How to Design Your Lanai

Many of us likely grew up with slamming screen doors that signaled passage between indoors to outdoors.

That signature BLAM — especially in summer — meant someone was heading in from, or out to, outdoor living spaces and possibly a lot of fun!How to Design Your Lanai

In Florida, a lanai is your entry point to year-round outdoor living, and every ICI Homes floor plan comes with one that’s commensurate with that plan’s square footage. Call it a patio, porch — what have you — it’s your passport to outdoor fun.

Here are our tips on how to design your lanai.

Establish a focal point

What do you want to see when you step onto your lanai?

A lovely vista, which will vary according to your tastes and your lot. In Florida, that often means a swimming pool. Sometimes it’s wooded conservation land or a lake or pond. Maybe even a golf course.

No matter what your lanai overlooks — and we suggest you consider it when you’re selecting your lot and floor plan — you want it to be as pleasant as possible. Particularly at the end of the day when a beverage, flip flops and a sunset view lure you out to the lanai.

Establish a traffic pattern

This should include easy access to interior spaces such as bathrooms and the kitchen. If you incorporate a summer kitchen into your lanai, you’ll make fewer inside trips for supplies and utensils. Think of it as grownup grilling.

Whether it’s french doors, glass sliders or a single door, make it easy (and safe) to go in and out.

Our tip: moveable outdoor furnishings help you change your seating and lounging arrangements to suit traffic flow. Just remember to keep paths to interior doors or fence gates clear of clutter. Even better, use solar or low-voltage path lights to light the way.

Kids running from inside to jump into a pool, shouldn’t trip over a wooden side table as they cross the lanai.

Allow room for seating

As noted above, shiftable furnishings make accommodating any size groups on your lanai, a breeze.

Big, heavy furniture makes that harder to accomplish and less fun. If you opt for a fire pit or portable firebox, you want to circle chairs around it.

And, you need someplace to hold the homemade s’mores components. Try ceramic garden seats and lightweight, all-weather tables to hold food, drink or whatever you’re using outside.

Don’t forget good lighting

If you want a fun outdoor gathering to last into the evening (without bothering neighbors), you need both task and decorative lighting on your lanai.

A casual chandelier over a dining table, for example, and spotlights to guide the chef at the grill.

Wall sconces add ambient lighting, as do moveable solar lights that soak up Florida sun from anywhere (lanterns, single path lights and the like). Candles are atmospheric and some varieties shoo insects. Try a tabletop arrangement with glass hurricane shades.

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