The arrival of fall means the days are getting shorter, the nights are growing longer, and the weather is beginning to cool down in many areas of the country. But your time spent outdoors doesn’t have to end. Enjoy your backyard well into the fall season by adding one or several of these items to your outdoor space:
1. Fire Features – Outdoor fireplaces and firepits bring the warmth and ambiance of your living room to your backyard, creating a cozy place for your family and friends to gather on a chilly fall night. An outdoor fireplace is permanently installed as either a stand-alone structure or built into an existing wall. It can be surrounded with brick, stucco, stone, or concrete to complement the architectural style of your home and can use wood, natural gas, or propane for fuel.
Firepits range from a permanent pit in the ground enclosed by brick or concrete to a portable bowl-shaped structure made of metal. Firepits can use wood or natural gas to create a controlled bonfire in your backyard.
(Note: Be sure to check with your local municipality office before adding a fireplace or firepit to your backyard. There may be regulations regarding the type of fireplace you can have or the type of fuel that can be used.)
For a list of firepit companies and resources, visit our Outdoor Heaters & Firepits Buyers' Guide.
2. Outdoor Heaters – Outdoor heaters radiate a pleasant circle of heat so you can relax or dine al fresco amid the vivid fall foliage. Tall, freestanding patio heaters with an umbrella-style top are the most common type of outdoor heater. They’re often used at restaurants with outdoor seating, but these are also available for at-home use. They operate on natural gas, propane, or electricity and can heat an area of up to 20 feet in diameter. Though made of stainless steel, these heaters are available in several different finishes—including bronze, copper, black powder coat, and custom paint—to fit the style of any deck or patio.
Tabletop heaters are a smaller version of the traditional freestanding units and come in a variety of finishes and designs including decorative styles that look like lamps. Available as gas or electric units, tabletop heaters provide a heat radius of up to 8 feet and work well for patios with small outdoor seating/dining areas.
Wall-mounted patio heaters are typically powered by electricity and concentrate heat in a small area using infrared technology. Though limited in style, a wall-mounted heater works well for small decks and patios because it doesn’t occupy floor space. Most patio heaters feature manual heat adjusters and an automatic shut-off that turns off the heater when it reaches a set temperature.
(Note: Outside heaters are not designed for indoor use. Installation of an outdoor heater must confirm to your local codes and ordinances.)
3. Gazebos – Another way to extend the season is with a gazebo. Gazebos create a beautiful focal point in your backyard and provide an inviting place to relax with your coffee on a crisp autumn morning or host a tailgate party with your closest friends. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials, including wood, vinyl, and metal. Though gazebos are traditionally open-sided structures, newer models allow for removable vinyl or plexiglass windows that extend their use in cooler weather by offering protection from chilly winds. Window options range from simple roll-down vinyl panels that are fastened to the gazebo’s wall posts with Velcro to track-style vinyl or plexiglass window panels in an aluminum frame that mount to the wall sections of the gazebo.
4. Lighting – As the days get shorter, proper lighting will keep you and your guests out of the dark on lovely fall evenings. Place path lights along walkways, driveways, and other small areas of your backyard to provide an illuminated route to your patio or deck. Add both beauty and function by lighting up the perimeter of you deck with lantern-style solar LED post lights. If you have a covered patio or gazebo, try hanging a wrought-iron chandelier or string lights for sparkle and ambiance.
Photo courtesy of The Outdoor GreatRoom® Company