5 ways to heat your outdoor area this winter


It’s a tough thing to let go of the summer sunshine. Those balmy summer night BBQs on the deck are replaced with grey clouds, drizzle and cold temperatures – so you can pretty much kiss outdoor entertaining good bye, that is if you don’t have a transeasonal patio space.

Crafting an area you can use all year round is a top priority for most homeowners. With the right additions and design tricks, there’s an opportunity for extending your patio or pergola use into the cooler months.

If you’re itching to spend more time in your outdoor space despite the weather, incorporating heat sources is a great place to start. Too many people abandon their patio/pergola area and retreat inside when winter hits; here’s what you need to know to winter proof your outdoor space.

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1. Add an outdoor kitchen.

People don’t often think of an outdoor kitchen as a source of warmth, but the heat generated from the BBQ into the immediate area can make the space very toasty in winter. Investing in an outdoor kitchen is a great way to keep warm and eat well during the chillier months – and it opens up the entertaining opportunities for summer too. It doesn’t need to be anything too fancy, keep the basics in mind if you’re on a budget. BBQ grill, prep surface, storage space and a smoker can get you by. If budget permits add in a bar, refrigerator and wood fire pizza oven for the ultimate outdoor kitchen experience.

2. Spark visual interest with fire elements.

Fire has always been a very intriguing addition to the home. Not only will it keep you and your guests warm in your patio space, but it'll enhance the whole experience and change the mood of the space with a softer illumination. Sparking visual interest with fire changes the way you use the area and can create a striking focal point. Consider how you want to use the fire addition and this will help to dictate budget and essential design elements.

Each has its own unique appeal - and they'll all keep you warm too! Fire pits tend to look less formal and are communal and functional, plus some types are portable so can easily be moved around or taken with you should you leave the house. If sitting around with a few beers, friends and the kids is something you enjoy, a casual fire pit setup can be the perfect entertaining idea. Think roasted marshmallows and sipping hot chocolate by the fire. For something more formal opt for a chic built-in fireplace for a more intimate vibe. Built-in fireplaces can be created with brick, stone, marble or wood to complement your outdoor space’s architectural design.

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3. Invest in a roof cover.

Make sure your patio or pergola has a covered roof to keep heat in the space and to protect you from the harsher weather conditions winter can throw at you. Adding a proper roof cover will also provide a real sense of having that separate room outside and be beneficial to the space for both the winter and summer months. Patio and pergola roofs can also be insulated for an extra level of functionality and comfort.

4. Install high-quality outdoor blinds.

Adding retractable outdoor blinds will further create that 'extra room’ feeling, but still allow for the space to be opened in nicer weather too. Ideal for those horribly windy days when the rain and cold weather is taking over your entertaining arrangements, outdoor blinds are designed as temporary ‘walls’ for when you need them the most. Quality and weather proof is key with outdoor blinds as you want them to withstand the toughest conditions, especially if your location is prone to extreme wind and rain. Material choices cary, with clear or tinted PVC and tough coloured fabrics available. Some even have motorised settings for convenience.

5. Buy a heat lamp or patio heater.

For the quickest budget-fix to keep warm in winter, purchasing an outdoor heat lamp or patio heater is ideal. Patio heaters are portable, designed to be used with ease and gives you a few extra months of outdoor entertaining. For many space-starved homes, heat lamps are a much better option than a fire pit or built-in fireplace but still offers ample amounts of warmth. Heat lamps can be installed in the roof of your patio or opt for a patio heater for an option you can move around as needed.

A few essentials to keep in mind if you’re purchasing a patio heater are your fuel options, size and design. There are three fuel sources – natural gas, electric and propane. Natural gas will need to be installed professionally and electric patio heaters tend to be the most practical option. Size and design will depend on your space limitations and individual flair.

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What hot heat source will you be adding to your outdoor space this winter?  

Author Bio

This article is written by Jayde Ferguson, who writes for Great Aussie Patios – Perth’s leading patio/pergola builders with a solution for every outdoor space. You can catch her on Google+.

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