Extend Your Living Space: Our 6 Best Alfresco Area Ideas

At Aussie Patio Designs, we’re huge fans of outdoor entertaining. I love helping clients design alfresco areas that turn their backyards into their own relaxing outdoor retreats.

In this blog, I’ll share my favorite alfresco area ideas to help create the ultimate entertaining space for hosting dinner parties, get togethers, or just enjoying your backyard year round.


6 Alfresco Area Ideas to Extend Your Living Space

  1. Blend the Indoors With the Outdoors
  2. Thoughtful Landscaping
  3. Weatherproofing and Shade
  4. Functional And Beautiful Lighting
  5. Integrate an Outdoor Kitchen/BBQ
  6. Furniture


1. Blend the Indoors With the Outdoors

When planning alfresco area ideas, I recommend integrating your interior living spaces with your outdoor space. Creating a functional outdoor space with similar design elements to your interior can turn your backyard into a seamless extension of your home.

When creating your alfresco area, your door choice creates a noticeable impact on how well your spaces flow together.

For instance, large glass sliding doors eliminate the feeling of a barrier between your home and the outside. This offers a view of your alfresco area from your home and creates a smooth transition between the spaces.

Other ways to create an alfresco area that complements your indoor space include:

  • Use consistent design elements to create a cohesive feel
  • Coordinate design elements with your home, such as outdoor kitchen hardware that matches your indoor kitchen or similar cabinetry or furnishings
  • Add organic design elements in your home that tie into the outdoors, such as wood finishings or bamboo accents
  • Add a plush, weather-resistant area rug to instantly create a welcoming “indoors-out” atmosphere

You May Also Like: 10 Tips for Decorating Your Patio

We matched the material and roof design to this client’s indoor style and outdoor furnishing, for a seamless and sleek alfresco design.


2. Thoughtful Landscaping

Landscaping is one of the most important aspects of creating an incredible alfresco area.

My favourite landscaping ideas for alfresco areas include:

  • Adding greenery with neatly trimmed bushes or potted plants
  • Having a green wall with climbing vines
  • Using stepping stones or pavers to make a little path from your alfresco area to a different section of your yard, such as a garden
  • Using natural materials and accents as decor, such as timber accents, mulch, stones, and driftwood
The right use of greenery can brighten up and enrich an alfresco area by a significant degree, similar to what our past client has done here.


3. Weatherproofing and Shade

Your alfresco area should be a space you can enjoy year round, even on days where the weather isn’t ideal. We’re spoiled with a lot of sunshine here in Australia, but I know how important it is to get some relief from the extreme heat we experience in summer.

Whether you want to enjoy a hot summer day without scorching in the sun or relax with a book while a drizzle of rain comes down, weatherproofing is one of the most important aspects to consider for an alfresco area.

With how hot the sun gets here, shade is the first concern for any Aussie. But keep in mind other weather factors, such as insects, rain, and wind.

A custom patio is the ideal way to create a backyard oasis that can be enjoyed year round, even when it’s sweltering outside. You may also want to consider custom outdoor blinds to add privacy and further protection against wind and insects.

Here are some of the ways a custom patio is the ultimate addition to an alfresco area:

  • Ability to entertain year-round
  • Protection against UV rays
  • Protection against wind and rain
  • Additional privacy
  • Ability to be customised to your colour and design preferences
  • Extend your living space and add functional outdoor space to your backyard
  • Adds character and beauty to your backyard
For this install we did, the combination of an insulated patio and outdoor blinds help weather proof and keep our client’s alfresco area protected and cool even at summer.


4. Functional And Beautiful Lighting

Lighting is another important element to consider for your alfresco area. Using lighting to your advantage can allow you to create a particular atmosphere, highlight certain areas, and give you the function you need.

I always like to use a mix of lighting options to add visual interest and ensure optimal function. For instance, a mix of string lights, dimmable LED lights, freestanding lamps, and solar lights creates a space that is full of function and beauty.

The dimmable lights are perfect for having bright lighting as you prepare food and dimming it when you want to eat. And string lights are unmatched in their ability to create a dreamy ambiance on balmy summer nights.

Here are questions to ask yourself to help plan functional yet beautiful lighting for your alfresco area:

  • Do I need task lighting for cooking or food prep?
  • Do I want to add a ceiling fan with a light for additional cooling and lighting?
  • Do I want spotlights to highlight the surrounding landscaping, decorations, or a garden area?
  • Do I want an enchanting, relaxing atmosphere? Or an energetic, upbeat space for hosting friends and family?
  • Do I have a ceiling for permanent light installation or will I use solar lanterns and floor lamps?
  • How will natural lighting affect my space?

Note: When it comes to outdoor lighting, I always mention these safety tips: Be cautious with candle placement and usage, make sure any paths or stairs are fully lit, and do not run any cords through windows.

Want More Inspiration? See my guide on 10 Simple Ways to Make an Outdoor Entertaining Space.

In this alfresco patio for a wide entertainment area that we installed, lighting helps create a fun ambiance for day, evening to night use.


5. Integrate an Outdoor Kitchen/BBQ

Integrating an outdoor kitchen or BBQ is one of the best ways to add function to your alfresco area. A well-planned outdoor kitchen can extend your living space and create a seamless transition between your indoor and outdoor spaces.

To determine your ideal outdoor kitchen, here are some questions I recommend asking yourself:

  • Do I want an outdoor kitchen or an outdoor dining area as well?
  • What appliances will I need (i.e. bar fridge, sink, BBQ, etc.)
  • Where will the appliances go?
  • Do I want a casual dining feel or a formal dining experience?
  • What kind of storage space will my outdoor kitchen need?
  • What type of cooking will I be doing and what fuel type will I need (i.e. electric, charcoal, gas)
  • Do I want a built-in BBQ or something portable?
  • How much prep space do I need? Will I do all my prep work indoors and then save the cooking for outside?
  • Will my area have proper ventilation if it is enclosed?
A protected, yet open-air environment makes alfresco areas perfect for outdoor BBQ with your family and friends.


6. Furniture

Outdoor furniture plays such a crucial role in an alfresco area that I dedicated an entire blog post to my favourite patio furniture ideas:15 Patio Furniture Ideas to Create an Outdoor Oasis.

Along with designing a visually appealing setup, it is important to consider the functional aspects of any outdoor furniture you choose.

Here are some of the furniture tips I use when creating an alfresco area:

  • Choose weather resistant chairs, tables, and pillows that are meant to withstand outdoor conditions
  • Opt for easy to clean materials and fabrics
  • Incorporate moving pieces, such as lightweight tables that can be easily moved or a rolling bar cart
  • Use versatile pieces, such as a garden stool or side table, that can be easily rearranged or used for multiple purposes (i.e a plant stand, a place to rest your feet, a spot to set your book, a place to set your drink, etc.)
In this design, we used a wider-spanning roof to protect a larger alfresco area, but you can’t go wrong with having weather-proof furniture also.


Want More Alfresco Area Ideas or Customised Alfresco Patio Planning?

Whether you are dreaming of hosting your next family gathering, planning to sit back with a good book and a glass of wine, or just wanting to kick up your feet as you soak in the beauty of mother nature, an alfresco area is the ideal place to soak in the outdoors.

If you’re looking for personalised alfresco area ideas or help planning your dream outdoor entertaining space, get in touch with our friendly team of patio experts. With twenty-six years of experience creating custom patios, we’re here to help design and install a patio that will transform your outdoor space and hold up to the harsh Australian elements. Contact our team today to book your free on-site quote.

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