3 Ways To Enjoy Your Porch Or Patio Past Summer

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  1. 1. 3 Ways To Enjoy Your Porch Or Patio Past SummerOutdoor living spaces arent just for summer anymore. In fact, studies are showing were wringing all theliving we can out of our porches, patios and outdoor kitchens because being outside makes us healthy andhappy.So nows the time to change them up for shorter days and cooler nights. Here are five tips on how to bringyour outdoor living area into fall and winter, from Houston outdoor designer Wayne Franks.Add outdoor heating: Fire pits, fireplaces and heaters are all great ways to add warmth as the weather getscooler, says Franks, owner of Outdoor Homescapes of Houston. Here in Houston, we use our outdoorliving spaces year round, and it gets cold here in November. So in fall, more people start adding portableheaters and more clients start asking for fire pits and fireplaces to be incorporated into their patio design.The option you choose, he says, will largely depend on your budget and the style and size of your outdoorspace. Fire pits portable or built-in are great for smaller, more casual gathering spaces that could use awarm, cozy conversation area and extra lighting at night. Portable models, which can sell for as low as $75,can also be a more affordable or timely addition than a built-in fire pit. Built-in models, on the other hand,give your backyard design a more sophisticated, finished look.Fireplaces are for larger outdoor spaces that are more consistently used by families and need morepowerful, consistent heat, says Franks, noting how they have vents that can shoot the heat across a largerspace. They also make a covered patio feel and look more like an actual room.Fire pits and fireplaces can burn gas or wood. Gas is more convenient and low-maintenance, says Franks,but wood gives you that crackling sound and that true outdoor experience.Make sure whatever outdoor heating unit you buy is rated for the outdoors, so its protected from theelements. Just look for a model that says it meets UL (Underwriters Laboratories) standards. For heating adiameter of about 20 feet, Franks says free-standing propane heaters are a smart choice. You can find themfor about $140 and up online and at home stores; tabletop versions start at about $75.Light the night: As the weather gets cooler, the days get shorter, says Franks. So falls a perfect time toadd some outdoor night lighting.Functional options include path lighting, task lighting for your outdoor kitchen and other work spaces andportable additions like floor and table lighting for areas where the general light of an overhead fixture or wallsconces just isnt enough at night.Decorative options can include tiki torches, strings of lights and tabletop lanterns, candles and lamps(especially now that LED flameless candles offer a safer, neater and more reusable source of light thantraditional candles). You can even use rope lights under benches, islands and cabinets for a soft, warmglow, says Franks.And dont forget - the outdoor firepits, fireplaces and heaters mentioned above also can serve as an extrasource of light.Pile on the warmth: You can add layers of functional and visual warmth with your choice of fabrics,colors, materials and dcor, says Franks. Pile on the fabrics - pillows, cushions, rugs, drapery and throws.You may even want to change up the fabric from something sheer to opaque or a lighter fabric associatedwith summer like linen to something heavier, like canvas.Fall is also the time to change your color palette. Switch out accents in summery shades like lime green,turquoise blue and true white to ones in more warm, earthy tones or autumn colors like red, yellow andgold.Other visual reminders of summer should be put away: shells and other marine-inspired dcor, driftwood,
  2. 2. anything reminiscent of the beach or spring, clear glass and airier furniture and accents. In its place, choosemotifs and objects associated with fall: harvest time, pumpkins, apples, grapes, wine season, wheat, driedseed pods, and wood that looks older, darker or gnarlier. Streamlined, simplistic or smooth dcor can take onmore texture, detail and pattern.More outdoor living design tips and trends can be found at the Outdoor Homescapes of Houston website, atwww.outdoorhomescapes.com