Cooler temperatures are here but there’s no need to close up the patio just yet. With a little bit of ingenuity you can extend your outdoor living season well into October, says designer Andrew Bockner, founder of Toronto-based Andrew Richards Designs (ARD), a Canadian luxury outdoor furniture brand.
“This is a great time of year to use your outdoor space,” says Bockner. “That’s how Canadians are. We have winter and we have patio.”
The trick is to keep guests comfortable and Bockner has a few suggestions that are guaranteed to heat things up.
For starters, warm up the ground beneath your feet using an outdoor carpet, false grass, rubber tile or similar suggestion. Then consider keeping your shade umbrella or patio cover up even after the sun goes down to keep the heat in.
“Covering above and covering below really helps to insulate the area where you are hanging out,” says Bockner, who’s been using the trick in his own backyard space for years. “People used to say ‘it kind of feels a little warmer back here’ and it usually was,” he says.
Next, consider investing in one of the many outdoor heating products available today, from fireplaces, propane heaters and decorative fire pots to candles and fire pits. One commercial trend that Bockner hopes to see more readily available for homeowners next year is the use of decorative infrared panels that flip on and off with a switch. He’s even agreeable to bringing an indoor room heater outside if it means guests will be more content – a trick he often uses at the cottage where the décor isn’t fancy.
“It’s about comfort. Everybody probably has something that can help extend the usage of their patio space right in their home already, so why not plug it in and away you go,” he says.
Other ways to add warmth include providing a coat rack full of throws, pashmina shawls or blankets for guests to borrow from; lining your patio with cedars in insulated planters and strategically placing them to block the wind; adding plush cushions to patio furniture; and, keeping fresh cut colour flowers on display to add a bit of cheer.
One mistake people often make is closing things up too early, he adds. “It’s mid-September. Why are you cleaning up the backyard already? Keep your stuff growing and blooming or find something that lasts year round,” he suggests.
“Each little step you take might give you a couple of degrees of warmth, but what it’s going to do is extend the time you spend on your patio.”
This fall, Bockner challenges homeowners to keep the outdoor party going – suggesting we should be able to stretch it to Thanksgiving at the very least. With a little bit of thought and effort, your guests will receive a warm welcome on the patio for weeks to come.
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