It’s a bit of a drag to put all of your patio furniture away for the year, isn’t it? It’s getting colder, the nights are getting longer, and next summer feels ages away. But it doesn’t have to be this way. With a few adjustments, and a bit of creativity (and of course a warm coat), you could still be enjoying your deck, even in the middle of the winter.
Here are 6 great ways to enjoy your deck in the colder months:
1. Snow Fun
Winter is a great time for kids, and for the kid at heart. If your deck is clear of patio furniture for the season, you can take advantage of the extra space and the cold weather to create a fun game everyone will enjoy. Here are some games that you and your family can enjoy on your deck, even in the middle of winter:
- Ice bowling: Fill up old half-gallon milk cartons with water and allow them to freeze outside overnight. Fill a water balloon and allow it to freeze, as well. In the morning, remove the cartons and the balloon, and enjoy a very festive form of ice bowling.
- Build “sand castles”: one of the most enjoyable activities to do at the beach is to build sand castles. So, pull out your beach shovels and buckets, and build “snow castles” on your back deck.
- Snow paint: put some water in different spray bottles, then add different food colorings to each bottle. Go outside and make works of art!
- Build a snowman: don’t forget this classic winter activity!
2. Ice Palace
You may be hoping for something that caters a little more to the grownups. Why not set up an ice bar on your deck for a festive party? Take a few tips from this awesome temporary ice hotel in Sweden.
People don’t mind throwing back a drink in an ice glass if that is the theme. If you are of an artistic bent, take a chisel or gas chainsaws to a block of ice to create a spectacular centerpiece.
If a full-on ice party seems a bit too ambitious for you, consider building an igloo with your family. This outdoor fort will last all winter long, and it will give your children (or even yourself!) a place to escape to for a little while when they are feeling a bit of the “cabin fever” that always seems to hit in the middle of winter.
3. Warm It Up
When it comes down to it, most of us would rather not be freezing. In that case, do what many popular restaurants do–get an outdoor space heater or a fire pit. This way, you can stay warm and comfortable, while still enjoying a relaxing night with your friends. You can observe the spectacular scenery as fall dies, and again as spring renews. Just remember that when you use heat sources, you must care for them safely and properly, with adequate ventilation if your deck is covered and protected by canvas walls.
Speaking of canvas walls, that is another way to add warmth to your deck in the winter months. You can purchase premade canvas deck covers to enclose your deck in the winter, making it a totally viable option for comfortable and enjoyable evenings spent outdoors even when it’s cold outside.
4. Get Grilling
Using your outdoor grill during the summer is easy. Grilling in the dead of winter is for the dedicated. But why should you leave burgers for the fourth of July, when you could be eating them now? Enjoy some outdoor grilling in the colder months, and bring a taste of summer to your family. Make sure that your grill is protected from the worst of the elements, and that all gas connections are secure and in good working condition. Then, enjoy a fantastic steak, chicken or even fire-roasted vegetables, even in January.
If your plants have died or have lost their leaves for the year, your deck may be looking a bit sparse. While the weather is still chilling, remove dead leaves or plants so that the pots that remain still look their best. This may also be a great time to add in a few new pieces. Look for solid statues that will hold up to the weather, or plants that are evergreen.
Also don’t forget the lighting. Depending on where you live, you may only get eight hours of sunlight per day in the winter. At the end of fall and the beginning of spring, there may be many days where you would feel comfortable sitting outside on your deck with a hot cup of hot cocoa. If only it did not get dark so early. While you wait for daylight savings time to return, invest in some awesome outdoor lighting options. For example, you may enjoy a hardy wall sconce that will help light up the night.
6. Go Camping
Most people wouldn’t dare go camping in the dead of winter. But if you only have to travel to your back deck (especially with the warmth of your own bed only a few steps away), camping in the winter doesn’t seem like nearly such a daunting task. Set your tent up on the deck, make a little fire (there are many tutorials online for DIY temporary fire pits, to help keep this activity nice and safe). Then, roast hotdogs and marshmallows, tell scary stories, and drink hot cocoa. When it comes time for the night to end, you have the option of either braving the night outside in your tent (make sure you have a very warm sleeping bag and layers of clothing!), or you can go inside to spend the night.
When the weather gets cold, the temptation is to stay inside and wait for spring. But you may find that you enjoy yourself just as much if you get outside and into the elements. Of course, just make sure you have good winter-appropriate coats and gloves to keep you warm, have your favorite hot cocoa mix on hand, and invest in some durable outdoor furniture so that you have somewhere to sit while you’re doing all of these fun activities outside!
Nicole is currently in the process of “amping up” her deck so that she can use it during the winter. She’s had a built in fireplace installed, purchased new outdoor chairs, and invested in several extra winter blankets. She can’t wait for the snow to come!