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Creating an al fresco living space is as easy as putting up a hammock or as complicated as re-landscaping your back yard with decks, lighting, music and dining areas.

Here are Steve Kieley's tips on designing outdoor spaces suited to entertaining:- Make the paths wide enough so that people can pass and don't feel that they have to stay in the same place for the whole event.

- Place chairs, benches and pillows throughout the space to make informal, comfortable conversation areas.

- Lighting is important. Kieley strings small white Christmas lights through trees and bushes, has low path lights throughout the garden, accent lighting on trees and mellow spotlighting on the deck. Place candles on tables and in freestanding holders.

- Mix building materials such as wood, stone and brick to give the space an evolved look.

- Supplement perennial plants with containers of annuals that can be moved around as the mood or occasion strikes.

- Choose plants that will have a silvery glow at night, such as Japanese painted fern, or that will more fragrant in the evening, such as nicotiana.

- Install speakers in strategic locations so you can enjoy music outside.