Summer has come to an official close, but that doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to outdoor patio season—yes, even if you live in a cooler climate. We turned to the experts to ask their best tips for stretching these days of backyard dining to their absolute max.
The most crucial tip, according to each expert, is to start now.
“Have a strategy," Alex Alonso of mr alex TATE Design shares with us. "Setting up a strategy for how you plan to use your outdoor spaces throughout the year is key.”
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Assess Where You Invest
As Alonso explains, it’s important to look at how you’ll use the space through each season and invest accordingly. “Based on where you live, determine where you should invest, whether it be lots of shade protection, a fire pit, or heating lamps,” Alonso explains. “Be very cognizant of how much shade you need not just during the summer months, but throughout the year."
Designer Breegan Jane agrees. “If you’re looking ahead to next patio season, now is the perfect time to consider building or installing shade options like pergolas, canopies, umbrellas, or shade sails," she shares. "These items provide a little relief from the elements, and they can even protect your outdoor furniture."Continue to 2 of 10 below.
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Consider Your Goals for the Space
When you think of extending your outdoor patio season, Luis Murillo of LMD Architecture Studio notes that it’s important to consider how you want to use this space through autumn and possibly beyond.
“Curate your outdoor patio space,” Murillo says. “Roll-out BBQ units, a free-standing propane fire pit, and a portable pizza oven. Consider adding a free-standing jacuzzi with an adjacent seating area, and invest in portable lamps and Bluetooth speakers to create a nice outdoor ambiance.”Continue to 3 of 10 below.
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Make Some Permanent Changes
While it may sound daunting, Anita Dawson of Dawson Design Group notes that some significant structural changes can help you long-term.
“If you want to create more permanent solutions for a year-round outdoor space, start by consulting with an architect or architectural designer to create a built-in covered structure for your patio,” Dawson says.Continue to 4 of 10 below.
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Protect Your Pieces in the Off-Season
Once your outdoor season has come to a true close, Alonso stresses the importance of winterizing your space—not just so the pieces last, but so they can withstand the harsher weather that comes with a new season.
“Outdoor furniture is notoriously pricey and it’s an investment,” he notes. “Though you splurge on items, it doesn’t mean they are indestructible. You can’t forget to buy the covers that will allow you to keep them looking good and weathering the changes in climate and weather.”Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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Add a Little Heat
If your days are about to get a little cooler, then Jane has one major suggestion: invest in a fire element for your patio.
"Fire pits come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s easier than ever to use one in any patio space,” she says. “They are the perfect item to extend patio season—fire pits add warmth and ambiance, two things we all want when we’re spending time in our outdoor spaces.”Continue to 6 of 10 below.
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Work With Your Environment
As the seasons change, so do the pests and critters who visit your outdoor space.
“Pest control features can really help extend the use of your outdoor spaces,” Alonso says. “In Florida, summer is a magnet for mosquitos, but not so much in fall and winter. Perhaps a more permanent pest control mister is a worthy investment.”Continue to 7 of 10 below.
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Create a Lighting Plan
“Light and heat features become more important the later we go into the season,” Alonso notes. “As the days get shorter, looking at your lighting plan—be it perimeter, task, or ambient—becomes something to consider. Moveable lanterns and rechargeable LED outdoor table lamps can really work in various spaces in the backyard.”
Jane agrees. “Cute string lights—or even stylish solar lights—make the space feel festive, and they allow you and your guests to continue enjoying the time spent outside even as the sun sets. I love using items that maximize comfort on patios, such as throw pillows and blankets, to cozy up with when there’s a chill in the air."
I love using items that maximize comfort on patios, such as throw pillows and blankets, to cozy up with when there’s a chill in the air.Continue to 8 of 10 below.
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Buy Outdoor Furniture with Longevity in Mind
If you’re newly furnishing an outdoor space, then Jane gave us some tips for long-lasting items that will transition well across seasons.
“It’s always important to select furniture and decor that can stand up to the weather," she says. "I always suggest clients use performance fabrics—they’re easy to clean, water resistant, and they don’t fade from the sun’s UV rays.”Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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Winterize What You Can
Even if you’re using your patio furniture later than expected, other parts of your outdoor space can still be prepped for winter.
“Winterize your lawn and flora sooner than later,” Alonso says. “The weather is so unpredictable that you never know when the first blast of the season will surprise you. If you have a pool, I’d winterize that when you’re sure you likely won’t be using it anymore.”Continue to 10 of 10 below.
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Transition Your Color Scheme, Too
While the practical elements of your outdoor space are important, Jane reminds us to remember the vibes, too.
“Don’t forget to consider color—this is the time of year when we begin to see a shift from those bright colors and summery pastels towards warmer shades like burnt oranges and creamy neutrals,” she says. “Make a statement with your decor with the addition of these shades for a fresh look and feeling on your patio.”