6 clever ideas for outdoor living spaces

No South African home is complete without a patio, deck or veranda to bridge the gap between inside and out. Here are some inspiring ways to make the most of your outdoor living space



One of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to furnish your patio is to build the furniture in. On this terrace the surrounding balustrade was extended to form an L-shaped bench with a low backrest and deep seats. Fitted with custom-made base cushions and plenty of comfy scatters, it’s ideal for relaxing with a book or accommodating a large crowd.



One of the difficulties when designing a patio is to make it weatherproof without losing the feeling of being outdoors. Designing this outdoor area as a bridge between the living room and pool, Cape architect Mark Thomas’s solution was to install thick glass panels above a Balau slatted roof which allows light to filter through while keeping rain and leaves off. “The high-spec glass is a UV-resistant laminate and is set at a very flat pitch, which makes it almost self-cleaning as rain washes it,” comments Mark. “This way we effectively created a weatherproof outdoor room with a view onto the garden and trees.” To reinforce the organic feel created by the deck and the trees, the owner used a couple of sawn-off logs as coffee tables and hung a pendant made from coconut sticks from Weylandts above the seating area. The cushions are made up in the Ardmore fabric range available from Mavromac.



The sun beating onto her patio made it impossible for Margaret Berichon and her family to use it in the afternoons. The solution was to install bamboo roll-up blinds with cord lock control between the pillars on the west side. “These blinds can be custom-made to fit any space,” says Margaret, who runs Inside Out Interiors in Durban, “and as they can be secured at the bottom, also help to keep the rain out.”



Interior designer Donna Tanner of Durban used a number of stylish, yet practical ideas to transform her veranda into a refreshingly cool spot. To create a light, tropical look, she simply painted the floor with white stoep paint, placing a grass mat over it to cut the glare. She found the sofa and chairs at a market, gave them a coat of exterior paint and upholstered them in weatherproof fabric so that they can survive harsh sun and the odd spots of rain (for a similar look try Hertex Fabrics’ Sunproof Stinson in Charcoal). The slip-covered ottoman takes drinks and footprints in its stride, just needing the occasional wash to keep it looking pristine.



To give a veranda or covered patio a more ‘furnished’ feel ideal for entertaining, use a combination of slip-covered and wicker furniture. Using timeless blue and white, this veranda features wicker chairs which were updated with a lick of paint as well as washable slip covers on the ottomans and couch so there’s no need to stress about little paw prints or tea spills. The pale screed floor complements the colour palette perfectly, yet is also incredibly easy to keep clean.



To bring in light, Margaret Berichon hung a round mirror in the corner which, as it reflects the garden, gives the illusion of being a porthole window.