Moving to Singapore 6 years ago, meant we changed the way we lived and entertained as a family. The absence of seasons and a consistently warm climate means that we entertain and eat outside for the majority of the year. Many outdoor seating and entertaining areas are an after thought to the main living room and are often uninviting. The key for me is to make the indoor living flow to the outdoor to make it almost one large living area. Coffee table books, hanging pendant lights, mirrors, potted plants, wicker baskets to hold pool towels and toys , indoor/outdoor rugs, console table, lamps should all be used in undercover outdoor areas size permitting. Keep the colour theme the same indoors and outdoor.
I recommend avoiding a "matchy" outdoor furniture setting. Sofa and chairs could be the same and then mix it up with different coffee table and side tables and textures. Wood, lacquer and stone. Round side tables and round coffee table vs square and rectangular so the setting doesn't look too boxy.
Most expats are living in rentals and it is difficult to turn the outdoor space in to your own. Planted pots and decorative pots are a good option to warm a space but paint them all one colour or custom make planter boxes to ensure your space doesn't resemble the local nursery. Also ensure you use one Palm/plant in all the pots to avoid mess. Add colour with bougainvillea or frangipani trees or use faux outdoor cycas palms/ hydrangeas and agapantha to create tropical atmosphere. Warmth and privacy can be added with the use of bamboo blinds. Colour should be matched with your outdoor furniture but I tend to prefer natural or white.
One last thing - pool towels should all be the same colour and material. Mixed towels again look messy and you wouldn't have different coloured bath towels indoors so keep consistency outdoors too.