Al fresco chic with a touch of sophistication… and fun
With outdoor relaxation and leisure such a key aspect of life in the sublimely pleasant climate of southern Spain, almost as much attention needs to be paid to the terrace, garden and pool areas as the interior décor. Certainly at this time of the year, when family are staying or visiting, and friends are popping in for a drink or even a long languid lunch – often extending well into the night!
From mornings spent frolicking in the pool to afternoons relaxing under a shady pergola, and more informal evening dinner parties, entertaining in style is delightfully de rigeur in villas and apartments along the length and breadth of the Coast, and it is important – as a key first step – to get the furniture right: functional, comfortable and stylish.
Outdoor areas are now increasingly seen as an extension of the home interior, so many items can be mixed and matched, depending on the season and time of day.
Ideal for chill-out area at summer garden party… bell tent from: www.boutiquecamping.com
By late morning, the summer sun heat can become quite uncomfortable, but certainly not intolerable with the addition of adequate shade protection. Parasols are an economical option for small groups, while shade sails, open tents, canopies and even pavilions (if space allows it) will be needed when entertaining en masse – or to shelter a play area for the youngsters.
Glass curtains have also experienced a surge in popularity in recent years, perhaps most useful during the colder – or less warm – months but also a handy option if there is a chill in the night air, or the heady “terral” wind is blowing from northern Africa.
Poolside Vergola automated roof: www.andaluciaglass.com
One of the key pre-summer tasks is to update the pool and its surrounds – so most home-owners will already have that one ticked off from the to-do list – but now is still an excellent time to sit back and take in the whole scene, considering new ideas for 2015 and ways of making this prime entertainment area even more attractive, practical and safe.
Contemporary decking, for example, includes numerous alternative materials to wood that are both less susceptible to climatic problems and more low-maintenance and long-lasting, while also creating a more elegant and inviting look.
Imperial Furniture’s garden collection is displayed in a specially created 400 square metre showroom, offering a large range of styles and colours, including rattan sunbeds and three-piece suites, dining tables and chairs for stylish al fresco dining, day-beds, double sun-beds, umbrellas and shades: www.imperialfurniture.es
Elegant statement pieces: www.bykoket.com
Terrace furniture has also moved on from heavy metal structures and natural wicker, becoming more lightweight – and thus easier to move around and stack – and quicker to dry.
Modular patio furniture is particularly attractive, from both an aesthetic point of view and also for ensuring outdoor areas are uncluttered and adaptable.
Ultra-comfortable and chic hammock, made from 100 per cent cotton: www.hastens.com
The “lounging” aspect is just as important, not just a couple of common garden-variety sunbeds set up beside the pool but opulent daybeds, ultra-comfy beanbags and cushions, low-seated sofas, and rotating and floating chairs – even a picnic rug. Not to mention the timeless pleasure and gentle rocking embrace of a hammock.
For a break from reading and snoozing, many modern homes have a host of leisure accompaniments, from the soothing massage of a jacuzzi to the more active pursuit of a return “revenge” match on the pool table.
And, of course, the most important summer entertainment accessory of all – a barbecue – ideally complemented with an outdoor kitchen (fully-equipped with appliances and utensils) and perhaps a garden wine cellar to keep all the party ingredients close at hand.
Finally, as the sun sets, and the natural light dissipates, it is important to have attractive ambience lighting to set the evening mood, and also for improved pool safety if young children are around.