With the end of winter in sight, it’s time to think about making the best use of your outdoor space to turn your yard into the only place to entertain guests this year. It’s easy to forget how quickly the Calgary summer comes on, making it hard to spend extended periods of time outside on your deck due to the strong sunlight and high temperatures. Fortunately, installing a patio cover is a great way to give you shade and coolness to keep you partying for longer.
A patio cover is effectively an extension of the roof of your home, and can either stand separately, looking like a large sail over your deck, or be attached to your home, which will make your deck feel like a natural part of the house. In either case, here are some tips for how to make the best of your patio cover when you’re entertaining guests:
- Plenty of seating — while everyone wants to be outside to enjoy the warming temperatures, your guests will appreciate having somewhere to sit. A cozy set of four armchairs works well if you only ever plan on having a small group of friends around, but for larger parties you’ll want to think about longer outdoor couches to give more space. If you have installed a standalone patio cover, you can install a swinging seat or hammock from the supporting poles for a more unusual seating arrangement.
- Flat surfaces for food — any good party under your patio cover will involve eating, preferably straight from the barbecue, and your guests will need somewhere to eat from. It’s possible to have people eat from plates held in their laps, but buying small coffee tables or high desks for people to eat around will be a better option that trying to create a formal dining area.
- Ceiling fans — unless your deck opens out on three sides, it’s going to be hard to get a breeze going, so you will need some form of ventilation to get the air moving. Stand up fans work ok for small groups, but someone will always be annoyed by sitting too close and having the air blow on their face. Installing a ceiling fan using the structure of the patio cover as support makes sense, and you can also double it up with overhead lighting. Be sure to check the load bearing capacity of your overhead beam, as ones made from lightweight metals such as aluminum will not support the larger fans needed for cooling down outdoor spaces.
Finally, you’ll need some consideration about where the barbecue will sit. While you want to be close enough to the house to shorten the trips to and from the kitchen, you don’t want to smoke out your new patio cover and make it uncomfortable for your guests. Creating a specific area for your grill at one end of your patio or deck will not only keep the smoke and steam away, but it will also help to frame your new outdoor room.