Creating a relaxing, practical alfresco area is a great way to make your home look and feel bigger, and expand your entertaining area. Our fabulous Queensland weather really lends itself to outdoor living, and it will also increase the value of your home. Entertaining family and friends outdoors is a big part of the way we live. So when you plan your new home, think carefully about extending your living space beyond the back door.
Here are some handy tips to help create the perfect alfresco area.
1. Connect the indoors and outdoors
Design your alfresco area so it feels ‘connected’ to your indoor living areas. The doors you choose will affect the flow between your inside and outside spaces. Large sliding doors will open up your home to the outdoors. Using similar colours, decorating and furniture styles will also help to blend the indoors and outdoors, so your home appears much larger than it actually is. And remember, the furniture you choose needs to be weatherproof!
2. Size does matter
What will you be using this area for? Large dinner parties? Barbecues? For entertaining, it needs to be large enough for a generous table and chairs. If you’re planning on having an outdoor kitchen or barbecue, you’ll need to allow for some space between the cooking and sitting areas. Having an outdoor dining table and some comfortable, lounge-style seating will give you a multi-purpose outdoor room. For smaller areas, choose versatile furniture such as stools, which can double as seats or side tables. Folding chairs and tables are also a great idea, as they can be put away when not in use.
3. Weather protection is a must
You should be able to enjoy your alfresco area at any time of the day or night, all year round – especially in Queensland! In our climate, it’s important to ensure that you have adequate protection from the sun. Outdoor areas that are integrated with the house usually have a plasterboard ceiling. If this is the case, consider adding ceiling fans to create a welcome breeze on those hot, summer days. You may also like to consider planting a well-placed tree in your backyard, if you require shade from the western sun.
4. Add life & colour with greenery
Plants help bring a lovely, relaxed ambience to your outdoor space. Create interest at different levels with large potted plants, hanging baskets, or maybe even a vertical garden. Whatever you do, make sure it complements the style of landscaping you have chosen for the rest of your property. Consider the style you’re trying to create. For example, is it formal, tropical or native? Then, choose plants that reflect your look.
5. Lighting sets the mood
Lighting is very important when it comes to creating the right mood for your alfresco area – especially if you like to entertain at night. You will probably need a number of different kinds of lighting – consider bright task lighting near the barbecue, and dimmable LED down lights that can be adjusted according to what you’re doing. Wall lighting is perfect for creating a relaxed ambience, while spotlights can be used to feature the garden.
Hallmark Homes are perfect for alfresco living
Many of Hallmark’s home designs include a spacious, covered alfresco area directly off the living/dining area – the perfect space to create an outdoor room. Come and check them out for yourself at one of our display centres.