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5 Ideas to Create Your Winter Alfresco Area
Make a great outdoor space even better by factoring these five ideas into your planning. Theyll ensure your alfresco zone is not just about summer dining but importantly a year-round space to relax and unwind, eat and entertain with friends and family.
With these design ideas up your sleeve you can be assured the weather rain, hail or shine - wont affect your days plans in your outdoor space. Firstly, put a roof on it this could be a lined ceiling (potentially including downlights); or a covered pergola using Colorbond or Laserlite (or a handy mix of both Laserlite to allow a little more light into the space, and Colorbond to avoid the room heating up too much under all the Laserlite in the summer sun). Secondly, depending on the alfresco zones design and location, you can use your homes walls to create a partial shelter from wind and rain or consider installing weather-protected walls, such as roll-down or shade. See this Camberwell Case Study
2. Cater for hot or cold weather
Entice the family to enjoy your alfresco zone on the chilliest of days by adding an outdoor heater. Options include panel heaters fixed to walls or ceiling-mounted heat panels; a portable gas patio heater; or a feature wall with built-in wood open-fire or gas-fuelled fireplace (which creates the look and feel of a wood-burning open fire). To ease the swelter on balmy summer nights, add ceiling or wall fans to your space. Image courtesy www.wignells.com.au.
3. Cook up a storm
Your outdoor kitchen can be as simple as adding a nook for the barbecue and hotplate or as elaborate as a replica of your home kitchen. For the ultimate in outdoor cooking and entertaining, you could add an in-built sink and benchspace for preparing meals, fridge to store drinks and meal essentials too; cabinetry to house a barbecue/hotplate; and even a pizza oven.
4. Furnish like the indoors
Think about how youd like to use your outdoor space, and furnish accordingly. If its for lounging about, add a daybed or hanging chairs plus low tables for drinks and snacks. For dining, choose an outdoor table setting and chairs to cater for family and guests too. And to make your space a year-round haven youll be fighting to spend time in, add whatever creates a sense of relaxation for you and your family: indulge with a spa/hot tub; a corner bar area with fridge, wine storage and stools/bench seats for the adults; a mini family fun zone with table tennis, air hockey or a hookey board.
5. Lighting solutions
Add lighting to make the most of your alfresco zone on dark winter days or late into the night. Popular options include: feature lighting built into a decking, downlights to a lined-ceiling; outdoor pendant lighting to make a statement; or wall-mounted outdoor lighting, potentially including floodlights over areas that need to be lit brightly for safety, such as cooking zones or stepped areas.
For advice on renovating your Melbourne home to create an alfresco zone, phone The Makeover Group on 1300 768 464 or see www.themakeovergroup.com.au
Richard Armstrong is a director of Melbourne firm The Makeover Group. He has more than a decade of home-renovation experience, including designing and creating alfresco zones. Richard has helped hundreds of Melbourne clients modernise their homes to create spaces that better suit their lifestyle.