Alfresco spaces are summer's social hub

INSPIRATION: Homemaker centres are ideal hunting grounds to source materials and decorative items to create a unique alfresco space.
INSPIRATION: Homemaker centres are ideal hunting grounds to source materials and decorative items to create a unique alfresco space.

Alfresco spaces have become a social hub and incredibly popular area where home owners love to spend summer. The ability to live inside outside is now an integral part of any new home design.

“The ability to move freely between the indoors and outdoors is an important part of any home design,” says Bianca Petrucci, interior designer for Brolen Homes. “Alfresco spaces have become social hubs for family and friends and represent the Australian way of life.”

According to Bianca, sizing, barbecues, pools, furniture, electricals, lighting, colour schemes, plants and materials are key considerations when designing an alfresco space. As a general rule, a minimum of three to four metres is needed for entertaining areas, which is large enough to fit a table and chairs and small cooking space.

“When looking at barbecue options, there are two main choices – install a free-standing gas barbecue or complete fixed alfresco set up with a built in barbecue stone benchtops, cabinetry, sink and fridge,” Bianca says. “If a complete install is chosen, more space and planning will be needed. Plunge pools can also add another dimension to alfresco spaces and are an ideal way to cool off during a hot summer.”

The perfect alfresco space has an amalgamated flow, using stacker doors that enable the space to be opened up or closed off. The floor height should therefore meet the internal living area to ensure the outside space feels like an integrated extension.

“Style, comfort and durability then come into play,” said Bianca. “Colour palettes should start with a neutral base and dominant colour accessories can be added, whether it is cushions, a new painting, lamps or landscape screening. These items can be very easily changed with seasonal differences.”

Attractive and functional all year-round flooring is also ideal, with natural stone or wood decking (hardwood) both popular choices.

“When choosing furniture, weather resistant is an excellent option,” said Bianca, suggesting red gum or other hardwood timbers, aluminium or synthetic wicker as great options. Succulents and Australian natives that have an architectural flair and distinct shape (such as kangaroo paw) are also an easy way to add texture and colour, bringing the outside feel inside. For details visit brolenhomes.com.au.