Patio heater and lights

It’s not just upping the temperature; the mood you create keeps people hanging around. These ideas might spark your creativity and produce some of that hygge feeling:

The heat

It can come from fire pits (gas or wood-burning) radiant patio heaters, tabletop heaters, or hanging heaters. Heated pavers melt the snow. “Fire tables” (with propane tanks) add warmth and charm as well. (Check your town’s regulations.)

The light

Warm lighting can come from torches, candles, solar lights, holiday string lights (cheering although not technically “warm”), and you might even find chandeliers adapted or designed for outdoor use.

The furnishings

As restauranteurs do in the cafes of Quebec or Europe, keep blankets and cushions nearby, to soften the all-weather furniture, especially if it’s metal. Outdoor carpets also add comfort. For practicality, build in waterproof boxes that can double as seating and storage for pillows and props.

The food

Grills, stoves, and ovens have never been more popular for outdoor use. Cookouts aren’t just for summer anymore.

The landscape

Whether evergreens softening the edges of the space (while also serving as windbreaks) or groundcovers that keep their leaves, plants please our eyes and remind us of the softer seasons. In late winter especially, watch for the Hellebores, already flowering by March.


Garden writer Sally Cunningham’s books include Great Garden Companions and Buffalo-Style Gardens

Garden writer Sally Cunningham’s books include GREAT GARDEN COMPANIONS and BUFFALO-STYLE GARDENS.

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