By Bobby Berk
Now that summer is on its way in the northern hemisphere, I for one am spending as much time as I can outdoors. And having an outdoor living space at home means you can enjoy the season from your own garden, patio or balcony. To optimise the space and make the most of being outside, bring in pieces that will complement your surroundings, add comfort and enhance the functionality of the area.
Since outdoor living is a big component of most of my design work, I was drawn to this five-bedroom property in Mexico, on the market for $6.25m. Besides having an incredible hillside perch (and jaw-dropping sea views), the home also has an ample covered outdoor space from which to enjoy the surroundings. And while the main components are there, making a few changes would make the outdoor area even more appealing.
Greenery is a key component of making an outdoor living space seem inviting. The palms to the side of this covered patio give it a tropical feel but I would bring in even more foliage to add to the lushness. Instead of having flowers on the table, I would layer in more smaller tropical plants around the palms, which would create variation in height and enhance the environment.
I would also use ceramic planters with an aged finish for a rustic and handmade feel. This terracotta rolled rim pot from Primrose (£21.99) will tie in well with existing pots in other parts of the wider patio.
Think about the layout
The patio here has a lot of furniture and I think replacing some pieces and adjusting the arrangement would create a more comfortable and functional area for conversation and relaxation. Every outdoor living space needs to be practical first and foremost in order to make the most of it. I would start by moving the sofa that currently faces away from the sea to the position of the pair of padded stools so that more people can enjoy the sea view in comfort.
I would also replace the table in the centre of the seating area. A teak wood version, such as this table from Chic Teak (£845), would bring in warm wood tones and be functional.
Consider the size of your seating
Having comfortable and stylish seating is a major consideration for any patio. You also want to make sure the pieces are the right scale for your space. Here, the pair of padded stools feel oversized and out of proportion with the rest of the furniture and I would remove them. The pair of armchairs could also be updated to something that has a bit more interest and uniqueness. I love the curvy lines of this Colone rattan lounge chair from Idyll Home (£265).
Mix things up
An outdoor rug can provide some much-needed contrast and softness against a large area of patio flooring. Here, I would add this textured Grayson outdoor rug from the Rug Seller (from £219). The grey option creates interest without being overly impactful.
No space is ever truly complete until you have added the final layer of accessories. Even in an outdoor setting, accessories can help enhance the look and feel, set the mood or bring in another level of cosiness. In this case, I would start by swapping the blue-toned pillows on the sofas for more tone-on-tone options in shades of ivory, cream and camel. Keeping things neutral allows you to focus on that picture-perfect ocean view.
To set the mood in the evening, I would bring in metal lanterns from the White Company (£35 each). A grouping of these at ground level is a lovely way to add candlelight. Being a lantern, they should stay lit even when ocean breezes blow in.
Photography: Engel & Völkers Los Cabos; courtesy of Bobby Berk for A.R.T. Furniture