Heading out?

With upward of 2500 hours of sun annually, South Africans arguably do outdoor living best. We look at some of the top players and the newcomers.

As climates go, we really do get to have our cake and eat it here in SA. “Indoor-outdoor flow” could easily be this country’s catchphrase. We have the luxury of capitalising on our outdoor spaces to the degree that we intentionally design for the blurring of indoors with outdoors. From lounge to veranda (or balcony) to garden, the furniture and accessories with which we curate these spaces need to match up to their interior counterparts – not only in aesthetics but in durability too. 

Enter performance fabrics, thermal modification, solution dyeing, powder coating and a bevy of remarkable synthetics like all-weather wicker, polypropylene yarns, woven vinyl and composite woods. They’ve been a game-changer in the outdoor industry and have ultimately allowed outdoor and transitional pieces to progress without the limitations of the weather.

We take you through the options, whether lounging, dining or setting the scene.


We’ve come a long way since the wire hoop chairs (a la John Salterini) of our youth, you need only to look at Haldane Martin’s Hula or Douglas and Douglas’ Woven Dining range (featured below) to prove it. 

The outdoor furniture of today comes in an array of vivid colours, is both contemporary and all weather resistant and takes on forms that were previously impossible thanks to material advancements. The fabrics that accompany these pieces are typically high-end acrylics that are solution dyed, UV resistant, water resistant and mold resistant which means you can throw just about anything you like at them. 

Asked what her thoughts on the current alfresco aesthetic are, Douglas and Douglas’ Wendy Douglas said: “We’re loving the terra cotta palette right now, whether it be on our metal framed furniture, pot plants or our checkered terra cotta and white flooring. We’re also into designs that nod to the past but are updated with contemporary furniture designs.”


A big part of any alfresco dining experience is the food preparation, but the social aspect of pulling off a fabulous meal for friends requires you to…well…be social too. Cue outdoor kitchens, the new breed of mobile kitchen for those who like to make their meals among their guests, rather than inside. Here, we showcase two outdoor kitchens that offer style and mobility in equal doses…


Now that we’ve covered furniture to withstand (almost) every single weather eventuality, it’s time to style your outdoor space. From hand crafted accessories for your alfresco tablescape to indoor-worthy portable lights and a cool and contemporary firepit, the accessories are just as integral to mood-making as the seating and tables.

Newport Lighting stocks a variety of rechargeable lights that are just as tempting for indoor use as outdoor use. Charge them up and take them anywhere you please for a warm glow.

Rugs add instant warmth (both physically and psychologically) to a space and the veranda or balcony is one place where this has always lacked. Since the advent of synthetic rugs for outdoor use, there’s been no looking back. 

Made from polypropylene, a polymer fiber that gets woven just like any natural fiber, these rugs don’t fade when exposed to the sun and they’re water-resistant to boot. “Outdoor rugs have found their place inside the homes of busy families too. They are spill and stain-resistant, as well as pet friendly and feel as soft as a pure wool flatweave rug,” says Sarah Craig, owner of Herringbone Rugs.

WORDS: Mila Crewe-Brown
PRODUCTION: J-P de la Chaumette
IMAGES: Supplied. Hero image by Greg Cox and courtesy of Villa Verte and Perfect Hideaways.