When asked, most Aussie homeowners want an alfresco area that’s perfect for entertaining family and friends not just at Christmas time but all year round. We love being outdoors so much that we extend our interior living spaces to our backyards.
If you are planning a new home or a renovation and you want to bring the outdoors into your home, check out our tips for designing alfresco areas that will be able accomodate large gatherings of people for special occasions such as Christmas, New Year’s, birthdays and more.
Create a seamless indoor-outdoor space
The best outdoor areas feel connected to the indoor living spaces. Choose a massive door that decreases the visual barrier between the two areas. Sliding, stacking, and folding doors are perfect for this application. Consider having similar floor heights for your indoor and outdoor areas. This helps to establish an uninterrupted flow for foot traffic and makes it easier for your guests to go from one place to another.
Plan the size of your alfresco area
An Alfresco area for entertaining needs to be spacious enough to comfortably and easily accommodate a large number of guests. It would be nice to have a casual lounge, a dining table, and an area for drinks.
When planning, consider how you best like to entertain – do you prefer casual barbecues, or more formal dinner parties? How many people will you need to accommodate at one time? Will you entertain all your round or just during the warmer seasons? This will help you to decide exactly what your space will need.
Put up a shade above your entertainment area
The climate in most parts of the country is ideal for outdoor entertainment. However, in some areas, you need to have adequate shade cover so you can enjoy it throughout the day.
If your alfresco area is connected to the main house, consider building a full plasterboard ceiling above your outdoor space. Another option is to use a timber or aluminium pergola.
Plants and trees also provide shade. You are lucky if you have a nice tree in your backyard to keep the alfresco cool. Deciduous vines that grow over a pergola, awning, or screen also work well.
A well-shaded outdoor space keeps your guests comfortable even when you hold your party during a hot day.
Make the alfresco area weatherproof
It would be great if you could use your alfresco area all year round. This way, you are ready to entertain your guests whatever the weather may be.
- Retractable awnings and shutters protect this from strong winds and rains.
- Fireplaces, fire pits, and portable heaters keep your outdoor space warm and toasty when it’s cold.
- Ceiling fans keep the area cool when it’s hot.
Set up a designated cooking and dining area
To make your alfresco area more functional, consider building an outdoor BBQ kitchen near the dining area. Plan this area to make entertaining a breeze. We discussed more of these in our previous article, how to create an amazing outdoor BBQ area.
Light up the space and the house’s facade
Lighting is a crucial design element because it sets the tone and vibe of your alfresco area. You want to create a more relaxed atmosphere here, so avoid super bright lights similar to what you use indoors. Have multiple lighting options like string lights, wall lighting, LED downlights, or spotlights. Make sure that the house also has exterior lighting that looks great too.
Recently, covered patios with glass roofs are becoming popular. This is perfect when you want to brighten the space naturally during the day and gaze at the stars at night.
Style and decorate the entertainment area like a PRO
Style your room to create a calm and relaxing mood. Opt for natural materials and textures to integrate your alfresco area with nature. Use all-weather furniture pieces that are comfortable and decorative.
Invest in a well-kept landscape to impress
Don’t forget landscaping! The best alfresco areas marry the Earth that surrounds it. Invest in a luxurious garden design and plan your hardscape well.
Considering and applying some of the above suggestions to your alfresco area will ensure you have beautiful outdoor space to share with loved ones at Christmas time and other important events throughout the year.
If you would like to learn more about designing alfresco areas, please visit our blogs below or check out photos from our outdoor inspiration gallery.