It seems people all over the world are spending more time outside than ever, whether that’s outdoor dining or gathering around a fire in someone’s backyard.
The team at gb&d has been thinking a lot about what their dream winter patio design would look like, from outdoor fire features to incorporating beautiful, warm wood and cozy furniture.
These are just some of the winter patio design ideas that are inspiring us to get outside and make the most of life this winter.
1. Outdoor Fire Features
Gathering around the fire is quintessential to any outdoor hang, and Warming Trends can make nearly any fire dream come true.
The Denver area company designs and manufactures gas fire features for outdoor spaces.
“Adding fire makes for an easy wow factor, and it’s a great way to accentuate design in many landscapes,” Voni Flaherty, the owner of Warming Trends, said in a previous interview with gb&d.
Warming Trends’ patented CROSSFIRE burners create significantly more pressure and turbulence at the point of ignition. This combination results in a taller, more robust flame that replicates the fullness and color of a wood fire. Not only does the patented design produce a superior flame; it also allows greater flexibility in the “personality” of the fire, Flaherty says.
Depending on the client’s mood or the setting, the flame can be adjusted from a sleepy campfire to a roaring one.
2. A Good Seat
Pull up a seat around the fire with one of Polywood’s sustainable outdoor products.
To create an inviting, comfortable space, “outdoor furniture is everything and the design and the layout really determine conversation,” according to interior designer Shayla Copas. In a past interview with gb&d Copas recommended outdoor sectionals and firepits alike for a great winter patio design. In particular, we loved POLYWOOD’s Round Fire Pit table, an inviting piece of outdoor furniture that allows guests to cozy up and have a place to put their food.
Copas says POLYWOOD pieces require less maintenance, too, since they’re made from recycled lumber and can rinse clean easily. They also have a higher threshold for wear and can withstand more extreme weather.
3. An Outdoor Kitchen
What’s a good party without food?
You can design the perfect outdoor kitchen with the help of Challenger Designs, a family-owned firm based in Indiana that offers a wide selection of cabinet, countertop, and accessory options to transform your patio into a fully functional outdoor kitchen.
You can even mix and match to design your own virtual kitchen at layout.challengerdesignsllc.com.
“We always begin the process by asking customers, ‘What are your intentions for the space?’” Mark Schmucker, sales manager at Challenger Designs, told gb&d. “Some want to create an outdoor entertainment area while others are more focused on the culinary aspect of the outdoor kitchen and picture the space as an extension of their home.”
Solutions are built to stand up to rust and aging so you can enjoy your space all year.
4. Add the Right Rug
Bring a bit of your design aesthetic outdoors to make your patio feel like a natural extension of your home.
Rugs from companies like Outer Furniture are durable and eco-friendly, made from more than 1,000 recycled plastic bottles.
Crafted from years of 100% recycled plastic, the 1188 Outdoor Rug Collection by Outer has a timeless look that will fit any outdoor setting. The 1188 Collection looks like single color from afar, but with a closer look, there’s a “pixelation effect,” where a bunch of colors come together to look like one dominant color. This coloring technique is meant to hide any dirt until ready to clean.
The rugs also use PET fibers, which are meant to stand the test of time with sun exposure, and are stain-resistant.
5. Shade Structures
When you think of shade structures you might think of them solely as a way to shield yourself from harsh summer sun, but shade fabrics can protect in many ways while also providing nice separation in a space.
An industry leader in advanced knitted and polymer fabrics, GALE Pacific developed the world’s first shade cloth knitting technology in the 1970s for agriculture and horticulture applications. The company later expanded to include more everyday solutions with the invention of higher UV block shade fabrics. Today all of the company’s fabrics provide optimal UV protection.
The fabric’s knitted design allows air to flow through, and all of GALE Pacific’s products are Greenguard and Oeko-Tex Standard 100–certified and 100% recyclable. The company is currently working to improve fire retardant formulations, too.
All fabrics have a UV degradation warranty, ranging from 10 to 15 years depending on the fabric, though often the products last even longer.
GALE Pacific also offers the Coolaroo brand, providing a range of outdoor leisure and garden products to protect people, homes, and gardens. Coolaroo includes a selection of exterior fabrics and outdoor leisure products like gazebos, umbrellas, and shade sails.
If you’re building a new patio, hardwood is a top option, according to Overseas Hardwoods Company (OHC) Marketing Director Ben Roberts.
“We can create anything your heart desires. We understand how the hardwoods will perform. We know how to maintain the look you want while keeping integrity,” Roberts told gb&d.
OHC offers durable solutions with a myriad of benefits depending on whether you want ipe, garapa, tigerwood, or cumaru. All four species of outdoor living hardwoods come from Brazil.
OHC sands both sides of every board to remove strap marks and residue, and the boards are hand-sorted for grain uniformity, ensuring customers get the look they want. Shipped as decking, the boards can also be milled into hundreds of interior or exterior profiles for accent walls, siding, or soffits.
7. Reclaimed Wood
Reclaimed wood is another excellent option when adding on or building a patio.
Centennial Woods uses old Wyoming wood snow fences for siding and more. The company sells weathered and reclaimed wood that’s been exposed raw to the elements—freezing winds in winter, blazing sun in summer. Their wood arrives with very low moisture content (4 to 6%) at the Centennial Woods mills in Laramie, a circumstance that eliminates the time typically required in a kiln.
“It’s not even necessary to put this in a kiln, but some heat treatment is required when meeting exporting rules,” Ed Spal, CEO, explained to gb&d.
A zero net energy home that was clad in fence wood is among Centennial Woods’ favorite projects. The 5,320-square-foot home situated at an 8,000-foot elevation in Fraser, Colorado has everything a green building needs: a 17kW photovoltaic array that fully powers the home and two cars; a tightly insulated envelope; high-efficiency fiberglass windows; a green roof; LED lighting; and automated window shades. It has a HERS score of -22 (a standard new home scores at 100; anything less beats the average and below zero it produces more than it consumes).
8. Hobby Buildings
Lester Buildings performs all structural design in-house, where its engineers take inputs like average snow and wind in a given location to determine design loads for a specific project. Once those loads are known, a design to safely absorb those forces is created. And it backs all of that up with a lifetime structural warranty on its buildings.
Post-frame buildings go up approximately 30% faster and are less expensive than traditional construction methods.
Agricultural uses like farm buildings, equine stables, and livestock barns are in high demand given that post-frame systems provide open floor plans and taller ceilings. Hobby buildings like garages and workshops are also a sizable portion of their business.
9. An Outdoor Furnace
Turn up the heat with an outdoor furnace from HeatMasterss.
The B Series Multi-Fuel Biomass furnaces from HeatMasterss change the way large spaces are heated and use alternative fuels. The compact size, touchscreen controls, and hands-off automation of the B250 makes the model an excellent fit for any homeowner, while the B500 and B1000 are geared toward commercial and industrial applications.
Due to the flexibility of hot water as a heating source, the B Series can be used for residential, light commercial, and heavy industrial scenarios.
The team at HeatMasterss has said they’re always finding new ways to utilize this carbon-neutral heat.
“With a wood chip application, you’re heating at a fraction of the cost and bringing down your carbon footprint as well,” said Jake Friesen, founder and CEO.
Biomass hydronic furnaces can be used for floor heat, forced air, hot water, and more. The unit is kept on the trailer outside, but a manifold is positioned in the building where you can add heaters easily and move heaters on a cart to where you need them—all without interacting with the unit outside where it’s safe and out of the way.
10. Architectural Canopies
Depending on the space, you might consider an architectural canopy. Common in many commercial projects, cold weather canopies can be a tremendous help to businesses, including outdoor dining or sidewalk cafes like the ones popping up more and more in winter during the pandemic.
“Canopies are often required to take a certain snow load to protect whatever’s underneath them so they don’t collapse,” Mark Mundorff, Mapes Architectural Canopies vice president of product design and promotion, told gb&d in a previous interview.
“The further north you go, the more critical it is to have a canopy that is designed to take at least a minimum snow load, if not an unexpected load, from peculiar weather patterns.”
For Mapes customers this means installing something from the company’s pre-engineered Lumishade or Super Lumideck lines that feature solid aluminum decking that’s maintenance-free—engineered and designed as a system to meet the strictest building code requirements.