How to take the chill off outdoor living

Posted by on Tuesday, October 13th, 2015 at 4:01pm.

The fall leaves may be swirling around you, but you can still enjoy those lovely nights on your deck or patio.   If Jack Frost is an unwelcome visitor at your home, keep these last few weeks of autumn cozy by investing in a few gadgets and outdoor accessories.

Start with Fire

Something as small as candles on a sheltered table or in a hurricane lamp can be very effective.  Light each area where you and your guest sit for a warm glow past that all too early sunset.  If not a real honest heat source, a burning candle can have psychological implications.  Place them on end tables at either side of each seating area, and instead of a traditional coffee table why not get a fire pit table.   These new tables have elevated bowls with a convenient on/off switch and are safe for your wood deck.  If you live in a multi-family complex, check to see if your condo rules permit this.  Fire pit tables use a clean fuel like propane or natural gas.  Keep the laughter going well past sunset with this alternative to a conventional wood burning firepit.  Often these tables have a ledge to place nibblies and wine glasses.  You can purchase a portable fire pit made of cast iron for as little as $150 or you can find large models made of luxury materials like granite for as much as $3,000.

Gas heaters are available at most hardware stores, such as Lowe’s, Rona and Canadian Tire.  Barbecue specialty shops and hot tub stores are also great locations to check – two places that encourage and support outdoor living. 

Next you might want to add some heat with an energy efficient electric heater.  Generally portable, choose a pole or wall-mounted type. Specifically designed for outdoor use, they can be left outdoors and used all year round.

Give me Shelter

If heating your patio or deck is difficult, you can trap in warm air with an awning over your outdoor space.  Warm air rises under you awning, which also stops the cold air from descending upon you.  Awnings keep the sun off your deck, but by leaving them open past sunset you could keep your deck about five degrees warmer than whatever the current outdoor temperature is.

If you’re in a condo and there’s a deck above you, think about screens or curtains around your deck that you can draw closed.  Something to cut the wind. Choose a weather proof material such as acrylic. An awning manufacturer can assist you with this type of feature.  A quick DIY tip is to use painter’s drop cloth and clip on curtain rings.

Pillows and blankets are a pretty obvious choice outdoors, but choose a warm colour like yellow, orange and red, again, for that psychological effect.  Fleecy textures work well, too.

As well, sitting cheek-to-cheek, so to speak, or elbow-to-elbow on an outdoor sectional creates natural heat and elevates your comfort level.

Then put the kettle on.  A steaming cup of tea or hot chocolate with your favourite adult additive might be just the ticket.   With the right set-up and a hot beverage, we know where to find you these next few weeks.



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