The term “Al Fresco” is Italian and it literally means “open air”, and this style of dining has its roots firmly embedded in the Mediterranean cultures, with brightly colored awnings and matching tablecloths you find in all of the beachside restaurants on the Algarve. The unique style utilizes a blend of white and pastel colors, and with some bright fabric on the shading and the right furniture, the Al Fresco look is complete. If you would like to add a touch of style and elegance to your terraced area, here are some tips on cost-effective improvements.
Al Fresco Styles
There is no single style that defines Al Fresco, and it is really about making the best of the outdoor area you have. Every terrace is unique and one good idea is to clear everything away from the terrace and take a photo of the bare space, and you can use this to experiment with different styles of outdoor furniture. A patio might be in an open area, or it could be tucked away in a corner, and by keeping in line with the character of the building, the dining area will not look out of place.
One could make a significant investment and have a fully automated retractable roof installed, or failing that, a couple of cantilevered umbrellas would do equally well, but whatever happens, you want to have the ability to finely control the lighting and shading, and this can be achieved in a number of ways. Modern umbrellas can be tilted and angled to suit, and with a very stable anchor plate, you can be sure the umbrella stays put.
Choice of Colours
This would very much depend on the immediate environment, and with a wide range of plain, striped or patterned finishes, you will find something perfect for your terraced area. You might, for example, prefer a soft pastel color that compliments your home, or take a leaf out of the Mediterranean countries book and go for prominent and contrasting stripes. The list of designs and colors is extensive and if you spend some time browsing through the supplier’s online catalog, you are likely to find exactly what you are looking for. The fabric is specially treated to be UV resistant and the supplier would guarantee that the color does not face in any way. The best quality shading fabrics are tested in severe climatic conditions, and if it can withstand 24/7 of scorching sunlight, you can be sure that your awning will stand the test of time.
It pays to think carefully before investing in outdoor furniture, and the ideal choice is something that is durable, easy to clean and, of course, stylish. Rattan is a popular material for terrace furniture, or you might prefer a fabric suite, but whatever you choose must be comfortable and easy to clean. Most people store their outdoor furniture away for the winter, while others prefer to leave it out, and if that is the case, you will need something very hardy if it is to be used all year round. If you buy top quality garden furniture, it is a long-term investment that will pay dividends, and if you are looking to cut corners, your outdoor furniture is not the place to do it.
The Right Lighting
The evenings can be brought to life with a careful selection of table lamps and ground floor LED units, and with solar panels attached to the top, why not push a few LED garden lights into the lawn or borders, and they will automatically come on when the light fades. LED lighting comes in strips, which allows you to be very creative with your outdoor lighting, and with a range of attractive hues and shades, your garden lighting will really turn heads and this will add the final touch to that warm Al Fresco ambiance.
When considering an Al Fresco dining area, start with what you have and with some creativity, you can build upon that with stylish furniture and elegant shading, and with a bespoke outdoor kitchen in one corner, you are ready for next summer.