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Alfresco renovations: An in-depth look at your sweet outdoor escape

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Are you currently considering some alfresco renovations? Originating from Italy, the word alfresco literally means “in the cool or fresh air”. So you can call your outdoor party an “alfresco party” to make it sound a little fancy.

If you love hosting parties for your family or you would like an outdoor space for your growing kids to hang out and play a little, this article’s for you.

This article will discuss the benefits, materials, and tips for your renovation project. We’ll also look at the timeline, design ideas, and regulations you need to know when you’re wanting an alfresco renovation.

Let’s first define what an alfresco is.

What do you consider alfresco?

father and children playing in the front yard

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, alfresco can be used as an adjective or adverb, which means “taking place or located in the open air” or “outdoors”. However, an alfresco space doesn’t just mean having an area outside your home.

That’s where it suddenly gets confusing. In a home renovation, an alfresco refers to the house's outdoor extension but it is still under the main roof. It’s an addition to the main home structure but may appear as part of the original structure.

Alfrescos are different from patios. Patios are also an additional structure to the house, but adding one won’t alter or interfere with the home’s existing roof line.

If you’re thinking of a renovation of the sort, you can consider many options. You can even combine certain design styles for a more elaborate space.

Superdraft tip: Be careful about using the word “alfresco” in Italy! Did you know that when you say you’re “dining al fresco”, you’re “dining in prison”? Now that's something to remember when you’re eating at an Italian restaurant.

Benefits of having an alfresco space

woman renovating an outdoor deck

An alfresco area may already be a feature of the main building. However, if you don’t have one, you can always choose to renovate. With a creative touch on the building design, careful planning and attention to detail, it can add value to your home in no time.

Besides, a spacious area outside is a healthy way to enjoy the sun or the season. Some think you’ll only need to get creative with your alfresco area during the holidays. But, you don’t need it to be the Christmas season to design an alfresco area. You can even keep a design you can enjoy all-year-round!

Here are the benefits of outdoor or alfresco renovations:

You can make it a media or entertainment lounge

spacious outdoor kitchen and entertainment area

A TV, foosball table, billiards, or anything to keep your family entertained — you can put in your alfresco area. You can also add a mini bar or KTV in case your family loves to enjoy a beverage while singing karaoke.

covered alfresco and entertainment area

If you worry about insects, heavy winds and rain, dust, sun, etc., you might want to consider putting in an enclosure. You can use patio screens or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) outdoor blinds.

Perth is known to be hot during the summer, and you’ll need a designer to explain what type of enclosure works best for the season. If you need a Perth-based building designer for your project, contact us.

You can make it a venue for health improvement

outdoor space in the pool area

Usually, alfresco spaces overlook pool areas, too. Why not make it a recreational space — an outdoor gym — where you can do yoga, swimming, and more?

You can even purchase gym equipment that is perfect for your family.

You can make it a study area

With enough tables and a comfortable sofa, it can be a suitable space for learning. Your kids’ friends can come over and study.

You can get an outdoor kitchen

Who doesn’t love the smell of BBQ and hotdogs done alfresco? Since the outdoors is a popular area for eating, you might want to consider an outdoor kitchen. They have been around for quite some time and have gained popularity for their convenience and accessibility.

modern kitchen with a bricked wall

Renovating an alfresco space will make your house look spacious and airy. Moreover, it can improve the home's resale value, especially if you intend to put the house on the market in a few years.

Experiment with it. Notice and plan out even the tiniest part of the details. If you are open to renovating your alfresco patio, browse through some patio door choices.

You can maximise and carefully plan what your kitchen will look like with the help of a building design professional. Superdraft can connect you with the largest selection of professionals anywhere in Australia. All you need is to sign up, and you can request a quote for free

Materials best for alfresco renovations

alfresco renovations dining area

In considering the building design for your home renovation, you must pick the best materials that can withstand certain factors like weather or climate. Make sure the material you choose is a good investment and will survive the long-term wear and tear.

alfresco area with dark bricks and sliding doors

Wood is one of the popular materials for an outdoor renovation project. It’s visually appealing and can seamlessly blend through your backyard. The downside is that it’s high on maintenance since it can rot over time for exposure to wet weather.

Concrete is a durable material. It’s cost-effective and fire-resistant. The problem here is it’s not a visually ideal material. But, you can always coat it with weatherproof or outdoor paint with an acrylic binder.

wide alfresco space in a resort

Stainless steel is high quality and durable, especially if you want to upscale to an outdoor kitchen. It’s attractive, sleek and resistant to heat and chemicals. It doesn’t quickly fade or crack due to weather effects, given that it’s the most durable material. You have to choose powder-coated stainless steel to avoid maintenancealfresco renovations bar loungePolyvinyl chloride (PVC) or vinyl is a popular material for floors and walls. It’s the lowest-priced material, and you can choose many styles, colours, finishes, and patterns.

Weatherboard is an exterior material in Australia. They’re durable, almost maintenance-free, resistant to fire, termites, warping, and cracking.

poolside patio with egg chair

Bricks are available in various sizes, colours and textures, from glazed to matt finishes. You can combine colours and textures for a more creative and catchy design.

alfresco renovations with black bricks and sliding door

Natural stones such as granite, slate, limestone, etc. They come in different colours and styles. Moreover, they can be stylish and visually attractive as well. They work well outdoors, but they’re a little on the expensive side.

materials for alfresco renovations

Porcelain tiles are the materials best for your outdoor space. They are durable and weather-resistant (whether it’s cold or hot). Visually, they’re non-porous and non-fading yet have a variety of colours and textures for different uses. That’s why they’re ideal materials for your deck or patio area. Since they’re water-repellent, they’re hard to clean.

modern outdoor area with abstract glass wall

Tips for alfresco renovations (+ design styles!)

Prepare for all weather conditions

Choose a design layout that will let you soak up some sun but will protect you from the rain and allow you to enjoy a lovely garden view. You can use blinds, drapes, insulated windows, or bifold doors.

Be consistent with the style

Your style should align with your home’s design style. Doing it differently might compromise the space-saving features you’ll employ in your alfresco renovation.

outdoor deck used as dining area

For consistency, you can install feature walls and other designs appropriate for the house's existing style, age, and structure. This will make your alfresco space look like a part of the original design.

Don’t forget the greens

Without the plants, it won’t be as vibrant and amazing as you imagined. Pots of dwarf tree fern and Moses in the cradle can give your room the scene it deserves.

Plants have specific purposes. Some plants are used as mosquito repellents like citronella and lemongrass, while some are used as canopies when grown like bougainvillea or star jasmine. Ornamental plants like azaleas and camellias can make the room fresh and relaxed.

Superdraft tip: You might want to remember some flowers also. According to studies, flowers can brighten a person’s mood and well-being.

Increase functionality, features, and amenities

As mentioned above, you can make your alfresco room anything you want. You can add other functions to your kitchens, like a bar, jacuzzi, or lounge.

Look at this design below. It features an alfresco set-up with an outdoor kitchen, dining, and lounge.

large alfresco area in a modern house

Especially for evening gatherings, you should consider installing decorative lighting to set the mood of your kitchen. You can also place a recessed downlight. In some cases, candles will do, or you can just stick with the lamp posts installed within the parameters of your home. Lighting is essential as it makes the space classy and elegant.

Finishing touches

The finish sets a tone in a particular design space. Use materials and finishes that are highly durable and rust-resistant. Remember that an alfresco area is more exposed to the environment than any other part of the house. 

modern home with a sliding door for the outdoor set up

If making it a lounge area, you might want to add pillows and rugs (like the design above). You can use them for the whole space's colour, comfort, and texture. You can even throw in some drapes to offer some privacy.

rolling faux grass

You can purchase multifunctional furniture if your space is limited. Toss in some bold paint for an interesting twist, and if you want to, you can push for faux grass for another new element.

alfresco renovations with bricked fireplace

You can even add a fireplace if you’d like to add character to the whole design.

alfresco renovations with a firepit

Expand your space

More than anything, accommodating guests can be done outside. They can enjoy the backyard view with the plants or ornaments you decorate your space with. You can go chic, minimalist, or savvy, whichever style you would like your alfresco set up to look like.

Adds luxury cooking at home

Aside from being a bonding place, an outdoor kitchen gives you more space when cooking, cleaning, and preparing food. Below is a luxury kitchen near the pool.

luxurious outdoor kitchen

It can also be a perfect space for your house guests while sharing a bottle of wine or champagne.

One benefit of an outdoor kitchen is that it leaves your home free from food odour and smells, especially after cooking fish. Cooking indoors tends to retain the odour on the walls and floors of your home. A kitchen outside saves you a whole day of trouble cleaning with vinegar and baking soda.

Invitation for comfort

With an alfresco area, you can enjoy the natural light. It saves electricity, added to the fact that you don’t need exhaust, fans or AC for ventilation.

Look at this comfortable vintage alfresco.

Prioritise furniture

modern plastic furniture with pillowcases

Make sure that your tables and chairs complement the overall design of your alfresco area. Pick comfortable furniture like large armchairs.

Importance of layout

You need to remember that a cleverly-designed layout allows your home to flow naturally to your alfresco area and not to look congested.

Before starting alfresco renovations, follow this checklist:

Determine the subject of your renovation

First, know what you want to change or renovate in your home. That way, you can figure out the budget, design, and professionals you’ll need for your renovation.

Research!

You must think that if you hire professionals for the job, you can opt-out of finding out things on your own. Still, you need to educate yourself. There’s no harm in doing your research so you won’t be completely clueless about your home renovation. Talk about dodging a bullet in case something unforeseen happens.

Set a budget

It’s always best to declare a budget even before your renovation runs. Projecting a budget beforehand helps you with the whole decision-making process. Also, don’t forget to set an additional 10% of the funding for unexpected costs. 

Hire professionals

Get a professional for your home renovation. Aside from their experience in planning, they can quickly identify areas that need modification and monitor the builders in the renovation process. 

Determine if you need council approval

Before you plan out the specifics for your renovation, check if you need council approval — planning and building permits.

Pick a design

Visualise your project. Look for a design appropriate for your renovation. Get a clear picture of your alfresco renovation and relay such to your hired professionals.

Plan the materials 

Choose the materials, hardware, and other materials you’ll use for your renovation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

putting white paint on the fence

1.What is the timeline of an alfresco renovation?

An alfresco renovation would take weeks to months, depending on the project size, customisations, and design elaboration.

Request a free quote to know more about the timeline of your dream alfresco project.

2.What permits do you need for alfresco renovations?

  • The rule of thumb on council approvals would be: if it would change the overall structure of your home (external), you will need a permit; none if otherwise.
  • You’ll need a permit during the planning phase and another during construction. Learn about the differences between planning and building permits here.
  • Each council has their requirements for approval. At Superdraft, we assist our clients in getting council approval. We’ll also help you complete the requirements to get approved.
  • Hire a draftsman who is familiar with and understands local council laws and regulations.

worker on the concrete patio

3.What is a good size alfresco area?

A good size alfresco space is a necessary space. Your alfresco area should not be overly designed but must have the right amount of balance considering several factors. There should be enough chairs but not enough to make the space look packed. If you make your alfresco a study or dining area, decide on the table size with adequate space for you to move around.

4.Does the alfresco area need a roof?

You can put a roof on your alfresco space — louvre, retractable roofs, or even arbours — just enough coverage to enjoy your tasks outdoors while being safe and protected from the outside elements.

5.How much would it cost for alfresco renovations?

The price in every project differs depending on many factors — from flooring, walls, and electricity to finishing touches. You may book a consultation with our project coordinators for an exact figure to help you with your budget. 

6.Can you extend an alfresco?

black painted bricks with white highlight

You can extend an alfresco, depending on your needs. Book a design consultation with Superdraft to learn design styles that best suit your needs and your growing family’s.

How can Superdraft help with alfresco renovations?

Everything should be planned and designed for every renovation or extension to your home. It’s essential to balance all the factors — the structure, design, and everything in between.

If you have enough space in your property for an alfresco space or an extension of it, Superdraft can help! We can match you with experienced building designers, draftsmen, and structural engineers who can help you with your alfresco renovations. You can also manage the entire construction process from design to finish.

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