An Alfresco area is key to the Australian lifestyle. Whether you’re thinking about barbecues, a holiday party or even creating your at-home sanctuary, all heads turn to an alfresco space. Crafting an ideal outdoor space can be different to other areas of the home, as there is more emphasis on the function of the space and entertainment of your guests. Here, we explore some important considerations and offer a step-by-step guide to cultivating the perfect outdoor space.
Watch our step-by-step guide to creating the ultimate outdoor entertainment space.
Bring the Outdoors In
As Australians, we are increasingly drawn to the outdoors – with our style and living habits. It’s no wonder the alfresco has become the ultimate centrepiece to the Australian lifestyle, and never has it been more important that in today’s world. With this in mind, it’s important to establish a connection between inside and outside as it can help tie your home together.
A well-designed alfresco area can enhance your interior and vice versa. It’s worth orientating your space to look great from your indoor living, kitchen and family areas. You should aim to create a cohesive space through this entire area, so select furniture and fixed materials for outside that complement your indoor decor too.
Pro-tip: think about how the space will be viewed from different vantage points in your home. To do this, imagine your guests moving around the area; what would you like them to see or not see?
Create a cohesive space by considering how it looks from all angles and perspectives. Featured here: Montpellier Grand, Smiths Lane Estate, Clyde North.
Key Design Schemes
What design elements will help the alfresco connect to the rest of your home? Colours, textures and design schemes are a great place to start.
Consider, for example, tying the alfresco to the kitchen, perhaps in the form of large, sliding glass doors (it also makes entertaining easy!) You could also look at using complimentary tiles for the inside and outside, as they can create a natural flow. Alternatively, if you have floorboards inside, outside decking can help to create a visual connection.
It’s also worth thinking about the exterior of your home, and what it means for the design of your outdoor space. Would a brick or render finish be the best complement – or could they work together? And what about a ceiling? For this, timber and V joint panels are both elegant design touches.
Think about Functionality
An alfresco space needs to be as functional as it is appealing, so consider your outdoor space and how you'd like to use it.
Is your outdoor setting for relaxing solo or are you one to throw regular dinner parties? Maybe you quite like entertaining outdoors, which means an outdoor dining set would work best. If this is the case then you’re going to want to place your dining set close enough to the doors to reach the kitchen, or like most alfresco spaces, invest in a barbecue.
Add ‘Wow Factor’
What part of your alfresco will you be most proud of? For your own personal sanctuary, what is something that will always help you feel relaxed? Apart from a delicious meal, how will you use your space, and what do you want your guests to remember?
Adding a standout feature piece to your alfresco can leave a lasting impression. For example, imagine a grand outdoor fireplace with nearby loungers, allowing you and your guests to unwind with cheese and wine after lunch.
Contemplate the flow of your alfresco space. How close is the kitchen? How will you move around the space and accommodate large gatherings? Featured here: Montpellier Grand, Smiths Lane Estate, Clyde North.
What can you do to elevate the ambience and create that perfect outdoor atmosphere?
Creating a soft glow with lanterns will never go amiss, and be sure to have a few throws about the place to keep your guests comfortable in the cooler months. If a fireplace is a no-go, perhaps find a spot to house a firepit, and for those warmer nights, a ceiling fan is a must for added comfort. An alfresco area isn’t complete without plants placed near the entryway and the borders of your terrace, as this helps to soften the overall space.
With all of this in mind, you will have the fundamental ingredients for a show-stopping alfresco area. You are bound to be the talk of the town for entertaining – all year round.
Extend the elegance and style of your home to your alfresco and even more, your garden! Create a lovely spot to entertain or relax, for your kids and pets to play, and for the whole family to enjoy an indoor-outdoor lifestyle - discover our landscaping guide here.
Stay tuned to the Home Files for more episodes in our Style with Carlisle Series, or check out our Inspire Gallery for more inspiration.