How to best use your outdoor space during the winter months has been a hot topic as it turns colder. Some states – we’re looking at you Montana, Colorado! – have already had snowfall, but the below simple ideas can work any time and will make outdoor gatherings more comfortable and fun on the days when the sun is shining!

We’ve also pulled some tips from our recent interview with 5280 Magazine in Denver about their climate specifically. You can check out the whole article here

Clean & Tidy Up: Sweeping leaves or clearing leftover snow around your patio will help make a space ready to use and feel more inviting. Broom sweep leaves or use a leaf blower to clean.

Wind & Sun: As we recently discussed in the 5280 interview, if you’re designing a new space from scratch, the first and most important step is to consider the natural elements (sun, wind) and whether they’re working for or against you. 

For example, the afternoon sun can be a source of intense heat in summer, but that warmth can be used to your benefit in the winter, so make sure you’re not totally blocking it. One approach is to site an outdoor room for maximum solar exposure year-round, then mitigate the summer sun with pergolas, shade sails, vertical green walls, and/or deciduous trees. In the winter, those trees will lose their leaves, allowing the sun to come through, but in spring and summer, they’ll fill out and provide a source of shade.

When it comes to wind, consider adding barriers, from man made walls or fences to a shield of shrubs or evergreen trees that will block the wind and take some of the chill away.

Hardscape: Many homeowners are opting for less grass in order to cut back on water usage, but another perk is that it’s much easier to clean snow off of hardscape and have a space to use vs. wet or muddy grass. Hardscape can be a great dry space to take advantage of and will also emit heat naturally.

Let there be light: As the days get shorter, thoughtful landscape lighting can extend your enjoyment of outdoor spaces by hours—and can be easy to incorporate into an existing space. If you don’t have electricity outside, there are many options such as running an extension cord, lanterns, fire pits, fire tables, and more! Stringing lights around a dining area or seating area are a quick way to create an intimate feel and great way to light up a space. 

Get cozy: Browse our Pinterest gallery for some great cozy outdoor ideas. From having a basket of fluffy blankets to snuggle up with to oversized pillows to lounge on, make your space warm and one you want to relax in. Hot tubs are another great option to keep your outdoors in use! Outdoor restaurant-style heaters are also great, however many have sold out recently so continue to monitor your local stores or online to see when they are back in stock. 

Lastly, have fun with your space! Since you may be missing holiday parties this year, add an extra Christmas tree to your outdoor patio or surround yourself with pumpkins, wreaths, lights and more.

We have found the Tilly process to be most successful on properties less than an acre.

A major part of remote design is understanding a property’s existing conditions and limitations. To do this we generally use the primary structure (usually the house) as the main point of reference. The greater distances are from from the house the less successful we are at understanding your property. No matter what the size of your property, the more information you can provide us, the better. Don’t be shy with the pictures! And please send along any and all architectural or property plan documents you can.

Still have questions? Contact us!