The Patio Planner

3 Tips For Creating the Perfect Australian Patio Setup

Guest post by Hubert Dwight

I’ve always loved the summer.

The bright blue sky, the wonderful heat, the plethora of fantastic outdoor events that pop up around this time; all of this comes together into one of the most amazing times in the Australian calendar.

So, why not fully embrace it from the comforts of your own backyard?

A perfectly-prepared patio is an excellent place to host get-togethers, eat dinner under the moon, or just enjoy a good book.

Unfortunately, when many people think of crafting a lovely outdoor area for themselves, there’s a perceived air of difficulty and frustration that seems to turn people off the idea.

However, this couldn’t be further from the truth!

To help you plan your preparation, here’s a few tips we’ve put together on how you can take a DIY approach to your dream patio.

1. The Cooking Consideration

Nothing says “Australian summer” quite like the scent of meats and smokey treats wafting through the warm December air?

An infrared BBQ or charcoal grill is the perfect addition to a patio setup, especially for those that are a fan of playing host for outdoor parties or get-togethers.
When deciding on a barbecue for your backyard, it’s important to consider space as a major contributing factor.

While that giant gas grill may pack a powerful punch if you’re trying to quickly feed a small army, it’s more likely to become an unnecessary obstacle for those with less space in their backyard.

None of this is to say that larger barbecue setups are unnecessary, it’s just good to think about how much space you have before you start giving it up.

2. Started From the Bottom

Unlike interiors, which have walls that act like a frame for your decor, it can be difficult to make an outdoor space feel cohesive and self-contained.

However, there are ways to make your way around this obstacle of exterior decor.

An outdoor rug can be the saving grace of defining your space, whilst also creating a more comfortable place to rest your weary feet after a long day.

A rug makes your patio decor look intentional and methodical (a nicer way of saying “method to the madness”), and can be the factor that truly makes your space feel complete.

Just make sure to find a rug that can hold up to the elements. While the roof of your patio should protect it from the rain, a material that is damaged by extended periods of sunlight isn’t going to fare well in the outdoor arena.

3. Furnishing Factors

Unfortunately, for those of us that have a family to contend with, it’s not just our needs that get to be factored in when developing a patio setup.

So, when deciding on patio furniture, make sure that you’re considering what you want to actually DO with the space once it’s complete.

If you want to host parties, then a considerable amount of chairs and table space is a must. If you’re looking to stay warm in the winter, you should consider a fire pit of outdoor heater.

If you want to just rest and relax in the lap of luxury, then thick, comfortable cushions are going to serve you well.

In the end, it all comes down to taste. Just make sure that everything that you’re getting can withstand a little bit of sun damage.

You’re putting time and money into choosing this setup, you might as well make it last as long as possible!


So, there you have it!

There are so many things that you can do with an outdoor space, especially one that still offers the serene security of a roof.

Just get creative, work out what you want to do outdoors and throw yourself into it full-force!

Good luck and happy holidays!

Builder’s Al Fresco? or Build After Handover?

These days I see a lot of Display Homes that feature a built in al-fresco area. . . . . It might seem a good idea when you are choosing a plan, but is it going to be the best solution?

How much are you really going to use it?

Should you commit to something before the build?

Here are some of the problems I see:

Poor Orientation

Have you thought about how it will feel to be out on the Al fresco.

Will it be too hot and have too much glare because its exposed to the afternoon and evening sun.

If it is on the North Side it might keep the warming winter sun away from warming the house

Will it be cold and damp because it faces south.

Will it have a view, or just a view of a fence?

Expensive construction

If you just want an outside covered area a built in alfresco is an expensive way of going about it.

Rather than a lightweight roof and relatively inexpensive paving, you are getting a full tiled roof and house foundation slab standard as a floor.

Fire and Smoke Issues

Because it is under the house roof smoke being trapped against the building can be an issue.

If the barby should catch fire then the problem just gets bigger.


The display house al fresco may look great . . . but if you look at the one above there are around $10,000 dollars of extras.

    • Down lights.
    • Laser cut steel screens.
    • Extra Roof.
    • Marble tiles.
    • Water feature.
    • Built in barby.
    • And then the furniture.

Don’t forget when you move in the alfresco is initially going to look more like this photo on the right.

With a big mortgage how long is it going to take you to afford to have to finish your al fresco like the display home?

The Seasonal Swap

Guest post from Hubert Dwight

6 Ways to Reinvent Your Outdoor Setup For Year Round Comfort

Enjoying sunlight, fresh air and are a gentle breeze are some of the simplest, yet most enjoyable things in life.

It’s little wonder that we desire an outdoor living area as a part of our home.

We are able to combine the best of both worlds – all the creature comforts of being indoors with all the sights, sounds and smells of natural surroundings.

Whether your outdoor living space is a balcony, a patio, a deck or some other set up, it needn’t matter the season – you can enjoy your little slice of heaven whatever the weather, all year round.

Don’t quite believe that’s possible? Well, just take a look at these handy tips and you’ll be ‘living it up’ in your outdoor area – even in the dead of winter!

1. Adequate heating

Being able to enjoy an outdoor living space all year round is all about keeping cosy no matter the season.

To achieve this, you first must think about sourcing adequate heating options.

These need to be safe and functional.

Ideally, the should also be cost effective.

The most efficient outdoor heaters are electric.

Not only are they energy efficient, they are great for the environment – and, your pocket too.

2. An enclosed, or partially enclosed outdoor area

There are a few methods that you can consider in order to make your patio, pergola or other form of outdoor living area ‘transeasonal’.

This means that you can use it whatever the temperature or weather.

You could consider installing a roof and/or enclosing the space with screens or shutters to turn it into something akin to a sunroom when the weather is colder and/or blusterier.

You could also look at some kind of temporary roof cover.

Another option is to install insulation in a pre-existing structure.

This will make the area considerably warmer.

Using weather proof materials will ensure your space is usable – rain, hail or shine.

Homeadvisor is a great place to start when looking into options on this front as the site offers some very useful information on the most common solutions in outdoor enclosures – and, just what they are likely to cost you.

3. An outdoor kitchen

Yes, you heard right – creating an outdoor kitchen is the perfect way to generate warmth in your living space.

It might be a simple as a BBQ, a wood fire oven – or, you could even consider a fire pit or a built-in fireplace (always keep safety in mind) to make your outdoor space viable for entertaining guests – whatever the season.

An outdoor kitchen is also a great way to enjoy those yummy, wafting aromas of whatever it is that you might be grilling/roasting or toasting.

Marshmallows anyone?

Ikea is the master of innovation when it comes to maximising the utility of any given living space, and that holds true when it comes to outdoor kitchen products, designs and inspiration.

4. Weather resistant furnishings

Choosing the right furnishings for your transeasonal living space is really about thinking about what materials will go the distance.

It’s about investment.

Look for furnishings that offer both form and function and are made using materials that can weather a harsh summer sun (resistant to fading and chipping) but, will also be mould-resistant and retain warmth during periods of rain and/or during the colder months.

Wicker and aluminium framing seem to be the firm winners when it comes to popular and versatile materials.

Check out what lifestyle blog The Spruce considers to be the best outdoor furniture brands currently on the market – especially in terms of
weather resistance.

5. The right accessories

Don’t underestimate the ability of the right accessories in transforming your outdoor living space.

Adding your personalised touch via such elements as stylish scatter-cushions, plush throws and textured outdoor rugs can really up the ante, turning your living area into your very own ultra-luxe ‘at-home mecca’.

Select sensual fabrics (like faux fur and chenille) to bring a touch of opulence.

For an outdoor space that you’ll want to cosy up in right this minute, consider home accessories in soft, earthy hues and finely weaved textures.

Need further styling inspiration?

These beautiful examples from HouseBeautiful are sure to get you in the mood for decorating.

6. Bringing it all together

It’s all about making your outdoor living space as inviting as possible.

The additions of some lanterns – or, perhaps even some fairy lights and an ornamental statue or two – can really tie it all together.

Include lots of options for lounging, and don’t forget your four-legged friends.

If you have pets then why not bring a dog or cat bed into the equation?

If you don’t have animals, maybe a bird bath will bring extra joy?

Fill your outdoor area with jovial frivolity and the spirit of togetherness.

That’s the ultimate way to create an extra layer of warmth.

There you have it – 6 ways to make your outdoor living area a space for all seasons.

For you, it might be all about entertaining. . . or, it might just be about having a cosy nook to relax.

Whatever the case, it’s all about whatever makes you and your family/friends happiest in your home environment – all year round.