Creating an outdoor dining area
One of the simple but great pleasures that life has to offer in Southern Spain is a meal in the garden or on a terrace. It is a pleasure that anyone who has a garden, no matter how small, need not deny himself.
It is not even necessary to have a garden to enjoy dining outdoors. Even a small balcony can be turned into an outdoor dining room with the help of shrubs and plants, including seedlings grown in pots.
More and more homeowners have become aware of the need for some kind of sheltered area that is neither completely enclosed nor completely open to the sky.
An open shelter, especially one that supports a vine or other climbing plant, can give as much shade as a veranda roof and allow a much better circulation of air.
Timber framed pergolas are the most popular. Ornate wrought iron pergolas are available at nurseries and make a wonderful free standing feature in the garden. When choosing creepers, it is important to take into account the characteristics of the species you wish to plant. Wisterias are long lived plants which attain massive proportions and should be planted on a strong durable structure. Others, such as Jasmine, are slender plants that do not make demands on the strength of the pergola. Grape vines are valuable pergola plants as they provide shade in the summer and sunlight in the winter, when they are bare of leaves.
The first question to ask yourself, when planning to install a barbeque, is whether it should be permanent. Unless you are going to entertain large numbers of people regularly, you will probably find that your needs are met by a portable barbeque which can be set up where ever you choose and then stored out of sight when not in use.
Careful thought should be given to the siting of an outdoor dining area, whether it includes a permanent barbeque or not. Food and dishes will have to be carried from the house to the garden, so place the dining area near the house. A permanent barbeque can be anything from a simple structure to a clean modern gas or electrically fired model. The basic requirement is simple, there should be a firebox with a grill above it and a shelf on which to stand plates and other utensils. The fire must be supported by a grate above a steel ashtray or a masonry slab. Cast iron grates, which are sold by hardware stores, will also serve as a cooking surface.
When choosing furniture it is probably safest to assume that, no matter how conscientious you are in putting away the furniture at night, sooner or later it is going to be left out. Teak is often used for garden furniture. Metal furniture needs to be painted for protection. Aluminium is light and strong and is the most wisely used metal for outdoor furniture.
The charm of water in the garden
The attributes that make water so invaluable in the garden are its ability to introduce movement and sparkling light, the gentle sound of moving water and the cooling effect of water in hot weather. In the dining area it encourages relaxation and creates a soothing atmosphere. By means of a recirculation pump, which is very easy to install, the homeowner can create a waterfall, a fountain or a small stream in the garden.
A fountain is a useful source of white noise, which can screen off annoying sounds such as passing traffic or voices from adjoining properties.
Is not only decorative in a garden, but functional as well. Adequate light is imperative at night for safety. A well lit garden can be a pleasure, not only out of doors or for the summer season, it can also be arranged to be seen from indoors in all weathers and all seasons.
Some gardens are even more beautiful when illuminated at night.