If you’re looking to add that extra impact to your alfresco area, then patio plants are the ideal go to.
Patio plants can add a whole other dimension to your outdoor space. They can be layered using various heights to fill space or draw your eye to a particular area in your patio. Or, they can create an oasis for you to sit and relax in. And, they can also create a frame to feature a certain area of your alfresco. There are many options to using your patio plants to create impact.
So, what are the best patio plants to use?
Here are four patio plants that we have seen used really effectively.
Ficus are one of the best patio plants out there. They are really well suited to life under a patio or an outdoor room. Ficus are available in a variety of names and are quite hardy. And, they are green all year round and have some stunning leaf colouring.
Ferns are another great patio plant and they come in a huge range of varieties. You can mix and match them to create an area of textural impact. Or choose all the same variety and create a beautiful plump green space full of foliage that has a real wow factor. They are also evergreen, so you have colour all year round.
The humble pineapple
A pineapple is a great plant for your patio as they will grow just about anywhere. They are ridiculously easy to grow and don’t take much care. They have a long thin leaf and will grow in very shallow pots because the pineapple itself grows above the plant. When they start to fruit the flower is spectacular. And you get to see the fruit take shape right before your eyes.
However, pineapples only fruit once in their lifetime before they begin to die. The good news is that they do the produce baby plants from the crown. These baby plants can issue their own fruit.
Bromeliads are a beautifully exotic looking plant, with a gorgeous flower. As a patio plant, bromeliads have a visually stunning impact. They are relatively easy to look after. Like the pineapple, if you harvest the ‘pups’ (small growths produced by the original plant) and place them in pots you don’t have to worry about purchasing new plants when your original Bromeliads start to die off.
Summer is well and truly here with some hot, hot, hot days ahead. So, here are four ways to help you and your family keep cool.
1. Portable shade
It might be a bit late in the season to install a louvre roof to control your shade for this summer however there are temporary options available.
There are a great range of canopy umbrellas out there these days. You can choose round ones, square ones, cantilevered umbrellas and traditional outdoor umbrellas.
They are a great option for summer if you have shade challenges or need to extend your alfresco area temporarily. To create an extended shady area, place your umbrellas side by side, with the
edges overlapping each other.
Potted plants can also create shade. You will need quite tall plants, which means you might need help moving them around to make sure the shade falls where you need it. However the
additional benefit is that plants can make your alfresco feel cooler and more tropical.
2. Fan options
Ceiling fans are a great way to generate a breeze and help bring down the temperature. However, if you don’t already have them installed in your alfresco area, there are alternatives. Traditional pedestal fans create flexibility as you can position them to create breeze where required, or have them set on rotate to cover a wider area.
Also popular are portable misting fans. Not only do they cool they also remove dust and pollen from the air and are a deterrent to flies and other insects.
3. Keeping your best friend cool
If you are feeling the heat, then you can bet your furry friends are too. Ideally, on hot days it’s better to bring your pets indoors (especially if you have air conditioning), however, this is not
The RSPCA provide some great tips on helping to keep your pets cool in summer, including:
Making sure there is plenty of shade available
Providing plenty of fresh, cool water in large water containers
Walking your pet in the coolness of the early morning or evening
If your pet seems to be in discomfort, try wetting its feet and misting water onto its face
A cool drink is a great way to bring down your body temperature and combat the heat of the day.
Here are some cool tips to help you cool down your drinks.
Put little pieces of fruit in your ice tray with your water, to create a little extra something when adding ice to your water. Citrus works particularly well and is quite refreshing.
You can do the same with fresh herbs from your garden – mint works especially well.
Keep a jug of water in the fridge so you have cold water immediately available (although training family members to keep it refilled, might be a challenge!). Similar to above, adding slices of lemon, or lime, gives it an extra refreshing taste.
Freeze individual grapes and pop one or two into your glass of white wine or champagne. That way, your wine doesn’t get watered down like it would if you popped an ice cube in
If you prefer red wine, pop your bottle into the fridge for about 20 minutes before opening it. Red wine is meant to be enjoyed at room temperature, however in summer room temperature is too hot. Twenty minutes in the fridge should bring it to the right temperature to enjoy.
Put juice into your ice trays and freeze. This gives you options of flavouring your different drinks when adding ice cubes.
These four tips are great temporary measures to cool down outside. If you want to turn your alfresco area into a more climate controlled outdoor room, contact our alfresco specialist, Letitia.
Your dream alfresco is complete and you’re almost ready to show it off and enjoy – all you need are your outdoor furniture essentials.
There are so many choices available these days, which can be an exciting adventure deciding what to have – or it can be slightly overwhelming.
Here are three things to consider to help you furnish your dream alfresco.
1. How will you use your space?
Do you host more formal style dinners, with beautifully presented dishes to everyone sitting at a dining table? If so, then choosing a sleek outdoor modular dining setting can create a more modern and structured style. If you have a larger space, adding a modular style lounge and modern outdoor chairs will add to the look (as well as offer additional seating). Or, if you do want to soften the look slightly, you can always accessorise with beautiful outdoor cushions.
Alternatively, a natural-product dining setting (such as wicker or wood) with comfy chairs can create a more comfortable and relaxed environment. Or forgo a dining setting altogether and fill your patio or pergola with comfy outdoor sofas and ottomans.
No matter what your style is, if you entertain large numbers, consider using an outdoor dining setting with an extension table.
And, if your outdoor space allows, you can choose both an outdoor dining setting and a modular lounge. However, if you only have space for one, let how you plan on using your alfresco be your guide.
Most outdoor furniture offers a range of colour choices, which can make it tempting to choose ultra-trendy colours. If you plan on updating the look of your alfresco area regularly, then this may be a good option for you.
Alternatively, selecting classic colours and looks offers you more longevity and usually a wider choice of styles.
Like colour options, you also have the choice of a large variety of different furniture types. The great thing is that most modern outdoor furniture have easy care and maintenance. The key thing to remember is that quality matters, and like so many purchases, you will get what you pay for.
You can help preserve and protect your outdoor furniture from the effects of weather by storing it for part of the year (usually winter). If you’re going to do this then choose outdoor furniture that is easily stackable.
And, if you really hate looking after your furniture some of the most durable outdoor furniture materials include aluminium and all-weather wicker furniture.
Use these outdoor furniture essentials tips to complete your dream alfresco.
If you need help creating your dream alfresco, feel free to contact our Alfresco Specialist, Letitia Awdjew.