At this time of year, outdoor living is the only option on Lanzarote. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t lots of ways to do it – here are just three…
“Chiringuito” is the Spanish word for a ramshackle beach bar – the sort of shady, palm-roofed hut that serves beer and cocktails to a soundtrack of salsa or bachata. On Lanzarote, local by-laws mean that these sort of establishments are difficult to find, but the laid back chiringuito style has influenced businesses, as well as homes, all over the island, and you’re almost certain to find chiringuito style structures in most local hotels.
The key to chiringuito style is informality – we’re talking about bamboo, driftwood and woven palm, and the most important element is a solid wooden bar or counter. Furniture is almost always cheap and cheerful, with plastic and aluminium every bit as popular as wood. Make sure there’s plenty of shade, and, if possible, go for natural palm roofs. Chiringuito style is perfect for any place where you gather to enjoy drink. If you fancy food as well, then go for a barbecue – sardines and grilled meat are true chiringuito flavours.
Morocco is just a few hundred miles away from Lanzarote, and its influence can be seen everywhere from local chimneys to the fragrant cumin in local recipes. Moroccan style is also seductive and perfect for Lanzarote living.
Start with tiles – not just a fixture in swimming pools, but a decorative element you can really develop in your outdoor space. Beautiful and durable, they’re the perfect choice for a gorgeous, low maintenance exterior space.
Next, address comfort. Divans, chaises and daybeds are perfect, but it’s the cushions where you can really go to town. Ornate, delicately embroidered soft furnishings in gorgeous, sumptuous colours and patterns are the essence of North African style.
Don’t forget water. The sound of running water – somehow cooling even though it’s only a sound – symbolises luxury and relaxation throughout the Arab world.
One of the key elements of adapting your outdoor space is the time of day. Ask yourself when, exactly, will you be spending most of your time out of doors?
While visitors bake in the midday sun, residents tend to take things a little easier – and if you live here, it’s likely that the cooler mornings and, most of all, the warm evenings, will prove most attractive to you.
Sunset is a special time on Lanzarote, especially so if you have a west-facing view. It’s a time when flowers open up, releasing their fragrance, and when we traditionally sit with family and friends, talk, chat and simply enjoy the good life.
Dining is a central part of this, and a grill or barbecue adds its own charm. Lighting is also important as the shadows lengthen and darkness falls.
Wander around any rural village in Lanzarote and you’ll soon see tumbledown traditional houses that have long been abandoned. In Haría, for example, they’re everywhere. Now look closer and see how the wooden windows and doors deteriorate without maintenance. Charming they may be, but wood is increasingly a material of the past for the most important home fittings.
Nowadays, modern materials such as PVC and aluminium offer much more durable alternatives, in a wide range of colours and styles. This is important for several reasons:
First, brand new, professionally fitted windows offer control. You can throw them open to let the sun shine in and allow fresh air into every corner of your home, or you can shut them tight when the wind blows or the rain comes down. With shutters you can have even more control over light and ventilation, and curtains and blinds also increase your options – but the most important thing is that they’re tough and tight.
Secondly, strong windows offer security. If you’re leaving your property empty, you’ll want to know it’s secure, and windows are usually the first option that intruders look at. An alarm system can help, too, but first and foremost you want potential burglars to look at your home and quickly decide it just isn’t worth the bother.
Finally, windows offer privacy on an island where there’s always the possibility of passers-by. Slatted shutters and light curtains can keep prying eyes out of your interior, and allow you to live your life in freedom and intimacy.
Always choose reliable, safety tested window glass. Lanzarote’s wind means that unsecured windows can sometimes slam shut accidentally, and full- length patio windows often come in for knocks and bangs that smaller windows don’t receive. If you have kids living in or visiting your property, safety glass is absolutely paramount.