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Just because winter is on its way, this doesn’t mean you need to stay inside to keep warm whilst entertaining. Creating a wintery living space is absolutely possible through well-lit and heated outdoor areas. We often think winter is the downtime season. And in many ways it is. A small amount of hibernation can be good – but don’t let those winter blues kill the fun.
Extend the summer season by crafting a backyard space you won’t want to leave during winter. Incorporating comfort, shelter and warmth will help to establish an area you can use anytime. Here’s how to get the most out of your space this winter:
Outdoor spaces have become an extension of our homes, so it makes sense to bring the indoors out. All the comforts you use inside can be incorporated into the outside space to make it feel homely, warm and inviting. A well-designed pergola or patio is fantastic for creating an outdoor area. This additional room opens a whole new space for entertaining and living in – all year around.
Pergolas provide perfect covering and protection too, so regardless of what the weather throws at you, your outdoor haven will still be enjoyable. They’re designed to give you as much or as little coverage as you want so it’s easily adaptable throughout the different seasons. For spaces that are to be utilised during the wetter months, retractable canopies are ideal.
Lighting is an essential addition to every outdoor haven. It sets the mood by creating ambience and acts as a vital safety feature – especially on those dark, cold wintery nights. Smart landscape lighting can turn a dull looking space into one that’s vibrant, inviting and visually spectacular. A good lighting plan will ensure that you enjoy entertaining outside in the evening too. Like with lighting designs inside, different areas call for different lighting types. This allows you to be just as creative outside as you are for interior illumination.
Walkways and patios can be lined with path lights. To give your landscaping some depth, you can add lights in the garden beds or utilise focal lights for pretty trees and other areas of interest in the garden. To make your outdoor oasis suitable for winter, ambient lighting should be strategically placed around the pergola and patio area. Use lighting to accentuate architectural details you want to highlight in the backyard for pretty views all year around. Don’t forget, a beautifully manicured garden will make entertaining in your backyard that much more appealing too!
Every wintery outdoor space needs warmth and fire features are an exciting way to provide it. Visual appeal is necessary for all backyards to make the area enjoyable. Fire pits can serve as a gathering point to encourage guests to congregate around, whilst keeping everyone snug. The range of fire pits on the market to choose from means that you can find one that works with your existing home and outdoor area, with their different sizes, shapes and materials to complement.
Tiki torches are another great sizzling fire feature to add to the backyard too. They can line walkways as a means for lighting, define various zones within the space and offer some warmth in the cooler months. Fire features have always been a popular choice for outdoor rooms. You can use them as a defining focal point in the backyard and at the same time, you’ll be investing in an excellent heat source for winter entertaining.
One of the best things about summer is cooking outside. Australia is renowned for their BBQ’s and summer is the perfect time to feast outside, without utilising the heat and electricity from the stove inside. Who says winter can’t be the same? Investing in an outdoor kitchen will revamp the backyard that little bit more and make outdoor entertaining that much easier. Depending on your budget, outdoor kitchens can be a basic addition that gives you just the essentials. Alternatively, they can be equipped with everything from built-in grills and fridges, stunning stone or granite countertops to prepare food on, a sink and bar area too. Even on a limited budget, you can still enjoy cooked meals in winter without having to be locked inside. Utilise seating around the firepit or opt for an outdoor kitchen as part of your patio/pergola space with built-in seating.
Fire pits are fantastic for backyard heating but if you need something extra, there’s oodles of options to implement. Portable fireplaces, also known as chimeneas, are a great patio heating option, which provides both warmth and a cooking source. Outdoor gas heaters offer ample amounts of heat coverage and come in different sizes to suit your space.
Electric patio heaters can be installed into the roof cladding of your patio or pergola area for heating directly above the seating and dining area. Patio and pergola spaces can be kept warm through appropriate patio blinds too. Invest in ones that can be utilised for summer and winter, by keeping the place cool on hot days and warm during cold nights. If you have a pool, don’t forget to invest in pool heating to retain the summer vibe for longer!
If you are entertaining during winter, keep guests warm by serving hot drinks. Mulled wine, spiced apple cider and flavoured liqueur coffees are all favourites to add. Accessories like outdoor rugs, sofa throws and plenty of cushions add texture and colour to the place, but also offer a soft layer of warmth for cooler nights. And if you do have a fire pit or chimeneas, encourage marshmallow roasting to top it off.
This article is written by Jayde Ferguson, who writes for Great Aussie Patios – Perth’s leading patio and pergola builders with a unique design and cost-effective solution for any outdoor space. You can catch her on Google+.