The outdoor space of your home, when planned for and set up thoughtfully, can have a tremendous impact on your quality of life. From pools and outdoor kitchens to workshops and sheds, your home’s outdoor space can bring endless enjoyment and provide extra space for entertaining guests.
However, designing an outdoor space for cold climates can be daunting. It requires careful consideration of the elements and selecting materials, furniture, and accessories designed to withstand cold temperatures and harsh weather. For example, there are many benefits of having a concrete patio, but in a cold climate, they may not provide enough traction when snow and ice arrive.
This guide will provide all the information needed to design an outdoor space that is visually appealing and built to last in frigid temperatures. We’ll provide practical tips and advice to help you create a comfortable outdoor space that can be enjoyed all year long.
While homeowners living in colder climates will have difficulty creating a lush, jungle-like backyard paradise, the opportunity to incorporate flora still exists. When designing an outdoor space in cold climates, choose plants that can withstand temperature fluctuations and harsh weather.
Selecting tough, hardy plants such as evergreens, ornamental grasses, or shrubs will ensure they thrive despite the cold temperatures. Avoid fragile plants like tropicals, which can not survive the cold and will likely die.
Most of the resources that provide backyard design options for homeowners assume that a majority of the space’s use will be in warmer weather. Despite the limitations of landscaping an outdoor space in a cold climate, it also provides opportunities for unique wintertime beauty. Plants that flower in the winter—such as pansies, daffodils, and snowdrops—are sure to be showstoppers in your outdoor space.
The most beautifully-designed and outfitted outdoor space can still come up short if it lacks colour. For year-round colour, consider adding evergreen trees and shrubs. Evergreens are perfect for providing some much-needed greenery during the cold winter months when other plants may be dormant or dead.
Additionally, evergreens can also help protect you from cold winds and snowfall, and when paired with your winter flowers, you’ll be left with a lush and unexpected winter setting.
Evergreens come with tremendous versatility thanks to their year-round foliage, and they can therefore be used as privacy barriers or property line delineators. A fenced- or walled-in outdoor space can feel claustrophobic and impersonal any time of year, but this is especially true during long winters. Instead of a typical wood-slat fence or concrete barrier wall, try planting a wall of lush evergreens!
When designing an outdoor space in cold climates, it’s essential to consider the wind. Cold winds can be incredibly uncomfortable, making enjoying the outdoors difficult even during milder days. In the dead of winter, the prospect of heavy winds is enough to keep you from even venturing outside.
Consider installing a pergola or arbour to provide shelter from winter’s chill. These structures are perfect for creating an inviting atmosphere that will protect your guests from cold winds. Pergolas and arbours also offer an excellent backdrop for entertaining and can be adorned with climbing vines or other plants to enhance the beauty of your outdoor space.
Outdoor areas in cold climates can be especially unpleasant during the winter months, so having an effective heating source is essential. Patio heaters are a great option for providing centralized warmth to your outdoor area. These efficient and versatile heat sources will keep you and your guests warm even in frigid temperatures.
They come in various sizes and designs, so you can find one that fits your outdoor space well. Most patio heaters are propane-fuelled, but electric heaters are an increasingly popular alternative for anyone nervous about having propane tanks in their yard.
Fire pits also provide warmth and a cozy atmosphere while entertaining outdoors. They take outdoor design one step further by providing built-in entertainment and atmosphere. A snowy backyard get-together will go from uncomfortable to warm and welcoming with the simple addition of a firepit. And the year-round potential for s’mores is an added benefit.
Once you have the heating source in place, it’s time to select furniture that can handle cold weather. Opt for pieces made from materials such as aluminum, wrought iron and teak designed to retain their look and strength even in cold temperatures. Additionally, choose pieces with comfortable cushions or throws that will provide a layer of insulation against the cold, making for a more enjoyable outdoor experience.
When winter days are short and dark, having extra lighting can make your outdoor space more inviting. A dark outdoor space can be nice in warmer weather, but as the winter months plod along, you’ll want plenty of light for outdoor relaxation and gatherings. String lights, spotlights or lanterns will provide a warm glow to your outdoor area and help create a cozy atmosphere that is perfect for entertaining year-round.
By following these tips, you can create a beautiful, inviting outdoor space perfect for enjoying even during the coldest of winter days. Proper heating sources and weather-resistant furniture and decor allow you to enjoy your outdoor area all year long. By considering factors such as plant type and lighting when designing your outdoor space in colder climates, you can create an enjoyable living space even in the depths of winter.