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