As winter kicks in and the Melbourne weather starts to seriously cool down, most people will inevitably make less use of their outdoor areas. But it doesn’t have to be this way. With a little planning and some minor additions, you can turn your verandah, patio or balcony into an area you can use all year round.
Why keep entertaining outdoors?
It’s a proven fact that colder winter weather affects our moods. Seasonal Affective Disorder is common during winter, especially in Melbourne, when the days are shorter and you can go weeks without seeing the sun. Making a concerted effort to get some quality outdoor time can be a great way to stay happy and healthy during winter. And making your outdoor area winter-friendly will help you get that outdoor time.
Additionally, using your outdoor entertaining area throughout the entire year means you’re getting your money’s worth. Installing timber decking, for instance, can be expensive. You should get to enjoy it whenever you want, regardless of the season.
So what can you do to get your outdoor space set up for those winter gatherings?
Set up heating
The first thing you need to do is address the cold. While a brisk breeze or chilly night can be refreshing in small doses, no one wants to be shivering all evening.
There are lots of heating options you can try. Choose what suits you and your space best. For instance, a portable gas heater is perfect for smaller spaces. On the other hand, a fire pit is great for open areas.
If you want to combine heating with eating, you could even consider building a wood fired pizza oven. Not only do they give off (and retain) plenty of heat, you’ll also get the added benefit of delicious wood fired food.
Whatever you choose for outdoor heating, make sure the space is well ventilated and you properly manage all fire and gas risks.
Block out the cold
To help with heating, make sure you can keep out cold air. Strategic use of outdoor curtains and blinds are perfect for blocking out the winter wind, while helping to keep the air in. There’s a wide variety to choose from, including transparent blinds that won’t obstruct your views.
These blinds and curtains can come in handy in summer too. They can be perfect for creating some shade from the hot sun or blocking out irritating insects.
Choose warm furnishings
Choosing the right outdoor furnishing can go a long way to keeping things warm. Try to cover any bare, hard surfaces like metal, stone or timber. Use cushions and thick seat covers to take the chill of hard surfaces. Have plenty of warm throws and blankets on hand. You can even lay down a soft rug for the floor. This will not only keep the chill off the floor, but will also help to insulate the area. Faux furs are a popular choice for both rugs and throws outdoors.
Create a warm atmosphere
The final step is to get everyone thinking warm. The best way to do this is by creating an inviting and cosy atmosphere.
Set up string lights along the walls to cast a soft glow. Burn candles so you can all enjoy their flickering yellow light. Avoid harsh fluorescent or white lights that can make a space feel colder.
When decorating, choose warm colours, like yellows and oranges. This can help make a space feel visually warmer, not to mention make it an attractive place to spend the evening.
It’s not hard to make your outdoor entertaining area suitable for all seasons. It’s all about making the space comfortable.