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Outdoor Features Extend Patios for Year-Round Use
Some believe that the end of summer also marks the final days of enjoying outdoor barbecues, parties, and casual get-togethers. Yet, just by adding a few design elements to your outdoor space, you can extend the good times through the fall months and even into winter. We've come up with 10 easy ways to enjoy your yard throughout the year.
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Heat Things Up
It's easy to extend your time spent outdoors if you simply add a source of heat near seating areas. Besides warming up cold guests, a fire is a nice place to gather around and drink a hot beverage or roast marshmallows. Permanent or portable, consider one of these ways to heat things up:
- Fire Pit
- Outdoor Fireplace
- Outdoor Heater
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Add More Lighting
It gets dark earlier in the fall, so add more lighting and readjust timers to illuminate your outdoor spaces. Lighting fixtures can be solar and LED, along with different types, like path markers, spotlights, and patio string lights.
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If you want to enjoy your patio or outdoor space beyond summer, make sure your garden furniture is weather-resistant. Furniture made from materials like powder-coated steel, teak, and polyresin wicker are built to withstand the elements and last through many seasons. Also cover it and bring in cushions and pillows when it rains or snows.
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A Grill or Outdoor Kitchen
They say that food tastes better if it's been grilled, and that goes for any season. Continue grilling past summer. Wear an extra shirt or sweater, a heat lamp, and change the menu slightly for more warm dishes, and then cook and dine outside during the fall and winter.
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Add a Hot Tub
There's a reason that hot tubs are so popular year round: because they make you feel nice, warm, and relaxed - any time of year. But it especially feels good when the temperatures drop. Whether it's a solo soak or an impromptu party with some friends after a game or evening out, the tub is always there, toasty and inviting you to come outside and soak for a spell.
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Up the Fun Factor
To get more use out of your outdoor room during the fall, winter and early spring (providing temperatures aren't below freezing), maximize its potential. How? Whatever you do for enjoyment or relaxation indoors can be done in an outdoor living space, from games to watching TV to grilling and dining.
Some fun ideas:
- Invite friends or family over to watch a film, game, or videos on an outdoor TV or computer.
- Cook and serve a nice, hot dinner outside. Grill a pizza, burgers, or cook a pot of chili or... a hearty soup. Enjoy coffee and s'mores over a fire pit afterwards.
- Play beer pong, board games, or another outdoor game.
- If it's snowing, build snowmen, decorate, and enjoy hot beverages as you admire your work.
- Host a holiday party that uses both indoors and outdoors spaces. Decorate both areas.
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Make Things Cozy
Adding sources of heat and lighting help to keep you outside, but try to add a feeling of coziness and warmth. To do so, make your patio or outdoor space a true outdoor room by adding the comforts you enjoy indoors: pillows, throws and blankets to share with a friend while you enjoy gazing at the stars or enjoying a hot beverage.
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Grow seasonal flowers, herbs and vegetables in containers on your porch, deck, or patio, close to house. You're more likely to spend time outside and become accustomed to the concept of spending time outdoors, even if you have to wear a jacket and gloves. After you're done with your chores, kick back and enjoy your cozy space.
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Decorate for and Celebrate the Seasons and Holidays Outdoors
Weather permitting, take the decorating and party outdoors. Make the transition between inside and outside seamless - just add some warmth via fire pits, blankets, and hot beverages. Make sure the lighting is festive and safe. From there, the events are limitless:
- Halloween parties and activities, like apple-bobbing and pumpkin carving. If it's a party, hold a costume contest and games outside, and have "stations" where guests can take selfies and group pictures.
- Thanksgiving: use your... outdoor and indoor kitchen, then serve the feast on the deck or patio where it's fresh, cool and crisp.
- Depending on where you live, decorate a small living Christmas tree or conifer with simple, weatherproof, non-breakable ornaments, provide blankets and add holiday pillows to extend the party outside.
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Patio Roofs or Enclosures
If you have a patio roof or covered gazebo, you'll be more likely to stay outside when it gets dark and the temperatures fall. Outdoor curtains add privacy and keep the chill away, and there are privacy screens and enclosures that allow you to partition off part of your outdoor room or yard, which will temporarily protect you from the elements.