Don’t close the doors on your backyard patio once the weather starts to cool off. Why not warm up your patio instead?
The fact is, the end of summer doesn’t have to signal the end of patio season. Here are a few ways you can turn your warm-weather outdoor room into a space you can use nearly year-round.
Raise the roof. A permanent, year-round roof, made from shingles that match your house or a sturdy metal roof that complements the exterior of your home will protect you and your guests not only from the rain but from falling leaves. A roof will also protect your patio floor from collecting piles of leaves and from the discoloration that can occur when wet leaves and debris settle onto stone. A bonus: A roof is just as much an asset during the summer, when the beating sun can spoil an outdoor event.
Close the drapes. If you do add a roof to your patio, attach heavy curtains to it and pull them closed when the wind starts to blow. The curtains will serve as a buffer between you and a chilly wind, so you can keep entertaining.
Rearrange the furniture. Put away the chaise lounges and break out the rocking chairs. Consider adding a few pieces of upholstered furniture to help guests feel warm while they’re seated. A bonus: Nice, fabric-clad furniture will upgrade the look of your patio and is a good way to add color to the space.
Turn on the heat. Add heat lamps, a fireplace, a fire pit or even ceiling-mounted heaters to your covered patio and you’ll instantly take the chill off. You can make your heating source large or small, portable or permanent, high-end or low-cost. A bonus: Because your guests will gravitate to the warmth of a fireplace or fire pit, these heat sources have a way of keeping your company close together for good conversation.
Toss some pillows. Warm up your seating area with thick blankets and lots of throw pillows in rich fall colors to help your guests feel warm and comfortable. Scatter rugs on the patio floor to warm up bare feet and soften the “cold” feel and look of stone. A bonus: Washable fabric rugs will catch spills that otherwise might stain your wood or stone patio floor.
Light up the night. Soft outdoor lighting can set the mood for the whole evening and safely guide guests as they walk down stairs, approach a wall or get too close to the barbecue grill. Hang a few outdoor lanterns, line pathways with solar-powered lights and install lights around railings. A lighted patio will invite your friends to stick around after dark. A bonus: A few strategically placed lights can show off your landscaping. Point some ground lights up into trees to add more of an impression of “cover” over your outdoor room.
Make a big splash. The quickest way to warm up on a chilly fall night might be to relax in an outdoor hot tub. Choose a model with plenty of seating for family and friends. A bonus: Hot tubs aren’t just for entertaining. Soak away your aches and pains after a long day at work—almost all year round if your tub is in a covered patio.
Screen it in. Lots of the homeowners we’ve installed patios for have called us back years later to either screen it in or convert it to a sunroom with lots of windows. The screens add privacy and keep the bugs out and the windows and walls turn your patio into another room of the house. A bonus: A sun room is as comfortable in the dead of winter as it is on a perfect fall day because you can control the interior temperature.
Jeb Breithaupt, B. Arch., MBA, has been president of JEB Design/Build, an Angie’s List Super Service Award Winner, in Shreveport since 1983. You can contact him at 318-865-4914 or by visiting www.jebdesignbuild.com.