Your outdoor area need not only be used in summer - you can design the space to be comfortable year round. With careful consideration of the location of your area; roof protection; heat; light; and comfort elements; you can create a cosy outdoor retreat for all seasons.
Consider orientation: Think about how your block is oriented. North facing spaces have the warmth of the sun in winter, which is important to capitalize on. On the other hand, try to avoid or screen the harsh afternoon summer sun from the West.
Roof protection: Situate your alfresco under the roofline of the home, or include a skillion roof for protection from both sun and storms. Also, consider partially enclosing the area by placing it between spaces of your home (see below example). In addition to shielding from above, outdoor blinds and screens can be effective in stopping the wind and cold entering from the sides of your alfresco. They also can help to contain warmth.
Heating: Consider putting in outdoor fireplaces or heaters near seating or dining areas. Outdoor fireplaces can also double as a cooking station and give character, like a wood fired pizza oven.
Lighting: It gets dark earlier in autumn and winter, so be sure to include effective lighting. Whether you include outdoor feature pendants, LED downlights or wall lights, bring the area to life in the evenings with a warm glow.
Comfort and luxury elements: Add cosy cushions and throw blankets to make the space more inviting and comfortable in the cooler months. And for those really wanting to live it up, include space for a heated spa pool!
By incorporating all of these elements, your outdoor space will be a well loved and used area, no matter the time of year.