How to set up your perfect alfresco area

marsden home

Think of the outdoor area of your home as an extension of the inside, rather than a completely different space. When it comes to designing the area, you should integrate the inside and outside.

There has been a strong trend towards functional, aesthetically pleasing outdoor areas in Australian homes for many years, with open-plan living and dining areas flowing to the outdoors. All of our designs at ZAC Homes incorporate an alfresco dining area, that varies in size in proportion with the rest of the home.

It will depend on your lifestyle and how you and your family like to use an outdoor area, as to how it will be set up. Factors you need to consider are sunlight, ventilation, furniture choice, food preparation, heating, greenery, décor and more.

Integrate inside and outside

Think of the alfresco area as an outdoor room that is a natural extension of the area it adjoins. Sliding glass doors, or bifold doors are a good option to highlight the area. Most modern Australian homes like the ZAC Homes range have an alfresco area that extends out from the open plan, living and dining areas.

It also needs to be in close proximity to the kitchen so food doesn’t have to be carried far, and the people preparing food can feel like they are part of any social activities.

Think about the size

The size and configuration of your alfresco area will depend on how you and your family like to use outdoor areas. If you like to entertain large groups of family and friends you might like a larger area that incorporates a generous-size table and BBQ, and even outdoor kitchen facilities.

Alternatively, you might want an area just for your small family to enjoy outdoor dining and lounging, so you need less room for a small table and perhaps an outdoor lounge. Or perhaps you might use it primarily as a play area for your kids.

Shade and ventilation

Shade and ventilation are both important factors to consider in an outdoor area. Ideally, you want to welcome the sun in cooler weather, and have plenty of shade when it’s hotter. This can be achieved with a full roof, a pergola, shade sails, or even umbrellas. It will depend on your local climate, how often you use the area, how many trees are nearby, and more.

Ventilation is also important, particularly if your alfresco area is enclosed by several walls and a roof. A ceiling fan can help with airflow as well as cool things down.

Outdoor cooking

Most Australian alfresco areas will include a BBQ, from a simple kettle-style right up to a large built-in set-up. This will depend on the space available, and your family’s requirements.

If you’re a keen entertainer you might install an outdoor kitchen that includes a sink, a fridge, cupboards, draws, and of course a large BBQ.

An outdoor fire for winter heating could also be incorporated into your ideal outdoor entertaining area, or you could have a more temporary outdoor fire like a metal brazier that you store away when not in use.

Consider lighting

Any alfresco area needs functional lighting as well as lighting to set the mood.

Particularly if you’re cooking outside, you need a well-lit area to check when food is cooked to your requirements.

But you also want to have some attractive lighting to set the mood if you’re entertaining. This could be in the form of overhead lights, wall lighting but also candles or table lighting.

Furniture for outdoor dining or lounging, or both

Outdoor furniture needs to be adaptable, able to withstand weather exposure, look good, and be comfortable.

What you choose will depend on your family’s needs. Most alfresco areas will include a dining table and chairs, but if space allows you could also include an outdoor lounge area. There is even some furniture that converts from one to the other.

Whatever your choice, it needs to be weather-resistant and easy to clean. If cushions are included these should be stored when not in use to ensure they stay clean and dry. So incorporate some storage into your outdoor area to store cushions and other outdoor accessories like BBQ tools.

Decorating and styling

As the alfresco area is an extension of your home, the décor and styling should reflect the rest of your home. After all, if it’s just beyond your open plan living area, it will be seen by you and your visitors, even when it’s not in use.

Most outdoor furniture is neutral in colour so you can accent it with pops of colour in cushions and other décor items.

When you’re entertaining you can decorate the table to match your personal style. The great part about outdoor entertaining is the focus is on relaxing, so it can be less formal than eating at an indoor table.

Landscaping forms a backdrop

One of the biggest advantages of an outdoor zone in your home is the landscaping options. Your garden can form a backdrop to the alfresco dining area, and the area itself can include pot plants, and other landscaping features like statues and fountains.

Make sure that you choose plants that will grow well in your conditions, and keep them watered, pruned and fed so they look their best. Flowering plants like annuals in pots can form part of the décor of your outdoor room.

Build a new home with a great alfresco area with ZAC Homes

All ZAC Homes designs include an alfresco area that is proportionate to the home’s design.

But if you don’t find what you’re looking for in our standard designs, we can help you design your own custom-built home with your ideal alfresco area.

ZAC Homes builds with trust, respect, integrity and pride, which we work hard to deliver to every client. Call us on 1300 350 793 or send us an online enquiry and our team will work with you to design and build your dream home.

Want more information?

Contact our team using the form or using the details below

Phone: 1300 350 793


Address: Unit 6, 119 Coreen Avenue, Penrith, 2750

Book an appointment online or visit us at our display homes at Box Hill and Marsden Park

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