Book: The Way We Live Alfresco

The Way We Live Alfresco

The mediterranean climate perhaps affords more days per year for spending time out-of-doors, consequently the quintessential image of sharing a meal outside in Italy, France, Spain or another Mediterranean country. This is not mere romantic folly – often the most pleasant place to spend such time is indeed outdoors, and planning the garden with this in mind should not be overlooked.

A British expat friend living in Southern Spain once told me “Gardens in England are for strolling, gardens in the Mediterranean are for sitting”. Think about it – the cooler, overcast weather of the UK usually propels garden visitors to keep moving, if only to stay warm through mild exercise, and garden design has evolved under this basic survival need, whether conscious or unconscious. In warmer mediterranean climates, one may seek warmth in finding a south facing wall or sunny area, but in summer, a bit of shade is often sought instead – in both cases the natural inclination is to tarry a while to enjoy the effect of that micro-climate.

While the images presented in The Way We Live Alfresco* are by no means exclusively from mediterranean climates, they do illustrate a wide variety of simple ways in which living outside in such regions could be accommodated. A picture is worth a thousand words and so the lack of text in this work is seldom noted, enthralled as we are in the handsomely captured garden and courtyard vignettes. I use these pages to ignite my own ideas for outdoor designing as well as to encourage client to consider new possibilities for the enhancement of their lifestyle through alfresco living.

*alfresco is defined as ‘outside of a building’ or ‘in the open air’.

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A blog by Seán A. O'Hara

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