Make your Outdoor Patio the Perfect Winter Hangout

1. Cut down on wind chill with ceiling to floor shades

When you’ve got a craving for the outdoors in the winter, one of the strongest deterrents is often wind chill. Thankfully, you can easily diminish the wind’s effect by supplementing your space with shades or blinds. When made of natural materials like wood or bamboo, these inexpensive additions look at home in just about any setting and can make sitting outside in winter a whole lot more enjoyable!

2. Use seating that retains warmth (but not moisture)

Metal or plastic patio furniture might hold up well under outdoor conditions, but when winter hits, these pieces offer very little in the comfort department. By picking furniture with insulating padding (but covered by a water-proof protective surface) you will not only have a more cushiony seat, but one that retains your body heat during cold weather, as well!

3. Enhance your lighting

Many porches and patios are lit more for function than for relaxing. To make the space more hospitable, lose the harsh edge of a single bulb and upgrade to several smaller fixtures. If your lighting swivels or is placed on tracks, you can adjust where the light hits to fit whatever function is on the agenda. This will not only be a benefit during the winter, but all year round.

4. Add an outdoor heat source

A crackling fire or the heat and smell of a wood stove can warm up gatherings on even the coldest days of the year. From small portable fire pits to real masonry fireplaces, the addition of heat to your outdoor entertaining area is a must. Permanent heat sources might be a bit more expensive than tips 1 through 3, but the addition of an outdoor heat source will not only create atmosphere, and may even increase your property’s value and marketability. The average cost of installing a pre-fabricated fireplace is $1,332. Custom fireplace installation averages $2,937, while wood stove installation averages $2,364 (in some cases, wood stoves can actually provide heat for an entire house rather than just a patio or porch).

5. Add an outdoor kitchen

Who says you can’t cook out in December? Far less expensive than indoor kitchens, respectable outdoor kitchens can generally be built for under $3,000, but if you want all the bells and whistles, you could end up with a bill of $10,000+. The most basic outdoor kitchen layouts include a grill, a cabinet for storing glasses, dishes, and utensils, as well as counter space to make food and drink prep easier. More elaborate outdoor kitchens have all of the appliances and fixtures you’d find in a normal indoor kitchen. Whether you go modest or expensive, nothing enhances a gathering like good food and drink. This is one addition that guests and homeowners alike will truly appreciate all year round!