Although the days are getting colder and the nights are getting longer, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to retreat indoors. With a few simple updates, it’s possible to enjoy your outdoor space without roughing it this winter.
Kylie Haig from The Gas Showroom says they’ve seen an upward trend of people upgrading their outdoor areas.
“Recently customers have been saying they’re spending so much more time at home, they want to enjoy the area,” she says. “They’re increasingly looking at barbecues and outdoor fire pits.”
Outdoor heating has moved on from a pile of sticks on the ground. Wood or ethanol fire pits can be mesmerising and add a touch of warmth.
You could also mount an infra-red heater permanently on the wall for extra warmth, where it’s protected a little from wind and rain. The heater can be wired to the home’s electricity supply and turned on at a switch.
Cooking damper or marshmallows on a fire is a delicious and nostalgic pastime. But slow-roasting lamb in an outdoor kitchen oozes comfort. Just incorporate the convenience of a fridge and sink.
“You’ve got everything out there,” Haig says. “You’ve got your barbecue, your side burner and your fridge. You can have everything outside.”
Your outdoor kitchen oven, cooktop and barbecue can all be connected to the house’s natural gas supply.
“That way, you’re not going to worry about filling up or replacing LPG bottles,” Haig says. “Natural gas is more cost efficient to use than bottled gas, not to mention less hassle.”
Near the outdoor kitchen, you could create a herb garden. Chives, mint and parsley grow well all year. Simply reach over while you’re cooking and pick a few leaves. Some vegetables thrive in cooler seasons, like carrots, beetroot and spinach, which can easily be added to a winter stew.
Creating zones is an easier way to plan and break up your space. Tailor your zones to the size and layout of your backyard so you can direct heat to where it’s needed.
The outdoor kitchen can be one zone in your backyard winter oasis. Another zone off the kitchen area can be the edible garden. The area for family and friends to mingle around the firepit can be a central zone. This is a great place for outdoor seating and perhaps a day bed.
The fourth zone can be the play area. The kids can create their own warmth by jumping on a trampoline or playing in a sandpit under a wall-mounted heater.
Warmth can surprisingly be created visually by adding external lanterns and fairy lights.
Wooden furniture looks fantastic but needs maintenance if left outdoors. Powder-coated outdoor furniture is all-weather. Simple black, grey and white are all on trend and can be easily dressed up with cushions and accessories. Just add a comfy blanket and a book.
“Outdoor scatter cushions can add a cosy feel to your outdoor lounge or dining area,” says Justine Wilson from Vault Interiors. “Opt for warmer autumnal tones for your decorative outdoor items.”
Outdoor rugs made from PVC or vinyl should withstand the wintery weather and add an extra layer of comfort.
“It’s a great way to bring some drama, pattern and texture into your outdoor room,” Wilson says.