When it comes to hosting parties, there’s nothing better than being able to use your outdoor space even in the depths of winter. Here are some tips on how you can cosy-up your outdoor area so you can entertain all year round.
#1 Outdoor heating
Three outdoor heating options include:
- Fire is the oldest form of heating and creates an atmosphere no other heating method can compete with. In fact, it’s been scientifically proven that the crackle of an open fire relaxes people and can even help them sleep! Fireplaces in outdoor areas look incredible but you don’t need to build a permanent structure to get the desired effect. Fire pits and chimineas are also an option. And you don’t have to rely on firewood these days either with a large range of gas and ethanol fire options on the market.
- Radiant heaters are most commonly installed as strip heaters on the ceiling of an alfresco space and produce gentle warmth. As they target heat and allow for zoning, for example honing in on a specific area like the dining table, they are a good option for an outdoor space where there is constant air movement.
- Freestanding gas-powered heaters are a great option if you want a portable heating solution. These days there are plenty of options including floor and table-top heaters.
#2 Rug up
We’ve said it before when it comes to indoor furnishings and the same applies to your outdoor areas—to make your space feel cosy, texture is key. Plush and fluffy materials like velvet, sheepskin, chunky knitted throws and warming hints of colour turn the temperature dial up a notch. A few new cushions can help create a snug space so you and your guests can stay up all night conversing over a glass of wine.
Other tips to warm up your space and keep guests happy include:
- Make sure you let your guests know the party will be hosted outside. It’ll give them a chance to layer up and they’ll thank you for it
- Create warmth with a thick outdoor rug
- Add interest and warmth to the space by adding throws which can double as blankets for you and your guests
- Don’t underestimate the power of cushions! They definitely add cosiness to a space.
- Add some silica packets to your outdoor storage to keep the damp from affecting pillows, throws, cushions and rugs
#3 Outdoor lighting
Make your space feel like a winter wonderland with pretty outdoor lighting such as fairy lights strung around the perimeter or above the heads of your guests. Warm metals such as brass and copper give the space depth and warmth. And don’t forget to add ambience with candles, especially on those darker days and nights—they’ll warm everything up, not only aesthetically but by choosing warm, comforting or spicy scents.
#4 Winter garden
If you’ve got deciduous trees around your home you can soften their look by surrounding them with flowering plants and hanging decorations, lights or lanterns in their bare branches.
Winter is also the season for citrus, so if you have dwarf or ornamental varieties in pots, make sure you use them to decorate the alfresco space. They are both visually interesting and fragrant. Plant screens and vertical plant walls help with climate control by blocking cold draughts and trapping pockets of warmth around your fire pit or heater.
#5 Block the breeze
A roof over your outdoor space may block out most of the rain but to keep guests extra dry and toasty, blinds and shutters work best to enclose the space. Clear outdoor screens like the ones used in restaurants and cafes are a good option and keep the space visually open. Bamboo blinds are also an option and can add visual interest and warmth. If you have a particularly windy outdoor space, aluminium outdoor shutters could be an option, but remember this will make the space feel more enclosed.
A bubbling spa or hot tub will warm you and your outdoor area up in no time. It’s a huge investment but if you and your family will get a lot of use out of it, then why not? Even if it’s raining and there’s a wind chill the water will provide the perfect retreat for relaxing and de-thawing sore or frozen muscles. Just make sure children are always supervised and that your guests have a warm robe, slippers, and a towel nearby for when they decide to exit.
#7 Serve hot drinks
The best way to warm up quickly is from the inside out so if you’re hosting a party outside then why not serve hot drinks along with the hot food? There’s tea and coffee of course but other options include:
- Hot toddy
- Mulled wine
- Hot chocolate or cocoa
- Mulled cider
If you’re looking for a way to spend a chilly weekend, why not stop by one of our display villages?