Outdoor living is a big deal in South Africa! We love to spend time in the garden, invite friends over to braai, and enjoy sundowners as we watch the sunset. We have collected together ten lapa ideas that will help to inspire your outdoor living area so that you can make the most of your space.
Why choose a lapa for your outdoor space?
A lapa comes with lots of benefits and can be a great addition to any outdoor space. Your new lapa will:
- Make sure that you stay cool by the pool by providing shade on hot summer days
- Give shelter when in rains so that you can enjoy being outside whatever the weather
- You can build a braai into the lapa with spacious side tables and even a sink, making outdoor cooking easy-peasy
- Lapas come in all shapes and sizes! You can decide how big you want it to be, what shape it is, and what roofing to use to cover it. It can make your outdoor living area really stand out from the neighbors.
10 Lapa Ideas that Will Make Your Outdoor Space Stand Out
1. Extend your indoor living space to the outside
This big lapa extends the living space of our clients home through a door from the kitchen. The big living space underneath the roof has a deck, built in braai with side tables, and plenty of room for the family dining table. We built the roof with timber laminated beams and exposed ceilings. The decking extends around the pool which makes the transition between the indoor and outdoor areas feel seamless.
2. Get creative and use thatch to create a a unique curvy roof
We built this beautiful thatched lapa at a private game lodge in Somerset East. The space is used as a communal area to make a fire and cook in the evening or enjoy some drinks together after a day out in the bush. The curved design of the roof makes this lapa really stand out.
3. Go with a rustic design in the garden for parties and events
This rustic thatch lapa is used to host garden parties and small weddings. It provides shade when the sun is really hot and shelter if it rains, which means that the party can go ahead regardless of the weather. This kind of design is perfect for a venue that hosts outdoor events and needs to guarantee that the occasion happens come rain or shine!
4. Build the lapa as a totally separate space from your main house
The lapa can be a totally separate structure, built a little away from your main house. A separate outdoor space like this is ideal as a pool house for the kids and their friends to hang out, or if you want to entertain guests while your partner works from home. The design and size of the building is totally up to you. The lapa above is built in, with stacking doors opening to the garden. It has a brick braai and space to cook, and an open plan dining and lounge area. A space ideal for outdoor living and entertainment.
5. Choose a traditional thatch lapa by the pool
Lapa’s in South Africa are traditionally thatched, why break away from tradition if a thatch lapa is what you’re looking for? The beautiful lapa above has plenty of space for shelter and shade by the pool, with changing rooms and toilets for bathers at the back. It’s the perfect setting for Summertime pool days in the sunshine.
6. Use roof shingles and white ceilings for a fresh look
This roof has been tiled in shingles which have real curbside appeal and are a popular choice for roofing at the moment. The inside of the building has white iso-board ceilings fitted in between the pole structure. This outdoor living space is small and charming, with a fresh, clean look and feel.
7. Modernize the thatch look with unique finishes
You can get really creative with lapa ideas; this one is at a game lodge in the Eastern Cape and it uses tree trunks instead of poles for the supporting structure. What makes this lapa even more special is the sweeping thatch which reaches over the steps and all the way down to the ground. These finishes modernize the idea of a traditional thatch lapa.
8. Keep it small and unintrusive
If your outdoor space is already quite small, don’t clutter it with too big-a structure! A small lapa is also perfectly enough to give shade and shelter in a smaller space. Keep it small and tidy.
9. Place the lapa somewhere interesting
Where is your favourite place to sit outdoors? By thinking about where you place the lapa, you can really make the most of the space you have at hand. Do you have a favourite spot to sit that catches the afternoon sun? Or a place where you can shelter from a windy day? Use them as inspiration when looking for ideas of where to place the lapa. Our clients in East London had this lapa built on an island in the middle of their pool so that guests could swim or dangle their legs into the cool water while they enjoy a drink from the bar in the lapa!
10. Give it a warm feeling inside with a thatch ceiling
If you have decided to cover the lapa roof in roof sheeting or tiles, you can still get the look and feel of a thatched lapa on the inside by fitting a thatch ceiling. The ceiling is made by fitting a thin layer of thatching reed behind the poles and laths. This lapa above has tiles on the outside and thatch on the inside, giving it the look and feeling of a traditional thatched lapa when you’re sitting inside.
In a country with such a temperate climate there’s no excuse not to spruce up your outdoor living and entertainment area in time for the Summer. A lapa can be thatched, or not. Big, or small. Traditional, modern or totally unique. The only thing holding you back is your imagination! I hope these lapa ideas have helped to kick start your next home improvement project.
If you have other inspirational ideas to share please feel welcome to comment below.
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