When it comes to designing a patio or alfresco, getting the right balance between the amount of light you have and the amount of heat you reflect is essential. You want your alfresco to be well-lit and airy, but not too hot. You want to let in enough sunlight – but not too much! If you want to achieve the perfect balance, there are certain factors to take into consideration.


The direction your alfresco faces will usually determine the amount of heat you want to reflect and the amount of light you want to let in. South and east facing alfrescos can often lack light, while north and west facing alfrescos are usually flooded with it. For the same reason, north and west facing alfrescos usually need to be able to reflect more heat as well.

If you have a south or east facing alfresco, you probably want to make the most of the light you have. That can involve choosing light stone or pavers for the alfresco flooring, and white ceilings to reflect as much light into the alfresco as possible. This should make it seem lighter, brighter and airier.

If you have a north or west facing alfresco, it will be more important to reflect more heat, as you already have an abundance of light. Choose a ceiling material and shape that reflects heat. You may also be interested in cedar ceilings and timber decking, as you should have enough light coming in to pull off the darker look of timber.


You may also want to think about the design of the alfresco’s ceiling and roof. A flat roof will usually reflect less light, while a pitched or gabled roof will usually reflect more light into the alfresco. Think about how much directional sunlight your alfresco will receive, and whether you want shade from it or you want to make the most of it.


Again, flooring can either absorb light or reflect it. If you want to make your alfresco lighter and brighter, you may want to choose lighter stone or pavers rather than darker concrete or decking. Think about the look you want to create, the amount of heat and sunlight your alfresco will receive, and choose the best materials for the job.

Your Preferences

Above all, the design of your alfresco will depend on your preferences. If you want a light and airy space, your design should make the most of the light you have available. If you want a warmer, natural look, then timber could be a good option. Think about what you want your alfresco to look like, and what you will use the alfresco for – then simply create a design that best suits your needs and the space.

Design Features

It’s also a good idea to research design features – to find out what’s available, and what would work well within your alfresco. For example, if you a south facing alfresco but you have your heart set on timber, you may find lighting features that can brighten the area. If you want to find out more about design features, and work out the best possible design for your alfresco, speak to one of our experts.