What’s the difference between a patio and alfresco?

Understanding the Difference Between a Patio and an Alfresco

When contemplating the ideal outdoor space for your home, two popular options often arise: patios and alfrescos. These terms, while sometimes used interchangeably, refer to distinct outdoor structures with unique features and purposes. This blog will explore the differences between a patio and an alfresco, helping you decide which suits your home best.

So what exactly defines a Patio?

A patio is a designated outdoor area, typically paved and often roofed, that adjoins a house. It serves as a versatile space for relaxation and entertainment. Patios offer a distinct separation between your home and the outdoors, providing a clear transition from indoor to outdoor living. They are ideal for homeowners who appreciate an open space that connects them directly with the natural environment. The flexibility in the design of patios allows for various styles and configurations, catering to diverse aesthetic preferences and space requirements. 

What is an Alfresco?

The term ‘alfresco,’ originating from Italian, literally means ‘in the fresh air.’ It typically refers to an outdoor extension of your home’s interior, seamlessly integrated under the primary house roof. This continuity in roofing and flooring materials emphasises its outdoor yet protected character. Alfrescos are perfect for those seeking a year-round outdoor space, protected from varying weather conditions. They offer a more cohesive aesthetic with your home, making them visually appealing and often adding more value to your property. 

Comparing Patios and Alfrescos

Roof StructureSeparate roof, distinct from the house.Integrates with the home’s main roofline.
AestheticsClear distinction from the house.Seamless look with the main house.
ProtectionMore exposed to elements.Offers shelter from all weather conditions.
CostGenerally more budget-friendly.Typically more expensive due to integration.
MaintenanceRequires more upkeep.Less frequent maintenance is needed. 

Choosing the Right Option for Your Home

Selecting between a patio and an alfresco depends on various factors, including your preference for openness versus protection, the design aesthetic you’re aiming for, your budget, the maintenance you’re willing to undertake, and the layout of your property. Both options can significantly enhance your outdoor living experience and potentially increase your home’s value.


In summary, while both patios and alfrescos offer appealing outdoor spaces, the choice depends on individual needs, property layout, and personal style. Whether you choose the openness of a patio or the protected, integrated design of an alfresco, both can create a delightful outdoor living area that enriches your home life.

Key Takeaways

Definition of PatioA paved outdoor area adjacent to a residence, often roofed, used for outdoor lounging, dining, etc.
Definition of Alfresco An outdoor extension of home’s interior, sheltered under the primary house roof, offering a cohesive appearance with the main house.
Roofing DifferencesPatio has its own separate roof; Alfresco integrates with the home’s main roofline.
UsagePatio is more open to elements; Alfresco offers all-weather protection.
Design FlexibilityPatios offer more design flexibility; Alfrescos are more integrated with home’s design.
Cost ComparisonPatios may be more budget-friendly; Alfrescos typically cost more due to integration with the main roof.
MaintenancePatios require more upkeep due to exposure; Alfrescos require less frequent maintenance.
Impact on Property ValueBoth patios and alfrescos can increase home value, with Alfrescos potentially offering a higher increase.
Suitability Based on PropertyPatios are suitable for larger spaces; Alfrescos are better for homes with limited outdoor space.
Considerations for DecisionConsider personal preferences, budget, property conditions, and specific usage needs.

For expert guidance in creating the perfect outdoor entertaining area for your property, reach out to the team at Cairns Patios.

If you’re looking for more help with outdoor living options in the Cairns area, please get in touch with the experienced and passionate team at Cairns Patios today.

In addition to custom patio designs, we offer a range of award-winning cyclone-grade carports that can be designed to meet your vehicle protection needs. Plus, through our partnership with Mortgage Choice, we can also help you with fast and competitive patio finance options.

To learn more, reach out to us online or call us directly at 07 4249 3474.

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