Choosing your alfresco design

Choosing your alfresco design

Alfresco – room or outdoor area?

Have you ever noticed how alfresco spaces seem to compliment both the inside and the outside of your home?

When it comes down to it, what is alfresco?

It’s a distinctive area that sits on the edge of where the exterior of your home starts and the interior of your home ends.

But does the interior of your home really end? These days alfresco is almost part of your internal living area.

The alfresco room is a must-have in the modern house, and more and more old houses are being extended to include an alfresco room.

Alfresco Room, Louvretec

Why do so many of us love an alfresco room?

Could it be because it suits our climate so much, and therefore gives us many benefits and entertaining options?

Having an alfresco room means that you can entertain more family and friends – using both your internal living areas and having it open out to your alfresco room.

And then there’s the practical side. It’s much easier to clean an alfresco room than a carpeted room, or even a tiled room. Simply get the hose out and voila…your alfresco area is spick and span.

When designing your alfresco room, what should you look for?

We recommend timeless appeal. If you’re building a new home, the alfresco design can be incorporated in the whole of house design.

If you’re extending, then take into account the existing design of your place and go for something that complements.

Consider your lifestyle…

…and what your alfresco will be used for:

  • Do you entertain or prefer quiet time relaxing
  • Will you have children using the space
  • Do you want to utilised your alfresco room all year around
  • Do you prefer light, airy and modern, or perhaps cosy and comfy

At the end of the day, your alfresco area should reflect the environment you want, for your family and friends.

If you would like to know more about any alfresco trends, or discuss your alfresco room design options then feel free to contact us to discuss your alfresco requirements

Four easy tips for entertaining outside

Four easy tips for entertaining outside

The warm weather has arrived, which means moving your entertainment outside.

To make the most of your alfresco entertaining, here are four easy tips to help you and your guests enjoy your alfresco area.

1. Keeping the bugs away

Outdoor entertaining is part of the Australian culture, and battling the flies and mosquitos can sometimes be a challenge.

A great tip is to spray your tables or tablecloths or placemats with a bug repellent before setting your table.

Then, include in your table setting mix of non-scented candles and citronella candles. This adds ambiance as well as keeping those pesky mosquitoes and flies away.

Turning your glassware upside down until your guests use them is great for not ending up with any surprise beasties in your drink.

2. Prepare early and keep it simple

Alfresco entertaining is about enjoying your time with family and friends.

To make sure you minimise your time in the kitchen and maximise your time with your guests, keep your food simple and prepare as much as possible before your party.

A couple of simple (or unusual) salads with our BBQ Salmon Steaks recipe works a treat. Or go for a chilled seafood platter you can prepare beforehand and keep in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. 

3. Don’t forget the drinks!

Greeting your guests with a smile and a glass of their favourite wine or beer puts everyone in a great mood.

Then, while you all relax and enjoy some nibbles, have an ice bucket in the center of your alfresco lounging area where everyone can place and easily reach their preferred wine, beer or other beverage.

If you reminisce about the bygone days of the punch, bring out your treasured punchbowl your grandmother gifted you, make a sangria and enjoy the party.

 

Dance the night away

You can’t beat a really good playlist.

Music makes for a memorable party. Whether it’s…

  • background music as you discuss the important issues of life
  • listening to Dave tell his “stuck in an elephant umbrella stand” story for the zillionth time
    or
  • clearing the tables to dance under your disco ball…

Know your crowd and pick the appropriate music – after all, you really don’t want the baby elephant walk playing when you want to disco!

Entertaining tips

If you need to create an outdoor area that you can entertain guests with ease, contact us to discuss your alfresco requirements

Letitia’s Tips – 2018 Alfresco Design Trends

2018 Alfresco Design Trends

If you’re thinking about creating a beautiful alfresco area, you may be interested in some of the 2018 alfresco design trends.

Flexible covering

Having a flexible cover over your alfresco area provides you with a beautiful and functional outdoor area that you can use all year round. Increasing in popularity are roof covers with ventilation, such as the Louvretec opening roofs. Not only do these designs help your alfresco to stay cool and shady during Summer, they help reduce the wear and tear of your patio and outdoor furniture.

Seamless Indoor/Outdoor Living

enclosed alfresco

Creating a seamless transition between your indoor and outdoor spaces is certainly one of the most popular design factors when creating your alfresco area. Not only can you effectively double your living space, you have a variety of options to achieve this look, including

  • Glass walls or large windows
  • Adding a deck
  • Incorporating a roof or cover over your alfresco area
  • Matching your interior/exterior decor

Outdoor Lighting

Having the right lighting can really impact the atmosphere of our patio, pergola or decking. It is also well known that a good lighting plan can increase the value of your property. Some of the popular outdoor lighting techniques include:

  • Wall lights with covers
  • Lights underneath steps or ledges
  • Fairy lights / hanging lights
  • Solar lighting along the garden edge or path

Outdoor kitchens

Outdoor Kitchen - Tip 4 Outdoor flooring

It’s quite common to see families cooking outdoors in Australia – we have great weather for it! And because of that incorporating an outdoor kitchen into your alfresco area is definitely one of the design trends we are seeing. In fact, we recently shared six things to consider when designing your outdoor kitchen.

Fire Pits

fire pit

We don’t really think of, or use, fire pits in the warmer months, but they are one of the latest trends in outdoor living. While the idea itself is not new this feature is gaining popularity in new homes. They are a great way to enjoy your alfresco space in the cooler weather and are low maintenance too.

If you are looking to design a stunning alfresco area, contact us to discuss how we can help you create your ultimate alfresco.

Creating a comfortable alfresco for Christmas

Creating a comfortable alfresco for Christmas

Christmas is a time for gathering of family and friends, so having a space that is roomy, yet comfortable is important.

Are you planning a new alfresco area for Christmas? Or perhaps renovating your existing patio or pergola?

If so, then now is the time to start planning.

Why now?

Now is the time to start because the design, planning and pre-build process can take a few weeks – depending on where you live, the Council requirements, your design concepts, and more.

So, there’s a bit involved before you get to the actual building of your beautiful alfresco space. And time can be your worst enemy if wanting your new alfresco area before Christmas.

The lead up to Christmas is always the busiest because the weather has warmed up and people are starting to head outdoors. And that’s when you realise you want to make your alfresco area as comfortable and as beautiful as inside your home.

We usually see an increase in the number of calls or emails requesting information, or a quote to design and build an alfresco area before Christmas.

By starting now, you may have not left it too late to make a decision to get a new outdoor space completed before the Christmas break.

How you can speed up the process

There is a lot of decision making in designing your new alfresco area. We suggest starting with answering these five questions.

To help you decide, consider your outdoor area. Talk to us about the different design options. Think about how you’re going to use your alfresco area once it’s built.

Most people who want a new outdoor area prior to Christmas want it specifically for an event as they have friends or family coming. So, being prepared with your planning now is really important to make sure there’s enough time to complete the build.

What’s involved in the process

If you’re not quite sure what your options are we can guide you through this process.

At Ultimate Alfresco, we have developed an eight-step process to make sure your project meets all your needs, is hassle-free and planned to ensure there are no hidden costs.

One of the steps involved is submitting to Council for a building permit. This can take time, especially if there is a requirement to apply for a planning approval before the building permit. The time it takes will depend on each individual application. This is because it includes determining factors such as proximity to adjoining boundaries, the location of the proposed patio or pergola just to name a few.  The planning approval can take six weeks on average. The benefit is Ultimate Alfresco process all the local Council paperwork for you.

Once the building permit has been approved we can move to have your new alfresco area built.

How long will my new alfresco take to be built

It really depends on the simplicity or complexity of your alfresco design. A worst case scenario to build your new alfresco area is three months start to finish. In saying that, the average time it takes Ultimate Alfresco to build is two to four weeks.

With the end of the year in the not too distant future, the time to act is now. Spending time planning and designing now will allow you more time for you to enjoy your new alfresco, deck, patio or pergola with your friends or family this Summer.

If you’re looking to add an outdoor space before Christmas contact Ultimate Alfresco to discuss how we can help you.

Letitia Awdjew

Letitia Awdjew
Alfresco Specialist

Letitia’s Tips – Six things to think about when designing your outdoor kitchen

Six things to think about when designing your outdoor kitchen

It’s quite common to see families cooking outdoors in Australia – we have great weather for it! And most of the time it’s “on the barbie” that’s located somewhere in your alfresco area.

If you cook outside all the time (or a lot of the time) have you considered adding an outdoor kitchen to your home?

There are a number of benefits to having an outdoor kitchen, including:

  • Expanding your living area
  • Adding value to your home
  • It’s great for entertaining

Designing your outdoor kitchen

When designing your outdoor kitchen, there are a number things to think about. Letitia shares six important design considerations.

1. Preparation space.

Outdoor Kitchen - Tip 1 Preparation area

How much countertop space will you need. Do you entertain often and with lots of friends or family? In which case allow for a larger countertop. Or if you usually cook outdoors for your immediate family, then you won’t need as large a preparation area. Ideally, your prep area will be close to your sink to make cleaning up easy.

2. Cooking space.

 

Most outdoor kitchens make use of an in-built barbeque. Think about the size and style of barbeque you will need. Ventilation is important as you don’t want smoke blowing all over you and your guests.  

3. Storage.

Outdoor Kitchen - Tip 3 Cupboard space

 

Don’t underestimate the need for cupboards outdoors. Otherwise you’ll end up running back and forth between your indoor and outdoor kitchens. And that really defeats the idea of having an outdoor kitchen. Think about what you need: cooking equipment, trays, cutlery, crockery, candles, etc

4. Lighting.

You’ll need great lighting, particularly over your preparation and cooking space if you are entertaining the evening. Great lighting will also help you see your barbeque or cooker clearly so you know how well your food is cooking.

5. Flooring.

Outdoor Kitchen - Tip 4 Outdoor flooring

Make sure you go for low maintenance flooring that can handle food spills and regular cleaning.

6. Design.

Outdoor Kitchen - Tip 5 Outdoor Kitchen Design

Think about how you will use your alfresco area, and how a kitchen with all the above can be incorporated. The space you have available may mean some adjustments need to be made. Design is where you call in the experts (like us) to help you make the most of including an outdoor kitchen into your patio, pergola or deck.

If you’re looking to add an outdoor space contact Ultimate Alfresco to discuss how we can help you design your outdoor kitchen.