How To Keep Warm On Your Patio This Winter
With the Australian winter well underway, we know that the prospect of braving the elements to enjoy your outdoor living area is not as easy as in the warmer months. To help you muster the courage to combat the cold, we’ve compiled some winter patio ideas so that you can enjoy your patio or pergola this winter by minimizing the effects of the cold weather, thus allowing for outdoor living all year round.
And, really winter on the Gold Coast, in Brisbane or the Sunshine Coast, is not that cold – particularly at midday when the sun heats up. As long as there is not a strong cold breeze, we are very lucky here in Australia weather-wise and with a few modifications, can enjoy our patios throughout the year.
Fire Pit or Brazier
Perhaps the most obvious way to create some much-needed heat outdoors is through a warming fire. There aren’t many things in life more comforting than sitting around a fire with your family and friends, and your patio may be the perfect place to do so. When we say fire, we are talking about a small, well-contained brazier aka a fire pit that has been designed for outdoor living areas.
Naturally, safety measures are needed when using a brazier on your patio, providing you ensure fire safety, a ‘semi-enclosed’ brazier can provide you with the warmth you crave.
Safety Measures for a Brazier
As far as winter patio ideas go a fire pit is a great option as long as there is a high awareness of the potential dangers and strong safety measures are put in place.
First of all, a non-burn zone needs to be created both under your fire pit and around your fire pit. To create this a protective mat or stone slab should be used which will prevent damage to the floor of your patio. There also needs to be an area free of furniture, plants or ornaments around your brazier to create the non-burn zone as well.
In addition, we recommend you choose a brazier that is ‘semi-enclosed’ to prevent sparks and burning embers from escaping. This is helped by using a mesh lid and also choose a brazier that has solid sides without gaps or openings which could allow sparks to escape from.
Please as noted above and worth repeating again, if you choose to have a brazier to keep you warm on your patio in winter, make sure you and your family are aware of the potential dangers of having a fire near your home and stay vigilant while it is lit.
We suggest that you have a fire extinguisher or water supply nearby, just on the off chance. Also, watch out for wayward embers, make sure the area is properly ventilated, and keep pets and children away. Your patio fire pit should also not be left unattended at any time.
A more conventional alternative to a fire pit comes in the form of an outdoor heater such as the ones found at Bunnings. Usually propane-fuelled, these free-standing heaters are extremely effective at warming a relatively large area. They are often portable, with many coming equipped with wheels to allow for easy transportation. As a result, as far as winter patio ideas go they are an option that many find to be very practical, safe and dependable for when the outdoors becomes a little frigid.
Safety Measures for an Outdoor Heater
Some things to consider when using an outdoor heater include keeping the heater away from any objects or material (such as outdoor furniture) that may melt or catch alight. You should also be vigilant in checking and maintaining your gas lines and valves so that there are no unwanted leaks. As for a fire pit, children and animals need to be kept away from the heater, and the heater should not be left unattended.
Other Winter Patio Ideas – Blinds
Aside from heaters, there are some other winter patio ideas that you can adopt to fight the winter cold out on your patio or pergola. A common solution comes in the form of outdoor blinds or wind barriers that can be used to semi-enclose the space, to keep the warmth in and block out the biting winter winds.
A common variety of these are permanent fixtures that are attached to the supporting beams of your outdoor space, often in the form of retractable roll-down blinds. These work wonders in increasing the versatility of the space, making it seem more like an outdoor extension of your home. A more expensive but really great summer and winter patio idea is to have shutters installed – assuming your patio has a roof. Shutters are great for privacy, for weather protection and for controlling air flow, if your pockets are deep you can even select to have bifold shutters which will maximize your view.
Other winter patio ideas for keeping warm outside involve changing how the space is dressed. Adding furnishings such as pillows or blankets to your existing patio furniture will prevent having to sit on cold patio furniture, and will help in making the space more comfortable to use. Providing additional throw blankets for guests is also a great way to stay warm.
And for those of us who love comfort and style – did you know that Ugg Boots are making a fashion comeback? Not only that, but beanies are also trending this season, with Ugg Boots and a beanie you are set to enjoy your patio all through winter!
Planting to Capture the Winter Sun
In relation to winter patio ideas, this is a more long term idea that once established will provide you with both summer and winter enjoyment of your patio.
If part of your patio is west facing and you have erected a solid enclosure to protect you from the blazing sun during the summer months, you will, unfortunately, be missing out on the beautiful warming winter sun as well.
A better idea is to remove the solid structure and strategically plant a deciduous vine or other deciduous plants which will minimize the amount of sun you get in summer while allowing for it to shine through and warm you in winter when the vine drops their leaves. A beautiful example of this would be the Wisteria vine, with its dense purple flowers in spring and leafless stems in winter. Please note, you do need to prune your wisteria in spring as they are vigorous growers and can take over and even cause damage if not looked after properly. Once you see wisteria in flower, you are guaranteed to be more than happy to regularly prune this vine for the beautiful splash of colour it creates.
Pacific Patios – Patio Designers and Builders
While the winter months often make outdoor living seem impossible we hope that the winter patio ideas we have provided will extend your use of your patio over the cooler months. Whether it be with a contained fire pit, an outdoor heater or some specially considered features, your patio can be toasty and comfortable even in winter.
At Pacific Patios we love to create beautiful outdoor living areas, and we’d love to help you to get started too. Contact us for a quote, and we’d be happy to help you in any way we can.