There’s no better time to have a backyard vacation

As well as COVID restrictions easing this Tuesday, we will also officially welcome in summer. Usually that means the festive entertaining season – and bushfire season – has arrived. Whether we will continue to entertain to the usual extent this summer, is yet to be known, but either way, it’s time to spruce up your outdoor zone because these summer holidays, it’s the only guaranteed place you will be visiting.

Vacay at home

Forget about the beach house you have booked this summer (and may still have to cancel) and turn your backyard into the holiday oasis it should be. That’s the advice from Early Settler furniture buyer, Monica Porter.

“With so many travel restrictions in place, Australians can’t get away as they used to right now, so they’re prioritising making beautiful outdoor spaces to enjoy their weekends and holiday time from the safety of home,” she says.

Early Settler’s new outdoor collections brings a range of experiences home, from beachside escapism, rustic feels to urban dining atmospheres.

Interiors stylist Heather Nette King, who styled the collection, says this season is inspired by beachside Bahamas and boutique hotels in the South of France.

“I adore the laid-back ‘vacay’ vibes of the pod occasional (wicker) chairs. To me they are like a contemporary take on those beautiful vintage cane chairs you’d see in old luxury hotels in the tropics, and they evoke feelings of deep calm and relaxation,” she says.

“Outdoor lighting is such an important consideration when you’re setting the mood for

entertaining too.”

“Whether you’re in a lush garden setting or a hip inner-city balcony or terrace, a few extra

potted plants will also add to the relaxed summer vibe. Tropical palms and lush ferns are the

perfect choice to create this look.”

For beachside vibes, an outdoor lounge or daybed should be your key feature, but make it relaxed by opting for chunky teak or acacia, or wicker furniture, with layers of cushions, and placed on the grass – or in semi-shade under a tree – for a grassroots vibe. It’s also likely to be the coolest place in your yard once the sun goes down, so it makes a whole look of sense in our Mediterranean climate … especially when those 40-degree days arrive without notice.

Just don’t forget soft furnishings, hanging lights, hanging baskets and planters, and an outdoor rug, Heather says.

If high-end hotel is more your style, add a high bar table, a few tall tropical plants and a chilled out soundtrack for urban dining and cocktail hour.

Screen it off

The downside of summer is when the heat is so intense it’s unbearable to sit outdoors. Last summer’s temperatures were among the second highest recorded, so if your backyard faces westerly or north westerly you’ll have the long afternoon sun hitting your alfresco.

Controlling the heat before its reaches the inside of your home is also a sustainable solution, helping it to stay cooler for longer.

“Maximising living spaces with a seamless indoor-outdoor transition is a continuous trend with families who require their homes to be versatile,” says Luxaflex Window Furnishings’ Vera Meharg.

“Outdoor awnings offer an extension of your living space as well as advanced sun protection and airflow for a more enjoyable entertaining space. It also provides the added benefit of helping maintain your home’s internal temperature.”

With outdoor awnings, such as Luxaflex’s Spectra Fibreglass Sunscreen screens that can reduce up to 95 per cent solar heat penetration, Vera says they are a must for those wanting year round comfort as well as a sustainable home choice in summer.

The upside is it will also screen off view of your neighbours if they are outdoors and make it feel private.

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