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Surreal Escapes Gives Advice to Optimize Outdoor Entertaining Space

The coupling of beautiful weather and abundance of outdoor dining options this time of year are what make the Valley the ideal place to live. Spring colors cascade across backyard spaces, adding whimsy and romance for a magical garden party. 

"The type of entertaining you do should be considered to make the most functional use of the space. For close-knit gatherings, creating subtle delineations with lighting, hardscape changes and potted plants can frame smaller areas," says Bryan Wallace, operations vice president of Surrreal Escapes.

Intimacy demands beautiful and tranquil surroundings, often lush to close in the space and not feel too spread out. Byran notes that up-lighting trees at the outer extent of the property and low-lighting points of visual interest can offer a scale to the area that feels cozy yet not cramped.  

Fragrance should not be ignored when creating a mood for a an outdoor gathering.

"Flowering plants like gardenia, jasmine and plumeria will do well in pots around the patio. Be sure to place these plants in areas away from direct afternoon sun as they will flower best if they get some morning or filtered sunlight," Bryan says.

For a colorful and localized look ideal for entertaining out-of-town guests, cacti and succulents like golden barrel, pink lady's slippers, totem poles or one many species of agave give a planting bed a clean, organized, architectural feel. Yucca gloriosa, foxtail asparagus fern, aloe and elephant food can separate beds or pots and add a mid-century modern feel. 

"Modern landscape designs are on trend right now, using evenly spaced, same-species bedding plants that are planted on a grid. Be sure your landscape professional has the experience and knowledge to choose proper placement for different species of plants, according to micro-climates of the space," Bryan says. "After all, in the Valley we can enjoy an outdoor entertaining space almost year-round, so its important to create a design that looks great for all seasons, day or night. Using a well thought-out, diverse plant palate can create a subtle transformation of the space throughout the year, growing new areas of visual interest, without having to switch out plants regularly."

Eco-Friendly Tips:

  • Plantings that use less water, less insecticides and fertilizers, attract beneficial animals and insects, like hummingbirds and butterflies
  • With a huge array of desert-friendly shrubs, ground covers, cacti,and succulents, any type of aesthetic can be achieved, creating that "wow" factor, mixing colors and textures and scale, all while keeping your water use down, reducing likelihood of plant disease or insect problems.
  • Smart irrigation systems minimize water waste by delivering according to plant needs and automatically adjust using sensors and weather data sent to the controller.
  • LED or solar lighting uses less outside electricity or none at all.