New options for new seasons

How to winterize your outdoor living spaces

FORT WAYNE NEWSPAPERS The gathering will be warm and happy around this fire dining table, featuring outdoor rattan-style construction with a stone top, from Tredway Pools Plus, photographed at its Lima Road store.
FORT WAYNE NEWSPAPERS Colorful outdoor-rated cushions add warmth to your patio for the cooler months, found at Pier 1 Imports and photographed at the Coldwater Road store.
FORT WAYNE NEWSPAPERS Trending now are Pier 1’s exclusive glimmer lights, which can be used inside all sorts of containers to brighten outdoor spaces in these darker, cooler months. Photographed at the Coldwater Road store.

Naturally, outdoor living spaces get the most enjoyment during spring and summer months. It’s easy to relax on a patio, enjoying the sunshine and chirping of birds and crickets. A great patio or backyard expands the size of a home, allowing for additional space for family, friends and parties.

But the extra space and time spent in nature doesn’t have to end along with Daylight Savings Time. Why not extend your outdoor fun into the fall — or even winter for that matter?

Enjoy the beauty of all four seasons al fresco by getting creative and adventurous beyond the walls of your home. Get more bang for your buck and efforts spent during the warmer months by employing a few tricks to take you into the next seasons. With proper preparations and a few extra accessories, you can spend more time outdoors before retreating from the snow once the mercury really dips.

Warm it up

Outdoor time when it’s a little nippy becomes an enjoyable experience when you add a bonfire. Whether you choose a built-in fireplace or portable fire pit, a bonfire will keep you warm while providing ambience and even a fun activity when used for roasting hot dogs and marshmallows. Tredway Pools Plus offers permanent and semi-permanent fire pit and fireplace options that can be customized to blend with your home’s decor, including height, sizes, shapes and finishes.

Cindi Barnes, retail manager for Tredway’s Lima Road store, says pieces like fire dining or coffee tables, where guests can sit comfortably for a meal or drinks, are growing in popularity.

Many portable fire pit options are relatively lightweight and easily stored or covered when not in use. If you choose to DIY a permanent fire ring, inexpensive options and instructions abound at big box hardware stores, and typical projects can be completed within a matter of hours.

An evening spent around a campfire is fun for all ages, especially when paired with delicious, piping hot drinks. For a unique winter get together, host a Hot Chocolate party by setting up a beverage station with all the basic supplies plus some extra mix-ins such as caramels, various marshmallows, candy sticks, spices and syrups with plenty of mugs, straws and spoons. Chocolate-covered stir spoons make for charming party favors at the end of the night.

Don’t be afraid to take meals outside from time to time. It might require a bit more bundling but now’s the perfect time to take advantage of the moderate temperatures and lack of flying insects by enjoying a late harvest family meal on the patio. Electric heaters that efficiently heat larger spaces are an investment for those who wish to extend outdoor time even further. Stock a basket with thick blankets, scarves, hats and gloves and place by the patio door so you can easily grab supplies on your way outside when the mood for outdoor living strikes. Add packages of hand and foot warmers to the basket for extra heat in the dead of winter. If you have a hot tub, set a table nearby and pile it with towels, robes and flip flops or slippers. If you plan ahead, you’ll only be cold for a few seconds before and after hopping in the steaming tub.

Seek shelter

Take shelter from temperatures, wind and light precipitation with portable screens, outdoor furniture and textiles and tents or tarps hung from trees. Work with what you have to define the space with fixtures temporary or permanent. Make a lean-to style shelter in the corner of your backyard fencing, creating a warm oasis for extended lounging. A retractable awning or patio umbrella typically used in spring and summer to block the sun can now be used to block a light breeze or even a very light snow. Outdoor furniture is made to resist the elements but no matter how durable, cover the pieces when not in use to keep them dry and clear. Remove the cushions and bring them indoors to extend their life and to keep them warm and toasty in between sittings.

Add some ambiance

Add bright hues to add a cheeriness that can combat a bland exterior after the beautiful, colorful leaves have fallen.

Look for an outdoor rug to add warmth, texture and color to the space. Outdoor rugs can be hosed off when dirty and be rolled up and stored once the season of snow begins!

For evening events, hang strands of string lights overhead or around trees and across fences. Solar spotlights aimed at the side of a fence or house will bounce indirect light into the area. Tiki torches, lanterns hanging from trees, votive candles on tables and decorative porch lanterns add dimension and add to the feeling of warmth.

Pier 1 Imports stocks tons of stylish accessories to help you feather your outdoor nest. Shop its wide selection of outdoor furniture, rugs, cushions, lanterns, candles and even outdoor artwork and lamps for a fashionable and warming backyard update.

Barb Barone, sales associate at Pier 1 on Coldwater Road, says the store’s Glimmer Lights are among the top trending items because they can be used in so many different ways and come in a variety of styles and lengths. Barone adds they make a wonderful filler within lanterns and can also be paired with other objects such as decorative stems and LED candles. These decorative lighting accents also offer security and safety, an added bonus. A potted evergreen tree or topiary, strung with mini twinkle lights, will add to the festive vibe and will last through the cooler, darker seasons.

Be realistic

You might not be spending hours outside all through the winter but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your outdoor space for a few minutes here and there. Have your morning coffee outside for an energizing boost to your a.m. routine. Enjoy an evening cocktail on the patio while taking in the natural beauty of fall and winter. Invite friends for dinner and grill outside with cocktails before eating indoors. Extra time spent in the fresh air, no matter how cold, will help stave off the dreaded winter cabin fever.


Tredway Pools Plus www.tredwaypools.com/

Pier 1 Imports www.pier1.com/


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