With the coronavirus pandemic still a concern in the United States, health officials have urged Americans to socialize outdoors whenever possible. However, only a few states are fortunate to have warm enough weather all year long that spending an extended amount of time outside would not be an issue.
The good news is that even people who live in states with cold winters can continue to enjoy outdoor time by implementing some creative strategies to stay warm.
Add an Outdoor Heat Source
Outdoor fire pits and fire tables have become especially popular this year as people have spent more time gathering with friends and family outdoors. Before investing in either a fire pit or table, homeowners should check local ordinances to ensure that their municipality allows them. Most communities have no regulations about these items, but some do because of air pollution concerns.
One of the biggest decisions people face when buying a fire pit or table is whether they want to install one permanently or invest in something portable. Homeowners can also choose if they want their new fire pit or table to operate on gas or by burning wood to create flames. Another important consideration is how many people will typically gather around the heat source.
A patio heater powered by either gas or electric is an alternative option for keeping a patio warm during the winter months. Stand-alone patio heaters with wheels are a popular consumer option. The one downside is that these units are not especially durable and can be challenging to navigate. A commercial-grade patio heater provides greater heat output while offering improved durability at the same time.
Prepare Outdoor Seating According to Season
Wicker chairs are an excellent alternative in the summer when the heat and humidity cause skin to stick to surfaces. It is a different story when summer gives way to winter. People who have wicker chairs on their patio should consider replacing them with soft, plush chairs with significant depth.
This type of outdoor chair allows people to sink down and really get comfortable. Homeowners who invite people to spend time on their patio during the winter can also put a thick blanket or quilt on each chair to let guests know it is fine to snuggle up and stay warm.
Add a Hot Tub to the Patio
Installing a hot tub on the patio is sure to make any homeowner the envy of the neighborhood. What better way to stay warm on chilly winter days and nights than climbing into a hot tub with steaming water?
People who invite guests to use an outdoor hot tub should lay out robes and large beach towel or ask guests to bring their own. Having these items readily accessible helps to reduce the initial shock of getting out of steaming hot water while feeling a cold chill in the air.
Plant Shrubs to Break Up Cold Gusts of Wind
Planting shrubs around the patio in time for the winter season offers more than just aesthetic benefits. The shrubs help block the strength of wind that can make people sitting on the porch feel cold and uncomfortable.
Homeowners will want to study typical weather patterns in their own climate to determine which directions the shrubs should face for maximum wind-blocking capabilities. Choosing evergreen shrubs that eventually grows to a heigh of 10 to 15 feet is ideal to achieve wind protection.
Add an Enclosure Around the Outdoor Living Space
Outdoor enclosures offer protection from the elements and can act as walls and ceilings to keep people safe and comfortable. Adding thick curtains or shades to the outdoor enclosure helps to provide the maximum amount of protection from the elements.
For the best outdoor protection of all, homeowners should consider purchasing a covered enclosure. The benefit of a covered enclosure is that people can enjoy time outdoors any time of year without worrying about rain, snow, or any other weather element driving them back in the house.
Tips for Outdoor Safety This Winter
Because people may not be accustomed to spending time outdoors at home during the winter, it is easy for them to overlook certain safety precautions that prevent accidents. Homeowners should always extinguish any live flame and make sure it has gone out before heading inside for the evening.
If using an outdoor heater, be sure to unplug it when going back in the house and keep it away from anything flammable. Fabric, furniture, and plants are just three examples of potentially flammable items found on many porches.
Homeowners must also supervise their children closely around fire and request that any guests who bring children do the same. These few simple safety rules ensure that everyone can continue to enjoy being out on the patio all year long.