Spring is a season of blushing blossoms and warm breezes. It’s lazy Sunday afternoons around a colourful lunch table sipping a glass of sauv blanc. What could be better? Only these 10 top outdoor design and decor ideas!

Shutter up

Nothing says "spring" like throwing your home open to your garden or patio, and plantation shutters are the ideal way of doing just that. Compatible with a wide range of architectural and decor styles, plantation shutters are low maintenance and stack effortlessly to one or two sides of an opening. Adjustable louvred shutters allow fresh air and fragrant spring smells in, and keep bright light – and prying eyes – out, offering privacy, good looks and security. Durable, cordless (peace-of-mind is a bonus if you have toddlers racing around) and easy to clean, they’ll also keep direct sunlight off your furniture. Choose wood or aluminium for extra external security. 

Spring is sprung, the grass is riz. Wondering what the latest outdoors trend is? Look no further.

Pool party

Making a splash with a new swimming pool is a great way to have fun and add value to your home. A classic, rectangular shape with a rim-flow is the crème de la crème. If you’re into trends, remember that black pools are out, and sparkling blue water is in. "The average increase in your property value when you put in a pool is around 15%," says Rhys Dyer, CEO of bond originator Ooba. He adds, "Included in our idea of home ownership is a picture of braaiing by the pool on hot summer days, with giggling children leaping onto lilos." Choose a reputable pool company that's registered with the National Pool and Spa Institute www.nspi.co.za.

Backyard braai

Is it even spring in South Africa if you can’t throw something yummy on the braai? Some enthusiasts are installing a whole outside kitchen with built-in gas cookers, charcoal or wood-burning kettle braais, outside sinks and bars. Charcoal braaimasters swear by the smoky smell and flavour of charcoal, but gas braais have their place. They’re quick – just push the button to ignite – and easy to clean. Some models come with side cooktops, rotisserie kits, multiple burners, and Weber’s iGrill Mini even comes with Wi-Fi capabilities for its smart thermometer. If you have space constraints, basic kettle braais are as popular as ever. The Lotus Grill, newly launched in South Africa, is a portable smokeless braai, available in funky colours and perfect for small spaces.

Wall jol

Party like it’s 1960 – wallpaper is back in a big way! And styles and quality have greatly improved since then. WCI Wallpapers says 2018 is all about oversized patterns and flowers in bold colours or pastel shades. Used on a patio feature wall, wallpaper adds texture, depth and variety. It’s even being used on ceilings. Vibrant or soft florals, zen-like forests – the sky’s the limit for your walls.

Pop under a parasol

Add a huge, colourful parasol for some spring shade. Mobelli Furniture + Living stocks a One Touch Umbrella that opens and closes with a push and is easily operated by a so-called "petite person". It’s also cantilevered, with no centre pole getting in your way. Of course, garden-variety umbrellas will do the job, but if you live in a windy area, it’s best to buy one that is strong and durable and has a warranty on the canvas.

Colour coded

Spring is the perfect season for painting your patio walls or upstyling your coffee tables or wooden chairs. Struggling to select a colour, or suffering the aftereffects of a favourite colour choice malfunction? Chillax! Various paint manufacturers pronounce different colours of the year as capturing the mood of the moment. Plascon has chosen Amadeus, which is described as "earthy, yellow-tinted with grounding energy".

Dulux has selected a warm, "calming" pink for curl-up comfort, called Pictured Rocks. The Pantone Colour Institute doesn’t manufacture paints, but you could try matching its choice of colour for the year – Ultra Violet. It’s described as "a thoughtful shade of purple that adds energy and depth to any room".

Mia Delport of Patio Warehouse says, "If you’re adding a new colour to your furniture, look at dark teal. It’s really popular right now."

Buffet babe

Berry, violet, cobalt blue – these are the fabulous Le Creuset colours for casserole dishes or skillets perfect for dining al fresco. The company has also just launched Provence, inspired, says Le Creuset’s Jamie Paine, by the "fragrant, sun-drenched lavender fields that blanket southern France. Remember that the colours you choose to surround yourself with every day set the mood for your whole home." 

Mix-and-match crockery for an eclectic, cheerful look – Royal Albert meets Noritake. Carrol Boyes meets stoneware plates from Mr Price Home.

Lounging around

From pool chairs, loungers and deckchairs to luxurious hammocks, outdoor furniture is not merely functional – it’s an extension of our indoor areas, and comfort and style are key. Mix wicker-style furniture with wooden pieces, and arrange bright scatter cushions with neutrals. "Wicker and woven accessories remain popular this season and faux wicker is a great weatherproof choice that’s hardy and good-looking," says Builders Warehouse’s Asanda Nkomo. Alon Sachs, co-founder of Mobelli Furniture + Living, says natural materials, retro-inspired style and cool, soothing colours are floating his boat this season. "Sun loungers add extra value to any outdoor space by increasing the ways in which you can relax," he says.

Sitting pretty

"Investing in new patio furniture will give your outside area a lift," says Asanda Nkomo from Builders Warehouse. "Choose a lovely contemporary look combining modern black chairs with a wooden table and bench with industrial-style iron legs. You don’t want to go too formal outside – keep your beautiful wooden top exposed with a table runner covering only half of it."

Add a rug under the table. Outside rugs are in! It’s a clever way of adding colour. "Thanks to a variety of new-generation materials, some rugs don’t even need to be brought in when the weather is bad," says Nkomo. "Be sure to leave space for side tables and ottomans."

Patio Warehouse marketing manager Mia Delport says these days, customers are interested in investing in the best quality patio furniture, but at affordable prices. "People love entertaining and love to spend time on their patio." She says right now patio furniture is focused on low maintenance. "Pretty much anything goes," she adds. "Your patio is another room in the house, and your outdoor area is as important as any room in the house." Want to be on trend this season? "Choose charcoal grey," she advises.

Kids’ stuff

Keep the kids off their iPads and in view at the end of the garden. Outdoor swings, fun slides, and plastic outdoor chairs and tables add a touch of playfulness to your garden. "Create a fun area for kids to play hopscotch on paving blocks in a chequerboard pattern interspersed with herbs," suggests Builders Warehouse’s Asanda Nkomo. "Actually, adults could find they enjoy this too!" Create a fairy garden for extra whimsy.