When the weather is perfect, Aussies tend to spend more time on their verandas or under their pergolas than inside the house. Whether you need to build a veranda or perk up an existing area, a bit of thought, imagination and planning will see you on your way to enjoying more of your leisure time in the great outdoors. Create a space that’s warm and inviting by following these five simple steps.
1. Lights for Ambience
Unless you only use your house patio for afternoon teas, chances are the bulk of time spent on your patio will be at night. A bit of thoughtful planning can have the area bathed in a soft glow emanating from cleverly placed lighting.
Instead of traditional lights it is well worth looking into the cheaper and easy to install alternatives. Solar lights along paths leading to the veranda are cost and energy efficient and easily installed. Freestanding lamps can be found at flea markets and garage sales. Spruce them up with a new shade and energy efficient light bulbs. Stand them either side of the entrance to your pergola or veranda for an instant lift.
Is there anything warmer or more inviting than candle light? Candle holders can vary from recycled glass (think honey jar or wine bottle) to clay lanterns. Use citronella candles and you have protection from mosquitoes as well.
2. A Firepit for Cooking or for Warmth
Why not move away from the traditional barbecue that you see on other verandas and use a fire pit for cooking? A built in firepit can also be the focus of the area with seating strategically placed for cosy gatherings around the fire on those cooler nights. Add a grill plate or rotisserie and you can have your guests helping to cook their own meal.
Imagine slow roasting one of the larger joints of meat or a whole fish in the ground in the Polynesian fashion or vegetable packs wrapped in foil and hidden in the coals. The possibilities are endless.
3. Landscaped Areas on the Verge of the Patio
Not only do you want the patio area to look good it is important that the surrounding areas are inviting too. Pergolas are the perfect spot to introduce some greenery. Train a grape vine and in a couple of years you’ll be eating the fruit as well as providing a shady spot in summer when you need it.
Build a rockery and garden beds around the edge of the veranda and plant them with marigolds and petunias for colour and vibrancy.
4. Add Some Awnings or Blinds to Keep Out the Sun
If the budget allows, installing awnings or blinds can be a great investment, are a stylish addition to verandas and keep the area protected from the sun.
Bamboo blinds are a cheaper alternative and may lead you on to creating a tropical theme. If you are keen enough you can even make your own. There are plenty of web sites providing instructions. Source the materials from your local hardware store and you’ll be shaded in no time.
5. Create a Water Feature
For so many of us living in suburbia the cooling sound of a rippling brook is out of reach. This is easily remedied with a simple water fountain. Incorporate a fish pond in to your plans before you build a veranda or make it an additional feature if the veranda is already established.
By using a little imagination and creativity your outdoor area can come to life in a weekend providing a relaxed atmosphere for family and friends.