4 cozy outdoor patios ideas to help you transition to fall
Fuzzy blankets, fires, and hot cider, oh my!
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Fall is a season of sensations: the crisp air kissing your cheeks, the tang of hot cider on your tongue, snuggling into a soft sweater. As temps dip even further, you might be tempted to abandon your backyard oasis for the warmth inside your home.
Here are a few ways to keep your backyard patio or deck toasty (both visually and physically) amid drifting leaves and falling temps.
1. Cuddle up and get cozy
It’s time to couch the idea (pun intended) that cozy furniture belongs inside. After all, is there anything more inviting and warm than a sofa covered in pillows and throws?
“Soft and textured fabrics in plush outdoor throw pillows are incredibly warming and can instantly make an outdoor space feel cozier,” says Sarah Dooley, director of upholstery at Sunbrella.
“For cooler months, consider pillows in earthy tones such as terracotta and charcoal gray,” she adds.
To fill up your lounge area in colorful pops of pillows, you can find the Sunbrella Kuba cloth pillows, inspired by ceremonial African Kuba cloth, at Restoration Hardware. The weather-resistant pillows are easy to mix and match, come in various neutral colors, and are a great addition to any chaise or outdoor lounge area.
Wrapping yourself up in something fuzzy and settling in against a crisp fall evening on the patio also has its perks. Comma Home's earth-toned (in honey or wolf) faux-fur and sherpa throw blanket packs the perfect one-two punch with one side made of faux fur and the other fluffy faux sherpa fleece (all made of 100% polyester from recycled plastic bottles).
If this all sounds nice, but seasonal weather shifts usually translate to putting patio furniture to bed earlier than you like, you can still enjoy a crisp fall afternoon in your backyard in comfort. Intex’s inflatable corner sofa features a flocked top surface and a vinyl bottom, providing an incredibly comfortable seat. It inflates quickly (thanks to a two-in-one valve with extra-wide openings), and upon deflating, it folds compactly for storage.
This way, you can pack it away when it becomes too chilly, without the worry of ruining expensive furniture or finding indoor storage when you lug all your pieces inside.
2. Fire up your evening
When temps dip even lower as winter winds up, pillows and blankets will only get you so far.
To fight off the greater outdoor chill, you might want to pull out (or in this case light up) the big guns, like adding a fire element to your space.
“You need something to not only keep your patio or deck toasty amid dropping temperatures, but also set the scene for those memory-making autumn evenings,” says outdoor living expert Marc Broussard with BBQGuys, headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“If you’d prefer a gas fire feature, chances are you’d be delighted by the sturdy yet elegant presence of an American Fyre Designs Contempo fire table.” And, this set of outdoor-rated Firenado split oak gas logs is the next best thing to a roaring campfire in terms of realism.
For a more mobile outdoor heating option, Broussard suggests a Bromic Tungsten Smart-Heat patio heater to add efficient warming and a sleek look to your outdoor space.
A word to the wise: You should always keep any warming or fire feature far away from inflatable lounging. But for a fire feature that’s safer than most, you can check out Lovinflame’s classic tabletop fire pit. The chic and not-at-all-rustic design is gentle-breeze-resistant, and its vibrant orange flames kick off just enough heat to give the nearby area a wonderful glow.
Its secret weapon is Lovinflame’s non-toxic, water-soluble, non-flammable fuel that produces a clean-burning flame (read: all it releases is water vapor and carbon dioxide), so there is no smell or smoke.
For a fireless warming feature with oomph, the Zippo HeatBank 9s rechargeable hand warmer heats up to 120°F with six settings. This literal hands-on heating allows you to stay comfortable for up to nine hours.
What’s more: It can recharge USB-compatible devices (think Mp3 player or tablet). And, you can get it covered in snowflakes—a reminder that, soon, you will be, too.
3. Brighten up your backyard refuge
Stringing lights and lanterns high above your patio or deck easily turns up the warmth factor—just not the heat—when it comes to your outdoor fall décor.
You can easily create an inviting retreat with Pottery Barn’s indoor-outdoor LED string lights, available in various lengths that you can ultimately link up to 750 feet. These cafe-style bulbs cast a subtle glow, but they’re commercial grade with durable, impact-resistant, acrylic bulbs.
You can also go for a more delicate look with a smaller set of battery-operated mini-LED twinkle lights. Try wrapping them around your pergola or patio chairs for a subtle glow that illuminates just enough.
4. Toast the turning season
Nothing says fall—or "warm me up!"—more than a steaming cup of something tasty.
Gaia Herbs golden milk powder combines ashwagandha, an ancient Ayurvedic medicinal herb, with the warming notes of cardamom, black pepper, and vanilla. Add this powder mix to warmed milk for a nourishing, soul-calming latte.
If a milky beverage isn’t for you, steep a pot of one of the many teas from Organic India. Every blend—such as turmeric ginger and masala chai—includes tulsi, also known as holy basil and native to India, and they are all caffeine-free.
The sun has set on your summer G&T, but as imbibers know, nothing warms you up better than a smooth, sultry cocktail.
There are many recipes out in the universe for cider punches and hot toddies. Or get crafty and create your own.
A delicious and extra botanical one suggested by German distiller Monkey 47 Gin is the aptly named Sun in Sagittarius. This DIY concoction absolutely screams fall—just combine two ounces of gin, three ounces of hot apple cider, half an ounce of lemon juice, three drops of bitters, and aromatic garnishes like cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, cloves, or star anise.
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