Topic: Outdoor Structures

Date Posted: Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Posted by: Tanya Zanfa (Master Admin)

Ideas for a tiki-themed outdoor space

Ideas for a tiki-themed outdoor space

Atlanta’s landlocked location has some folks designing and decorating outdoor spaces that remind them of favorite coastal vacations. Some Atlantans are trending even more toward the tropics, with tiki-themed outdoor living spaces and pool areas.

One homeowner, John Litland, has fashioned his own take on tiki for his pool area on Sweat Mountain in Cobb County. He grew up in the Virgin Islands, surrounded by water and palm trees, and moved to Atlanta in 1982. Litland, also a fan of Jimmy Buffett, spent about $15,000 to recreate the tropical environment in his heated pool area.

“Every morning, we get up and look at this tiki bar and pool, and it’s a great way to start the day,” he said.

Ideas for a tiki-themed outdoor space photo

A tiki-themed pool area in Cobb County includes a bar, real palm trees and torches the homeowner purchased at an arts festival in Florida. Contributed by John Litland

Having a theme gave him focus and guided his spending on furniture, plants and accessories. If you are interested in a tiki theme for an outdoor space, small or large, here are some tips and products.

Build or buy a bar

Three years ago, Litland decided to add tiki style to his existing poolside gazebo, which serves as a bar. He bought bamboo panels to attach to the existing bar structure and added artificial thatch to the gazebo’s roof. Both were shipped from stores in Florida. The result is an authentic island look that blends naturally with not only the pool and deck, but the trees at his mountaintop home.

Ideas for a tiki-themed outdoor space photo

Homeowner John Litland created a poolside tiki bar for his east Cobb County home. Contributed by John Litland

Tiki huts and bars also are available for sale. Options include a bamboo tiki bar with a thatched roof from Bamboo54, which comes with two stools ($669.99,, and an L-shaped bar with a steel frame, plastic bar top, umbrella and bamboo design on the front by Best of Times ($448.99,

Look for unique pieces

Party shops have tiki decorations, but for a more permanent choice, invest in furniture designed in tiki style. Litland attended the Space Coast Arts Festival, then in Cocoa Beach, Fla. (it’s now in Port Canaveral, Fla.), one year and found bar stools and 6-foot-tall tikis made by carver Wayne Coombs, who was a well-known Space Coast artist. Litland spent about $4,000 on the items by Coombs, who owned Mai Tiki Studio/Gallery in Cocoa Beach and died in 2012. Litland said he liked that they weren’t painted loud colors and had extensive carvings, bearing features such as big, tooth-filled grins.

“His are so authentic and unique,” Litland said. “You see some that are really tacky. These look more authentic to me … like you would expect to see them in Tahiti.”

Add real and fake tropical touches

To enhance the theme, Litland placed several real palm trees around the pool, and purchased sculptures of tropical iguanas from Design Toscano (prices from $49.95-$499, He added another sculpture from Design Toscano, created to replicate the huge stone monoliths, known as moai, on Easter Island with features such as broad noses, elongated ears and square jaws.

Other island-style accessories include the individual face bust from Jeffan International’s Natura collection ($109.95,

By blending natural elements, carefully chosen reproductions and traditional tiki design, Litland’s Cobb County pool area would feel right at home on a hilltop of any Caribbean or South Pacific island.

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