As you're living in one of the sunniest places in the world, why not invest in an outdoor deck? You may have been living in your home for some time and love to entertain, but you haven't made the effort to take your game outside. If you've got enough space to be able to extend your entertainment area, you should really think about making such an investment before the true season rolls around again. But while you're thinking about deck design and the type of furniture you are going to buy, think about the space beneath your new deck and how you can take advantage of that. What opportunities should you consider here?
Additional Living Space
If you live in a two-story home on undulating land, your deck (when you construct it) will be elevated. In fact, you could have quite a lot of space underneath the deck and can set this up as a separate patio. This will then double as a covered area that you can use in the event of bad weather or if the summer heat gets particularly bad. You can turn it into another seating area with natural shade, rather than leaving the area to go to waste. Why not hang a hammock or swinging bench from the bottom of your deck as well?
Extra and Valuable Storage
You may not have as much depth to deal with in your case, however, but you can still take advantage of the space underneath the deck. You can enclose it with a wood frame, dry wall and cladding, and if it is adequately sealed, you can use the area to store some of your possessions. Just make sure that you treat the ground underneath and put down a barrier so that weeds do not penetrate and seal it properly, so it doesn't become home to some native wildlife. It will need to be adequately ventilated to keep moisture levels in check but once this is done, you will have maximised your available space.
As you can see, you can get two bites at the cherry when you invest in a good quality deck. You will be able to entertain friends and family on those endless summer evenings while taking full advantage of the "wasted" space beneath. Talk with your deck builder about your aspirations, and they will be able to help you bring them to reality.