During the winter months, there are only a few degrees between “crisp and invigorating” and “cold and miserable.” When it comes to outdoor entertaining, your guests won’t linger if they can’t feel their feet.
Turn up the heat with these easy winter styling ideas to create a warm and inviting outdoor area to be enjoyed all year round.
Outdoor Heating Ideas
Gas is usually the go-to option for outdoor heating on verandas, patios, and outdoor dining areas. High-mounted strip heaters create an even heat zone over a long table and are particularly effective in a covered area or fixed beneath eaves. Tall café heaters work better in an open courtyard space because hoods help spread the heat. Electric heaters will also do the job, but for ambience, you can’t beat the flicker of flames.
Fire pits are perfect for an open or semi-enclosed area. If you have small children, you might want to avoid a low-set open bowl and go for something built-in and guarded. Size is simple: The bigger the area, the bigger the pit. Chimneys are a great alternative for small or awkward spaces — they sit in the corner and radiate heat like a pot-belly stove.
Fabrics and soft furnishings bring color, warmth, and comfort to the scene. Cushions, blankets, and throws help push back the chill and retain heat from the fire. Texture plays a big role: Look for rich, tactile fabrics, such as velvets, chunky yarns, and soft, fluffy faux fur to create a luxe look that is accessible right now and affordable.
Waterproof materials are the sensible outdoor option, but they can’t provide the warmth of fabric and wool. Protect non-waterproof items outdoors with easy and practical storage such as a lidded plastic tub or zip-up waterproof bag tucked inside a bench seat. Knitted pieces are best stored indoors.
Solid fuel and wood-burning fire pits and chimneys will spit sparks, so ensure they’re on a level surface, and keep the area free of debris.
Brick, stone, and gravel are best.
Add little packets of silica to your outdoor blanket storage boxes to keep things extra dry and to prevent odors and mold developing.
For affordable outdoor blinds, check out The Home Depot, which includes bamboo.
Damp, chilly ground is a buzzkill, but a rug or click-together decking pieces will make a big difference with minimal work.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Increase the winter wonderland look with outdoor lighting such as fairy lights strung up around the perimeter. Warm metals such as brass, copper, and bronze, add depth and luster, conjuring up an enchanted garden in the flicker and gleam of lanterns and candles. Keep the atmosphere intimate by avoiding spotlights.
Instead, use a combination of uplights, garden stake lights, fairy lights, and hurricane lamps to create a strong yet diffused light. Always make sure there’s enough light for guests to see their food and easily move around the area.
(Photo Credit: Homes to Love)
- Faux fur cushion cover, $17.99, from H&M. 2. Solar Metal Lantern Outdoor Light Set, $19.99 for 20, from Target. 3. Whiten Throw, $20.97, from Wayfair. 4. Barzelonia Round Copper Look Fire Pit, $75.99, from Walmart. 5. Forcier Aztec Bands Area Rug, 5 feet by 8 feet, $85.99, from Wayfair. 6. V & O Camping Lantern, from $15.62, from Amazon.
Winter Gardening Tips
Bare tree branches stark against the winter sky have a gaunt beauty all of their own. You can soften their edges with flowering plants. Hellebores, snowdrops, and lavender add an elegant flourish and have fragrant seasonal blooms.
Winter is also citrus season — dwarf and ornamental varieties grown in large pots add structure and definition to the space. You can also use screening plants, pot plants, screens, shutters, and blinds to initiate a very simple form of climate control by blocking cold drafts and trapping pockets of warmth around your fire pit or heater.
Although bamboo blinds and shutters work best to enclose patios and verandas, screens and vertical plant walls are your friend in the garden.
This post was written by Francesca Newby. For more, check out our sister site Homes to Love.