It’s been a hot summer but let’s be honest, us Aussies are used to a little sizzle in January, and while the blistering heat may be worth a whine at the time, all too soon we will be back into the chill of winter. If you feel like summer is getting away from you and you didn’t make the best use of your outdoor spaces then we have these sure-fire ways to make your outdoor space a five-star entertainment area for the season ahead. Warning: When we say five stars, we really mean it. These outdoor ideas are stunning and versatile and possible on any budget. No matter the size or shape of your backyard, you’d be surprised by the changes you can make to it, and how much these outdoor improvements will be worth when you come to sell your home. That’s food for thought that will see you through those colder months, and also get some use out of your outdoor areas in the interim as well; this stuff is too good to wait for.

Colour with flowers

Big bright pots of flowering plants make an incredible difference to the look, feel and smell of your garden. Look for plants that have vibrant colours and are hardy, you want to try and cut down on your maintenance stress while having maximum impact. Try larger plots of plants rather than small baskets scattered around. An evening watering time will keep everything looking fresh, will help you clock up some valuable time outdoors while enjoying some gardening therapy as well.

Cook outdoors

An outdoor kitchen is highly desirable and rewarding. It can be a full kitchen, with even more features than the one inside, or it can be as simple as a BBQ grill and a small drinks fridge; even then your BBQ can be as simple or as complex as your budget allows. Converting an existing bench into a set kitchen space is surprisingly easy, and if you are happy to get seconds, display or second-hand taps and basins, it can be very affordable. Having running water outside is amazingly convenient for preparing and cleaning up after an outdoor meal. It also means you can spend more time with your guests, instead of ducking indoors every three seconds to get something new or wash your hands.

Outdoor viewing

You’d be surprised at how effective, easy and affordable an outdoor television is. Simply install an existing flat screen TV in an outdoor weatherproof enclosure and secure it outside with a DIY kit. The kit includes a heavy-duty weatherproof wall or swivel mount. Once completed all your usual indoor viewing connections are available, making this a great way to unwind and kick back after a hard week at work. For unbeatable surround sound under the stars install weatherproof speakers and a mini amp as part of your package.

An open door

By replacing a window with a door you get a lot for your money. More light, bigger views, open access and increased versatility of your outdoor space. Check out the possibility of installing a sliding or bi-fold door for a modern look that will really catch the eye, and if your budget allows, go for floor to ceiling glass for increased appeal both to you and future buyers.

The perfect slice

Never be stuck with flimsy frozen pizza again with your very own wood-fired pizza oven. This is a talking point as well as a gathering point for you and your friends. Pizza ovens look enchanting, even when not in use, but using them creates a taste sensation that will have you and your friends coming back again and again. Building your own outdoor wood-fired oven is not at all difficult as they come in ready-made kits, and while figuring out the perfect temperature and learning how to care for your oven is a little tricky, it is well worth the time and effort and you will soon be the pizza oven master. While it may be best known for pizza, enclosed wood ovens are brilliant at slow cooking when they are in cool down mode. You can stoke them up for an intense heat that will cook bread, roast meats, and tenderise vegetables in no time at all.


Decking your outdoor space is literally the same as getting a living room extension. The free flow feel from inside to outside will have a tremendous effect that encourages more time and more dining outside and opens up your home to more possibilities, both for entertaining friends and lounging with the family. If your home is elevated you may not be able to have a deck that is level to your floor, however by adding a few wide steps or a separating partition you can easily obtain the same effect of an alfresco dining area no matter your current garden situation. Some decking materials need to be maintained (usually annually) so think about the long-term effort and costs. Treated pine is the cheapest flooring option and the best for DIY projects, so if you are on a budget this is the one for you. While you are planning your deck think about built-in seating, plant boxes, fencing and storage.

Make a splash

You may not have the space to install a full sized pool, but a spa or plunge pool can do just as well for relaxation or entertainment. If you love to swim then a swim-spa might be right up your alley, with strong jets to swim against it allows you to get some serious lap time in on a small budget. Preformed and above ground pools are more affordable, and you can add some decking around them to increase their visual appeal and create more entertaining space. You can complete any of these upgrades solo or mix and match in any combination to modernise and improve your original outdoor setup, or fully renovate to create something entirely new. A little bit of time and effort is all you need for a truly amazing outdoor space that you will want to use over and over again.