How to achieve your ideal alfresco space

urban alfresco backyard

Originally from Italy, the saying “al fresco” was a far cry from what we think of now: the phrase formerly referred to architectural prison conditions. Eventually, this led to alfresco being what we now positively think of in the Western world: socialising, dining and appreciating the outdoors and fresh air. If your outdoor space needs a revamp in order to draw family members and guests out into the fresh air, this guide is sure to help. We’ve put together a collection of our top articles on alfresco landscape designs so that you can begin planning a space that suits your taste and lifestyle.

Step 1: Choose a style

If there’s one thing that can ruin the final look of a garden, it’s trying to fit too many themes and ideas into one space. Take a look through these landscape styles to find a look that works for you.


Who would the Hamptons-style suit?
Those that like:
  • Coastal features
  • Open spaces
  • Indoor-outdoor flow
Click here to find out more about Hamptons-style landscapes...


Who would the resort-style suit?
Those that like:
  • Pools, spas and water features
  • Comfort and relaxation
  • A combination of natural and man-made materials

Click here to find out more about resort-style landscapes...


Who would the tropical-style suit?
Those that like:
  • Tropical flowers and trees
  • Bamboo structures
  • Day beds and loungers

Click here to learn more about tropical-style landscapes...


Who would the urban-style suit?
Those that like:
  • Privacy
  • City living
  • Hardscaping

Click here to find out more about urban-style landscapes...


Who would the desert-style suit?
Those that like:
  • Simplicity
  • Architectural landscapes
  • Low-maintenance design

Click here to find out more about desert-style landscapes...


Who would the country-style suit?
Those that like:
  • Outdoor spaces that look effortless
  • A varied selection of colourful flowers
  • Edible-gardens + practicality

Click here to learn more about creating a country-style landscape...


Who would the Colonial Revival-style suit?
Those that like:
  • Romantic settings
  • Edible gardens
  • Classical features e.g. fountains & sculptures

Click here to find out more about Colonial-Revival-style landscaping...


Who would the Tuscan-style suit?
Those that like:
  • Rustic features
  • Sculptures
  • Mediterranean-style dining

Click here for Tuscan-style garden inspiration...


Who would the French-style suit?
Those that like:
  • Elegance
  • Geometrics
  • Colour

Click here to learn how to create a French-style alfresco area...


Who would the Spanish-style suit?
Those that like:
  • Earthy colours
  • Rustic finishes
  • Columns and arches

Click here to find out more about Spanish-style outdoor areas...


Who would the Japanese-style suit?
Those that like:
  • Minimalism 
  • Symbolisation
  • Peaceful scenery

Click here to learn how to create a Japanese-style landscape...

Step 2: Decide on the purpose of your outdoor space

Now that you know how you want to style your alfresco space, it’s time to figure out its main purpose. Do you want to enjoy large outdoor parties, small romantic dinners or a family-friendly outdoor setting? The following will help you figure out what outdoor features suit your lifestyle.

How to create an outdoor space perfect for entertaining

When it comes to outdoor entertaining; atmosphere, consistency, entertainment features and, most importantly, outdoor cooking and dining features are key. Your top considerations should include whether to build a deck or install paving, what plants will enhance the space, where outdoor lighting will be needed and whether a basic or high-end outdoor kitchen will best meet your requirements. Read the full article…

How to create an outdoor eating space

If outdoor dining is your main priority, check out this article. It provides a thorough guide to barbeques, wood-fired ovens and pizza ovens. Outdoor heating options are also discussed as well as flooring, shelter and furnishing options.

How to create indoor-outdoor flow

Your goal might be to extend your indoor living space. Often, the easiest and most affordable way to achieve this is by installing sliding, bi-fold or French doors which lead out to a covered outdoor area. For decking solutions, door options and joining inspiration; take a look at this article.

Step 3: Consider design and layout

Style? Check. Purpose? Also, check. Design and layout? Consider the following…

Decking options for your outdoor space

What style of deck will suit your home and budget? Take a look at the pros and cons of wooden decking, eco decking and bamboo decking. Also, find out what’s involved in decking restoration.

Adding a deck to your outdoor space

Nothing adds functionality and flow to an outdoor space like a deck. This article explains what you need to know before you begin building. It includes consent requirements and important groundwork considerations. From there, find out what’s involved in the construction process.

Sliding door options

Of course, you’ll need to install a suitable sliding door in order to access your outdoor area. Take a look at your options and learn about the benefits of UV protected glass and double glazing.

How to achieve privacy in your backyard

It’s hard to enjoy an alfresco setting when neighbours and passersby are monitoring your barbequing abilities. Hedging, outdoor shelter, planting, fencing or privacy screens could be just what you need in order to dine outdoors in peace. Get inspired.

Outdoor fire pits

Don’t forget about warmth! If you’re going to spend a significant amount of money on updating your outdoor space, it makes sense to take a few steps toward making it inviting in the cooler months. This article covers location, functionality, safety and portability.

How much does it cost to build an outdoor room?

If you’d like to enjoy an outdoor lifestyle year-round, an outdoor room will allow you to achieve this. This cost estimate explains what can be achieved within a $20,000+ budget, in terms of decking, outdoor coverage, furniture, lighting, cooking appliances and heating.

How much does it cost to build an outdoor kitchen?

If you’re going to be dining outdoors as often as you do indoors, it’s definitely worth putting some thought into whether or not an outdoor kitchen should be factored into your alfresco design. On a basic budget, an outdoor kitchen can be as straight-forward as putting a barbeque on the deck along with some comfy furniture and attractive outdoor lighting. If you’re going all-out, an outdoor kitchen island with built-in cooking and cleaning features might be in the cards. Check out your options.  

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Step 4: Add the final touches

Now that you have figured out the style, layout and main features of your outdoor design, you can have some fun with the final details. Our detailed guide to outdoor lighting will help you to create a safe and ambient outdoor space. From there, you’ll want to choose outdoor furniture that suits your style and climate. Lighting, furniture, colours and accessories are what will make your space feel personal and comfortable. This article will get you started.

Book a free consultation

If you need some help with the design and build of your alfresco area, get in touch with Zones to schedule a free consultation with your local landscaping specialist.


All Zones franchises are independently owned and operated. Costs are rough estimates and are subject to change. For a fixed-quote accurate to your specific project, please consult your local Zones landscaping specialist. 

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All Zones Landscaping franchises are independently owned and operated.

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