It’s all well and good to find beautiful looking Outdoor Entertainment Areas on Pinterest that look great – but they also need to be functional as well as beautiful – or they simply won’t get used!

Now some of these outdoor entertainment areas are more functional than others – we look at the pro’s and con’s of each so you can choose the right one for your house, the way you entertain and most importantly – the direction your home is facing!

1. The Pergola

The Pergola was all the rage back in the 1980s and 1990’s – but they have come a long way since those old school designs of stark pine structures (remember the old copper’s logs?) that let the hot Australian sun just beat down on you. Now they are very structured and almost have an Industrial feel about them.

The current trend is for sturdy thick timber posts either painted dark or even oiled. A pergola that is open should ideally be placed in the shade to make it comfortable to sit in no matter the time of day.

Extra strong supports and rafters mean that you can hang a macrame hanging chair, a hammock or a beautiful porch swing directly from a rafter!

Image via Familyhandyman.com
Image via Real Estate.com.au

2. The Gazebo

Before you roll your eyes at the thought of the hexagon-shaped pine gazebo’s – the gazebo, like the pergola has been totally modernised. Now they are cozy areas, usually square that offers a house-like roof and a wall to block out the Western sun.

Old school gazebo’s can still have their place in an old English style garden – but these days they are made of good hardwood so they last!

When thinking about building any outdoor structure, place a chair in the area and sit there for the afternoon. What do you notice? Do you get a nice breeze? Is the sun in your eyes? Your local Gympie Carpenter will consider the direction your outdoor area is facing, factor in shade and materials before you have shelled out a cent.

Image via Adrii
Image via Nadia Petro

3. Raised Timber Deck

The raised timber deck is probably one of the most popular and practical outdoor entertainment areas to choose from. A timber deck is a great option because it can be made to suit the layout of your home, can easily include any features you might like such as gardens or built-in outdoor kitchens.

You can also have built-in seats so you don’t ever need to buy outdoor furniture.

We love this raised timber deck with the swing! Cute!

4. Outdoor Room

If you own an old timber home with an extra bedroom – you could easily convert that bedroom into an ‘Outdoor Room’. Located under the main roof of the home, an outdoor room can still be super cosy, private and cute, but with a beautiful view and open enough to enjoy the afternoon breeze.

This is a great option in Australia where any sun is just too much!

Image via L.C.

5. Paved Alfresco Area

A paved alfresco area never needs any maintenance (well maybe a good gurney every year or so). They area great around an outdoor pool or in an area that has lots of afternoon shade.

6. A Conservatory

Okay so a conservatory may be better placed in the cooler places of the world such as England where they are uber-popular, but they are simply delectable and if you love all things shabby-chic then a conservatory in the right place can be done with class and style here in Australia, especially if you only have a small place for an outdoor entertaining area.