Author: Jayde Ferguson
With outdoor living areas now a true extension of the home, it has become paramount for homeowners to create the ideal retreat. As patio and alfresco areas get more versatile, designing your own space to suit any home, budget and lifestyle has only gotten easier. And there’s so many ideas to help fuel your creativity! Alfresco areas can be crafted in every shape, colour, size and material imaginable; and dressing it up to make it reflect your style comes with oodles of options.
With summer just around the corner now is the perfect time to get your alfresco space up to scratch. As a key component of summer living and entertaining, crafting the ultimate luxurious space will help you take advantage of the warm weather. Here are some unique ideas to make your alfesco stand out!
1. Create Seamless Transitions
One of the hardest things about working with a small patio space is making it look bigger than it really is. For the super budget conscious you can utilise mirrors, but the attraction of seamless transitions is very hard to beat. The outdoor room should be an extension of your indoor area so allow for a seamless transition into the alfresco space. Wide open glass doors are great for this and incorporating elements from inside and outside will help merge the two spaces together smoothly.
Open up the space with glass railings for a breathtaking harmony with the world beyond. The use of glass enclosures and modern furniture can help in opening the space up too. Playing to the strengths of your landscape’s best feature when you’re planning the outdoor area can work effectively in seamless transitions, like a water or city view. Make the most of this strength by creating maximum visibility. Where possible, remove any outdoor buffers or structures that block views.
2. Combine All 4 Elements
The combination of fire, water, wind and earth into the alfresco area is a powerful tool for adding value to your senses and property. Not to mention the feng shui beauty it brings to the area. An outdoor fire pit will add instant ambience and natural light, whilst keeping you and your guests warm and comfortable in the cooler months. And let’s face it, you want to be able to use your outdoor area all year round!
Water falls, a water feature or a small pond adds aesthetic appeal, a stunning focal point and creates a calmer, more luxurious surrounding. Adding bamboo or wind wood chimes are great for garden areas to boost the feelings of freedom and vitality, whilst adding natural stone into your design, a sculpture, vertical garden or landscaped path can incorporate the earth element.
3. Consider Roof and Floor Coverings
The floor and roof coverings of your outdoor space can create a unique opportunity to add flair and creativity. Because the patio area is essentially an extension of your indoor space, you’ll want to invest in a decent roof to keep everything underneath protected. This will ensure the area can be used all year round too (and that should be a priority for every homeowner!)
Ultimately the choice of roof and floor coverings lies with you and your tastes; but consider the patio design, the home’s current architecture to complement, materials, insulation, practicality and budget. Concrete pavers, multi-coloured stone, timber decking and artificial grass all make attractive and easy to look after flooring options. For something a little more unique, consider upgrading your decking to timber composite decking which has a longer life span than regular timber, is more environmentally friendly and requires no maintenance to keep it looking great.
Outdoor spaces that combine a mix of materials ooze creative appeal. Mix wood, metal, wicker for texture, rustic charm and warmth. These small shifts in materials create visual interest and excitement to the space. You can create a border with stones to form seating areas or utilise decorative metal spheres hanging from tree branches to balance rusticity with the soft brilliance of natural wood.
When it comes to mixing materials in your outdoor space, pay attention to colour, proportion, scale and style. Avoid crowding the space with too many different elements. Simplicity is key – and it can be difficult to achieve so remind yourself when designing that less really is more.
5. Utilise Focal Lighting and Artistic Touches
Focal and mood lighting is essential to adding that ‘wow’ factor to an alfresco space. It’s vital the area is equipped with ample lighting for evening hours too for safety purposes. Hanging lights are perfect for a relaxing ambience vibe and supplies enough illumination warm for comfort, without being too glaring. LED focal lighting is great for pool areas, to light up pathways or key features of the space. Artistic lighting features takes illumination to a whole new level and adds a unique touch to the outdoor room. Think chandeliers, a wall of scroll lighting fixtures or a collection of candles.
The options are limitless when it comes to designing your outdoor space, but these ideas should inspire your own creative vision to craft the most innovative alfresco area that reflects your tastes. What tips will you be incorporating?