The fun and breezy spirit of the Mediterranean has been the inspiration behind the design of outdoor spaces this year

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The fun and breezy spirit of the Mediterranean has been the inspiration behind the design of outdoor spaces this year

Gardens, balconies, and patio spaces are prime real estate in most homes, especially as Hong Kong summers draw family and friends outdoors for barbecues and evening cocktail gatherings.

This year, Mediterranean-inspired aesthetics are conveyed with three outdoor décor styles – rustic refined, natural modern minimalism, and hacienda modern. In trend right now are nature-inspired colours, wood and stone surfaces, freestanding shading devices, portable lamps and chic furniture that come together to create inviting social zones that are cosy and easy to maintain.


With this style, the focus is on creating a sense of calm and tranquility. “The use of natural materials like wood, stone, and plants is highlighted, often with a minimalist approach that enhances their beauty without overwhelming the space.”

What she calls “hacienda modern” combines the traditional elements of a Spanish hacienda with modern motifs to create a unique and inviting outdoor living space.

“This style is characterised by a mix of warm and earthy colours, bold patterns, and natural materials. It is perfect for those who want to create a cosy and inviting outdoor space with a modern flair,” she says.

Alan Chiu, co-founder of outdoor furniture distributorship Zzue Creation, says the Mediterranean look – which in part inspires the three styles Gonzales described – often includes stone walls and tiles, and according to him, works beautifully with some of the new collections from Italian outdoor furniture brands Fast Spa, RODA and Gandia Blasco, and French brand Les Jardins.

According to Rowena Gonzales, principal and founder of interior design studio Liquid Interiors, rustic refined, natural modern minimalism, and hacienda modern are aesthetic styles that work wonderfully for outdoor spaces.

Gonzales describes rustic refined as a style that combines the charm and warmth of rustic design with the elegance of traditional design.

“This style focuses on creating an outdoor living space that is both inviting and stylish, with a mix of natural materials, textures, and refined décor,” she says.

Natural modern minimalism combines the simplicity of modern minimalism with the natural beauty of lush greenery.

“This style emphasises clean lines, simple shapes, and a neutral color palette. With this style, simple pops of colour and textures are used to create a sense of warmth and connection to nature.”


For a rustic refined theme, the colour palette is often neutral with earthy tone and bold coloured accent cushions. To create a rustic refined-themed outdoor area, Gonzales suggests using a light-coloured plaster paint with a texture, outdoor furniture with light wood or rattan frames, and white or cream seats with gentle curves.

“Then add texture with accent cushions in layers of neutral colours and add thin black traditional accents with traditional floor lamps,” she says.

Materials such as solid teak wood that silvers naturally in the sun is ideal for a rustic refined concept. “In rustic refined outdoor spaces, there is an emphasis on using natural materials such as solid wood, stone, and patterned textures that work together to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. These materials are often paired with refined decor elements such as high-quality outdoor furniture, elegant lighting fixtures, and stylish accessories,” Gonzales says.

A natural, modern minimalism outdoor space should follow a palette of greys, blacks, and natural wood. For this concept, she says it’s best to use furniture made of metal and rope that have thinner frames. “Focus on thin lines for the legs and keep the sofa elevated from the ground. Stick with simple furniture and plant dramatic and lush greenery in simple, sleek planters,” she says. Colours for the hacienda modern theme include terracotta, and light and deep blue. These colours can be paired with bold patterns such as stripes, geometric shapes, and floral prints.

Chiu has noticed more nature-inspired colours – blues, greens and earthy beige and grey tones – being used for outdoor spaces at the moment. To add texture to these shades, he suggests using low-maintenance pickle teak finishings available from brands such as Ethimo and Les Jardins.

“Pickled teak has been treated to create a weathered look that also helps the teak to withstand the elements much better than un-finished teak. For tabletops, we are seeing the once popular high pressure laminates being replaced by ceramic or Dekton, which is resistant to scratching, moisture damage and high heat. There are even varieties of Dekton that mimic the aesthetics of Corten steel, marble and granite,” he says. 


Summers are long and hot in Hong Kong, so Chiu says it’s essential to include high-quality shading for outdoor spaces. For renters who can’t install wall-mounted awnings or fixed-pole pergolas, he suggests corner parasols or wall parasols from FIM that can be set flat against walls.

“If you’re looking for freestanding shading accessories, FIM has a new diamond parasol with a double canopy fitted with a light, so you can brighten up your outdoor space at night. FIM also has a ZEN retractable tilt-able awning that is able to cover an area larger than any single parasol, so you can even set up a rectangle table underneath the parasol,” he says.

Other freestanding shading devices that he recommends include retractable awnings from Unopiù, and Giulio Barbieri’s Albatro’s freestanding pergola with a waterproof roman blind canopy. Gonzales says that portable table lamps, solar-powered floor lanterns with artificial candles, decorative vintage umbrellas with fringe edges, and patterned outdoor cushions are very much in trend this year.

“Solar fixtures make it much easier to create a romantically lit outdoor space with candles without the risk of a fire hazard. Use these portable decorative lanterns to light up pathways and illuminate dark corners and the table in the evening,” she says.

“Other ways you can make your outdoor space extra cosy and inviting is by using shading as a décor with decorative umbrellas as well as layers of patterned neutral cushions.”

For furniture, Gonzales says traditional modern pieces are in vogue right now. For a rustic refined space, she suggests choosing sturdy and well-crafted modern pieces with slightly textured and rustic finishes, and outdoors sofas and chairs upholstered with durable, high-quality fabrics. For a minimalism outdoor space, she suggests using pieces that are simple and functional with clean lines and streamlined shapes.

“For a hacienda modern theme, choose pieces made of natural materials like solid wood accented with decorative terracotta or clay pots. Accessories for a hacienda modern-themed space decor can include colourful tiles or outdoor rugs, or decorative planters and bold, patterned throws. The overall goal is to create an outdoor living space that is comfortable and full of life,” she says.


• Think of your outdoor space as an extension of your indoor space when decorating it. This means considering the overall style and aesthetics of the interiors of your home, then creating a cohesive look between the indoor and outdoor spaces.

• Consider adding mood lighting for the evening, and incorporating plants that support the local ecology and are easy to maintain.

• Consider planting fruit trees or plants that you love to make your outdoor space a place where you want to spend time in.

Expert Advice
Rowena Gonzales
Liquid Interiors Ltd

Always remember, aesthetically, your outdoor space should be an extension of your indoor space. Take into account the overall style of your interiors then design an outdoor space that matches or complements your interior scheme.

Unlike your indoor areas, which may be more constrained by practical considerations, your outdoor spaces offer the opportunity for you to be bolder and more imaginative. Consider adding mood lighting for the evening, planting colourful flowers, and incorporating elements that connect you with your environment, such as plants that support the local ecology and are easy to maintain.

Winki Ng
C&I Interior Design

Using various materials and heights adds dimension to your garden, for example a stone pathway, or a small bridge.

Installing a lighting system can make your garden more beautiful at night while enhancing safety. Make sure your lighting system offers enough light and does not harm your plants.

Alan Chiu
Zzue Creation

As people are becoming more conscious of climate change, they are looking to nature for colour inspiration for their outdoor spaces, so blues and greens and calming beige and grey tones are great options.

Because of the hot summers in Hong Kong, when designing an outdoor area, it’s essential to include some form of shading such as awnings or parasols. Think about whether you want permanent shading fixtures like pergolas or freestanding options like parasols for your outdoor space.

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