When I was a kid growing up 20something years ago, it was unusual if you didn't have a big backyard. My neighbouring friends and I all grew up on the true blue aussie 1/4 acre block and would spend hours running around outside. Fast forward to 2016 and the older suburbs are being developed and block sizes becoming smaller. The humble backyard is now usually a Courtyard of Alfresco, so it's important to make the most of these smaller spaces.
Here are some tips on how to maximise a small alfresco area:
We are often tempted to buy the biggest outdoor setting we can find and cram it into the outdoor space we have. Instead, take some time to work out the amount of space you would like to allocate to sitting/dining/standing. If you usually only entertain on a small or more intimate scale, a 4 seater setting might be ideal - whereas if you have a small space but still like to have large groups around, arranging your furniture around the edges of your alfresco will work better.
We recently wrote a blog article on our building hub that talked about how to best enjoy your Alfresco during both the colder and warmer months (you can find it here) - this also mentioned the importance of adding features to your alfresco and giving it a touch personality and comfort. Add soft weatherproof cushions and rugs to inject colour and pick outdoor furniture that is stylish, comfy and practical. Let's not forget the most thing - a barbecue! If you're short on space, portable dome top models are a great choice and can be pushed out of the way when not being used.
Sometimes we forget about the importance of this in our outdoor spaces, but creating an ambience and increasing the atmosphere can be achieved with the right lighting. There are so many different options around but it's generally good to have a mix of both soft and brighter lighting - why? Bright lights are great foor cooking and serving meals, but to create that ambience, soft warm lighting will create a very enticing space.
So you're limited on space and don't want to take up valuable floor area with large pots and plants - no problems! Vertical gardens are not only a super cool addition to your space, they will provide privacy and give you an almost room-like border. If you're having furniture built-in, it might also be worth considering if it can incorporate a planter box to keep that green theme going.