An outdoor fireplace is often the centerpiece of summertime outdoor entertaining. Luckily, you don’t have to pack up the fun when summer ends and gaze longingly at your outdoor fireplace from indoors. Here are seven ways you can use your outdoor fireplace year round in Babylon, NY.
1. Build a Covered Porch or Cabana with a Fireplace
Fall can mean chilly rain, and of course wet winter snow isn’t exactly pleasant to sit in. However, a permanent roofed structure such as a covered porch lets you enjoy fresh air without completely exposing yourself to the elements. Add a fireplace, and you can extend your outdoor entertaining season well into the holidays and beyond! A covered porch becomes an extension of your home and can be comfortably used in all winter weather except during days with high winds. A cabana can be conveniently placed anywhere on the landscape. It could be adjacent to your patio (where it won’t block the sun) or in its own separate space. If you already have a poolside cabana, the addition of an outdoor fireplace will not only make it cozier in summer but will let you use the space year round.
2. Comfortable Insulated Seating Is a Must
A drafty lawn chair or cold stone bench may not be inviting, but you can solve these problems by investing in nice cushions for your lounge chairs or benches. Cushions should be thick enough to insulate you if the materials your seating is made from tends to retain the cold (such as stone or metal). Cushions also need to be water resistant. For the best experience, store outdoor cushions and pillows in a dry place when not in use.
3. Consider Installing a Privacy Wall or Windscreen
It’s not just the cooler season temperatures that make you feel uncomfortably cold, it’s the wind. A winter wind can lower the temperature on your patio by as much as 10 degrees! A wind screen, such as a slat wall made of teak planks and positioned on the side of the fireplace most affected by prevailing winds, will keep you warmer in winter. It will also make the space feel more intimate in summer.
4. Make Sure Your Wood Is Dry
For a wood-fueled fireplace, you have this special consideration to make. Many firewood cubbies attached to fireplaces still allow moisture to enter, so consider putting doors on your fireplace cubby, building a wood shed, or at least covering your firewood with a tarp.
5. Cover the Pergola
If you have a pergola adjacent to the fireplace, you’ll want to consider covering it. In the summer, an uncovered pergola will lower the temperature of your seating area. In winter, simply can add corrugated plastic panels for protection from rain and snow. These can be attached with screws or bolts and added or removed seasonally. A clear panel will still let in the sun and make the space feel brighter; a solid panel will make it feel cozier. Be careful not to position the fireplace within a covered pergola, though, since smoke can accumulate.
6. Install a Hot Beverage Center
Nothing is more delightful than sitting by the fire, being warmed from the inside and out! A hot beverage center can be as simple as a small space with an electric kettle and a hearty supply of coffee, tea, and cocoa, plenty of mugs, and a box of cookies.
7. Have Plenty of Throw Blankets Handy
Put on a parka and hat, some warm boots, wrap yourself in a blanket and enjoy the fire even as the snow is falling!