Create an outdoor space to suit all seasons

8 January 2016 - 10 min read

If you’re lucky enough to own a home that has an outdoor area, or thinking about building a new home with an amazing alfresco, then read on!

Not only are outdoor areas ideal for entertaining guests and hosting barbeques and parties, but they act as an extension of your home and provide wonderful spaces to relax in and enjoy with your family. Especially over the festive season when entertaining extra guests!

Traditionally, outdoor areas have found the most use during the summertime and been neglected for more than half the year during the winter months. However, designing and decorating your outdoor area with a little ingenuity does make it possible to enjoy this space all year around. Keep reading to pick up some tips on how to create an outdoor space for all seasons.

Create shelter

The key to ensuring your outdoor area is usable in both winter and summer is installing some form of shade or shelter. Depending on your preferences, you can opt for roofing, a canopy, a pergola, or another outdoor structure that will protect you from the elements. Consider versatile options that will shelter you from inclement weather but also allow sunlight through, such as a retractable canopy or an electronically controlled sunroof. Whatever your choice, having a sheltered alfresco area will help you to get the most of your outdoor space throughout the year.

Incorporate lighting

You shouldn’t have to vacate your outdoor area once the sun goes does – why not switch the lights on and keep the party going? Whether you’re relaxing with a group of friends or acquaintances or simply enjoying a tranquil night, investing in a source of lighting is not only practical but also a great way to create ambiance. Outdoor lighting comes in many different forms and can be as decorative or functional as you’d like, so consider what would be most appropriate for your outdoor space to inform any lighting ideas you might have.

Install heating

One of the main factors preventing people from using their outdoor areas in winter is, of course, the chilly weather. Installing a heating source is the best way to counteract the cold and improve the liveability of your alfresco area. Popular heating options include outdoor fireplaces, fire pits and patio heaters, all of which can help to create warm, cosy spaces for entertainment and relaxation. Throw in some blankets, a few comfortable couches and fluffy cushions, and you’ll make your outdoor area the place to be on a cool autumn or winter night.

Choose furniture carefully 

Throughout the year your outdoor furniture will be subject to a number of elements, including but not limited to wind, rain, sunlight, dirt and dust. It’s important to take this into account when shopping for new pieces to add to your outdoor area. If possible, opt for materials that are long lasting and weather resistants, such as plastic, wood, wicker and aluminium. Keep in mind that some of these materials may require regular care and maintenance to ensure their longevity, so be sure to ask the manufacturer for instructions on how to look after your outdoor furniture.

Create a versatile space

Keep things fresh and fun by designing your outdoor area so that different furnishings can be swapped out and moved around to suit your changing needs each season. Pillows, throws, pot plants, rugs, lamps, and side tables all make for great additions to any outdoor area, and can be conveniently added, removed and repurposed as desired. Keeping versatility in mind when purchasing outdoor furnishings and other decorative items will help you to tailor the space to suit the change in weather, and your changing needs, throughout different seasons.

Having an alfresco area in your home allows you to bridge the gap between the indoors and outdoors and provides an additional living space that can function as whatever kind of space you desire. It could be a warm sunning spot, a cosy winter retreat, a place to host lunch and dinner parties, or simply somewhere for the family to spend time and relax. Whatever its purpose, designing your outdoor area to accommodate the different seasons will enable you to truly expand the living experience of your home.