7 Ways to Extend Your Patio Season Year-Round
Outdoor living can be constrained due to seasonality, but it doesn’t have to be– especially if it means you’ll utilize your patio area longer!
Guest post by Katie Kuchta
Outdoor living can be constrained due to seasonality, but it doesn’t have to be– especially if it means you’ll utilize your patio area longer! As the temperatures get cooler and the days get shorter, it becomes harder to create a space outdoors that is comfortable and inviting. Here are some tips on how to continue to enjoy your outdoor living space indefinitely.
1. Outdoor Heater
Perhaps the more obvious of cool weather accommodations, adding heat to your outdoor space will allow you and your guests to relax in fresh air with warmth. Whatever your budget may be, there’s a heater that will work for your space. Ranging from less than $100 to well over $1,000, they come in many varieties and power sources such as a table-top gas heater or a standing solar-powered heater.
Standing heaters are great for heating up a patio space, typically running off of propane or natural gas. Using natural gas is the more efficient of the two and you’ll never run out of fuel. You also have the option of an electric heater, that has a lower upfront cost and costs less to run than a gas-powered heater. If you’re looking for a cost effective and eco-friendly option, a solar-powered heater is just right for you–providing all the warmth from the sun’s energy.
2. Fire Pit
Creating a space with warmth is key, but adding that element with an extra emphasis on aesthetic appeal is a bonus. You can easily create your own using bricks or large rocks to create the pit or purchase one installed by professionals, depending on your budget. Similar to outdoors heaters, there are a variety of fuel source options. If open wood burning isn’t allowed, you can install a fire pit that is fueled by gas. One advantage is that you can fire up your pit in an instant.
Not only can fire pits add warmth and depth to your patio’s hardscaping, but it also creates a collaborative social atmosphere– there’s nothing more nostalgic than roasting marshmellows or telling scary stories around the flickering blaze of a real fire.
There’s nothing that really outlines a space like adding coverage by way of roof or walls, such as a pergola. As LawnStarter says, “pergolas give that “room” feeling to an open space.” Adding in a pergola or retractable awning can definitely help curate a more suitable ambiance in the winter months. If you already have a covered patio, you can hang outdoor curtains to contain heat and to help keep out wind or rain. Hanging up curtains will also add a whimsical, potentially romantic look to your patio space, softening the corners and rigidness of hardscaping. With the selection of colors, patterns and styles, you won’t have to sacrifice your fashion sense to keep the patio warm!
4. Cozy Fabrics
Creating an extra comfortable outdoor space means adding textiles that will repel warmth from their materials. These textiles include getting cozy outdoor couches, warm blankets, and throw pillows—all items that you or guests can curl up on and into. A couch with cushy cushions and throw pillows sure beats your run-of-the-mill patio furniture. Have a stack of low-cost, but decorative, blankets on hand when additional warmth is needed.
5. Hot Tub or Spa
Relaxing in a steamy hot tub or in-ground spa feels great all year long, but in cold weather, the temperature difference can make it feel even better. Although, using it during the cool months may require a little preparation before stepping out into cold weather in a swimsuit. Keep snow and ice off the path to the tub and the top of your tub or the spa cover to make it accessible whenever you want to use it–plus, it will help keep heating costs down.
To experience ultimate luxury post jacuzzi bathing, keep a towel warmer next to the spa. It’s actually more practical than it sounds—a warm towel will keep your body temperature from dropping too quickly when you step from the tub.
6. Hot Beverages
Hot chocolate will always be the quintessential winter warm-up, why not be a bit more exciting? Take the time to create a personalized hot beverage that you, your family or guests can enjoy to help withstand the cool weather.
- Warm Mulled Cider – Simmer apple cider with mulling spices, orange zest, and ginger. It smells as good as it tastes.
- Mulled Wine With Cranberries – Simmer cranberry juice cocktail, cinnamon sticks and star anise for 15 minutes. Stir in the wine and cranberries and bring back to a simmer before serving.
- Warm Hazelnut Toddy – Stir hot water into Frangelico and spoon that dollop of whipped cream onto the top.
7. Winter Grilling
Grilled meats and kabobs don’t only have to be a summer food item, enjoy summertime barbeque inspired flavors in the winter months by utilizing your grill. For that matter, grilling can be done year-round, all you have to do is keep a pathway cleared if you’re in a location that experiences snowfall. You might want to move the grill closer to the house for the winter to save yourself some steps when it’s really bitter out.
If and when the temperatures are below freezing, it can take twice as long to preheat the grill and cook your food. Keep the lid closed as much as possible when cooking, the more often you open it the longer it will take due to the release of heat.
When preparing your home for winter, whether it be indoor or outdoor maintenance – save the storage time and carry summertime outdoor living over into the cooler months using these tips!
Katie Kuchta is a marketing guru, gardening and outdoor living expert, and self proclaimed foodie. She can often be found cooking in the kitchen or on the hunt for the best tacos, follow her on Instagram @atxtacoqueen.