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Your Snowy Escape: How to Design an Outdoor Space for Winter Enjoyment

By Ed Ball | Published on December 06, 2023 | 4 min read

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Sitting outdoors is a beautiful and uplifting experience even in the middle of winter. Whether you want to maintain your ritual of morning tea on the back porch or gather with your loved ones to chat around the patio table, winter doesn’t have to keep you indoors. With a little clever landscaping and outdoor design, you can create a space that is cozy and welcoming no matter the season or what the weather might bring. Here at Ed Ball Landscape Architecture, we know how important just a few outdoor structures can be to ensure that you can relax in your space all year long. Here are some of our favorite ways to design a year-round outdoor space.

Design Ideas for a Year-Round Outdoor Space

1) Create Wind Breaks With Panels or Curtains

One of the most important steps is to create spaces that are sheltered from the winter wind. You can use elegant emplaced panels that provide year-round privacy, but you can also create a frame for heavy all-weather curtains. When you secure the curtains, they become the windbreak you need to enjoy outdoor chats with friends.

2) Design a Cozy Firepit or Outdoor Fireplace

Everyone loves an outdoor fire in the winter. Your back garden may have the perfect space for a cozy firepit or even a majestic outdoor fireplace. Create a circle of seating so that everyone can snuggle up close to the fire and stay warm while watching the dancing flames.

3) Don’t Forget a Shelter for Seasoned Firewood

Unless your firepit is gas-powered, you’ll want a place for firewood. A tidy woodshed structure can allow you to season your wood until it is dry and fragrant enough to burn cleanly.

4) Create Seating Protected From the Weather

Place your seating in sheltered areas that are protected from the weather. This may be an inward corner of your house or a space created by your intentional windbreak structures. This way, you can sit and chat comfortably without the cold wind.

5) Choose Weather-Resistant Materials and Furnishings

Always select materials that won’t be damaged by either summer or winter weather. This includes resisting the moisture of occasionally being piled with snow.

6) Hide Blankets in a Sealed Chest Bench

One of life’s joys is curling up in a blanket near a fire. You can keep your outdoor blankets clean and ready for gatherings by sealing them in an airtight chest bench compartment that doubles as extra seating.

7) Conceal Outlets for Outdoor Heaters

You can even turn up the heat in your outdoor winter oasis with portable heaters. You can use some heaters outdoors. All you need are a few concealed power outlets.

8) Create a Prep Space for Hot Cocoa and Smores

Where will you prepare the hot cocoa and marshmallows for roasting? A small ledge for a tray or even your outdoor countertops can provide a wonderful base for warm winter snacks and drinks. Also, don’t forget small tables or ledges for placing drinks amid shared conversation.

9) String Fairy Lights Overhead

Lastly, light your beautiful outdoor winter space with fairy lights. Stringing lights overhead is a lovely way to add a soft and enchanting glow to your winter gatherings.

Tips to Maintain Winter Wonderland Throughout the Season

Of course, your lovely new space will provide you the greatest joy if it is maintained so that you can step outside with your tea or bring a gathering of friends at any moment. Here are a few maintenance tips for snow and frost so that your year-round outdoor space remains useable and attractive throughout the season.

1) Cover Furniture When Not in Use

Cover your patio furniture and the firepit when they are not in use. Some people in wintery locations will tip their chairs upside-down so that they only gather snow on the underside and easily shake off when it’s time to relax outdoors.

2) Regularly Sweep and Salt the Patio or Deck

Keep your patio and deck safely walkable. Sweep away the snow regularly so it doesn’t pile up. Then sprinkle salt or de-icer crystals to combine grit and resistance to smooth ice forming. This will also ensure greater safety in your outdoor spaces.

3) Keep Your Firewood Dry

Make sure your firewood shed is properly sheltered. Dry firewood will burn clean, hot, and bright, while damp firewood is smoky and hard to burn.

4) Check on Things After Each Snowfall

After each snowfall or winter storm, spend a little time tidying up outdoors.  Check on each of your outdoor features and clear away the snow so that you can enjoy your year-round outdoor space at a moment’s notice.

Design Your Winter Paradise With Ed Ball Landscape Architecture

If you enjoy spending time outdoors in the winter, your garden space can be tailored to provide an ideal experience. At Ed Ball Landscape Architecture, we can help you design and build the perfect space for winter outdoor gatherings around a cheerful fire, sheltered from the cold winds yet with a gorgeous view of the winter landscape. Contact us today for a consultation.