Due to the pandemic, the safest place to entertain is outdoors. But can you still entertain when summer is over? I say YES, but you may need some new things.
You obviously need the basics, like seating and maybe a table or two, but when you’re entertaining in cold weather, a heat source is essential.
There are a few different ways to heat a patio, but I think a gas fire pit, like this Hampton Bay one from Home Depot, is a good option because it creates a lot of heat and there’s a flame on top so you can toast marshmallows! You power it with a propane tank like you would use for a gas grill. This is a good choice if you don’t have a place to store wood.
A wood-burning chiminea is another solution and you can find them at any home store, including Walmart. I discovered chimineas at a beach house where I stayed over the summer and they really keep the area toasty.
A covering is crucial, especially in wintertime. There are various options, like tents, awnings, and pergolas, like this one from ALEKO on Overstock.com. I love it because it looks great, and it protects you and your guests from light rain and snow. Overstock is also having a 21st Anniversary Sale, where you can save up to 70% off thousands of items!
You’ll also need lights because it gets darker much earlier. I like solar lights because you don’t need to run electricity to your seating area. I strung these Hampton Bay Solar String Lights from Home Depot around the pergola and they look magical at night! I also found solar lanterns on Overstock.com. They stick easily into the ground and offer beautiful light.
Many patios, like mine, are made of stone or concrete, which tends to hold the cold. I find that a rug, like this Oval Outdoor Lattice Area Rug from Rugs.com, provides a cozier feel, and that guests are less likely to feel the cold from a stone or concrete patio floor.
I would also suggest that you ask guests to BYO blanket to snuggle under, but might want to keep a few extra throws on hand, just in case. Laura Ashley has some really pretty ones for outdoors.
Also, have marshmallows ready in a bowl. You can supply extendable forks (you can sanitize the handles before you share) and your guests can skewer their own marshmallows without touching them.
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