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Five Design tips for better alfresco and outdoor spaces

Here are five tips for designing the best outdoor living spaces and alfresco areas


We are extremely lucky to have an awesome climate in Perth, where outdoor living is a big part of enjoying your home.

Outdoor living and entertaining is part of the Australian way of life. It is part of our culture to entertain family and friends in our outdoor spaces.

Image: New Home Building Brokers

In your new home design, it is about bringing the outside world into the inside, and extending inside living spaces to the outside by creating spaces that are useful, functional and enjoyable to be in.

Here are five tips for designing the best outdoor living spaces and alfresco areas:

ONE: Create a physical and visual connection between inside and out

Your alfresco area is the link between your home and the outside, and it is the quality of this space that creates that connection.

Maximising your connection with the outside – using space, light, breezes and views, will make the interior of your home feel amazing. You need to think about how your alfresco area can really enhance this experience and connect you to the outdoors.

Ideally, you want to design your alfresco area to feel as connected to the indoor living spaces as possible.

But how do you do this?

  • The doors you choose affects the flow between the inside and outside spaces of your home. Large sliding, folding or concertina glass doors that push back or fully retract and visually disappear, will decrease the physical and visual barriers between the spaces, and open up the house to the outside.
  • Make the alfresco area of your home feel like an extension of your interior space by having the inside and outside floor heights the same, use similar flooring and have similar wall colours.

TWO: Create an outdoor space for all seasons

Creating an all-seasons alfresco area can be done a few ways:

  • Take advantage of the winter sun and consider flexible roofs and shading from plants
  • Retractable blinds can protect from rain and wind, and keep you shaded when needed
  • During colder months a fireplace, a pizza oven, or external heaters do a great job of heating outdoor areas.
  • Include ceiling fans to create a breeze during the summer months

Image: New Home Building Brokers

THREE:  Outdoor kitchens and BBQ areas

It makes sense that if you have a great outdoor space, you’ll want to be eating there and entertaining there. Putting facilities to cook in it, or near it, just makes life easier, and then thinking about how you clean up afterwards!

If you are thinking about including an outdoor kitchen, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • How you will use this space -will you still use your main kitchen for preparation, or do you want to be able to do everything outside? This will affect your choice of appliances, whether you need a sink and how much bench space you will need.
  • Will the materials be suitable for exposure to the elements?
  • Will the  surfaces chosen be easy to clean and maintain?

FOUR: Lighting

Lighting is really important and helps set the tone of your alfresco area. The alfresco area is where you want to create a relaxed atmosphere, and is a good place to have multiple lighting options.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Dimmable LED downlights could be used where you are preparing food outside
  • Wall lighting can be used for creating a relaxed ambience
  • Spotlights can be directed to highlight the surrounding features such as water features, sculptures, and built in seating areas.

Image: New Home Building Brokers

FIVE: Landscaping

Just as you should think about how your inside spaces blend with your outside spaces, you must consider what kind of landscaping you would like to enhance the alfresco and surrounding area. The best alfresco areas seamlessly link outdoor and indoor spaces and should be in harmony with your landscaping.

About the Contributor/Author:

This post was provided by New Home Building Brokers. To find out more, visit New Home Building Brokers or the office at Home Base.