Design of an inviting Lanai

With the summer holidays arriving and many people not comfortable with traveling, home entertainment will be more important this year than ever before.  No December holiday is complete without time spent around the pool and braai (barbeque), so an area outside the home for relaxing is essential.

This lanai includes a wide serving bar next to the braai, making it perfect for large scale entertaining. It is placed right next to the kitchen and double volume family room. The Mooikloof Heights residence. Furniture by M Square Lifestyle Necessities.
Design of the Lanai
House Fern
The lanai is placed between the kitchen/ dining room and the pool, next to the double volume family room. House Fern.

A lanai (verandah/covered patio/stoep) is an integral part of living in a temperate zone, whether it is South Africa or anywhere else in the world.  Entertaining outdoors feels more special, even a glass of wine tastes better when sitting outdoors, watching the sunset over the pool, or people cavorting in the water.

House Fern
Furniture by M Square Lifestyle Design.
Design of the Lanai

However, care needs to be taken with the design to avoid cold, dusky rooms situated behind deep covered areas getting little light and no sun.  The other no-no is placing the lanai miles away from the kitchen so it becomes a shlep to cart food, drinks, and utensils backward and forwards, and one is totally separated from the fun around the braai.

Blair Atholl home: The lanai is right next to the kitchen, pool, and double volume family room. Furniture by M Square Lifestyle Necessities.

Forrest Road home. Furniture by M Square Lifestyle Necessities.

Design of the Lanai

We normally try to place our kitchens on the north-east corners of the home, with a family room leading directly onto the kitchen and lanai.  However, this immediately creates the problem mentioned above, so most of the time we resolve it by designing double-volume living rooms behind the lanai.  This enables the installation of large north-facing windows above the lanai and preferably frameless folding doors between the lanai and family room/kitchen.

Designing of the Lanai
House-BOZ

The other option is to place the lanai on the east side of the kitchen which cuts out the east sun from the kitchen and results in the family room being on the opposite side of the kitchen, necessitating a walkway past or through the kitchen.  This works well where you have either a view to the east or south, and it is an informal home without the hassle of walking through the kitchen.

House-BOZ
House Eccleston Drive. Furniture by M Square Lifestyle Necessities.

Having a bar or wine-cellar close to the lanai is obviously an advantage if the owner is partial to a drink or likes to serve drinks.  In many of our home designs, we placed the bar in a position where it is accessible from both the double volume family room and the lanai.

Designing of the Lanai
Designing of the Lanai
The lanai is directly next to the kitchen and pool, flowing onto the living rooms. House Abo, Makhado. Furniture by M Square Lifestyle Necessities.
Designing of the Lanai
The lanai at this house is across the pool, but still only 4 meters from the living room and kitchen. House SWA, Bryanston.

The provision of a prep bowl near the braai is favoured by most clients.  If small, infrequent amounts of hot water is required, we recommend an instant water heater.  If hot water has to come all the way from the kitchen, it just takes too long and many liters of water is wasted.

Designing of the Lanai
The gazebo at the Kloof Road house adjoins the pool with a fire pit next to it. The roof is a 12m by 9m cantilevered, floating design.

Often a gas fireplace is built on the lanai, and a firepit (boma) next to the lanai is also a great addition to the area, preferably right next to the pool. A nice feature is a shallow area in the pool for semi-submerged sun loungers next to the lanai.

Design of the Lanai

Now for the contentious part: gas braai or wood braai? Or both?  We do not stick our noses into the bee’s nest and leave it to the client to decide.  However, it is important for the planning as a chimney is needed for a wood braai and an extractor for a gas braai, so it impacts the design.

Asn
The lanai at House ASN sports a gas and wood braai, and is next to the bar and double volume family room, with the kitchen directly behind the dining
The Mooikloof Heights House.
Forrest Road
The Forrest Road house.

An important addition to any lanai and especially when children are involved is a pool dressing room. This obviates the need for wet bodies careening through the home, turning the home into a slip-and-slide.

Design of the LanaiThe pool dressing room at House Boz is situated at a slightly lower level, reducing the visual impact and creating an effect of slotted boxes. A children’s pool was built on the same level.

The Jacuzzi was installed on the lanai next to the pool, with the kitchen in the background, creating an ideal environment for entertaining.

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