If you have a smaller house, it's important that you make the most of your outdoor area so that you don't feel too hemmed in. Here are some ideas to help your use outdoor living areas rain hail or shine.
When it's warm, shade sails can help your area feel cooler. Not only do they cool the area during the times that you are using it, shade sails also help reflect and repel the sun's heat during the day keep the ground from absorbing as much thermal energy. Shade sails can also help repel light rain showers in transitional weather making outside entertaining a more viable option. Contact services such as Domain Force to learn more.
Outdoor heater and cooling
Outdoor heating can help make you outdoor living area more usable in the winter as well. By roofing or otherwise enclosing the area you can help contain the heat in the area—sails and outdoor curtains can both help in this regard.
Buy some polar fleece in the summer sales, and cut out some large squares into shrugs/covers to help people cover up if the weather gets a little chilly in the evening.
Circulating ceiling fans can help keep the area cooler in summer for a relatively low energy cost, particularly after the sun has set.
If you are planning on entertaining into the evening, insect repellant like citronella candles or "zappers" can help keep the bugs away and the guests having a good time. Make sure to keep the outdoors area clean from any rotten fruit or animal droppings to help reduce the attraction of animals to the area.
While you don't need to pave your whole outside area, having a flat paved area makes outdoor eating easier as the tables and chairs will be more stable and not wobble as much. Keeping some green areas is both aesthetically pleasing but also helps to absorb some of the heat of the day, so that there is less radiating heat in the evenings.
Plug into some of the other scents and make your garden smell like your favourite foods and smells. Mint is super easy to grow and smells great, and lavender and basil are also delicious and smell great. As floral features you can consider lilies which are easy to grow in water features, and violets and chamomile are easy to grow as ground cover and can be a fragrant garden addition.