As the coronavirus hangs on into the fall season, having outdoor space is proving more valuable than ever. But now that cooler weather is on the way, stretching out the life of your porch, backyard, or balcony is the next smart step.
To warm up your outside rooms, try these 9 ideas to retrofit your yard or patio for the cooler fall season.
1. Fire pit
If you don't have an outdoor fireplace or fire pit already, now would be a great time to add this to your outdoor living space! Choose the best option for your space based on your budget and the square footage in your yard.
2. Heat lamps
Make like a European sidewalk cafe and set up standing propane or electric heat lamps. Or consider installing an infrared heating device in your porch ceiling. These are a step up from traditional gas options and much sleeker and safer—and streamlined models can be inserted so that they heat a person directly, not the elements around them.
Consider a patio heat lamp that takes just a screwdriver to assemble, has a no-tip base, and heats up in mere seconds.
For maximum coziness, you can even find heated furniture.
There are outdoor selections that can be plugged in to keep you warm as you stargaze from your backyard.
3. Plush cushions and blankets
No one wants to sit on cold, wrought-iron or plastic deck chairs when the weather turns chilly, so be sure seat cushions and outdoor pillows are thick enough for the season. And a basket full of warm throws is another cozy touch if your guests (due to COVID-19) don't bring their own with them.
4. Privacy screen
Blocking the wind in cooler weather is easy enough with the addition of a wooden wall or screen. Or consider latticework, a cheaper pick that can also surround or partly enclose a patio or one side of a balcony.
5. Curtained pergola
A pergola or gazebo is another upgrade that can take your outdoor space from summer to fall, especially if you add curtains that can be drawn when the temperatures dip.
6. Small cooktop
While a full outdoor kitchen may not be in the budget, setting up a grill or small cooktop may be doable. Also, there are free-standing countertop and sink combos available for under $500.
You might also redo an outdoor bar cart to signal fall and cooler temps (think mugs for tea, a jar of cinnamon sticks for warm cider, and brown spirits for Manhattans and hot toddies).
7. All-weather rugs
To keep your feet toasty, add a layer underfoot to warm an outdoor space. All-weather rugs can stand up to the elements, particularly those made from polypropylene. Just keep in mind that carpet with a thick pile won't work on a deck or patio.
The Moroccan pattern on this all-weather rug is the exact pop of color you need on a typical all-brown patio or deck. Be sure to use a nonslip rug pad underneath to prevent shifting, and rotate this carpet so any color loss over time is evenly distributed.
8. Extra lighting
Candles and outdoor lamps won't add warmth per se, but the ambiance they offer is enough to keep the chill away. You can't really overdo outdoor lighting, so go a little nuts with twinkling lights wrapped around pillars, glowing lanterns that act as side tables, Mason jars with tea lights suspended from above, and Tiki torches placed strategically in the yard.
For vintage flair on your deck, perhaps use Edison bulbs. And the setup's a breeze since each light has an individual hook attached so you can quickly hang the lights with nails or hooks.
9. Small shed
Want to splurge on a real structure? Studio sheds have become all the rage of late, and they're very versatile. Warm up in a she shed for some me time or use it as an office, homework space, crafting spot, or meditation area.