The weather has definitely colder in many regions, but before you pack away all the deck furniture, think about how you can restyle your deck or patio for the colder months. Depending on where you live, you may be able to spend time in your outdoor living space throughout the whole winter.
If you live in a region that gets very cold and snowy, you’ll have to make some accommodations, but there are still ways to spend a little time in the great outdoors comfortably.
Enjoy the Colder Weather by Restyling Your Deck or Patio
Get a Heater
Even if you have a fire pit or fireplace outside, a great outdoor heater is the easiest way to stay cozy. Many different types of outdoor heaters are available, from portable, propane-fueled types to electric radiant heaters that can be plugged in or hard-wired.
The most important considerations are the size of the area you want to heat and its location in your yard. You can even use multiple heaters to stay extra toasty or to accommodate a larger group of people. With the turn of a knob or the flip of a switch, you can be comfortable spending time outside, no matter the temperature.
Add a Cover
If you’re fortunate enough to have a covered space outdoors, you’re already a step ahead when it comes to enjoying your patio in cold weather. A roof overhead keeps rain and snow off of the patio or deck and lets you leave certain types of furniture outdoors year-round. A cover also helps break some of the wind.
If you don’t have a covered patio area, the same awnings or covers you use in the summer can be helpful in chilly weather too. If you’re having people over and want to spend time outside, using your gazebo-style set-up can make it feel cozier. Keep in mind that if your area gets a lot of ice or snow, a heavy coating can collapse these types of temporary covers.
Install an Outdoor Fireplace
Load up on firewood and prepare for some cozy outdoor time! There’s nothing like a roaring blaze to provide plenty of heat and ambiance in the backyard. Maybe you’re lucky and have a permanent fireplace fixture, but if not, there are lots of freestanding outdoor fireplace styles that can easily go anywhere in your backyard.
The range includes large kinds that look just like a big stone fireplace to smaller chiminea styles as well as chic modern monoliths that have plenty of style to spare. For real portability, there are single-use outdoor fires for purchase that can be used quite literally anywhere outdoors.
Try a Gas Firepit
Lots of people want the cozy ambiance of an outdoor fire but don’t have the time or patience to deal with firewood, ashes and the lot. For these homeowners, a gas fire pit may be the answer. With plenty of stylish details, gas firepits can be fueled with either propane or natural gas in the case models that can be professionally connected to a gas line.
These are super simple to use because they fire up with the turn of a knob and unlike a real fire — which is a commitment for at least a couple of hours — a gas fire pit can be enjoyed for a short time. That said, these do not put out a great deal of heat, so don’t choose a gas fire pit if your goal is to keep warm.
Add Plenty of Blankets
You can’t go wrong with adding blankets to your outdoor space when the weather is cold. Whether you want to really bundle up or just need to ward off a chill, blankets are a cheap and easy way to do so. If you’re having guests, make sure that everyone has a cozy blanket to use while seated.
If your outdoor furniture is not so cozy — read wrought iron or wood without cushions — two blankets are a good idea, one to cover the cold seat and another to wrap up in. Besides, a fuzzy plaid blanket draped across the seats adds a good deal of seasonal flair.
Hang Warm Lighting
No matter what types of outdoor lighting you have, string lights will immediately give your deck or patio a cozier feeling all year round. String the lights around the deck, along the edge of any structure or attach them to poles to crisscross the patio.
Lights that are rated for safe outdoor use can generally be left up in all types of weather so they’re a great and stylish investment. Plug them in whenever you spend time outside or even just to enjoy the cozy appearance from inside the house.
Use Cozy Accessories
Depending on the situation with your outdoor space, you can add a variety of accessories to make it more fun and cozy. Obviously, if it’s a covered space, you have more options for styling it and leaving the items out. For uncovered spaces, it may be necessary to only bring them out when you’re enjoying the outdoors.
Try setting up a bar cart with your favorite cold-weather beverages or create a hot chocolate tray that has everything you need but the hot water. Stash extra hats, scarves and mittens in a storage table like the one above so they’ll always be handy. Be creative and make the space your own!
Block the Wind
The weather where you live might not turn bitterly cold, but a stiff breeze can certainly make it feel that way. Really enjoying the outdoors in the colder months may require something to block the wind. Those who live in windy places may have already taken this into consideration when designing an outdoor living space, but if not, it’s still possible to create one relatively easily.
A row of planters with decent-size evergreens can provide a portable windbreak as can any type of outdoor wall construction. Some types of long planters are available with a tall wood back, which can be enough to protect a small seating area.
Stay Closer to Home
Unless you have a fireplace elsewhere in the backyard, in cold weather you’ll want to stay as close to home as possible. By this, we mean that it’s best to set up your winter seating areas as close to the house as possible.
Being close to the door makes it easier to bring food and drinks outside and the house itself can likely provide some shelter from the wind. If you’re setting up any fire, heater or grill closer to the house, be sure to take the proper safety precautions.
Invest in Warm Seating
For real cozy warmth, there’s nothing like a heated seat. Some outdoor furniture brands sell chairs and love seats that have a built-in warming mechanism so that when you sit down the seat is all toasty and cozy.
These can be a great investment if you like to spend a lot of time outdoors, especially if the climate where you live is very cold. They tend to be a little pricey but they are much more stylish and durable than any portable seat heaters.
Keep on Grilling!
Grilling outdoors definitely doesn’t have to stop when the summer ends. Grilling in colder weather means that instead of sweating over the grill in the summer heat, you can stay toasty and warm by the grill. The same goes for a pizza oven, which can be even more fun in the autumn and winter.
If the weather at your house is snowy, you’ll need to do a little advance planning for the smoothest grilling experience. Outdoor cooking spaces that are covered make it easy to keep grilling in snowy weather. If not covered, you’ll want to keep a clear path shoveled to the grill or pizza oven. If you have a portable pizza oven, be sure to keep the spot where you want to set it up clear of ice and snow too.
With a little planning and creativity, it’s possible to squeeze even more enjoyment from your outdoor living space when the summer months are just a memory. Try it and see — you just might find the winter period more tolerable!