Just because summer’s over doesn’t mean it’s time to cover the patio furniture and hunker down indoors. Your backyard should be your oasis, a place to enjoy the fresh air all the time. With a few tweaks here in there, you can extend your patio season year-round.

Make It Comfortable

You can’t really enjoy the outdoors if you’re cold and shivering. Add some fabric covered cushions to your outdoor furniture. Throw pillows and crocheted blankets also add comfort. Put an outdoor ottoman nearby to store the cushions and blankets when you’re not using them.

Add Heating

You’ll need more than a blanket to keep you warm if you live in the northern part of the country. Even the deep South gets chilly in January and February. There are many patio heating options that can take the edge off a brisk evening. Stand-alone heaters radiate heat on all sides, making them perfect for outdoor parties. Smaller tabletop options are perfect for keeping the warmth close by while enjoying a book and a cup of tea out on the patio.

Cozy Up by The Fire

Extending Your Patio Season

Whether you choose an outdoor fireplace or fire pit, you have a wide range of options. A tabletop fire pit is perfect for a small dinner outside, but you may prefer a larger fireplace for large gatherings. Your guests will be drawn to the flames in every season, even if they’re not in the mood to roast marshmallows. A fire will also provide you and your guests with plenty of light during winters shorter days.

Plant Some Winter Color

While most plants take a long nap over the winter season, there are a few that thrive in colder conditions. Consider planting flowers that provide a burst of winter color like the Christmas Rose or Holly. These tough plants will showcase their love for frigid climates and add interest to your patio. Surrounding your patio with winter blooms can help brighten your spirit and mood even on the dampest of days. Plant wood planter boxes or birch bark containers that you can move around the patio.

Install Outdoor Lighting

When we turn the clocks back an hour in November, we’ll see a drop in the amount of daylight. Instead of spending all afternoon and evening in bed, add outdoor lighting to help you enjoy this peaceful time of day. Hang strand lights around the perimeter of your patio to create the perfect ambiance. It also makes the patio safer for your guests and gives you a chance to show off that landscaping you worked so hard on over the summer. Leave some of those lights on every night, to deter intruders. Other outdoor options include tabletop lanterns and even wall-mounted sconces. Light candles on your patio tables to add a glow at night.

Cover

Canopies and gazebos have come a long way. You can get a temporary canopy for as little as $150, or you can spend a little more on a pergola or permanent awning. It may be worth the investment, especially if your patio gets a lot of sun in the summer. A permanent patio cover increases the value of your home.

Extending your patio season year-round is like adding another room to your house. You have one more place for entertaining and relaxing, and just enjoying the great outdoors.

Extending Your Patio Season

Kris Sontag is a designer who enjoys redecorating older homes. She has a special flair for backyard gardens and outdoor kitchen areas