The increasing demand for outdoor dining space has country clubs rethinking the function and design of their patios.
As temperatures rise and daylight hours become longer, a club’s patio becomes the area where members spend most of their time. Whether it is for dining, 19th-hole drinks, or extending the evening after a day at the pool, the patio should be designed as a place where members can relax, time and time again.
Creating an atmosphere conducive to longer stays is a priority when designing a patio. Clubs need to provide members with ample space, comfortable seating, shaded areas, and ambient lighting. Having a mixture of hard and soft furniture for both dining and relaxing opens up more opportunities for how members will use the space. If the space is uncovered, pergolas or umbrellas should be available for shade as well as bistro lights to provide warm lighting that is not overwhelming at night. A club’s patio should also stay true to the club’s brand identity and be cohesive with the interior.
When designing an outdoor space, a club should try to increase the seating capacity as much as possible while also utilizing additional space for other amenities for members to enjoy. Adding an outdoor bar can serve as a gathering place for members after activities, even better if there is space for live music and fire pits. An outdoor bar can serve as a place for members to enjoy a drink while waiting for their table while also speeding up service for previously sat tables. Having an outdoor grilling station can help to take some of the pressure off of the kitchen inside. Creating additional space and amenities can also be beneficial for private parties, weddings, and other events.
Outdoor dining helps to boost overall dining revenue, which is why it is so important to try and make a patio available year-round. Clubs that experience winters with freezing temperatures and snow are now designing patios that can be put to better use. By being able to enclose the patio in the winter and installing tile flooring and heaters, overflow from the dining room can be offered a table on the patio as well as providing additional space for events.
The location of a patio in relation to the kitchen needs to be taken into consideration, too. If a patio’s distance from the kitchen is far, it is best to try and add an outdoor grilling station, pizza oven, or even a small enclosed kitchen. Installing quick-disconnect propane outlets throughout the patio also offers flexibility when cooking. If a patio is located directly next to the dining room, consider installing bi-fold doors to connect the two spaces and create a unique indoor/outdoor dining experience.
When it comes to outdoor dining, the view is everything. Whether it is views of the golf course or the water, the scenic setting will only help to enhance the outdoor dining experience for members. Landscaping will also add to the natural beauty of the view. Determine which low-maintenance plants will thrive best in a wide range of climates and go best with a club’s aesthetics. Landscaping can also be used to help keep members contained in the patio to avoid stepping into areas such as the golf course.
Between the large demand for outdoor dining and events and the possibility of an increased dining revenue, designing a club’s patio to function in multiple ways for members is a wise investment.