How to Make Your Patio Perfect for Pets

Enclosed Patios

Pets and patios can be a peculiar business. You want your outdoor addition to be resistant to the odd little mess and potential scratching, but comfortable enough to make your pets feel at home.
Thankfully, finding this balance doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are four basic steps to ensuring your patio is perfect for your pets.

1. Ditch the Dangerous Plants

Plants that seem like great additions to most gardens can actually be toxic to certain household pets. You’ve probably heard of lilies being poisonous to cats, but your feline friends can also be harmed by:

  • • Daffodils
  • • Tulips
  • • Aloe vera.


    And just when you thought your dogs were safe, guess again. Most canines can be poisoned by:

  • • Daffodils
  • • Oleander
  • • Tulips
  • • Hyacinth.
    The easy option is to chat to your vet, and do a little bit of research before decorating your patio with potted plants.


    2. Supply Some Shade


    Shady Boy 

    If you expect your pets to spend time outside, you’ll need to offer them some shelter from the elements. Uninsulated patio roofs can build up more heat than your average pet can withstand, whereas insulated roofing has a polystyrene core that acts as a thermal barrier against the harsh Australian sun.

    3. Where’s the Water?


    Where's The Water 

    Keeping your pets hydrated throughout the day is essential. But you also don’t want them knocking their water bowl over.

    Custom drinking wells aren’t just a helpful addition for your furry friend, but can also give your patio a stylish touch.


    4. Stay Stimulated

    Pets do the worst damage when they’re bored and under-stimulated. So, why not give them something to do? If you’re yet to start building your patio, be sure to leave enough room for your dog’s favourite toys, or even a cat habitat.

    Where's The Water 

    If you give your pets something to do, there’s a good chance you can keep them from damaging your flooring and furniture.

    To build a good patio for your good boys and girls, go to the good-est patio builders. Chat to Altec today and arrange a free design consultation and quote.

    The Best Plants for Your Patio


    No matter whether your patio is open, roofed or completely enclosed, a bit of greenery never goes astray. That little pop of colour can bring your outdoor space to life.
    But how do you make sure it can survive with limited light? And what if your plant completely takes over your patio?

    You can put all those worries to rest, because the experts at Altec have put together the ultimate guide to selecting plants for your patio.

    Enclosed Patios

    If you’re dealing with limited light, there are plenty of options for keeping your patio looking lush.

    Golden Cane Palm


    Golden Cane Palm 

    These impressive palms thrive in minimal light. You can even control the size and shape of the palm by selecting the right pot.




    Ferns need more than their fair share of water and love. But sunlight? Absolutely not.

    They thrive on forest floors and in shady hideaways, so they’re perfect for enclosed patios. Just be sure to choose the right pot for your fern – they can grow bigger than you’d expect.

    Semi-Shaded Patios

    Perhaps the most ideal conditions for plants to thrive in is when they’ll see some morning sun, while being sheltered by the shade of your patio through the warmest hours of the day.




    Morning sun and afternoon shade – that’s all it takes for these stunning flowers to shine. But you’ll want to make sure they don’t get more sun than they bargained for, or they could get cooked by the sun.  




    Speaking of cooking, you can grow the ultimate tropical fruit in your very own patio! And unlike a lot of exotic fruits, the plant of the pineapple needs little-to-no attention. Just some sun every now and again, a brief bit of water, and it’ll take care of itself.


    Professional botanists have advised us pineapples actually come from trees, not tins.


    Full-Sun Patios

    Once you’ve paved or sealed an area, it’s easy for it to feel a little lifeless. To give the space a touch of liveliness, simply partner your patio with some potted plants.




    It’s easy to grow, it loves the sun, and it’s delicious. What more could you ask for? 




    These plants are essentially tough, thorny vines covered in pretty flowers. In fact, they’ll survive whatever wild conditions Australia can throw at ‘em.
    If you need a pop of colour, the bougainvillea might be your best bet.

    Looking for a little extra relief from the Aussie sun? Book Altec for a free consultation and get a quote for your new patio today!


    3 BBQ Recipes to Try this Summer

    Is there anything better than a BBQ on a hot summer’s day? If you’re not sure what to put on the menu at your next alfresco fry-up, don’t stress. As your local outdoor living experts, Altec can help you make the most of your BBQing skills with these classic summer BBQ recipes.



    Grilled Brown Sugar Garlic Chicken Skewers

    Featuring juicy marinated chicken and capsicum grilled to perfection, this dish is the perfect entrée for an outdoor dinner party. Combining the sweetness of brown sugar with a fragrant garlic flavour, it’ll be a massive hit at your next BBQ.


    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1 cup BBQ sauce
    • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
    • 3 garlic cloves, chopped finely
    • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (if you’re not a fan of spicy food, skip this ingredient)
    • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
    • 4 medium chicken breasts
    • 2 red capsicums, diced
    • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish.


    1. 1. To make the marinade, mix the BBQ sauce, brown sugar, oregano, cayenne pepper, garlic, and paprika together in a small bowl.

    2. 2. Cut the chicken breasts into cubes and season with salt and pepper.

    3. 3. Dice the capsicum into small pieces.

    4. 4. Marinate the chicken in half of the BBQ marinade for at least 20 minutes. To make your chicken extra juicy, leave it marinating in the fridge overnight.

    5. 5. Once you chicken is done marinating, skewer it together with the capsicum and grill over medium heat. Drizzle your skewers with the leftover marinade to add extra flavour. Cook the chicken for about 2-3 minutes per side, until it’s cooked all the way through and slightly charred. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

    Recipe credit: Eatwell101




    2. Sweet and Sticky BBQ Salmon

    Instead of opting for steak at your next BBQ, why not go with a healthier cut of meat to mix things up? Light yet delicious, this sweet and sticky BBQ salmon recipe is a great option if you’re trying to eat clean over the summer.


    • Salmon fillets, with the skin on (the number of fillets you’ll need will depend on the amount of people attending your BBQ)
    • 1 tbsp lemon zest
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 5 tbsp soy sauce
    • 4 tbps brown sugar (preferably soft brown sugar)
    • 5 tbsp water
    • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • Fresh chives and lemon slices for garnishing.


    1. 1. In a small bowl, stir together the garlic, lemon zest, soy sauce, pepper, sugar, water and vegetable oil until the sugar has completely dissolved.

    2. 2. Marinate the salmon portions in this mixture for at least 2 hours in the fridge (leaving the fillets overnight will make them even tastier).

    3. 3. Lightly coat your BBQ with oil and turn it to medium heat. Cook the salmon fillets skin side up for around two minutes, and then flip them over and continue cooking for another four minutes. Depending on how well done you like your salmon, continue cooking until your happy with the crispiness of your fillets.

    4. 4. Once your fillets are done cooking, garnish them with the chopped chives and lemon slices.

    Recipe Credit: Tassal Group




    2. Portobello Mushroom Burgers

    This recipe is ideal if you’ve got vegetarians coming over, but even diehard meat-eaters will love these Portobello mushrooms.


    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
    • 4 Portobello mushroom caps
    • 1 tablespoon honey


    1. 1. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, basil and olive oil. Brush over both sides of the mushroom caps.

    2. 2. Coat your BBQ’s grill rack with non-stick cooking spray before firing it up to medium heat. Grill the mushrooms over medium heat for 10-12 minutes or until tender, turning frequently.

    3. 3. Serve on burger buns with lettuce, tomato, cheese slices, and any other burger toppings you like the look of.

    Recipe credit: Reader’s Digest


    We hope you enjoy cooking up a storming on your BBQ this summer. For more alfresco dining inspiration, check out some of our other favourite BBQ recipes.


    How to Maintain Your Outdoor Furniture

    South East Queensland’s climate can be unkind to outdoor furniture. Even if you invest in high quality pieces, not even the toughest materials can withstand months of exposure to sun, wind, and rain. You might not be able to control the weather, but there are steps you can take to keep your outdoor furniture from falling apart. These are some of our best tips and tricks for outdoor furniture maintenance.


    Take Cover

    Designed to withstand the elements, outdoor furniture covers can work wonders for protecting your patio’s décor. Most outdoor furniture retailers sell covers in a range of shapes and sizes, so you can cover up your tables, chairs, sofas, sun lounges and other outdoor pieces. If you can’t find a cover with the right dimensions for a particular piece of furniture, simply use some tarpaulin.

    They’re not the most aesthetically pleasing solution, but you don’t have to leave your furniture covers on all year round. Just be sure you have them on standby for extreme weather events.


    Get Ready for Rain

    No matter how vigilant you are with protecting your patio, your furniture will inevitably be exposed to bad weather at some point. Wooden furniture is particularly vulnerable to moisture, but applying a light layer of oil or a stain can help minimise the risk of water damage.

    Simply sand back your wooden furniture, coat it in a protective oil or stain, and let it dry. This won’t make your timber pieces 100% waterproof, but it should at least delay the destructive effects of rain and humidity.


    Stow Away Cushions and Pillows

    Pillows and cushions can add a stylish touch to your outdoor living areas, but soft furnishings don’t fare well in the outdoors. To keep mould at bay, stash your cushions and pillows somewhere dry during wet weather. The same goes for blankets and throws.

    If you’ve left it too late and your outdoor furnishing are already showing signs of mould, dilute a small amount of bleach in water and use the mixture to soak your cushion covers (be sure to wear gloves to protect your hands). For especially stubborn stains, you may need to use a scrubbing brush.

    These simple tips should keep your outdoor furniture looking fresh come rain or shine. Of course, if really bad weather is headed your way, it’s best to bring all your outdoor furniture indoors to prevent property damage.
    For more tips on protecting your outdoor area from the elements, check out our blog on Preparing Your Patio for Storm Season.



    Décor Tips for your Sunroom

    You don’t have to be an expert interior decorator to make your sunroom look stylish. Usually installed on a timber or concrete foundation, sunrooms have the advantage of being exposed to plenty of natural lighting. Enhancing such a bright and airy space is easy, even if you don’t have a huge budget to work with.

    These simple décor tips will make your sunroom feel sophisticated and comfortable.

    Play with Colours

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    Can't decide what colour to use in your sunroom? It all comes down to the type of ambience you're trying to create. For a clean, minimalist look, white or beige tones always looks classically stylish. If you prefer more eye-catching colours, don't be afraid to branch out with brighter shades. Light blue and pastel pink look great in natural lighting, while rich tones like red and yellow will give your sunroom a warm and cosy feel.

    Depending on what materials your sunroom is made of, you could embrace the rustic trend by leaving your walls untouched. Exposed brick or timber are ideal for creating that purposely unpolished look.

    Have Fun with Furnishings

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    To ensure your sunroom blends in seamlessly with the rest of your home, don't neglect to fill it with furniture. This part of your property may feel like an afterthought, but furnishing your sunroom is the easiest way to make the most of its style potential.

    From outdoor settings to comfortable sofas, you can choose to adorn your sunroom with a range of fixtures. Comfy couches and plush ottomans will make your sunroom feel like it's been built especially for relaxation, offering an escape from the rest of your house.

    You could even convert your sunroom into a study with a writing desk and office chair, or an entertaining area. The possibilities are endless.

    Go Wild with Greenery

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    Why not make the most of all that natural sunlight by adding a little greenery to your sunroom? Whether you want to place tiny succulents on the window ledge or create an indoor jungle vibe with towering ferns, plants are the ultimate sunroom accessory.

    Just be careful not to scatter dirt all over the floor while potting your plants, and water them regularly to keep the leaves from looking dull.

    If you don't have a sunroom yet, there's never been a better time to install one. In addition to providing you with a sheltered outdoor entertaining area, a sunroom can also add value to your property. If you can picture yourself kicking back in your very own sunroom, get in touch with Altec to book a free design consultation today.

    How to Clean Outdoor Blinds


    How to Clean Outdoor Blinds

    South East Queensland is notorious for its humid summer weather. If your outdoor blinds are starting to look a little grimy after months of weathering these steamy conditions, we can help you whip them into shape with some simple yet effective cleaning tips. Washing your outdoor blinds may not sound like the most fun job, but the longer you put it off, the more dirt you’ll have to deal with. Best bite the bullet now before all that dust and grime becomes a permanent fixture!
    Here’s how to freshen up your outdoor blinds without breaking a sweat:

    Do Some Dust Busting

    Before deep cleaning your blinds with soap and water, clear away any loose dust and debris with a soft brush. Be sure to clean the underside of your blinds as well as the outer facing side. If your blinds are made out of a fabric material, try to get rid of any wildlife droppings, tree sap and leaves as quickly as possible to avoid permanent discolouration. Nothing can bring down the visual appeal of your home’s exterior quite like bird poo stains.
    If you don’t own a soft brush, any old sock or microfiber cloth should do the trick. Don’t resort to using a brush with spiky thistles as this could leave permanent scratches all over your blinds.

    Choose the Right Cleaning Equipment

    Once you’re done clearing away loose dust and debris, you can get to work on more stubborn stains. Consider the type of material your blinds are made out of before investing in cleaning equipment. Plastic and aluminium blinds can handle most mild soaps, but try to avoid using harsh chemicals like undiluted bleach.
    Wooden blinds are slightly more susceptible to damage – when soaked with water, they can swell up and get stuck. This is why it’s important to always proceed with caution if you’re working with timber. Instead of going wild with your outdoor hose, simply wipe your blinds down with a damp cloth.
    Not keen on using harsh soaps? Dishwashing liquid and watered down vinegar are both effective yet gentle cleaning agents. Just to be on the safe side, always wear gloves if you plan to use any chemicals during the cleaning process.

    Post-Cleaning Precautions

    Once you’ve got your blinds looking brand new again, let the material dry out properly. Fabric blinds can become a breeding ground for mould and mildew when exposed to damp conditions. To avoid undoing all your hard work, make sure your blinds are bone dry before rolling them back up. You can speed up the drying process by wiping away excess moisture with a towel.
    Of course, no matter how hard you scrub, outdoor blinds that have been neglected for years can be impossible to get completely clean. If your outdoor blinds are too far gone to save, why not treat yourself to some new ones? Get in touch with Altec to enquire about installing outdoor blinds.

    How to Maximise the Lifespan of Your Carport or Patio’s Roof


    From hail storms to pouring rain, the roof of your patio or carport has a lot to contend with. No matter how well-designed your outdoor structure is, even the strongest materials become vulnerable to wear and tear after years of exposure to South East Queensland’s harsh climate.

    If you’re hoping to avoid a costly repair bill, these are some of the steps you can take to maximise the lifespan of your carport or patio’s roof:


    Check for Damage

    Even if the roof of your outdoor area looks fine from below, you never know what kind of damage could be lurking out of sight. Try to inspect the roof of your patio or carport at least once a month, and after every bad storm.

    Not sure what to look for? Loose shingles and slightly raised panels are susceptible to powerful winds, while small dimples are a typical result of hail damage. Anything that looks out of the ordinary could indicate trouble.
    Clear Gutters and Downpipes

    Without a proper drainage system, heavy rain can wreak havoc on outdoor structures. Clearing away soggy leaves may be a bothersome job, but it’s got to be done if you want the roof of your carport or patio to survive the wet season intact.

    Gutters and downpipes form an integral part of your outdoor area’s structural integrity. Failing to clean them regularly can result in water damage when it rains, and fire hazards during dry spells. Clogged up pipes can also attract rodents and other creepy crawlies.


    Don’t Forget to Clean

    Even if your carport or patio is structurally sound, failing to clean its roof regularly can bring down your home’s whole aesthetic. You’d never let your floors or kitchen benches get covered in a thick layer of dust and cobwebs, so why neglect your outdoor area?

    Use these cleaning tips to keep the roof of your patio or carport looking fresh:

    •   Get rid of algae by hosing down your roof (just be careful not to slip over or fall off your ladder, and avoid high-pressure water as this may damage your roofing materials)
    •   Use a broom with a telescopic handle to brush away cobwebs
    •   Trim back tree branches to prevent debris from building up.

    Roof maintenance can be a hazardous task for amateurs. If you’re not sure what you’re doing, call in Altec to get the job done properly.



    Summer BBQ Recipes


    From grilled steak to charred veggies, you can create all kinds of tasty treats with a BBQ. Don’t have a tonne of confidence in your barbequing abilities? Alfresco cooking is easier than it looks – to get you started, these are some of our favourite summer BBQ recipes.



    1. Black & Blushing Worcestershire Fillet

    Created by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, this recipe adds a gourmet twist to classic grilled steak.


      A piece of fillet steak

      2 generous teaspoons of French mustard

     8-10 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

      A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

      2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

      Unsalted butter.


    Excluding the unsalted butter, place all your ingredients in a large sandwich bag (finely chop the sprigs of rosemary first). Squeeze all the air out of the bag, close it securely and place it in the fridge.

    Leave your steak to marinate for at least a few nights (preferably overnight).

    Around 1 ½ hours before you’re ready to start grilling your steak, place it in a cool part of your kitchen so it warms up to room temperature (be careful not to leave it out too long).

    Preheat your BBQ. While you’re waiting for it to get hot, remove the fillet from the marinade and pat it down with a paper towel.

    Place the steak onto the hottest part of your BBQ for around 8 – 10 minutes (flip the fillet over around every minute or so). Add as much butter as you need to keep it looking juicy.

    If your steak ends up looking a little burnt on the outside, don’t panic – it’s supposed to look like that. The crispiness will contrast nicely with the juiciness of the meat.



    2. BBQ Grilled Chicken Wings

    The Little Kitchen have come up with a simple yet tasty method for grilling chicken wings.


     15 bone-in chicken wings

     Vegetable oil

     Barbecue sauce.


    Rinse the chicken wings and wipe completely dry with paper towels.

    Line a baking tray with foil.

    Brush the grates of your BBQ with vegetable oil (you can use a paper towel and tongs to do this).

    Place the chicken wings onto the grill. After 4 minutes, flip them over and brush the grilled side with BBQ sauce.

    After 3 minutes, flip them over again and brush the other side with BBQ sauce.

    Allow the chicken wings to cool for 5 – 10 minutes before eating.


    Cheesy Corn

    3. Cheesy Corn on the Cob

    Vegetarians will love this slightly indulgent version of corn on the cob from BBC Good Food.


    4 corn cobs

    30g melted butter

    30g finely grated parmesan.


    Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil. Cook the corn cobs until they’re tender (around 5 minutes).

    Season the corn with your favourite spices (paprika, cayenne pepper and salt all taste delicious with corn).

    Place the corn on a preheated BBQ and cook for around 5 minutes, or until the kernels start to blister. Turn the cobs regularly to cook them evenly all over.

    Take the corn off the grill. Before they cool down, brush them with a generous amount of butter and sprinkle with parmesan.


    Whether you’ve got a spacious deck or a cosy porch, these recipes are suited to all kinds of alfresco kitchens. Don’t have an outdoor area for BBQing? Alec can help you build one! Book a consultation today.


    Decorating Your Outdoor Area for Christmas

    Decorating Your Outdoor Area for Christmas

    Christmas is just around the corner and it’s time to dust off your decorations and start prepping your home for the holidays. To make the outside of your house look extra festive this year, Altec can help you bring a touch of Christmas cheer to your patio.

    Whether you’re planning to go wild with Christmas lights or you want to create a more subtle effect, get the look you want with these outdoor decorating tips:



    Get Creative with Christmas Lights

    There’s nothing wrong with adding a few fairy lights to your patio and calling it a day – but if you really want to make your home stand out, don’t be afraid to get creative with your Christmas lighting scheme.

    Here are some cool things you can do with Christmas lights in your outdoor area:

    • Wrap foliage in fairy lights – From towering trees to tiny pot plants, any type of greenery will look festive once it’s been bound with twinkling fairy lights.

    • Highlight windows and doors – Tracing the outside edges of windows and doors in rope lights will make your home look like a glowing gingerbread house.

    • Hang glowing wreaths – Make your Christmas wreath look even more festive by fitting it with a few fairy lights.

    To keep your patio free of electrical hazards, always check the Christmas lights you’re planning to install on your patio are suitable for outdoor use. Read the instruction manual carefully and make sure none of your electrical leads are damaged.



    Create Ambience with Christmas Candles

    If you prefer a soft glow to flashing fairy lights, give your outdoor area a beautifully festive vibe by placing a few candles around your patio. Keep in mind candles can create a fire hazard when left unattended, and you should always extinguish them before heading indoors.

    Create the perfect setting for an alfresco Christmas dinner by placing clusters of chunky candles on and around your outdoor dining table. Securing your candles inside cylinder shaped glass vases will make them harder to knock over, minimising the risk of fire damage.



    Embellish Store-Bought Decorations

    Not much of a DIYer? If you still want to add personal details to your outdoor Christmas decorations, simply alter store-bought items. Add a few homemade details to your wreath by decorating it with foliage from your own garden, or tie old ribbons around store-bought reindeer figurines.

    Rather than trying to become a master of Christmas arts and crafts overnight, these simple embellishments can save you tons of time and effort.

    Once you’ve got your outdoor Christmas decorations set up, you can start celebrating the festive season in style. Of course, Christmastime in South East Queensland can get pretty hot and humid. To keep you outdoor area cool this Christmas, we can offer handy tips on shielding your patio from soaring temperatures in our blog post on Technology to Improve Your Outdoor Living.


    Privacy and Protection for Carports and Patios

    Privacy and Protection for Patios and Carports

    Are you trying to shield your patio or carport from prying eyes? Or maybe you want to secure your structure against thieves and bad weather? Altec can help you do all of the above! With a few simple alterations, you can easily enhance your outdoor area’s privacy and protection. Here’s how:


    Make the Most of Your Garden

    Shielding your patio or carport behind a dense wall of greenery won’t just keep nosy neighbours at bay – you’ll also be less likely to get robbed. Since opportunistic thieves won’t be able to see your patio (or as many entry points into your house), they won’t be as tempted to take advantage of any unattended valuables.

    From hedges to large pot plants, you can use any type of foliage to prevent passers-by from peeking into your outdoor area. Growing enough greenery to make your patio or carport feel protected can take quite a bit patience and gardening skills, but the end result will be worth your time and effort.


    Install Protective Features

    Plants and trees may offer some concealment, but they don’t exactly guarantee complete protection against thieves and stickybeaks. If you’re looking for a more concrete solution to your outdoor area’s lack of privacy and protection, Altec can help you install a custom-made privacy or weather screen. Made of low-maintenance materials designed to withstand the elements, these screens can cope with rain, hail and sky-high temperatures.

    In addition to making your outdoor area feel more like your own private sanctuary, having a weather screen in place means you won’t have to worry so much the next time a thunderstorm rolls into town. From colour-coated lattice to static louvres, you can choose to build your screen from a range of materials at Altec.


    Enclose Your Outdoor Area

    If you really want to make your patio or carport feel secure, enclose the entire area to create an indoor/outdoor hybrid space. You’ll still be able to enjoy alfresco living, but with more privacy and superior protection against bad weather. Built to last, our screen enclosures come with powder-coated aluminium frames. All you need to do is slide open the doors and windows to enjoy the feeling of being outdoors.

    Every patio is unique, and finding the right solution to your structure’s lack of privacy and protection can be tricky. Get in touch with Altec to learn more about making alterations to your outdoor area today.


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