The best garden structures for entertaining outdoors

Our tips of the best garden structures for entertaining outdoors with pictures of previous projects from the Manor Landscapes team.

If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that meeting friends and family outdoors is actually rather nice. The right garden structures can make entertaining outdoors even more pleasant for hosts and visitors. And you don’t need a large garden to make a big impact.

Seating areas

Let’s talk seating.  There is a whole array of garden furniture available to buy but what will work best for you and how will you store it when not in use?  Furniture placed on the lawn may become unusable if the ground is wet and can of course kill the grass if it is not moved every couple of days.

A well built patio or decking area will solve this problem.  Make it big enough to accommodate a dining table and chairs and possibly a comfy sofa or two as well. Will you choose natural stone, porcelain paving, natural timber or composite decking?  

Porcelain paving is incredibly stylish and has the advantage of being stain resistant – so it won’t matter if anyone spills a drink. It’s available in a really wide range of colours and slab sizes so you really can personalise the design.  On the other hand, natural stone has a timeless elegance that can never be matched.  

Position your seating area carefully.  You may want to avoid being overlooked by neighbours – in which case, consider the corners of your plot – they are often the most secluded parts of the garden.  Will you and your guests want to be in full sun or part shade during the day? How will you light your seating area in the evening.

When your garden seating is not directly beside the house – it’s a good idea to build a sturdy path or walkway between the kitchen and the table.


garden structures including floating benches designed by Lindsay Evans

This design by Linsey Evans and built by Manor Landscapes includes built in seating which looks amazing. The low walls are the perfect height for “perching” if the seats are all taken.


The great British Weather is full of surprises! Sometimes the sun is too hot to sit in, other times, cruel winds drop the temperature of an otherwise pleasant day.  There are lots of ways for you to provide shelter in the garden. From pop up gazebo’s (not my favourite!) To beautifully designed and built garden structures.

A timber pergola could be swathed in scented climbing plants to create an intimate and romantic space for entertaining.

A summerhouse provides a comfortable retreat and, with the addition of insulation and heating, could potentially be used all year round.

How about a contemporary garden structure with a louvred roof to help you control the climate beneath? Or an eco-friendly shelter with a living green roof? These are lovely to look down on from an upstairs window.

Outdoor Kitchens and bars

I love food that has been prepared and cooked and eaten al-fresco. And an outdoor kitchen allows for chef and guests to mingle, giving a more communal feel to the whole experience.

Careful garden design and landscaping can create a space where the barbecue, pizza oven, preparation area, fridge, storage and serving areas are all combined into a stylish space.

An outdoor bar will make any gathering go with a swing.  You can keep it simple, or give it a theme. Your landscaper will be able to create a suitable structure for you.

Firepits and focal points

garden seating area and fire pit

Most indoor rooms will have some kind of a focal point. Perhaps a painting, a piece of art or a fireplace.  Your garden will benefit from a focal point too….and there are plenty of choices.

  • A beautiful specimen tree – lit up after dark
  • An outdoor cinema screen
  • Firepit 
  • Chiminea
  • Sculpture
  • Water feature

Designing and building your outdoor entertaining space

Need help and ideas for transforming your garden into an outdoor entertaining space? Talk to Geoff at Manor Landscapes who will be happy to help.

More ideas for outdoor entertaining spaces.

When is the best time to redesign your garden? 

Lighting your garden for winter