Winter is officially here in the Northern hemisphere, and the days of lounging on your backyard patio are done (for those who live far enough from the equator to experience snow and cold weather). Or so you think.
It might not be the season to catnap in the sun, but there are still ways you can enjoy your patio, even when temperatures drop—whether by yourself or when entertaining guests. Follow these winter patio ideas to create a cozy outdoor living space through the winter months.
1. String Up Some Lights
The easiest and most affordable way to enhance your backyard space with a patio makeover is to create a cozy mood by adding string lights. They’re calming, not too bright, but not too dim that you’re sitting in the dark, and you can select from different effects like twinkling or color-changing—if you so choose.
Lights can easily be strung around a porch, fence, nearby shrubbery, or whatever else you have on hand. And they can be enhanced further with candles and tea lights. Candles are beautiful when set inside floor lanterns or on tables. Concerned about an open flame? Battery-powered candles work just as well.
2. Add Pizzaz with Décor
Another super easy step is adding festive and cozy décor to fill up your patio space. Outdoor rugs (which are great for covering the chill from concrete patio floors), fluffy pillows, and thick blankets in neutrals or shades of red, green, gold, or blue are a given. Check out these great patio design ideas from HGTV. Just make sure any fabrics or outdoor furniture are either waterproofed or stored away between uses.
You can also play with natural elements by hanging a wreath or putting out some potted mini evergreen trees or winter flowers. Pine cones make for the perfect winter décor and can be used for fun little DIY projects if you don’t want to spend too much money.
3. Bring on the Heat
There’s no way anyone is sitting out in the cold, no matter how nice your patio looks. Having a heat source is a must, and a fire pit is the most conventional method. There are several sizes and styles to choose from based on how much room you have to work with, too. Don’t have the budget? You can build your own if you’re handy enough and have access to the necessary materials. Selecting or designing a fire pit with a removable cover is also a must for keeping debris and critters out and wayward sparks and ash in. And what’s cozier than gathering around a fire with a warm drink in hand?
This one might call for a bit of a remodel, but having a covered patio with an outdoor fireplace creates a focal point and can easily be integrated with the rest of your home. An uncovered patio with a fire pit or fireplace works just fine, but you are limited if it rains or snows. Plus, you then have to take extra steps to ensure your furniture is waterproof. A covered patio can be enjoyed in any weather, and you avoid being bathed in woodsmoke. You can also do a lot more with the space, like add a ceiling fan or television if you’re hooked up to electricity.
If you’re working with a really small footprint or want to be able to move your heat source, place a space heater or two as an alternative or in conjunction with a fire pit or fireplace. These also come in several sizes and styles, so you can make a selection based on your needs.
4. Enclose the Space
Taking from the last point, if sitting in the open outdoors in the middle of winter isn’t your thing, try enclosing the space with a pergola, retractable awning, or roof. There are many styles to choose from that can keep you covered in rain or snow but still allow light in, and it’s one more place you can decorate with string lights, hanging plants, and more. For example, aluminum roofing is lightweight and long-lasting since it’s corrosion-resistant.
If you don’t want something that’s fully closed off, a waterproof cover over a pergola works well and is probably the most cost-effective option. Add curtains or patio shades to enclose the space further and help retain heat. The best part of this feature is it allows you to easily open the space back up come spring.
If it’s still too cold for you, try investing in heated patio furniture. A bit pricey, but worth it if you’re someone who takes advantage of heated car seats whenever they can. There’s also the option of transforming your greenhouse or shed into an outdoor den. These are perfect spaces for installing an electric stove, throwing down a rug, and placing some comfy furniture. Talk about an ideal reading room or quiet getaway space.
5. Put on Your Fancy Pants
This step is a bit more optional. If you have the budget and really want to wow your guests, show off your space and entertain with an outdoor kitchen area or mini spa. Heck, have both if you’d like. This can be as elaborate as you want it to be and something you add to over time.
Install some nice counters around your grill for dinner parties, a pizza oven, a hot tub, a sauna, a projector screen—whatever you feel would get the most use year-round in the space you have. (Homemade pizza and a movie under the stars sound delightful.) What you don’t want to do is overcrowd your patio or invest a lot of money into adding something you only use a few months out of the year.
There are so many ways to winterize your outdoor patio so you can enjoy the space through any season. But where will you put all your cozy winter patio decorations come spring? If you don’t have patio storage space in your home, turn to your local Prime Storage. Prime has self storage facilities across the nation, plus standard, drive-up, and climate controlled storage options at select locations. Don’t let a lack of space hold you back from decking out your patio the way you like. Store a plethora of throw pillows, blankets, and decorations with us instead, and easily swap them out between seasons.