These cold weather design trends are heating up outdoor living | Architectural Summary


One of the many ways our lives have changed over the past couple of years is that most of us have been spending more time socializing outdoors than we have in years, probably since last year. ‘primary school.

But while making the most of our outdoor entertaining spaces is a matter of course during the warmer months, what about when the temperatures drop?

“Gardens have to work harder now than they ever have before, functioning much like an indoor space would,” Harriet Farlam of Farlam and Chandler, a London-based garden design studio, says. “Garden design is increasingly about balancing the creation of naturalistic and biodiverse spaces with the demands of modern outdoor living and entertainment: shelter, cooking, heating and lighting.”

Read on to find out the four ways Farlam and other pros are helping their clients entertain guests outdoors in cold weather.

The kitchen, dining room, and living areas of Kristina O’Neal’s Sonoma County home open to the outdoors on three sides.

Photo: Laura Resen

Bring out the inside

“Covid-19 has totally transformed the way our customers deal with the landscape,” Edmund Hollander, co-founder of Hollander Design Landscape Architects, said. “Before, the landscape was largely a place to look at and enjoy. Now, outdoor rooms are places of refuge, safety, family gathering and multi-seasonal enjoyment.

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That doesn’t just mean making those spaces livable in terms of temperature, he says. It’s also about bringing in amenities like big-screen TVs for movie nights and speaker systems to set the mood for music. And when you’re dealing with a long procession of gray days, he adds that good lighting is essential. “Lighting is essential to help brighten up shorter days.”

Outdoor kitchens with all the attributes are also in high demand. “Avid cooks typically want to be able to use their grills and smokers year-round, and some request that their outdoor patios and walkways be heated with hydronic tubes for immediate snow melting,” says the landscape architect. Renee Byers. “Pizza ovens are also becoming very popular, whether gas-fired ready-made ovens or custom masonry beehive-style ovens that are wood-fired.”

Set it on fire

“Nothing beats an open flame for ambiance and warmth,” says Farlam. “Fire bowls and wood burners are increasingly being used in the larger dining rooms and living rooms of a garden. Positioning lanterns along a path or as a centerpiece on a table is also an effective way to bring a warm feeling to the garden.


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