Baby, it’s cold outside! Ways to heat your outdoor space.

As the temperatures dip, you might be thinking that, sadly, patio season is coming to an end. I love outdoor entertaining, but I’m not one to sit out on the patio when it’s freezing cold and there’s a cozy seat by the fire indoors. But I do want to enjoy the outdoors as long as possible. Additionally, being able to heat your outdoor space is beneficial if you are trying to spend time with friends in a socially distant manner. So, in this article we’ll look at a few ways in which you can heat your outdoor spaces.  And hopefully enjoy them longer than you thought possible.

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There are many, many options when it comes to heating outdoor spaces.  What is right for you will depend on a lot of factors.  Budget is probably the biggest factor.  Introducing a heat element can run you anywhere from very little cost to thousands of dollars.  In this article we’ll discuss 3 types of heat: fire, propane heaters, and infrared heaters.

Ring of fire - bring on the flame

By far, adding an element of fire to heat your patio is the most popular option.  And it can be achieved in so many ways, from a store-bought portable fire pit or a built in fire pit, to a gas fueled fire table, to an outdoor fireplace or chiminea.  The options are endless.  But however you choose to light a fire, this method will keep those close to it quite warm and cozy.

Cost-wise, on the lower end of the spectrum is a portable wood-burning fire pit.  These can be found at a variety of stores for $100 to $400. For something more permanent, you could purchase a stone or concrete fire pit kit from a home improvement store for $400 – $800.  The benefit of this option is you can entertain plenty of friends by arranging chairs around the fire ring.  However, getting a wood fire started and smelling like wood smoke are not always preferred.  

Another option and one that’s recently been gaining popularity are gas fire tables.  These can range in price from a couple hundred dollars to a few thousand, depending on size, materials, and features. They are sold at a wide variety of stores and come in a variety of styles.  Whether you go with a bar-height table or coffee table, it will typically have a base that conceals a propane tank. Many folks prefer this over a wood-burning fire pit because it is easy to start up.  With the push of a button, you have a blazing fire going.  And you won’t end the day smelling like wood smoke.

Finally, for a more upscale look, you can incorporate a gas or wood burning fireplace.  There are portable ones that won’t break the bank, but a custom-built fireplace will run a few thousand dollars.  Fireplaces can create a cozy, intimate setting whereas a fire pit or fire table are better for larger groups to gather around.  A fireplace can also be used to divide larger outdoor spaces. Or it can be used to enclose a space and block wind or provide privacy from neighbors.  A fireplace is an extremely desirable feature both for home interiors as well as outdoors.  Going this route will definitely increase your home value.  

Designed Outdoors top picks:

In the market for a fire pit but not sure what’s right for you?  Check out BBQ Guys.  Their site highlights the features and benefits of their vast assortment of fire bowls, tables, and urns.  They even have a tutorial on building your own fire pit – yay a DIY option!

This coffee table by RST Brands is very sleek looking.  It’s clean lines and rich dark granite stone top would work well with many different styles of lounge seating.

Propane Heaters to warm up your patio

There are mainly two varieties of standalone propane patio heaters.  The traditional post with a “mushroom” top is the first to make its way to patios and decks.  A propane tank is hidden in the base and attached to a hose inside the unit’s base to fuel the heat.  These will heat a partially enclosed space quite well.  However, these can be a bit top-heavy so you want to be sure they are not in the path of traffic where they can easily be knocked over.  

The other variety is the newer sleeker looking pyramid style propane patio heater.  Because of its pyramid shape, the wider base makes this much more stable and less likely to be knocked over.

These make great options for well ventilated, partially enclosed spaces.  They work best when there is zero wind to carry the heat up and away.  They will not be ideal placed out in an open, breezy area.  So if you have a large porch or patio that is sheltered from wind, this is a great option!  

Designed Outdoors top pick:

This pyramid style propane heater sold by Abba Patio puts out a decent amount of heat.  If your patio or deck is able to block the wind, this would be ideal next to a seating area or outdoor dining area.  At night it will also add some nice ambient lighting to the area. 

infrared - not just for chicks

Infrared heaters are a versatile option since they can be used in virtually any outdoor space, be it a patio, porch, deck, or garage.  They can be mounted in a variety of ways: suspended from above, wall mounted, or free standing.  Infrared heat works differently from the above options because it emits light that heats objects (including you) versus heating the air.  Because of that, they begin earning their keep quickly.  You’ll feel warm as soon as you turn this heater on.  This also makes them very efficient since energy isn’t wasted on heating the air.  

Are you ready for winter?

Is your porch or patio toasty even with temperatures dropping?  Leave us a comment telling us how you bring the heat! 

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