Blissful outdoor living

Inspired by the first warm evening this season, editor Mary Jane Harris recalls some of her favourite outdoor living areas

Sitting outside the other evening enjoying the first warm, sultry evening in Jo’burg this summer, I started thinking of some of the stunning outdoor living areas we’ve featured in Garden and Home over the years. Some are simple, others have taken a lot of decorating, and while the setting of a number of them is definitely a major factor in their appeal, they all have great ideas that can be used in other homes.

1. Having grown up in Durban, the contemporary tropical look created by Bruce Fyfe & Associates in this gazebo from Out the Box Trading appeals to me. All you need is crisp cotton slipcovers, scatters in vibrant prints and, of course, a stunning view of a lush valley.

2. The simplicity of this poolside setting at the home of Deidre and Vanessa Causton of Inspired Outdoor Living makes it one of my favourites. It’s cool and shady and the seating consists of built-in benches with chic scatters. What makes it special is the large mirror that reflects the garden and the contrast of the rustic table with the smooth concrete.

3. I love old Durban homes especially those with the original encaustic tiles. While most of us would have played it safe with plain fabrics on the furniture, Mario Rodrigues and Andrew Irving of Interdeco did just the opposite here and emphasised the pattern with bold red and black striped fabrics used vertically and horizontally. Proof that it pays to go bold.

4. At this time of year most of us are desperately wishing for the holidays and this deck at Sheffield Beach has it all: fabulous view and comfortable but stylish furniture that’s just begging you to sit back and relax with a gin and tonic in hand. Décor by Paula Grobbelaar.

5. OK, admittedly the location is a major factor here, but even without the panoramic view of Durban, this deck designed by Jan Blok of Blok Designs would be gorgeous with its innovative lighting, simple planting and glass balustrades.

6. I’m a great fan of interior designer Tiggs Crozet’s work and the veranda at her own home is no exception. The strong chocolate wall shows off the sofa and elegant woven chairs and the mirror and arrangement of baskets creates a strong focal point.

7. It’s said that rather than looking at your garden, you should make a point of spending time in it. The best way to immerse yourself in the tranquil surroundings is with a beautiful boma like this one by Blok Designs. Just light the fire, pour the wine and simply relax.

8. This for me is the ultimate in girly spaces. I’m passionate about pink and I find this combination of gorgeous cushions and flowers on decorator Sarah Walters’ covered veranda irresistible.

9. You can’t really get better than this deck in Clifton built by Rustic Homes. An L-shaped slip-covered sofa is the perfect spot for sundowners overlooking the sea while a gazebo provides shade for casual alfresco dining.

10. While you usually associate verandas with summer living, they can be just as functional in winter. This stunning example designed by Luke Scott Architects and styled by Henrique Wilding features a practical built-in shelf that serves as both a seating and display area. During the colder months the fireplace keeps the area warm.