If winter weather hasn’t hit your area yet, it’s probably on its way, and finding creative ways to stay warm over the winter includes outdoor heat sources. In a matter of a few weeks, we went from 75 degree weather to a foot of snow and below zero temperatures. Autumn suddenly became the dead of winter. Brrrr! With temperatures like that, an outdoor heat source is a must if we want to squeeze in more outdoor time as we gather with friends and family.
Many of us are gathering in small groups outdoors, due to the pandemic, and need backyard heating solutions as winter months approach. As the days get shorter and the daylight fades, hanging out with your friends and family outdoors will still be a priority. Let's look at some outdoor heating options that will help us continue to bond in our outdoor spaces.
Consider a gas or wood burning fire pit to keep you and your friends cozy as you gather outdoors. There's nothing like watching the mesmerizing flames or hearing the wood crackle as it burns.
Before purchasing or attempting to install a gas fire pit, talk to your utility company or whoever oversees your gas line on your property. Safety is of utmost importance when dealing with a gas line. Check city ordinances to determine if a wood burning fire pit is allowed in your area. Also, determine where you can purchase firewood, or if you can get a permit to cut it from a nearby forest. Once all of that's settled, sit back, relax, and enjoy roasting marshmallows around the fire pit as you catch up with friends.
Consider a free-standing patio heater, electric or gas, as another great outdoor heat source. While vacationing in Arizona, I was grateful for this type of patio heater when the night turned cold. With a nice glow and warm radiating from the heater, we were able to stay warm and share great stories well into the night.
If you don't have a lot of space, these tall and slim heaters might be your best option. You may have seen these standing heaters at outdoor restaurants and experienced for yourself just how much heat they produce. The heat source is typically at the top, but models are available with heat radiating from top to bottom. Before purchasing, consider how much space you want to heat. Some standing heaters will heat a 20' area while others will heat a 200’ area. Avoid using this type of heat source under a gazebo or patio cover (wood or other flammable material).
Hot tubs have become hot commodities as the pandemic stretches on and temperatures drop. I have an elderly neighbor who soaks in her outdoor hot tub throughout the winter months. Keep in mind, we’re in Montana! That’s one tough lady.
In many areas of the U.S., there is a 2-3 month waiting period for hot tubs due to heightened demand. Despite that, the wait will be worth it as you take advantage of the relaxing effect of the hot water and additional health benefits, like improved circulation and a boost to your mental state (bonus!).
Don’t miss out on small, outdoor gatherings just because the temperature has dropped or snow has arrived. Invest in an outdoor heat source, like a fire pit, free-standing heater, or a hot tub to stay warm and encourage bonding amongst family and friends. If you have small children, remember to educate them on the danger of an open flame or hot surface to avoid serious injury.
Let’s make the most of our time together this winter by continuing to practice social distancing as we gather outdoors, near the warmth of a fire or other heat source. Stay warm and healthy!