Patios and Pergolas – what’s the difference?

Patios and Pergolas – what’s the difference?

When it comes to designing your outside space there are so many choices. For example, do you choose a patio or a pergola. And what is the difference between the two?

Below we’ve outlined the differences between these two garden features. And, we talk about how each one can really bring out the best in your outdoor area.


A patio is traditionally designed to expand the usable space of your home, turning your outside space or verandah into an outdoor room, so to speak.

Modern patio designs can create a perfect outdoor space for family gatherings, parties or even just for relaxing with a good book.

A basic patio is usually directly adjoining the outside wall of your home and has an area of flat, paved ground. A roof provides shelter and creates that outdoor room feeling.

Patios great for:

  • Adding value to your home
  • Giving a more spacious feel by creating an extra outdoor room
  • Shield you from the elements; rain, hail or shine

So, how are pergolas different from patios?


The primary difference between a pergola and a patio is in its purpose.

A patio is usually useable all year round

A pergola is designed to be an enhancing feature of your garden. Making it more versatile.

Traditionally pergolas are ornamental and designed to enhance the appeal of your garden.

A big difference with pergolas is that they are also usually free-standing. In saying this, they can be attached to the wall of your home too.

Similar to patios, pergolas can be made as open or as enclosed as you want them to be. If you seek some extra privacy you can add climbing or trailing plants to create a natural partition.

A pergola is a great way to extend your living space and to get more out of your garden or outdoor area.

Pergolas are great for:

  • Adding a touch of individual style to your garden
  • Making your outdoor space more visually appealing
  • Adding privacy to gardens that are overlooked by other homes

If you need help deciding whether patio or a pergola would suit your home, feel free to contact our alfresco specialist, Letitia

Best patio plants

Best patio plants

If you’re looking to add that extra impact to your alfresco area, then patio plants are the ideal go to.

Patio plants can add a whole other dimension to your outdoor space. They can be layered using various heights to fill space or draw your eye to a particular area in your patio. Or, they can create an oasis for you to sit and relax in. And, they can also create a frame to feature a certain area of your alfresco. There are many options to using your patio plants to create impact. 

So, what are the best patio plants to use?

Here are four patio plants that we have seen used really effectively.


Ficus are one of the best patio plants out there. They are really well suited to life under a patio or an outdoor room. Ficus are available in a variety of names and are quite hardy. And, they are green all year round and have some stunning leaf colouring.

Patio Ficus


Ferns are another great patio plant and they come in a huge range of varieties. You can mix and match them to create an area of textural impact. Or choose all the same variety and create a beautiful plump green space full of foliage that has a real wow factor. They are also evergreen, so you have colour all year round.

Patio ferns

The humble pineapple

A pineapple is a great plant for your patio as they will grow just about anywhere. They are ridiculously easy to grow and don’t take much care. They have a long thin leaf and will grow in very shallow pots because the pineapple itself grows above the plant. When they start to fruit the flower is spectacular. And you get to see the fruit take shape right before your eyes.

However, pineapples only fruit once in their lifetime before they begin to die.  The good news is that they do the produce baby plants from the crown. These baby plants can issue their own fruit.

Patio pineapple


Bromeliads are a beautifully exotic looking plant, with a gorgeous flower. As a patio plant, bromeliads have a visually stunning impact.  They are relatively easy to look after. Like the pineapple, if you harvest the ‘pups’ (small growths produced by the original plant) and place them in pots you don’t have to worry about purchasing new plants when your original Bromeliads start to die off.

Patio Bromeliad

More information about why adding plants to your alfresco is beneficial is shared in Four tips to freshen up your alfresco.

If you need help creating your dream alfresco, feel free to contact our Alfresco Specialist, Letitia Awdjew.

Four ways to help you keep cool

Four ways to help you keep cool

Summer is well and truly here with some hot, hot, hot days ahead. So, here are four ways to help you and your family keep cool.

1. Portable shade

It might be a bit late in the season to install a louvre roof to control your shade for this summer however there are temporary options available.

There are a great range of canopy umbrellas out there these days. You can choose round ones, square ones, cantilevered umbrellas and traditional outdoor umbrellas.

They are a great option for summer if you have shade challenges or need to extend your alfresco area temporarily. To create an extended shady area, place your umbrellas side by side, with the
edges overlapping each other.

Potted plants can also create shade. You will need quite tall plants, which means you might need help moving them around to make sure the shade falls where you need it. However the
additional benefit is that plants can make your alfresco feel cooler and more tropical.

2. Fan options

Ceiling fans are a great way to generate a breeze and help bring down the temperature. However, if you don’t already have them installed in your alfresco area, there are alternatives. Traditional pedestal fans create flexibility as you can position them to create breeze where required, or have them set on rotate to cover a wider area.

Also popular are portable misting fans. Not only do they cool they also remove dust and pollen from the air and are a deterrent to flies and other insects.

3. Keeping your best friend cool

If you are feeling the heat, then you can bet your furry friends are too. Ideally, on hot days it’s better to bring your pets indoors (especially if you have air conditioning), however, this is not
always possible.

The RSPCA provide some great tips on helping to keep your pets cool in summer, including:

  • Making sure there is plenty of shade available
  • Providing plenty of fresh, cool water in large water containers
  • Walking your pet in the coolness of the early morning or evening
  • If your pet seems to be in discomfort, try wetting its feet and misting water onto its face

You can check out all the RSPCA tips here

4. Refreshing drinks

A cool drink is a great way to bring down your body temperature and combat the heat of the day.

Here are some cool tips to help you cool down your drinks.

  • Put little pieces of fruit in your ice tray with your water, to create a little extra something when adding ice to your water. Citrus works particularly well and is quite refreshing.
  • You can do the same with fresh herbs from your garden – mint works especially well.
  • Keep a jug of water in the fridge so you have cold water immediately available (although training family members to keep it refilled, might be a challenge!). Similar to above, adding slices of lemon, or lime, gives it an extra refreshing taste.
  • Freeze individual grapes and pop one or two into your glass of white wine or champagne. That way, your wine doesn’t get watered down like it would if you popped an ice cube in
  • If you prefer red wine, pop your bottle into the fridge for about 20 minutes before opening it. Red wine is meant to be enjoyed at room temperature, however in summer room temperature is too hot. Twenty minutes in the fridge should bring it to the right temperature to enjoy.
  • Put juice into your ice trays and freeze. This gives you options of flavouring your different drinks when adding ice cubes.

These four tips are great temporary measures to cool down outside. If you want to turn your alfresco area into a more climate controlled outdoor room, contact our alfresco specialist, Letitia. 

Alfresco designs for Albury Wodonga back yards

Alfresco designs for Albury Wodonga back yards

If you are looking at your back yard and planning your outdoor space, it can be hard to imagine how your alfresco will look or how it could even be a part of your home.

Here are three things to consider when starting on the design of your dream alfresco.


Albury Wodonga is growing, with new homes being built every day. Everyone has different sized back yards and different needs when designing and building their home. And that means there is no one size alfresco to fit all.

We have great weather here in Albury Wodonga most of the time. A love for the spending time in your back yard can be influenced by what space you have available to create your ideal alfresco. Getting your alfresco space right means you will be able to manage the amount of light and shade you get throughout the year. And that means being able to take advantage of your alfresco all year round.  

So, when considering your new outdoor area consider your home and the space you have available.


The design of any alfresco for your home has to feel like it is a part of your home and not an afterthought.

This is our where our Alfresco Specialist can help. Letitia has years of industry knowledge and can help you design and create the alfresco of your dreams.

Taking into consideration your wants, location, space, landscaping, and other options are all when designing your alfresco. Having right materials for your alfresco is also an important aspect of your design. The right materials will also mean your outdoor space feels more like it is a part of your home, rather than an add-on.

So, whether you want a patio, pergola, gazebo, deck or an outdoor room, Letitia works with you to create your perfect outdoor area.

back yard alfresco design

Outdoor Furniture

Let’s face it an empty alfresco is not much to look at. The fun begins when you start to add accessories to your alfresco.

Nothing quite brings your own personal touch to the alfresco like your outdoor furniture. Here are  three things may help you furnish your dream alfresco.

Outdoor furniture

An alfresco can really add that finishing touch to your home and back yard. When it comes to design Letitia can help you create an alfresco to complement your home and suit your lifestyle.

If you need help creating your dream alfresco, feel free to contact our Alfresco Specialist, Letitia Awdjew


Outdoor Furniture Essentials

Outdoor Furniture Essentials

Your dream alfresco is complete and you’re almost ready to show it off and enjoy – all you need are your outdoor furniture essentials. 

There are so many choices available these days, which can be an exciting adventure deciding what to have – or it can be slightly overwhelming.

Here are three things to consider to help you furnish your dream alfresco. 

1. How will you use your space?

Do you host more formal style dinners, with beautifully presented dishes to everyone sitting at a dining table? If so, then choosing a sleek outdoor modular dining setting can create a more modern and structured style. If you have a larger space, adding a modular style lounge and modern outdoor chairs will add to the look (as well as offer additional seating). Or, if you do want to soften the look slightly, you can always accessorise with beautiful outdoor cushions.

Alternatively, a natural-product dining setting (such as wicker or wood) with comfy chairs can create a more comfortable and relaxed environment. Or forgo a dining setting altogether and fill your patio or pergola with comfy outdoor sofas and ottomans.

No matter what your style is, if you entertain large numbers, consider using an outdoor dining setting with an extension table. 

And, if your outdoor space allows, you can choose both an outdoor dining setting and a modular lounge. However, if you only have space for one, let how you plan on using your alfresco be your guide. 

2. Colour

Most outdoor furniture offers a range of colour choices, which can make it tempting to choose ultra-trendy colours. If you plan on updating the look of your alfresco area regularly, then this may be a good option for you.

Alternatively, selecting classic colours and looks offers you more longevity and usually a wider choice of styles.

classic colours

3. Care

Like colour options, you also have the choice of a large variety of different furniture types.  The great thing is that most modern outdoor furniture have easy care and maintenance. The key thing to remember is that quality matters, and like so many purchases, you will get what you pay for. 

You can help preserve and protect your outdoor furniture from the effects of weather by storing it for part of the year (usually winter). If you’re going to do this then choose outdoor furniture that is easily stackable.

And, if you really hate looking after your furniture some of the most durable outdoor furniture materials include aluminium and all-weather wicker furniture. 

All weather, stackable furniture

Use these outdoor furniture essentials tips to complete your dream alfresco. 

If you need help creating your dream alfresco, feel free to contact our Alfresco Specialist, Letitia Awdjew