Deck and Patio Blog

4 Essentials to Make Your Patio Usable in Winter

October 28, 2014

Maybe winter isn’t the most enjoyable time of the year, but it has it’s own charm. Things are better appreciated in comparison, so when we have to deal with cold weather, warm socks and a cup of hot cocoa feel and taste better than ever. Even if you are not an outdoorsy type, sitting on a patio by the fire, catching up with your friends and sipping hot cider or nice wine sounds delightful, doesn’t it? The truth is, you can use your Maryland patio year round and cold weather shouldn’t stop you. Consider including these elements when designing a patio suitable for winter entertainment.
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Get a Roof

The heat rises, we all know that. When you use an outdoor fireplace or other heating source, the heat dissipates into the sky. But if you have some kind of cover over your patio, you can trap the heat and have it circulate, making the space warmer. There are several permanent and temporary solutions you could use to get your patio under a roof:

  • Put up a large tent or a fabric gazebo
  • Build a permanent flat or pitched roof
  • Build a pergola that you can cover up with fabric for the winter.

With most of these options, you can also hang removable curtains to block the chilly wind gusts and keep even more heat in.

Find a Heat Source

A cup of hot cocoa will warm you up, but not enough to comfortably stay outside for long periods of time. You need a heat source, such as a fireplace, a fire pit, heat lamps or a portable outdoor patio heater. If you have many friends who would come over to hang out by the fire, a fire pit might be the best choice. Because it’s not attached to a chimney, people can sit around it rather than in front of it. If you think it’s going to be mostly you and your family, a fireplace will work great for your heating needs.

Get Cozy Furniture

You might already have a patio furniture set, but will it work for winter? Because in winter we come outside all bundled up in warm clothing, a loveseat that is supposed to seat two people may now only fit one person, along with a bunch of trows and blankets. Besides, seating with an open or perforated back, such as most wicker furniture, won’t retain heat as a a couch would. Look for the furniture that will not only fit enough people, but will prevent your body heat from dissipating too fast.

Provide Enough Light

The warm glow from the fireplace is comforting, but it only warms up and illuminates the space in front of it. And as the fire starts to die down, you lose the light completely. Make sure there are additional light sources on your patio that illuminate the key task areas, as well as passages. You could use a combination of gas torches and electric lanterns to create a soft, cozy light. Avoid installing a single bright fixture, such as a flood light, as it will compete with the fire and ruin the atmosphere.

Do you already have a patio you could transform into a winter wonderland? If not, it’s not too late to have one built for the season. And if you need a roof structure, we can certainly help you out with that as well!

Contact North American Deck and Patio for Maryland deck and patio construction.

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