Preparing Your Outdoor Living Space for Summer Entertaining in Charleston

Summertime and the Living is Easy

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Guest Writer Vandana Kumar

People know South Carolina for its history, its food, and, of course, its hospitality.  Thanks to the local climate, we can dine al fresco most of the year, and your home offers the finest dining and the best hospitality in town.

Want to get your outdoor space in tip-top shape to enjoy the outdoors with your friends and family? We’ve got you covered.

Patio overlooking the marsh
Outdoor living area at 405 West Indian Avenue in Folly Beach

Covered Patio

Having an awning, pergola, or anything else that provides shade is crucial during the warm summers. Add some concrete pavers or flooring, comfortable seating and some outdoor space heaters, and you’ll enjoy your patio year-round.

Go a step further with an outdoor kitchen. Think of the time you’ll save not having to run back inside for drinks, condiments, or dishes. You may never want to cook indoors again.

Enhance Exterior Lighting

Daytime gatherings are great! But if you’re planning to entertain at night, good outdoor lighting is a must. Pathways should be bright enough to provide safe navigation without the aid of moonlight or dwindling sunlight. Lights you can read by are great for game nights and quiet evenings without visitors, too. Good accent lighting energizes any outdoor space and can give your curb appeal a boost. It also allows you to showcase your landscaping. The options are endless. And the results give you more useable living space at a fraction of the cost of major renovations.

Bonus idea: Nothing gets a gathering going faster than a fire! Adding an outdoor fireplace is a great way to create ambiance. And it gives guests a spot to get comfortable. A crackling fire might not count as “lighting,” but the friends who gather near it will appreciate the glow.

Add a Bit of Botany

No outdoor gathering space is complete without a little plant life. Grass is great, but Charleston’s coastal climate offers opportunities to grow all sorts of beautiful native plants. And the native flowers are low maintenance, meaning you’ll spend more time enjoying the garden and less time caring for it.

  • Native plants thrive in local soil, so they need little to no fertilizer
  • Native plants like local rainfall levels, so they rarely need watering
  • Local bees and other pollinators love native plants
  • Natives resist disease and insect damage.

Your local nursery may even offer consultations to help you pick the best plants for your property.

Grilling area Pergola
Grilling area Pergola

A Place for Play

Whether you’re into cards, horseshoes, or bocce, gatherings and games go hand in hand. Your budget and the square footage you’re working with are two big factors in the right choice for your space. The most important consideration is how often you’ll use a game space.

Pool waterfall feature
Exterior of 405 West Indian Avenue on Folly Beach with heated swimming pool

Just Add Water?

Fountains, fish ponds, and swimming pools are popular additions, but not a good choice for everyone. Water features should be winterized. Pools, ponds, and fountains also need occasional cleaning. In the case of pools, upkeep includes maintaining a balance of chemicals. These kinds of maintenance tasks are fun for some folks. For others, though, the effort required to keep an outdoor water feature functioning is simply not worth the reward!

Vandana Kumar is a writer and landscape designer. In her backyard designs, she likes to incorporate outdoor kitchens — and makes a devastatingly good tandoori chicken in hers.