Relaxing or entertaining in outdoor spaces is natural during the summer months, but many of us start to bring the party indoors once the chilly weather sets in. But, there’s no reason to limit your enjoyment of those areas to only one season! Here are a few ways to make your outdoor living areas cozy and bright all year long.

1. Add More Lighting

As the summer months come to a close, sunset arrives earlier and earlier every day. Adding extra lighting will make your outdoor areas more inviting so you can stay outside long after sunset. Add path lighting to walkways, stairs, and railing to make getting around safer, and place overhead lighting on eaves, pergolas, and other enclosures.

Along with a variety of built-in, permanent lighting, consider adding a few warm touches throughout the area. For example, string lighting can bring a festive glow over tables or when strung around fire pits and dangling from tree branches. Lanterns and candles make lovely centerpieces during the day and offer a soft radiance for quiet nights. Wickless candles that operate on batteries or solar energy are great alternatives if you’re worried about flames and messy wax to clean up.

2. Bring Warmth

Nothing makes an outdoor space cozy like fire. There are many ways to safely kindle a campfire on your deck, patio, and in the yard. For example, a spacious, hearth-style fireplace would make the perfect focal point for any patio, and when the temperatures drop, everyone will relish gathering round.

Fire pits are versatile, and perfect for nearly any area of your yard, deck, or patio. Build a sunken fire pit with bench seating encircling the blaze as your central gathering area, or create a private nook in a far corner, complete with weather-resistant chairs. Fire pits are endlessly customizable and can be built from a variety of materials such as poured concrete, stacked stone, and rugged iron.

3. Wind Protection

Blustery winds can put a damper on even the coziest arrangements so creating a few windbreaks is a must for year-round enjoyment. Start by considering some natural options for the perimeter of your areas by planting a windrow of trees or shrub hedges to block the path of the winds without disrupting the natural look and feel of your yard.

To get every possible moment from your deck and patio, covering the area to keep out the wind and rain will add weeks to your outdoor living. Louvered roofs act as an open pergola on sunny days, and the slats rotate closed when it’s time to be under cover. Adding a roof enclosure is an easy way to add seamless protection for decks attached to the home. Awnings and retractable roofs are affordable options for the budget-minded.

4. Make it Entertaining

The best way to keep everyone happy outdoors is to make it enticing! Consider adding a TV above the fireplace for sleepover Saturdays and football Sundays. Keep a few fluffy pillows and fuzzy blankets on hand to enhance the snuggling. A square table for card or board games will attract attention, and giving it a checkerboard top will have it do double duty. Lastly, bring out the cocoa, warmed cider, and steaming mugs of coffee and enjoy.

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