Outdoor Summer Entertaining

Outdoor Summer Entertaining

Many years ago Chevrolet had a song:  “ Braaivleis, rugby, sunny skies, and Chevrolet……..” (Revealing my age here).  I always thought they forgot the pool and shade under the sunny skies.

That brings us to the pool/lanai combination, which is essential for summer entertaining in style, in a region with a mild climate.

Design and Building, Nico van der Meulen Architects

The design of this area is important to ensure hassle-free entertaining and relaxation.   There are a few points to remember, and one of the cardinal rules is to keep the lanai close to the kitchen to avoid long treks, which very soon leads to a lanai not being used regularly.   It is also necessary to consider the effect the lanai will have on the light and sun in the rooms behind it.  The other advantage of a pool close by is that it is easier to keep an eye on younger children in and around the pool.

If properly designed the lanai should become almost an extension of the kitchen and family room, with the pool close by to help cool these areas during the long summer days.  Quite often we add a bar next to the barbeque where people can congregate while the meat is being grilled.   Some nice-to-haves in this area are a pizza oven, wine fridge, and icemaker to keep the drinks cool.

Some people enclose the lanai, but personally, I abhor it. It becomes another room, usually badly furnished/decorated, and used once in a blue moon: Just plain depressing. I realize that in regions such as the Western Cape, there are sometimes long periods of rough, bleak weather, but rather open up the lanai on beautiful days following these bad spells. An open fire or space heater makes the area more usable during the colder months, and heated seats are now available for outdoor areas.

There are two camps as far as the barbeque is concerned: The traditionalists who only grill on a wood fire and the time-constrained camp who prefer the speed and convenience of the gas grill.   Sometimes clients prefer to install both.  However, chimneys and extractors need to be planned.

Design and Building, Nico van der Meulen Architects

DAR Residence

Design and Building, Nico van der Meulen Architects

The design of a pool is a science, as is the construction. A badly designed or constructed pool can lead to endless problems as we have found many times. The placement of the weir and return outlets must be carefully considered. Always research the references of the prospective pool builder.

An important point in the design of an infinity pool is to use 75mm pipes to a separate pump for the spillover, often without a sand filter, and the return from this pump should be placed above the pool water level.

The wall where the water flows over should slant to the inside of the pool, never to the outside and the ballast tank for an infinity pool should be at least 10% of the pool volume. We usually design the actual gutter where the water runs into the ballast tank.

We often design a firepit (boma) as part of this area – sometimes with water surrounding the firepit, but preferably a square firepit as that makes it possible to move closer or further from the fire, which is not possible with a round firepit.

Most people now want to install a built-in pool cover which requires the design of the pool to make provision for this. The advantages are warmer water if it is closed at night, a cleaner pool when the pool is covered during winter, and most covers are also a safety measure to prevent children from entering the pool without adult supervision as it can be installed with a keypad to open and close it. If installed over an indoor pool, it reduces the amount of condensation in the house, but even outside it reduces evaporation, which is becoming more essential.

I prefer a pool cover with an edge around it to prevent the cover from slipping over the opposite wall if a child or pet steps on the edge.

Design and Building, Nico van der Meulen Architects

The interior finish of the pool is another factor to consider. My personal preference is for a vinyl pool liner, which prevents algae growth, feels soft underfoot, and waterproofs the pool.   It is an expensive option, looks seamless, and is not yet freely available in South Africa, but the best choice.  If the formwork of the pool was good, the liner can be installed directly on the concrete. Tiles, fiberglass, and marble plaster are the other choices.

Design and Building, Nico van der Meulen Architects

The design of this area is important to ensure hassle-free entertaining and relaxation.   There are a few points to remember, and one of the cardinal rules is to keep the lanai close to the kitchen to avoid long treks, which very soon leads to a lanai not being used regularly.   It is also necessary to consider the effect the lanai will have on the light and sun in the rooms behind it.  The other advantage of a pool close by is that it is easier to keep an eye on younger children in and around the pool.

If properly designed the lanai should become almost an extension of the kitchen and family room, with the pool close by to help cool these areas during the long summer days.  Quite often we add a bar next to the barbeque where people can congregate while the meat is being grilled.   Some nice-to-haves in this area are a pizza oven, wine fridge, and icemaker to keep the drinks cool.

Design and Building, Nico van der Meulen Architects

DAR Residence

Some people enclose the lanai, but personally, I abhor it. It becomes another room, usually badly furnished/decorated, and used once in a blue moon: Just plain depressing. I realize that in regions such as the Western Cape, there are sometimes long periods of rough, bleak weather, but rather open up the lanai on beautiful days following these bad spells. An open fire or space heater makes the area more usable during the colder months, and heated seats are now available for outdoor areas.

There are two camps as far as the barbeque is concerned: The traditionalists who only grill on a wood fire and the time-constrained camp who prefer the speed and convenience of the gas grill.   Sometimes clients prefer to install both.  However, chimneys and extractors need to be planned.

Design and Building, Nico van der Meulen Architects

Northcliff Residence

The design of a pool is a science, as is the construction. A badly designed or constructed pool can lead to endless problems as we have found many times. The placement of the weir and return outlets must be carefully considered. Always research the references of the prospective pool builder.

An important point in the design of an infinity pool is to use 75mm pipes to a separate pump for the spillover, often without a sand filter, and the return from this pump should be placed above the pool water level.

The wall where the water flows over should slant to the inside of the pool, never to the outside and the ballast tank for an infinity pool should be at least 10% of the pool volume. We usually design the actual gutter where the water runs into the ballast tank.

Design and Building, Nico van der Meulen Architects

We often design a firepit (boma) as part of this area – sometimes with water surrounding the firepit, but preferably a square firepit as that makes it possible to move closer or further from the fire, which is not possible with a round firepit.

Most people now want to install a built-in pool cover which requires the design of the pool to make provision for this. The advantages are warmer water if it is closed at night, a cleaner pool when the pool is covered during winter, and most covers are also a safety measure to prevent children from entering the pool without adult supervision as it can be installed with a keypad to open and close it. If installed over an indoor pool, it reduces the amount of condensation in the house, but even outside it reduces evaporation, which is becoming more essential.

I prefer a pool cover with an edge around it to prevent the cover from slipping over the opposite wall if a child or pet steps on the edge.

The interior finish of the pool is another factor to consider. My personal preference is for a vinyl pool liner, which prevents algae growth, feels soft underfoot, and waterproofs the pool.   It is an expensive option, looks seamless, and is not yet freely available in South Africa, but the best choice.  If the formwork of the pool was good, the liner can be installed directly on the concrete. Tiles, fiberglass, and marble plaster are the other choices.