As cooler weather settles in, that doesn't mean homeowners need to immediately cover their outdoor furniture and go into hibernation.
Luckily, there are ways to extend the use of outdoor living areas into the colder months.
“Outdoor living space has become so important. It's a way to make even smaller homes seem larger. So the more time you can spend using that space, the better,” said Lucas Congdon, president of Sarasota, Fla.-based Designed Outdoor Living and Lucas Lagoons.
“Add 2,000 square feet of outdoor living space to a 2,000-square-foot house, and suddenly you're living in a home that feels a lot larger,” Congdon said. “And that's a lot more cost-effective than doubling the size of your home's interior.”
Following are three suggestions for taking advantage of your home's outdoor living space, even as the temperatures fall.
» Create green walls: Walls made of landscaping or shrubbery provide both privacy and protection from the elements. A tall wall of trees, for example, can protect you from blustery winds, Congdon said.
» Use some fire power: The outdoor fire feature continues to rise in popularity, said Michelle Schwindler, president and owner of Outdoor Roomscapes, based in Monticello, Ind. Warmth from fireplaces, firepits and fire tables can provide comfortable warmth outside through Thanksgiving — and possibly later.
» When only a roof will do: What if it's raining or snowing, but the temperature isn't too bitter? A pergola with or without a retractable roof can protect you from the elements.
Even pergolas without such roofs can provide protection, thanks to roll-down side shades that can keep harsh winds at bay, Schwindler said. Homeowners also can install heaters in their pergolas to create a warm spot on even the chilliest November or December evenings, she said.
“There is so much that homeowners can do now with their outside spaces,” Schwindler said. “It's no surprise that people are getting more creative when it comes to extending the days each year that they can use them.”