By Wilma Bedford
With the recent lockdown and the prospect of more lockdowns in future we take a new look at the stoep and the stoep garden as an additional outside room of the house or we want to try and change the space into something similar with a minimum of trouble. If you don’t have a stoep or a lapa you can still with little effort change an unoccupied corner into a small sanctuary by strategically placing a chair or two, an umbrella, a small table and a pot plant.
Although your stoep garden may not necessarily add value to your property, it is an attractive feature if it radiates friendliness and is trendy. Shade is necessary and for that a lean-to can be added. If your budget is limited, consider cheaper options such as curtains or hanging tarpaulins for privacy and shade.
To be trendy, there are a few things you have to steer clear of. Avoid too many pot plants, especially if you only have a balcony; and avoid pots of different sizes and colours, but rather use decorative pots that go together. Group plants together, e.g. different grasses, and use plant boxes if you have limited space.
If your budget allows, a positive feature would be to have a gas braai installed, which will leave more space on the stoep rather than a portable charcoal barbeque the cleaning and storage of which are easily forgotten after a get-together.
The latest trend is to use modular square furniture on your stoep garden rather than round furniture, and sun-resistant curtains and modern colours are in. The retro style of wire furniture and folding chairs are better suited to the garden where they can endure the elements while more durable chairs belong on the stoep. Citronella candles are out, rather use a fan, insecticidal spirals or an electric disperser to keep away mosquitos. Also store the fairy and Christmas lights and use larger roof or wall lights. The out-of-place threadbare chic flee-market appearance is also out.
Colour is important and the golden rule is to choose a basic colour and two colours for covers or odd cushions and to stay with it. Keep pattern and theme together, for instance do not use a delicate floral motive and game reserve themes together. Navy blue and burnt orange and emerald green are in and pink and purple are out. To save money, you can paint cheap patio furniture these trendy colours with a suitable weather-resistant paint. If you have a small balcony garden, think about scattering a loose rug or two on the floor with loose cushions for extra seating, and folding bistro furniture if you want to entertain al fresco.
Excessive décor is out – furniture and plants are the only décor, and do replace the water feature with a single water fountain. Think about growing plants, for instance herbs, in containers that can be hung vertically against a wall in a balcony garden; this will create a distinctive focal point on a boring wall and also optimise space.
5 Patio Trends That Are On Their Way Out.
Billock, J. July 9 2020. Apartment Therapy. http://www.apartmenttherapy.com