By Marcus Fulker
Winter doesn’t need to mean hiding indoors wrapped permanently in a blanket. Whilst those days are definitely nice, having an outdoor space for entertaining despite the weather is something most of us desire. Embracing the cooler season can be hard, but with the right outdoor area, a crackling fire and cosy scenery, you can fight that urge to hide away.
Step outside your comfort zone, stop letting winter cramp your style and check out these super hot tips to make your outdoor area the perfect living space – all year round.
1. Create a cosy setting
A well-planned outdoor area should involve a cosy setting and a purpose. Clever designs, low-maintenance materials and a luxurious homely feeling will ensure both you and your guests feel comfortable. Nowadays, outdoor living is designed to reflect the interior space so you want it to maintain a similar style. For an outdoor space to feel truly cosy, it’ll need to give the sense that it’s a room. Focus on a palette that’s restrained, yet warm and incorporate the principals behind designing a sociable living space.
2. Provide protection from the elements
If you’re serious about having an outdoor living space suitable for entertaining all year round, it’s an absolute must that adequate protection is provided. There’s nothing comfortable about sitting outside in the rain, strong winds or extreme cold so having a versatile patio will shield you from harsh elements throughout the year.
Especially in winter, every day brings unpredictable weather and this can be damaging to your furniture. Dome patios provide the perfect balance between an attractive feature and outdoor protection, creating the perfect atmosphere for you and your guests. If you’re looking to extend you existing gable patio area, Hip Ends are ideal for design flexibility and offer a convenient way to enjoy outdoor entertaining regardless of the weather.
3. Incorporate a spark of fire
There’s something pretty spectacular about fire that not only captivates us, but creates a space that is warm, cosy and inviting. Incorporating a spark of fire into your outdoor area, whether it is a fire pit table or a fireplaces, can add an attractive focal point for the space whilst keeping you and your guests toasty. Use the fire as a gathering point and encourage everyone to sit around and toast marshmallows. When the weather turns warm again, a fire pit table can still be used to hold drinks and snacks.
Once you have a spark of fire in place, complement with a water feature to promote relaxation and bring in a cool dimension of tranquillity. If the space permits, consider building a small garden pond to fill with fish and a waterfall to create an exotic feel. Water features or small fountains can also be sufficient.
4. Brighten those gloomy days with colour
Winter can definitely be a dull mood changer so add a touch of excitement with colours that are bold, bright and daring. Playful colours like yellows, blues and reds will fit beautifully on the background of outdoor earthy tones and colourful accessories will transform the space into a little piece of tropical paradise.
Think colourful potted plants, brightly patterned hammocks and cushions for your outdoor furniture. As vibrant hues and lively designs become incorporated into outdoor décor, your mood is lifted and the space is jazzed up with an element of fun.
5. Choose the right furniture
Whilst a good patio will provide protection against the harsh elements, it’s still vital you invest in outdoor products that can withstand the weather. Choosing the right furniture can give you the opportunity to reflect your personality, have some creative fun and establish a space that is comfy and convenient for entertaining.
You want items that’ll last the distance and provide extensive comfort for years to come. Look for pieces that can give your outdoor space that ‘wow’ factor by adding depth, flair and colour. Good quality is essential, think of your outdoor products as an investment, and consider maintenance requirements and rust-resistant properties.
When choosing the right outdoor furniture, take into consideration its function and purpose, comfort and construction, design consistency and durability, colour schemes, cost, size and shape. Furniture that can serve more than one purpose will not only make life easier for you, but it’ll free up extra space for other items like lighting that can complete the look.
6. Keep entertaining
Taking good care of you outdoor space will ensure it’s perfect for entertaining in all year round. A good outdoor living area will keep the action going, despite what the weather brings in so make sure you’re using the space as best you can.
For those that want to channel their inner chef, this can mean bringing the heat from the inside kitchen, outside. Outdoor kitchens are booming in popularity thanks to cooking shows and the availability of new recipes everyone wants to try. People are being more creative with their cooking, and the convenience of an outdoor kitchen makes this easier to show off those new skills, experiment and entertain. Typically, the grill is the heart of any true outdoor kitchen so make sure you have the right equipment.
To add to that entertaining atmosphere, be sure to create a little drama with the right lighting. Not just a safety consideration, adequate lighting will accent your outdoor space and make that beautifully designed landscape and attractive elements stand out.
Make your yard look stunning at night by layering lights and learning to combine ambient lighting. If you’re after a soft, cosy glow, keep lighting around the house pointing downwards. Illumination in trees and spotlights around the pool and deck area will create a romantic, soft glow that’ll make the space inviting.
– Marcus Fulker is managing director of Great Aussie Patios – Perth’s leading patio builders with a solution for every outdoor space.