Your patio probably sees quite a bit of use during the warmer months of the year, but many people shy away from spending lots of time outside in the cold. Dropping temperatures don’t have to equal less time spent outside—they just mean that you have to be a little more prepared for the weather. Patios are wonderful entertaining spots, so if you’d like to continue taking advantage of your home’s outdoor space once the weather turns chilly, read on for five winter patio ideas.

  1. Use fabrics and plants for protection from the cold. Patios that are completely open to the elements may not be as comfortable as those with strategically placed plants and curtains. If your patio is not covered, look into installing a pergola or patio shade for protection from winter weather. Once the patio has a cover, hang long curtains or create a wall of potted shrubs to provide further protection from chilly winds.

  2. fireplace or other heat source

    Add a fireplace or other heat source. A heated patio will add to the allure of your outdoor space in the winter. Outdoor fireplaces lend a cozy ambience to a space, and they become an instant gathering spot for friends and family. If a fireplace isn’t an option, look for a more traditional electric or propane outdoor space heater. These types of heaters come in different styles and sizes to suit your needs.

  3. Plan to cook outdoors. Your hard work toward grillmaster status doesn’t have to end as the leaves fall from the trees. Cooking outdoors on the patio—even in chilly weather—is a great way to encourage family members and guests to enjoy the space. The heat from the grill or other outdoor kitchen appliances will be a nice bonus.

  4. blankets and warm furniture

    Provide blankets and warm furniture. Keep a basket with warm, fluffy blankets next to the patio door so that you and your guests can bundle up as you head outside. Metal patio furniture stands up well to the elements, but it’s not particularly warm or inviting in the cold. Look for comfortable cushions in fabrics that are soft but still weather resistant.

  5. Create a fully enclosed space. An enclosed patio—whether screened in or equipped with glass windows—will give you the most flexibility in the use of that space during the cooler months. Enclosing a patio requires a bit more money than other options, but you will add an entire room of usable space to your home. For maximum comfort, warm the area with space heaters or a mini-split heat pump, or consider connecting the room to your home’s central heating and air system.

Don’t let cold weather keep you from enjoying your outdoor space. With the right preparation, your home’s patio can be just as comfortable and useful during the winter as it is during the rest of the year.

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