A winter-proof patio is an attractive option for those that want to make the most of their outdoor space during the winter months. There are several ways to accomplish making your outdoor space more comfortable when it’s cold, and many of them you can do yourself with the right tools and information.
What You Need for A Comfortable Winter Patio
Our list of winter patio ideas will help you to make the most of your space and stay comfortable in any temperature.
A Roof or Cover
For winter outdoor living, you are most likely going to way a roof or cover for your patio to keep the snow off of your space and provide some protection. The most comfortable outdoor living spaces for winter lounging will have a roof that offers some insulation and works to keep the heat down where you are sitting.
If you have a solid roof, you can consider adding a fan on the ceiling, which can move the hot air downwards instead of letting it escape through the roof. An insulated roof or cover is also ideal and will make your winter-proof patio noticeably warmer.
If you already have a cover made from fabric or pergola, you can quickly reinforce or cover this structure to create more warmth. Keep in mind that the weight of the material you add so you can ensure the structure can hold the added pounds.
A Wind Break
A winter-proof patio would still be somewhat uncomfortable if there weren’t some windbreak on the sides to keep you cozy. There are many winter outdoor patio ideas surrounding windbreaks, but standard options include creating reliable screens to put in place during the winter months and using trees.
Coniferous or evergreen trees are the perfect option for comfortable winter outdoor living as they can protect you from the wind and also stay green during the winter. Planting these trees is an easy task as they can tolerate a wide range of conditions, and are easy to trim to fit your space. For an extra fancy touch, you can sculpt different evergreens into a chosen shape.
When you are deciding how to prepare your patio for winter, you’ll want to consider your seating options carefully as there are a lot of products available that are low quality and won’t be very comfortable in winter. Try to find furniture that is within your price range but is also of good quality and able to withstand UV rays.
Sunbrella fabrics are a good option for seat cushions on patio furniture, and these will be fade-resistant and also easy to clean. The base of your furniture can be either metal or wood, but keep in mind that metal may become cold in the winter, and extra blankets or cushions may be needed.
You’ll also want to look for metal furniture that has a powder-coated finish as this will be more resistant to the elements are have a longer life when used in cold conditions. If you have the option to purchase an extended warranty, this might also be a good idea if you plan to use your furniture often.
If you think you won’t be warm enough, no matter what furniture material you choose, consider looking into heated outdoor furniture that you can plugin. There are several different brands available, including Galanter & Jones and Chaheati. This furniture is priced similarly to traditional patio furniture and ranges from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.
There are a number of different heat sources you can choose from, but by far the most popular option is fire. There are so many different ways to add a fire element to your space that it is possible to find one for any sized space with any shape. Even if you have very particular requirements, fire elements come in so many varieties you can be very selective.
Fireplaces and Fire Pits
Fixed fire pits and outdoor fireplaces are popular options for patios that are permanent structures. If you are looking for something less permanent, then a stand-alone fire pit is an option and can come in both conventional wood-burning varieties or fueled with gas.
One of the accessible heat sources that are trending at the moment is cement containers filled with rocks or glass chunks of some kind and fueled with gas or other liquid fuel. Some use gel style fuel nestled in the rocky materials inside, but for more giant flames, you’ll want to use propane or another fuel.
Torches and Smaller Heating Sources
Smaller torches are another heating option that you can place around the patio for more minor spots of warmth and natural lighting. Having one central heating element for everyone to gather around is also ideal, but creating warmth in the space is also key to holding that heat where it is needed.
Other heat sources can include heated blankets, heat packs, and cloth furniture or cushions that help to hold in heat. Keep in mind that some materials like memory foam get hard in cold conditions, and this will make an uncomfortable surface for lounging.
Electric heaters are another good option for warming your outdoor space, and these come in all shapes and sizes to suit your needs. Consider getting one that has a fan mechanism for blowing warm air where it is needed, and always make sure that the heater has the safety mechanism that turns it off if it gets knocked over.
Electric heaters won’t put out the same level of heat as a traditional sized fireplace, but they are a good option that is affordable, temporary, and easy to change whenever needed. Heaters can also mount to walls, posts, ceilings, or other locations where heat is needed most.
Adding accessories can be an excellent way to add warmth to space and also serve to preserve the heat that you’ve already created. These items are often easy to find, and a lower cost than a fireplace or other heating sources and can help to beautify a space.
Textured pillows can serve multiple purposes, and they come in a wide range of materials and styles. Pillows are great for:
- Adding comfort and padding to furniture
- Holding in heat while lounging
- Adding visual appeal with different textures, colors, and fabrics
- Making your space feel more plush and luxurious
- Offering support for users with varying needs of seating
Pillows frequently come as an insert and a cover, and you purchase these separately. Outdoor furniture also tends to include one or two pillows depending on the item. It’s best if you stick to outdoor pillows and covers meant to be outside, but regular pillow covers and inserts can also be substituted as long as they are protected from the elements when not in use.
Blankets come in different shapes, sizes, and materials, but the warmest ones will be made from wool or filled with down. There are also synthetic materials that you can get that consist of polyester or other fabrics, and these are often cheaper.
Army surplus stores frequently sell wood blankets, and certain brands like Pendleton have a long-standing reputation for making high-quality wood blankets.
Traditional fleece blankets are useful in smaller sizes and cost as little as $3, but they are often thin and not suitable for providing any significant amount of warmth when outdoors in winter.
Down blankets made from the fluffy feathers plucked from various fowl are going to be as warm or warmer than wool, and are also lightweight. They are trickier to clean, but synthetic versions are also available that you can toss in a washing machine.
The decor on the walls or ceiling can also help to hold in warmth, and items like rugs, wall tapestries, art prints, and planters are all excellent options. Wood accents can also help to seal cracks in the walls or ceiling while also providing a decorative element.
Consider hanging some art or tapestries on the wall, or add ottomans, decorative pillows, or extra blankets for added warmth and visual appeal.
In the winter months, the daylight fades much earlier, and you’ll need to create more robust lighting for a cozy effect. Rope lighting and LED lighting are popular options that you can plug in or power with batteries, and they can wrap around objects or attach to different points on your patio to create a custom design.
Create a Spa
Saunas and hot tubs will also add some warmth to your patio, and while they are both a large and often expensive addition, there are different options to consider. Saunas are available in ready to build kits that can be set up in a few hours, and hot tubs now come in inflatable designs that can be set up anywhere in minutes.
Both of these options will create added warmth when you use them, and they can be a great way to pamper yourself while still enjoying the outdoors. These items also create added usefulness in your space and are activities that are enjoyable year-round.