What does outdoor living in the Mediterranean mean to you? For most, the idea conjures thoughts of lunch in the shade of an olive tree, crisp rosé in hand. Languid poolside days and turquoise seas. The Med is synonymous with summer.
But with 300 plus days of sunshine, there’s more to the Mediterranean island of Mallorca than just summer. Alexander and Jennifer Warren-Gash, design duo of Mashamba Garden and Terrace Design, believe you don’t need to head inside as the temperature drops. With good design and planning, a garden of winter delights – filled with outdoor Sunday brunches and fireside chats – is an enjoyable reality.
While not necessarily cold, a Mallorcan winter is certainly cooler. Jennifer, Curator of Outdoor Living at Mashamba, believes that the outdoor winter experience starts with staying warm.
On terraces, natural gas heaters are a practical choice for both warmth and ambiance. One of her favorite design elements is a fire table. It serves as a focal point and is clean burning, low maintenance and easy to use. The warm glow adds atmosphere and makes it the perfect place to gather for late night chats with loved ones.
In a garden setting, there are more options to stay toasty. As Lead Garden Designer, Alexander often creates a sanctuary in the garden that includes a firepit. A winding path leads you to a small clearing, hidden among the grasses and trees. It’s a true hideaway that lures you with the glow of firelight and comfy chairs. The flames create an intimate environment and draw people together. It’s here that you’ll create memories, sipping a glass of red wine with your partner or roasting marshmallows with little ones.
Another way to create warmth is by making your outdoor areas cosy. Add accessories with plush and luxurious textures. Switch out your summer deco cushions for ones with a soft velvety feel. Drape sheepskin furs over the backs of chairs and have plenty of woolen throws for everyone to bundle up tight. For storage and moving these soft furnishings to and from the house, invest in either natural or synthetic woven baskets.
Unlike summer, when shade is the priority for comfort, you’ll need to be a sun seeker to stay warm on chilly days. If you don’t have the luxury of multiple eating and seating areas, move your furniture to winter sun traps.
Once the sun sets, use exterior lighting to create a welcoming environment. An instant way to add this atmosphere is with lanterns. Whether candlelit or modern with an LED light, lanterns are romantic and cast a dreamy glow over exterior spaces. Easily portable, you can position them where needed – on the ground, on tables or even hanging from a tree.
Introduce even more mood lighting by illuminating pathways, a group of potted plants or your artwork, so it’s appreciated day and night. For practicality, add ample task lighting to your outdoor kitchen. Grilling a steak dinner is easy in the summer, but come the early nights of autumn, light is necessary.
With many of Mallorca’s trees and plants being green year-round, the landscape rarely looks bare and cold in the winter. To add interest to the evergreen palette, design your landscape to delight all the senses.
Include autumn and winter flowering plants such as lavender, limonium or bulbine to break up the green. Prune evergreen shrubs into a whimsical cloud garden to add interest and texture. If you have open land, consider transforming it into an aromatic meadow. The winter breeze carries the sound of its rustling grasses and the scent of rosemary and lavender.
Make the most of a citrus grove by adding a bench. Head there for an afternoon orange snack and enjoy the colourful, fruit-laden trees. Come springtime, the perfume of their blossoms will entice you for a lunchtime picnic.
On terraces, plant large palms and agaves in pots for year-round foliage and group them together for greater impact. On tables, small pots of bright purple pansies or fuchsia cyclamens, with their heart shaped leaves, brighten grey days.
Plan beautiful views from your windows so that when it’s too cold or rainy to be outside, you can still enjoy your garden or terrace. It can be a blooming flower, a specimen olive tree or a palm swaying in the wind. And during Mallorca’s bleakest February days, take delight in the island’s almond tree blossoms that remind us that warmer days are ahead.
With some thought to design and planning, outdoor Mediterranean spaces can be pleasurable on all but the worst winter days. Elevate your outdoor experience by appealing to your senses and adding all things cosy. Light a fire, stay warm and revel in your garden of winter delights.
Life is better outdoors. Mashamba Design can create your urban oasis or your countryside idyll. Based in Mallorca, they work across Spain and Europe – anywhere that their flare for design and specialist knowledge of Mediterranean outdoor living can be of service.