Now we know that an evening in the garden during the autumn and winter months is not everyone’s cup of tea. But for those brave (or silly) enough to venture out, here are a few tips on how to heat your outdoor space for the occasional social gathering.
Generally there’s no heat without fire so an obvious favourite for a cosy night alfresco is a fire pit. Widely available in a wealth of styles and sizes, fire pits deliver naked flames and a glowing heat to stave off frostbite.
Whether you fashion your own or grab one off-the-shelf, incorporating a fire pit into your garden design can make it a useable space beyond the summer.
Include lighting, adequate seating with comfy cushions and a place to rest your glass of mulled wine or mug of hot chocolate. Grab a few woolly throws, a bag of marshmallows and you’re good to go.
When designing your seating, consider whether a circular arrangement would maximise bums on seats and make the most of your available space.
If you’ve got a particular focal point in your garden you’d like to showcase, opt for semicircular seating to maximise the view and draw the eye.
If your garden is long and narrow, then a face-to-face layout with comfy sofas and a long, elongated fire pit may work better in your space.
Vary the height of your planting to add interest and privacy to your outdoor space, like this garden created by Surrey-based Anthony Paul Landscape Design. This central fire pit and communal seating area is just one of the many ‘garden rooms’ designed for a family home in Kingston Hill.
When choosing your fire pit, consider whether a version with a lid that transforms into a table when not in use would be a useful addition to your garden. Perhaps you could fill the pit with ice in the summer months to chill your drinks? Now there’s an idea.
DIY fire pits
For those who like a challenge, creating your own DIY fire pit is also a possibility. You can find a step by step tutorial for creating your own concrete fire pit (including the bowl) by Chris Gardner of ManMade here.
Or what about utilising an old washing machine drum? Not as crazy as it sounds. We love the idea so much that we even featured it on our Get set for summer blog back in April. You can find the step by guide from instructables.com here.
Create the illusion of heat
Lighting can also play a part in setting the scene outdoors, from dedicated garden lighting and decorative strings of lights to candles; it all helps to create the illusion of warmth.
This inspired idea by Tasmanian-based furniture and lighting designer, Duncan Meerding, utilises naturally cracked tree stumps and warm yellow LED lights to bring a lovely twist to garden lighting.
And we love this simple, yet effective idea of winding strings of little white lights around tree trunks too.
Whether you choose a fire pit, chiminea or gas heater for your outdoor space this winter, all will help to keep the temperature above freezing…for a little while anyway.