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22 December 2020

Designing the ultimate outdoor alfresco area for entertaining at Christmas

Learn how to create a unique outdoor area that stands out to your guests.
Outdoor alfresco area for Christmas entertaining

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.

Outdoor alfresco area for Christmas entertaining
Image credit: PRAIRIE Design & Staging

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.

Outdoor alfresco area for Christmas entertaining
Image credits: Mary Lou Sobel Interior Design

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.

Outdoor alfresco area for Christmas entertaining
Image credit: Roger Davies / Architectural Digest

A well-shaded outdoor space keeps your guests comfortable even when you hold your party during  a hot day.

Outdoor alfresco area for Christmas entertaining
Image credit: Eckersley Garden Architecture

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.
Outdoor alfresco area for Christmas entertaining
Image credit: Rawson Homes
Outdoor alfresco area for Christmas entertaining
Image credit: Rawson Homes

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.

Outdoor alfresco area for Christmas entertaining
Image credit: Tanner Kibble Denton Architects

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.

Outdoor alfresco area for Christmas entertaining
Image credit: Tanner Kibble Denton Architects

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.

Outdoor alfresco area for Christmas entertaining
Image credit: Dwell New Zealand

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.

Find more articles, guides and inspiration in the planning dashboard. Save them to your dream board, and start planning your dream space today.

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