Autumn is near … and so is your backyard! Here are some ideas from HomeStars to help you and your guests enjoy autumn backyard living when the nights get cooler.

Let there be heat!

blog-autumn-fire-pitBeing able to turn on the heat at the flick of a switch will help you really enjoy autumn backyard living and those cool Fall evenings. Here are several outdoor heating options, arranged from least to most expensive:

  • Heat lamps (electric or gas), available in either floor standing or table top models.
  • Fire tables at one of two heights: coffee table (16”) or dining table (28”). A key consideration is the size of the space outside the fire that’s available for drinks and food – that is, the size of the fire opening relative to the the entire table’s dimensions.
  • Fire pit. Either above ground or in-ground, but read these helpful considerations and safety guidelines, courtesy of Allstate.

    Fire Pit Unilock stone by V&F Landscape Ltd

    Fire Pit Unilock stone by V&F Landscape Ltd

  • Stone or brick fireplace with chimney. It can burn real wood or natural gas with permanent ceramic wood logs, just like an indoor fireplace.
  • Whichever outdoor heating option you choose, disclosing it to your insurance company may be a requirement of your homeowner’s insurance policy.

    Standalone Outdoor Fireplace

    Freestanding Outdoor Fireplace

… And let there be water – bubbling, soothing, hot water!
Hot tub

Photo courtesy onekindesign.com

A hot tub is a great way to extend the enjoyment of your backyard well into the fall. (The terms ‘hot tub’ and ‘spa’ are used interchangeably here, although some aficionados may quibble about subtle differences between them.) When evening temperatures approach freezing, you’ll need to decide whether to close your hot tub or keep it going throughout the winter. Either way, here is a helpful guide, courtesy of Jacuzzi. If you use it during winter, be sure to take steps to prevent the pipes from freezing. To conserve energy, use a thermal blanket that floats on the water, plus a snug, form-fitted cover to seal in the heat.

Hot tub wide shot

Hot tub integrated with deck

Hot tubs can be installed in-ground or above ground, ideally integrated seamlessly into an above-ground deck. Of course, if you already own a swimming pool, you may be able to make use of some existing plumbing and heating equipment by locating the hot tub near the pool.

Above-ground tub installed at deck level

Warm it up – on the cheap!
blog-patio-blankets

Blankets, throws and cushions for comfort

Make your outdoor space warm and cozy with blankets, throws and cushions. People who live in the extreme north have learned to enjoy the outdoors even when it’s cold. In Scandinavia, outdoor lovers have a basket of brightly-coloured, thick-fleece patio blankets always at the ready. You can buy your own blankets just for outdoor use or simply re-purpose old quilts or twin-sized wool blankets. You won’t need to wash them often – if they get damp, just throw them in the dryer to refresh.

If you are able to hang outdoor drapes, it can block a cool breeze and retain warmth. An outdoor carpet can also make it feel more cozy. A string of patio lanterns or Christmas lights overhead can make it feel warmer as sunset comes a little bit earlier each week.

patio-lanterns-lights

Lights add warmth

Following these tips will help you enjoy autumn backyard living and prepare you for an inevitable ‘January thaw’ that’s coming in a few months. So when the nights get cooler, head to the backyard for a drink by the fire or a soak in the tub and perhaps some star gazing!

Posted by David Bounsall