This is the time of year every home owner on Lanzarote has been waiting for. This is when the sun will shine and continue to shine; when the four walls around you start to cage you in and force you into the glory outside; when we make the very most of the magnificent climate that most of us came here for.
Outdoor living is in the heart and soul of every Lanzarote islander. Take a look at traditional houses on the island, and you´ll see that many of them feature a sheltered interior courtyard or patio that is open to the sky above. These are places where families enjoy the best of life, where friends share food and drinks and where individuals can curl up and relax in shade and solitude during the day with a good book, with fresh air softly caressing bare skin.
After nightfall in rural areas there´ll be a lightshow that no interior decorator could emulate, as a vast carpet of stars spreads out above and the moon sails high. Maybe there´ll be a glittering sea view in the distance, as well. It´s a lifestyle that no one in northern Europe is able to enjoy for more than a few weeks every year, and even then they´ll have to be wrapped up much more warmly to do so.
This is why this is the time to plan your outdoor retreat if you haven´t done so already. You can do this wherever you live, whether your outdoor area is a large patio or simply a small balcony. The trick is to make it one the first places you´ll want to spend time during high summer.
All you really need to enjoy yourself out of doors are five things; sun, shade, shelter, comfort and beauty.
The first is already there for you – all you have to do is find the best place to enjoy it. When doing so, take the movement of the sun during the day into account, and plan according to the times when you´re most likely to want to enjoy your outdoor space. If you like a sunny breakfast, for example, you´ll want to situate a table and chairs so that they get the best sunshine from the south east in the morning. On the other hand, if you prefer evening relaxation, plan to make the most of the west. The sun is so hot and vertical at mid-day that you´ll be able to enjoy it anywhere, but bear in mind that it can quickly get uncomfortable at this time of day.
Shade is vital – so that you can cool down a little, relax without fear of burning, and simply rest your eyes. Trees are beautiful, but will take a lot of installation if you don´t already have them, so think of other options. Awnings, pergolas, light roofs, sail shades and many other options are available on Lanzarote, but once again, make sure they are located precisely, taking the sun´s movement into account. Shade will also affect the plants you choose, so think about them, too.
Shelter from the wind is still necessary on Lanzarote, when brisk breezes can sometimes arise even during high summer. For comfort, you´ll need some kind of windbreak. On most of the south-facing homes here, that will partially be provided by your won home, as the prevailing winds are north easterly. But you may want to think about erecting fences or even a new wall for extra protection. The stronger the structure the better, as flimsy shelters can rattle and even collapse in high winds.
Comfort means that you can go out shopping for garden furniture without thinking that it is an extravagance. You´ll be using it a lot, so allow yourself to splash out a little. The furniture you buy depends entirely on your own idea of comfort – if you like sun loungers or even an outdoor bed, go ahead; others will prefer something a little more upright and formal. In most cases you can go ahead and buy light indoor furniture, move it outside and bring it back inside in the occasional event of rain or calimas.
Beauty is, of course, entirely up to you, but everyone wants to relax somewhere that is calming, stimulating, homely and attractive. Fortunately, Lanzarote is full of wonderful ornaments, accessories and occasional furniture. Plants will almost certainly be an element of your beautiful outdoor space, too. Plan them well and take good care of them.
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