Making the most of a small space

Making the most of a small space alfresco

While Australia is renowned for wide open spaces, the reality of our homes doesn’t always reflect that and we often have a smaller outdoor living space. With the modern trend of down-sizing, our backyards have become much smaller and with that, it can be challenging to create an illusion of space.

If you have a patio or pergola area that is on the smaller side there are some things you can do to make it appear bigger.

Here, we share five things that can help you create an illusion of space and maximise your alfresco area.

1. Retractable roofing

A retracting opening roof can open up to 135 degrees and then retracts back leaving approximately 75% open space. So when the weather is perfect you can open up your roof and instantly create a feeling of more space.

2. Frame with seating

frame a small space with seating

When you have limited space, framing the area with built-in seating means you have ready-made seating and plenty of standing room for people to mingle. Adding cushions when needed turns a timber frame into a comfy couch. keep some portable furniture in storage for those occasions where you want to do some sit-down entertaining and invite people over for dinner.

3. Apply a minimalist approach

minimalist approach to small space

Using a minimalist approach and decluttering can create an illusion of space. You can add to the illusion by placing decorative mirrors on your walls (not too many) and use polished steel objects that reflect light for ornamental design. It’s low maintenance but high style

4. Design to scale 

Design a small space to scale

One of the key things that can make your patio area look larger is designing to scale. Choose smaller, fine lined furniture rather than bulky or heavy furniture. And. consider the materials you are using, create contrast and levels of interest by mixing up materials and plants. 

5. Use the Rules of Perspective

small space - use the rules of perspective

Designing the space around the rules of perspective can help make a small area seem larger. The rules of perspective are chiefly that parallel lines appear to converge in the distance and objects then appear smaller than those close by.

For more small space design inspiration, you may enjoy this video

If you have a small outdoor area you would like to convert to a beautiful and useable space, contact us today. We specialise in designing beautiful spaces for your lifestyle. 

Planning your new alfresco area

Planning your new alfresco area

It’s the new year and with that comes all the resolutions and ideas for what you plan to do in the coming year. If adding or extending an alfresco space to your home is one of those ideas we are here to help.

Knowing where to start in the transforming your home can be daunting, so here are a couple of tips to help you with the process.

First, ask yourself these questions:

1.         Why are you building your alfresco area

For example, are you looking to transform an unused space in your backyard or are you looking to expand the usable living area of your home – bring the outdoors in (or the indoors out)?


2.        What do you want to use your alfresco area for?

Be very clear on what you want your alfresco to do. Do you want it to be an area you can use for entertainment, or is it somewhere for you to retreat to and relax?

These two reasons will be key to designing an alfresco that you have dreamt of and will fall in love with. And speaking of design, that’s something else for you to consider.


3.      What type of design do you want?

Think about the style you like and what will work with your home. Do you prefer modern with clean lines and minimalist structure (great if you have stunning views), or a more traditional design to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Or perhaps you prefer something more eclectic or quirky.

The important thing to consider here is that your alfresco will be there for a long time, so make sure the design is something you will love.


4.        Do you want your alfresco to blend in with your existing home or be a focus point and stand out?

5.        What do you want your alfresco to be built with?

You have a number of options here. Your answer may be dependent on how you answered to question four.

If you have an older style home and you want your alfresco to look like it was built when the house was built then timber and brick may be the way to go if.

Or if you want your alfresco to be a focus point, then you may choose more modern options like an opening roof motorised louvre panels or glass screens.


If you’re not sure what you want, we can discuss your options with you and help you decide, design and build the alfresco of your dreams.

Letitia Awdjew






Letitia Awdjew
T 0260 406555


Cooling options

Cooling options for your Ultimate Alfresco

While the weather is beautiful at the moment, and we love being outdoors in our alfresco areas, patios and pergolas. However, we all know that the Australian summer can get hot. And that can reduce the time we spend outdoors.

To make sure you can make the most of your alfresco in the summer months, here are four cooling options to help you keep your Ultimate Alfresco area cool this summer.

  1. Ceiling fans
  2. Misting fan/system
  3. Portable air conditioners
  4. Plants

ceiling fanCeiling fans

Ceiling fans come in all shapes and sizes these days, so you should be able to find a design that suits your alfresco area.

They cool your alfresco by circulating the air and providing a pleasant breeze. While ceiling fans don’t actually make the air cooler, they help people feel cooler by moving the air around them. They also have the added bonus of the breeze keeping pests like mosquitoes and flies away.

While we live in a relatively dry climate here in Albury Wodonga, we do get some humid days and ceiling fans work beautifully in humid conditions.

Misting fans/system

A misting fan works like a ceiling fan, with the addition of releasing a cooling spray across your alfresco.

Misting fans use a combination of wind chill (the fan) and evaporative cooling (the mist) and give off a refreshing fine water spray. They are less effective in humid weather and therefore suit our region most of the time. You can choose standalone misting fans or set up a misting system for larger alfresco areas.

enclosed alfrescoPortable air conditioner

While it may seem that “outdoor” and “air conditioning” don’t go together, there are times when a portable air conditioner is the best solution.

Portable air conditioners best suit alfresco’s that have an enclosed area. This is because the ‘walls’ act as a container for the cool air. Portable air conditioners can provide the greatest temperature reduction compared to most outdoor cooling methods.



Plants are known to cool an area because they lose water during transpiration, which cools the air around them. They are also a more environmentally friendly way to help keep your alfresco cooler. And they generally make outdoor life more enjoyable.

You can have a number of options:

  • hanging plants from your alfresco ceiling and surrounds
  • placing potted plants around your alfresco to create a cooler environment
  • planting trees around your alfresco to create natural surrounding shade that extends your alfresco area

Cooling your alfresco area means you get to spend more time enjoying your outdoor space – and we all love that.

If you are considering adding an alfresco to your home and need inspiration and help about cooling options feel free to contact our alfresco specialist for further advice.

Letitia Awdjew





Letitia Awdjew
T 0260 406555