Inside out: what’s hot this summer?

Date Monday, 4 November 2013 12:00 AM

There is something about indoor/outdoor spaces that Australians love. Many people confess that the place they most like to relax is their deck, alfresco or external entertaining area.

Greening your indoor/outdoor space will bring it alive, but these areas are open to the elements so choose your plants carefully. Hardy plants such as succulents work well, with Jade (portulacaria afra) a favourite because it is fast growing, has evergreen leaves and tolerates the summer sun.

How about growing some fruit on your alfresco? Think a long ceramic planter box with strawberries, or a square tall pot with an ornamental citrus tree (or two). A combination of flowers, fruit and foliage makes a glorious tapestry and ads texture to a wooden or stone paved entertaining area.

Branch out and allocate special crockery for your outdoor entertaining. Plates in the shape of leaves, or big platters decorated with flowers or fruit, add to an atmosphere of casual sophistication. Co-ordinate your tablecloth and runners using an outdoorsy motif, use bamboo place mats, or naturally woven heavy cotton napkins in a natural colour to continue the feeling of alfresco dining.

Change the lighting on your outdoor spaces to create mood. A romantic dinner for two? Coloured candles, protected from the wind in glass candle holders. If you have mature trees nearby hanging pendant lanterns from the branches gives an exotic touch. Chinese paper lanterns are a delightful and economic way to add a fantasy element to an outdoor dining. 

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