We all love long and lazy summer days spent on the patio. When you can sit back in the sunshine and enjoy the convenience of having everything you need on hand. But as the weather turns, many of us abandon the outside seating. Mostly because it’s just not been set up to deal with the winter.
A winter patio can be an amazing place. When the sun starts to set, and you can watch the stars coming out, all from the comfort of the backyard. All you need are a few adjustments, so the cold doesn’t feel quite so bitter. Below are some things you can do to make the patio enjoyable, year round.
Add a heat source
If there’s one thing that can keep you inside, it tends to be the cold. Even the nicest patio in the world can’t make up for sitting out after a bitter frost. Thankfully, there are many options available to warm up your winter patio.
Patio heaters come in a range of sizes and styles, are easy to install, and create a warm bubble for you to relax in. If that isn’t your style, try a fire pit. Not only do these keep you toasty, they look fantastic and create an amazing atmosphere.
Get some guests over and have a go at roasting marshmallows over a crackling fire pit. Other options include a stylish chiminea or an adaptable outdoor fireplace. Whatever you pick, there’s sure to be something to keep you warm on a winter’s night.
Add a roof
Sun umbrellas may generally be associated with, well, the sun, but they have their place in a winter patio. The heat from a fire pit will eventually start to rise, travelling up and away from where you want it. An umbrella traps some of this heat, keeping you warmer for longer.
It can also protect against the snow, and reduce the effect of wind. Be careful to pick one that’s a little heavier, in case of stronger gusts. A larger, gazebo style covering is best, and adds an extra layer of privacy as the sun starts to set.
Pile on the coziness
Pillows, blankets, and throws not only make a space warmer, they also make it more attractive. Entice yourself and guests onto the patio with chunky wool knits and soft fur. They can wrap themselves up when the chills set in, and strip a layer when the fire pit gets to work.
As well as the warmth, this adds to the design of a patio. When guests come over, they’ll be impressed with just how inviting the outdoor space is. This is the ideal opportunity to make a patio personal.
Perfect for snuggling up under with a mug of Irish coffee, and watching the stars come out. But be sure to pack everything away when you’re finished with it!
Soft lights should be diffused across the patio, adding a warmth and appeal to the space. Often lights in summer are used to create a vacation atmosphere, but they’re even more important in winter. Everyone knows how temperamental winter sunshine can be.
As the sun starts to set earlier and earlier in the afternoon, it’s tempting to head inside and out of the dark. Good lighting allows you to stay on the patio for longer, really soaking up the stillness of a winter’s night.
Avoid anything too bright, and instead use strings of LEDs for a subtle glow. When the holiday season starts, twinkling lights can be used to transform the patio into a seasonal wonderland.
The best summer seating may not always work for the colder winter months. For a start, make sure it’s weatherproof. Snow and wind can eat through poorly constructed furniture, and one bad night could leave unprotected wood unusable. Once the weatherproofing is sorted, think about the design.
In summer, slotted back and loose weaves are ideal, as they allow heat to dissipate. However, that’s the exact opposite of what you want in winter. Look for sofa-style furniture, or wicker with a tight weave. The back should offer support, and reduce the spaces heat can escape via.
Cushioned furniture is great because it traps the heat best. Arrange everything so that it’s close to the heat source, and use cozy groupings.
Keep on grilling
Did you know you can grill a whole turkey? The Thanksgiving guests may not appreciate it, but it does show what can be done on a grill. Don’t pack everything up when the summer sun has passed. Start experimenting with what different seasonal foods can be barbecued.
Squash is a particularly good choice for grilling, and is at its best over fall. Invest in a heat lamp to keep dishes warm, and discover just how good barbecued sprouts can be. (Okay, they’re probably not that good.)
Gardens may not be alive with color in the winter, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still look good. Grow some seasonal flowers and shrubs, and add some new plant pots.
Not only will they make the space more livable, they’ll also encourage you to spend time in the garden. Winter pansies are a particularly good choice, as they add a much-needed dose of color.
Finding the sunny spot
For the most part, there’s little choice in where the patio is installed. But if you can, try and set up seating in the warmest parts of the garden. We all need a little extra sun in the short winter days. Add a small seating area where the sun hits best, and load up on vitamin D.
Also, keep an eye out for when the garden is at its warmest. This is the time when the sun has been at work for a while to remove the chill. If you start going out at these moments, you’re more likely to stay out when the cold sets in. (Especially if you can turn your patio heater on to accommodate.)