AARP Eye Center
| Ever since the coronavirus forced many to entertain outdoors, people have been re-evaluating — and upgrading — exterior living spaces.
They’ve found attractive and comfortable ways to use decks and patios even as the weather gets chilly. Whether you’re just seeking ways to stay warm outside while socializing safely or looking to create a show-stopping open-air gathering space, investing in your outdoor space makes sense right now.
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Here’s how you can extend your deck and patio season right through the winter.
1. Put a roof on it
“Here in the Northwest, our summer season ends in mid-October, but a lot of my clients want to be outside in all seasons,” says Micah Dennis, president of Paradise Restored Landscaping & Exterior Design in Happy Valley, Oregon.
Covered structures, including screened-in porches or pavilions that are either attached to or detached from the home, are a great way to define an outdoor space and protect you from the elements, Dennis says. He noted that open lean-to patio covers — 10-to-14-foot sloped structures that provide a roofed area for year-round enjoyment — are the most affordable.
“Lean-tos are really nice for small areas; we can do built-in benches or a bar along the posts to maximize space,” he says, estimating costs at $4,000 to $8,000. “It adds style to your outdoor space.”
You can also hang up inexpensive, waterproof outdoor curtains so you can sit on your patio in comfort. These curtains can help keep heat in (especially if you add a small space heater) and protect you from rain and other elements.
Upgrade your outdoor space with these items:
• Cozy blankets
• Patio heater
• String lights
• A hot chocolate bar
• Padded furniture
• Curtains for screened-in porches or roofed structures
• Heated furniture
2. Heat things up
Having an outdoor heat source will mean you can more comfortably entertain as the days grow colder, says Sharon McCormick, CEO of Sharon McCormick Design in Hartford, Connecticut.
Homeowners planning to spend lots of time on the patio may want to splurge on an outdoor wood-burning or gas fireplace, which costs $3,000 and up, she says. Fireplaces add ambiance and the chance to roast marshmallows year-round. You can also incorporate fun extras like a pizza oven.