Outdoor Heating Ideas to Extend Your Patio Season

Outdoor Heating Ideas to Extend Your Patio Season

The end of summer doesn’t have to mean the end of outdoor entertaining. Keep the coals burning for game day burgers and brats, or take Halloween night to the next level with a wood fired pizza oven. With some simple restyling, your patio can become a cozy hub for backyard bonfires, tailgate parties, or a rustic Friendsgiving dinner under the stars.


Raise a Roof

gazebo with curtains Shop This Outdoor Gazebo

Extending patio season into fall—and winter—is all about giving your space the intimate feel of an outdoor room. If your deck or patio doesn’t already have a covered area, you can create one with a gazebo or pop-up canopy. These outdoor structures instantly outline your hangout space while providing a home-like shelter from the changing forecast.


For fall to all-season versatility, look for cabana structures with adjustable canvas covers for protection from drafts and drizzle, netted sidewalls for bug-free dining, or outdoor fabric curtains for privacy. Some hard-top gazebos are even strong enough to withstand a heavy winter snow. Deck out your newly defined space with a comfy conversation set, fill cups with cocoa and cider, and set up your family’s favorite board game. With a patio structure in place, you’ll find every reason to bring inside activities to the outdoors.


Layer on the Warmth

fall throw pillow Shop This Outdoor Throw Pillow

Fall offers the perfect occasion to shift your backyard color scheme from tropical summer brights to warmer neutrals inspired by the falling leaves. Think rust, golden yellow, and ruddy shades of red and aubergine to chocolate brown. Look for these tones in tactile comforts like overstuffed throw pillows and outdoor bean bags to create a snuggly hideaway for cooler days and outdoor movie nights.


Premium outdoor fabrics such as Sunbrella provide a soft hand, plus resistance to fall’s wet weather and mold. If your classic hard wood or metal patio furniture leaves you feeling cold by the end of September, give them an upholstered feel by adding thick fabric seat cushions. For a finishing touch, pile on the hospitality by offering plenty of blankets in plush faux fur or traditional fall plaids. You can drape throws across your sectional sofas and adirondack chairs, or roll and bundle them up in a durable indoor/outdoor basket for each guest to choose.


Light up the Night

outdoor string lights Shop These String Lights

As the days get shorter and darker, outdoor lighting becomes more important for mood as well as safety. On a bright note, new patio lighting for the fall season doesn’t have to be hardwired or expensive. Look to solar-powered garden stakes to cast a glow along perimeters and pathways. You can also lend that at-ease living room feel to your outdoor space with all-weather floor and table lamps. Diffuse gentle light for reading story books, playing cards, or painting pumpkins with the kids.


For bigger celebrations, pair groups of outdoor candle lanterns with tiki torches and string lights for a festive autumn vibe. Warm white or color-changing options are perfect to brighten autumnal alfresco dinners, costume parties, and all the fall and winter holidays. As Christmas approaches, you can add lively greenery to your lighting mix with pre-lit porch trees and garland draped across your railings. Battery-operated designs let you add extra sparkle anywhere.


Gather Round the Fire

fire pit Shop This Fire Pit

The must-have element to extend patio season is heat, especially when you’re entertaining on a cold hardscape patio. Fire pits and chimneas add instant comfort and ambiance to your space, while serving as a gathering point for conversation. A simple wood-burning fire bowl may be all you need for the occasional night outside. If you’re a more avid host of evening soirees, you might appreciate the ease and elegance of a fire pit table. These propane-powered tables deliver a captivating fire at the push of a button—and they offer a surface for appetizer plates and wine glasses, too.


Standing or tabletop patio heaters are moveable outdoor heating ideas that turn up the temperature wherever and whenever needed. Hanging electric patio heaters are another portable and super family-friendly option because they’re up and out of the way and flameless. These come with an adjustable hook and chain and hang from your gazebo frame or balcony ceiling, just like a chandelier.


Soak up the Season

hot tub Shop This Hot Tub

When the leaves and temperatures begin to fall, there’s one thing guaranteed to bring everyone back to the yard: a hot tub. Make your patio feel like a luxurious getaway with a cozy two- to three-person tub, or host a hot tub party with a more spacious spa that fits up to seven. With plug-and-play and inflatable models, all you need is a standard 110- to 120-volt outdoor outlet.


To enhance your spa enjoyment in chilly weather, look for a well-insulated, energy-efficient model with a tightly fitting cover to maintain a constant, soothing temperature. Also consider adding hot tub accessories such as a towel rack for fluffy bathrobes and a weatherproof outdoor rug to protect bare feet from the cold ground. With some extra lighting, heat, and thoughtfulness, your hot tub can be a joyful gathering spot for friends and family all season long.

Now that you’ve prepped your patio for cold-weather entertaining, it’s time to enliven your the rest of your property with decorations for a festive fall. See our ideas for How to Decorate Outside for Fall.