Whether open or covered, patios are characterised by fresh air, layers of light and panoramic garden views. An extension of our homes, the patio is where we spend lazy afternoons and entertain guests.
Alon Sachs of Mobelli Furniture + Living agrees. “A patio is no longer just a place for an occasional lunch. It’s an outdoor room and should be decorated as such. There’s now an emphasis on hardy items that can weather the outdoors, such as lights, accessories, furniture and outdoor fabrics,” he notes.
The key to any successful patio is a sense of cohesion between indoor and outdoor spaces. Whether hinged or fold-aside, patio doors help create a seamless flow from one space to the next. Cobus Lourens of Swartland advises: “Patio doors [should] complement the architectural style of your home, be easy to operate, and protect you from the elements.”
When deciding on the layout of your patio, make sure you direct the flow of traffic in a way that eases congestion. “Think about the way guests will enter and navigate the space. Also, consider function. Will it be used for lounging, dining, or both?” says Elbe Truter from Biggie Best.
Tricks of the trade
“Design-wise, furniture and decorative accessories shouldn’t clash with indoor spaces. So make sure you repeat elements of your interior theme outdoors,” says Truter.
“Create a focal point with your largest piece of furniture, such as your dining table, coffee table or outdoor sofa. Arrange smaller pieces around this stand-out item,” suggests Truter.
Vintage-looking cane with outdoor cushions is a classic option. Java whitewash lounge set and accessories, www.biggiebest.co.za.
For a hi-tech spin on a timeless option, opt for weather-resistant plastic wicker. Accessories with exposed powder-coated aluminum and stainless steel frames are ideal for open patios.
There is nothing like dining alfresco, whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner. Here, comfort is key. “Make sure that your seats are comfortable so that you can spend hours outside,” advises Sachs. Netto Dining Chair, www.mobelli.co.za.
TIP: Often a larger, well-placed piece of furniture, like an outdoor sofa, works better than several smaller pieces.
According to Sachs, soft furnishings in taupe and greys are ideal for more modern spaces. “Maintain a sense of style by keeping furniture more neutral and natural,” he notes. Pop a few colourful scatters onto the Paradiso Fun sun lounger for a bold, fun approach to lounging about, www.mobelli.com.
Short on space? “Make the most of your patio with clever yet striking space-saving double-duty furniture like folding tables and chairs, nesting tables or multi-functional items like storage ottomans and benches,” advises Truter. A cantilevered bench or table that’s attached to a wall is another savvy way to optimise space. Just fold it away when it’s not required.
“Opt for a long and narrow table with a pair of benches on a slim patio, and a round table for a square space,” advises Truter.
No patio is complete without greenery, be it pot plants, hanging baskets or even a vertical garden. Calibrachoa ‘Mini Famous’ will make a striking statement. Visit www.ballstrathof.co.za.
Ambient Lighting adds an extra layer of interest to your outdoor spaces. Sachs explains: “At night, when the atmosphere is a bit more sublime, soft lights add an appealing element.” Put a new spin on things by lighting the way with a set of Selene planters, www.mobelli.co.za.
TIP: Layering potted plants around the perimeter of a small patio creates the illusion of depth and makes the space seem grander.
Perhaps you have a spot next to your bathroom that’s not ideal for a traditional patio. However, patios come in many guises. So why not create a private oasis where you can relax and reboot? And what better way to unwind than with an alfresco shower?
According to Blanche Burger from Bathroom Bizarre, location is one of the most important aspects to consider. “First off, you want it to be somewhere that gets direct sunlight to ensure that the area dries properly after use, preventing rot, scum, mould and moss formation. Privacy is also an important aspect if your outdoor shower is not next to the swimming pool.”