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Tuesday, 22 March 2016 23:13

Fun In The Sun

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Fun In The Sun

During the summer months, there is nothing better than getting outside and soaking up the sunshine. The warm weather also provides the perfect opportunity for thinking about what you can do to make your garden area something truly special. Emily Williamson explores the ways you can design a great outdoor space for the Western Australia summer.

In Australia, we really are a lucky country. Our summer months are hard to beat and many of us don’t miss an opportunity to take advantage of it. Creating an outdoor area to entertain, relax, and enjoy, is one of the best things you can do to make the most of the sunshine. Here, Paul Vines from Ferguson Alfresco Lifestyle provides a variety of options to help make your outdoor space a soothing paradise.


Before designing and constructing your new outdoor area, Vines says there are five important factors that need to be given consideration.

“It is important to think about frequency of use, size of gatherings, cooking preferences, such as grilling or wok cooking, and proximity to the main kitchen, as this can determine what inclusions should be made, and of course, budget.”

To create a space that can be used year-round, Vines suggests paying special attention to how you will shelter the area and protect it from the elements.

“The shelter will be determined by the home’s orientation. Keep in mind when adding blinds and shutters that this can alter the gas regulations and this is why it is important to consult an alfresco kitchen expert prior to finalising your choices. Cooling and heating will also ensure guests are more comfortable year- round. A good barbecue that offers versatility, such as the Ferguson F64W, will allow you to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner off the same appliance.”

To make your new outdoor area suit your individual home and lifestyle, Vines says there are a multitude of options.

“Door finishes, benchtops and splashbacks are where individual taste will come into the decision- making process, and because Ferguson Alfresco Lifestyle custom-builds all its cabinetry, there is really no limitation to what can be adapted and provided to suit the clients’ needs. Families can even opt for a kitchen with a bench seat, which allows for storage underneath. This can be great for items such as kids’ toys or outdoor cushions.”

According to Vines, one of the best things you can do to ensure your new outdoor area is the right fit for you is to ensure it matches the existing home and surrounds.

“The outdoor area is really best designed to suit the existing house and the surrounding landscape. The location of your outdoor area should become the link between indoors and the outdoors. This will allow it to be appreciated year-round and provide a space that can be enjoyed during any occasion.”

To assist with making the new outdoor area a focal point of your property, there are a few things that Vines suggests.

“If the intention is to make this area the focal point, it is worth investing in quality finishes. An outdoor kitchen that is self-sufficient, along with dining and lounge seating, will attract guests to the area. The finishing touches like greenery and accessories will make the area feel warm and inviting. A stone bench with waterfall ends can also add a ‘wow’ factor.”

In addition to this, you could also opt for feature lighting around cabinetry to add ambience at night and ensure the materials you use are durable, yet aesthetically appealing.


While designing an outdoor space to be pleasing to the eye is very important, it should not be the only thing you pay attention to. Vines highlights a few functional considerations to help make your space beautiful and practical.

“When choosing between natural gas and LPG for your barbecue, note that each option has benefits and drawbacks, so do your research. If you have an outdoor kitchen, this can have a direct impact on what is required to comply with gas regulations, and with the current trend of enclosing alfresco areas, it has created a change in what is required to comply with these laws. Ferguson Alfresco Lifestyle’s barbecues are unique, as they are all made to comply with these regulations, which provides peace of mind for clients. The location of services such as gas, water, and waste also needs to be considered when adding an alfresco kitchen.”

“Bench space is another vital element, particularly between appliances, and low- maintenance finishes on cabinetry is important. After all, we should spend more time entertaining as opposed to maintaining.”

Planning your outdoor area can be daunting and expensive when done incorrectly. Vines provides some very useful advice for anyone about to embark on the renovation journey.

“While the upfront cost of dealing with specialists can be greater, it can be more cost-effective in the long run. Spend the time making informed decisions. It is your money and it is important you make a decision that sits comfortably with you.”


Whether you design them to match your home, or give them a unique flair, outdoor rooms and cabanas are the perfect addition to your outdoor area. To assist with greater flexibility of the space, include sliding doors or concertinaed doors. This traps warmth in the colder months and enables

the space to be ‘closed in’, allowing a cabana to be used not only in the winter months, but also in conjunction with a pool in summer as it can be opened up as an outdoor room.

Outdoor rooms or cabanas can merge indoor and outdoor spaces, and integrate gardens and swimming pools. To add greater convenience to the structure you can also include full bathroom and kitchen facilities, as well as lounges and tables and chairs for entertaining.


During the summer months, swimming pools offer the perfect mix of relaxation and family fun. Nothing beats lazing by the poolside and jumping in to cool off on a sweltering day. While the popularity of pools continues to grow, however, their size continues to diminish.

Whether it is because more of us are living in higher-density environments or experiencing tougher authority development controls, private exterior spaces are becoming smaller. Despite this, people still expect their outdoor area to not only act as a living space, but also incorporate a swimming pool.

To feed this demand, plunge pools have been gaining in popularity because they can often double as a water feature. This style of pool is typically small in size, around 6m x 4m, and can act as the focal point of a courtyard or small garden. For entertaining purposes, pool benches are often placed within the pool around several sides to create sun ledges, swim-outs and benches. Swim jets can also be incorporated for exercise.


A beautiful garden is one of the most important features of your outdoor area. It can be designed to suit your lifestyle as well as your pool area, cabana or outdoor room. When planning your garden, however, it is important to consider not only its visual appeal, but its functionality. This includes deciding where you will store the gardening equipment, where the irrigation lines will be installed, and where the drains will be positioned to capture that summer thunderstorm.


Current trends according to Vines include re-orientating the barbecue so cooking can be done while facing guests, and maximising the space available.

“As with internal kitchens, maximising cabinet space with the use of components, such as pull- out bins and racks, can assist with the everyday function of your space.”


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