrellas that can cover an entire conversation set with its 10 foot size. The normal patio umbrella can be purchased in 6 foot to 10 foot sizes to shade most dining tables.
I have used most of these designs and have several articles on different styles of umbrellas here. Some of these designs will need an umbrella base to make them stable under a table, see some of my ideas here.
A gazebo will be a more permanent solution to your shade solution as most gazebo's will not be moved easily. With more solid structures, corner post and solid roofs, most gazebo's will allow you to leave this structure out in most weather conditions. They may be subject to damage in high wind conditions, they will withstand much heavier winds than a umbrella.
Sitting a dining or conversation set under the gazebo shown at right will give you sun and bug protection with little effort. Place some lights and you can create your own oasis in your outdoor space.
For more of my information on gazebos see my post here.
During the cooler months, I use a fire pit to keep using my outdoor space without having to bundle up with a coat or blanket. With a little effort you can heat a small area outside with wood or gas. I have used wood for most of my outdoor heat, it takes a little more effort than gas, I like the look, smell and feel of the wood burning.
Gas fire pits
Most gas burning fire pits will run off of the regular 20 pound propane tank, most will hide the tank behind a door for a clean look. The big advantage for a gas fire pit is the clean burning, no mess or cleanup when the fire is over.
Many styles are available from square, round, rectangle or the table top versions. Most will have an electronic igniter for easy lighting and colored glass rocks for different color combinations.
Another advantage for the gas fire pits is the ability to be used on composite or wooden decks, as little to no heat is produced on the bottom of the gas fire pits.
For some of my examples on gas fire pits available, follow this link.
Wood burning fire pits
The aroma and feel of a wood burning fire pit is what most will want when having an outside heating solution. The work load is much more with a wood burner, need firewood, fire starter, poker to stir the logs and a way to clean up ashes when finished with the fire.
Wood burning fire pits cannot be used on a wooden or composite deck surface with a heat shield of some kind. This is not the best solution, if you have a wooden or composite deck surface use a gas fire pit for safety.
The ability to cook Smore's or small meals on a wood burner is another great feature that most like. An evening around the fire with the kids doing a flaming marshmallow and hot dogs for a bun, is a great way to spend time as a family.
Sound for your outdoor space should not be limited to having a music source. Having a water feature that gives you a soft soothing sound that will relax your family and friends without having music that only part of the crowd will enjoy.
Having a water feature with its soothing sound that will require little or no work. Making sure the water stays clean will be the most work that will be required for most water fountains.
The water pumps can be powered by solar or 110 volt house current. Water will be raised to the highest level and fall making the noise that sounds like moving water in a stream over rocks.
Many styles, sizes and colors are available in water features, from table top models to some that can take up a large area in your outdoor space. You will have to choose what fits your outdoor space best.
For several examples of water features, see my post here.
If you want soft music or loud rock and roll in your outdoor space, several outdoor sound systems are available. From stand alone speakers with radio and other audio inputs like the Ion model shown, to rock speakers that will blend in with your outdoor decor and play music via Bluetooth, you will have a lot of choices to make music in your outdoor space.
The features you will need will depend on your ability to power a system, the one shown here can run on batteries at the beach or back yard. Some speakers will need to be wired to a stereo system to create sound.
If you have a great cell phone you might want to use it for your music source and get some Bluetooth speakers to amplify the sound.
Having some color and style to your patio area will help define your outdoor space. A rug will define each area for your guest and make for more of an inside feel to your outdoor space.
Having a rug under your patio furniture can highlight each piece and make them stand out from one area to another.
You can use matching or contrasting Runners to connect the patio areas in your outdoor space. A runner that goes from your dining area to your conversation area will make your guest more comfortable in moving around your patio area. It can also define how you use your areas.
Look at more ideas on what rugs are available, look at my post here.
My final thoughts on ideas for Christmas gifts this year
Weather you are purchasing a gift for yourself or a someone else, getting something that you can use most of the year is very important. This list of Best Gifts for Outdoor Entertaining will be a helpful guide for you.
I would like to get any of these to add to my outdoor entertaining area. I have used or purchased a few of these items. We have an outdoor rug at the lake that we use when we put the dining table out, this defines the space and gives a soft, safe place for bare feet outside.
Any thing you would like to add or if you just have a question, use the forms below and I will get back to you shortly.