1. Install a fire pit
If you’re permitted to have an outdoor fire at your home, a fire pit isn’t a complicated DIY project and can bring a whole new level of fun to your backyard entertaining.
We followed expert renovator and former winner of The Block Shannon Vos as he made one for his own backyard.
“Planning is everything,” Shannon starts. “You can find some good fire pits that don’t involve sand, cement and water, but if you’re making one that does involve these things, time is of the essence. So, plan ahead, have everything ready to go and make sure you know exactly what you’re doing before you do it.”
An outdoor fire pit is an entertainer’s dream! Picture: Reel Focus Films
Part of planning can also involve hiring the right equipment. In Shannon’s case, Kennards Hire supplied him with a cement mixer, plate compactor (or ‘wacker packer’, as many know it) and various power tools used to complete the job.
2. Oil your deck and furniture
Oiling outdoor timber items prevents them from splitting or splintering. It will also improve their longevity and appearance overall.
Sand back and oil your deck at least once a year. Picture: Getty
“Outdoor furniture doesn’t last very well in the sun, so it’s good to get on top of that,” Shannon says.
“Giving your timber furniture a sand and oil before the summer hits will really help. Timber decks should be oiled at least every year, so it’s good to do that before they get used a lot in summer. It’s not a big job, but it can be if you leave it for too long.”
If you sand and oil a timber deck regularly, it shouldn’t take you more than a day to complete the job, Shannon adds. Just start early in the day, try to keep it in the shade and wait a couple of days before you walk on it.
3. Create a paved patio or pathway
If you’re short on space, a little tiled patio can be the perfect outdoor relaxation zone.
If you have a level yard or area, you’re halfway there. If not, you will need to clear a zone and get a wacker packer. It will tamp down and level the ground before you begin.
Depending on your expectations and desired finish, some pebbles and pavers can go a long way! Throw in an outdoor umbrella, plus some Parisian cafe-style table and chairs, then you’re good to go.
Pressure clean your outdoor tiles to keep them looking fresh. Picture: Pexels
If you already have a cement or tiled area, hire yourself a pressure cleaner to spruce it up.
“Winter is the time for mould growth and moss, so grabbing a pressure cleaner from Kennards can help in sprucing up that back area for entertainment,” Shannon says.
4. Don’t forget lighting
“A poorly lit entertaining area is useless at night,” Shannon rightly points out.
While wired lighting should be done by an electrician, you can opt for solar-powered lights for a DIY approach.
“Solar lights are fairly inexpensive and very DIY-able,” Shannon says. “There is also ‘plug and play’ lighting, like festoon lights, which just plug into a powerpoint.”
5. Spring clean the pool
Chances are you haven’t used it all winter. Now’s the time to give your pool a good sweep and scrub so it doesn’t become an eyesore when entertaining.
Start by clearing out debris and cleaning stains. Fix any issues with the surrounds, including a broken or lofty fence, uneven tiles or overgrown landscaping.
A clean pool with certainly elevate your outdoor area. Picture: Pexels
Shannon’s main DIY advice is get an electric pool cleaner.
“Pool cleaning is the bane of my existence,” he says. “We did it manually for a year. Then, we bought an electric pool cleaner — you can just plug it into the wall and walk away. That has been an absolute godsend.”