The weather is warming and the latest outdoor trends make a good case for an alfresco makeover.

From furniture to outdoor cooking, we asked the experts what’s hot in alfresco living this spring-summer.


Katie Rowley, of Eco Outdoor, said oversized outdoor furniture pieces were popular this year. “Think luxurious outdoor sofas, which are beautifully simple pieces made with quality materials, ” she said.

“Features such as chunky rope weave, solid teak frames and beautifully soft outdoor linens are key to this look.”

Raw materials, such as teak, and outdoor linens were perfect for this season. “Natural materials age and weather beautifully with time and are always the perfect complement to your outdoor space, year-round, ” she said. “Soft and luxurious outdoor linen is a beautiful story this season, and is a real step forward for outdoor style and comfort.”

Ms Rowley said linen was one of the strongest fabrics you could get, which was something many people didn’t know.

Sam Stabler, of Drovers Inside and Out in Wanneroo, said an industrial palette of recycled teak, metal, and rustic boat wood and slab tables were on trend.

“Lounges and day beds seem to be getting stronger every year as people want to relax and be comfortable, ” Ms Stabler said. “Keruing hardwood timber lounges and dining suites are still very popular as they are traditional yet still stylish.”

Poly resin wicker in more natural-looking weaves and colours were popular for modular lounges, day beds and dining. “We’re seeing shades such as neutrals, greys, turquoise, coral and citrus colours like lime, yellow and tangerine dominating, ” she said.


Greg Baker, of Angove Street Collective in North Perth, who has just finished his own outdoor cafe, Miss Watson’s Garden, said some of the trends that inspired the space included painted timber planters and monochrome furniture.

“We have styled with custom-made painted timber planters in ivory, charcoal and amethyst, ” he said. “Planters are perfect for mature fruits trees such as limes, apricots and lemons for a pop of colour in a garden.”

Powder-coated metal outdoor occasional chairs in black or white, with timber features in mango wood or oak were ideal for outdoor furniture. “The monotone palette of ivory though to black with lots of light oak is a really fresh but stylish look, ” he said. “It can be accented with aqua, turquoise or yellow.”

The trend this summer is for bringing the indoors out, with outdoor rugs and picnic baskets creating the perfect garden dining experience at home. “Throw in some bright cushions in outdoor fabrics, such as the Coolum Outdoor Range from Warwick Fabrics, and you can have the picnic experience in your own garden, ” he said.

Michael Donatelli, of Oggi Stone Craft in Bayswater, said that while contemporary home design was increasingly popular, the trend for classic and traditional garden adornments remained strong.

“Pots lined in a row to disguise a fence line along with stone urns and statues are popular because they add a bit of warmth to what can often be a clinical setting of a modern home, ” he said. “Natural and neutral colours never go out of fashion, and the natural hard stones and cement pieces are highly durable with little maintenance requirement.”

Water features — from water walls to industrial construction to classic- style fountains — had never gone out of fashion and added a sense of calm and feng shui to an outdoor space. “The other popular items are gargoyles, which are said to ward off bad spirits, ” he said. “We’ve been installing these anywhere from cottage gardens to multimillion- dollar new builds.”


Nick Jolley, of Patio Living, City West, said open-plan areas connected to the garden and the outdoors in the summer, with the ability to enclose and protect in the cooler months via blinds, shutters or bi-folds remained the classic format for outdoor areas.

However, Mr Jolley said decorative screening, such as that by Outdeco, was making ground, with screening materials such as laser-cut metal replacing simple lattice and timber as additions more like garden art. It doubled as a feature and a privacy screen.

“Cedar lining is also popular, along with white lining options in both timber and gyprock, especially where the alfresco extension is over a deck and clients want a contrasting ceiling, ” he said.

Travertine and granite paving tiles were almost completely replacing poured limestone and limestone pavers. “They offer a more durable, smarter finish, and laid on cracker dust or cement they eliminate the old drama of weeds and ants completely, ” he said.


Ciaran Brennan, from Pyro Designs, said the alfresco area was now the most popular room of the house for WA families to spend their time.

“Most if not all new home builds now come with power and gas points ready for an outdoor kitchen to be installed, which tells us that people are now thinking of their outdoor kitchen while in the planning stage of their new home or renovation, ” he said.

“The popularity of outdoor living has simply grown due to its affordability and modern design options.”

He advised looking into the new and innovative, durable and UV-stable materials over the more historically used and high- maintenance commercial-looking stainless steel.

The modular systems were still popular, due to improved manufacture and guarantees now being offered with some systems. “The custom outdoor kitchen is now the most popular choice, however, ” he said.

“We have found that people enjoy designing an outdoor kitchen around their preferred barbecue and appliance choices, while also having the luxury of choosing colours to suit their home.”


© The West Australian

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