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Alfresco vs Pergola: Which Outdoor Living Space is Best?

Creating an outdoor living and entertainment space is a popular choice for many homeowners when it comes to home improvement. Two of the most common options for such spaces are Alfresco and Pergola. In this article, we will compare and contrast these two options to help you make the best decision for your backyard.

A Pro Tip

If you're considering building an outdoor living space, such as an Alfresco or Pergola, it's essential to think about how you'll use the space. This will help you determine which option is best for you. For example, if you plan to use the space all year round, Alfresco may be the better option as it provides a fully enclosed area that can be used in any weather. However, if you want to create a space that connects you with nature, Pergola may be the better choice. Additionally, consider the maintenance requirements and cost of each option to ensure that you choose one that fits your budget and lifestyle. At Templeton Built, we can help you decide which outdoor living option is best for you and guide you through the construction process.

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Alfresco vs Pergola: Definition and differences

Alfresco and Pergola are both popular choices for outdoor living and entertainment spaces. Alfresco is a fully enclosed outdoor living area, similar to an indoor living space, while Pergola is an open structure that provides partial shade. The key difference between the two is that Alfresco is fully enclosed, while Pergola is open.

Design and functionality 

The design and functionality of Alfresco and Pergola differ significantly. Alfresco provides a fully enclosed outdoor living space that can be used all year round. It is often equipped with heating and cooling systems, lighting, and entertainment features such as televisions. On the other hand, Pergola provides partial shade and is ideal for creating an outdoor area that connects you with nature. It is perfect for entertaining guests or relaxing with family, as it provides an open space with fresh air and natural light.

Materials and maintenance 

The materials used in the construction of Alfresco and Pergola also differ. Alfresco is usually made from brick, stone, or concrete, while Pergola is made from timber, aluminum, or steel. The materials used for each option affect the maintenance required to keep them in good condition. Alfresco requires regular cleaning, sealing, and repairs, while Pergola requires regular staining and sealing to maintain its appearance.

Cost comparison 

The cost of constructing Alfresco and Pergola varies significantly depending on factors such as the materials used, size, and design. Alfresco tends to be more expensive to construct than Pergola due to the materials used, enclosed design, and additional features such as heating and cooling systems. Pergola, on the other hand, is more affordable due to its open design and less expensive materials.

Installation and permits 

The installation process for Alfresco and Pergola differs as well. Alfresco requires a more complex installation process, as it involves constructing a fully enclosed outdoor living area. This can take several weeks or months and requires the help of experienced builders. Pergola, on the other hand, is less complicated to install and can be completed in a shorter time frame. Additionally, some local councils may require permits for the construction of Alfresco or Pergola, so it's essential to check with your local council before beginning the installation process.


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Choosing between Alfresco and Pergola depends on various factors, such as your budget, the design you prefer, and the amount of maintenance you're willing to do. Alfresco provides a fully enclosed outdoor living area that can be used all year round and offers additional features such as heating and cooling systems. Pergola, on the other hand, provides an open space that connects you with nature and is more affordable to construct. In the end, the best choice will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

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