Even as the weather cools down, you don't necessarily want to stop using your outdoor areas. You may want to take advantage of clear but crisp days. Or you may want to still enjoy some fresh air despite some snow.
You don't have to discontinue your outdoor party plans because of the weather. The key to hosting an enjoyable cold weather gathering is to provide heat - and to make that heat central to your activities.
A fire pit is a natural addition if you want to host friends even in the cold months. The fire pit can be a part of the patio or stand separate from the yard. Built-in fire pits come as wood-burning, gas, or propane, with the latter two being the easiest to operate.
A fire pit lends itself to hosting. People will naturally congregate all around the pit to enjoy the flames while conversing or eating. You can even have the contractors build the fire pit surround wide enough for sitting on the lip. In fact, many designers add built-in seating around the pit, though you may also want to incorporate moveable seats so guests can find their desired heat level.
For a party around a fire pit, finger food is the best option. Many guests will be standing or sitting on the edge of the pit, so they can't balance a plate for cutting or even spooning. Warm drinks in mugs, such as mulled cider and wine, are good signature drinks. Naturally, you should have all the makings for s'mores since you have an open fire conveniently at hand.
An outdoor fireplace is like an upscale fire pit. Such fireplaces often serve as a centerpiece for an outdoor lounge. Some homeowners choose to have the fireplace built into an exterior wall of the house. However, you can have the contractors place the fireplace anywhere within your patio, especially if you choose a vent-free model.
As with the fire pit, you'll need to choose a fuel option for your fireplace. You have the same options as with a fire pit. Likewise, consider the organization of the structure carefully. You can have a bench incorporated as part of the design for extra seating.
When you have an outdoor fireplace, you often host a slightly more sophisticated party. If you have a lounge situated around the fireplace, consider throwing a drinks and hors d'oeuvres party. You can also set up a game night since you have the furniture already organized for such activities. Just provide a few extra blankets in case of a chill away from the fireplace.
Grilling stations are for cooking, not keeping guests warm. However, they're heat-based, and you can probably attest to how much the area around a grill gets hot when you're cooking. Likewise, you may incorporate a seating countertop for guests to gather around while you're cooking.
For this style of cold weather party, plan to show off all the bells and whistles in your grill since you want to keep the heat going. Plan the menu around the smoker, griddle, sear zone, deep fryer, or whatever accessories you added to your grill.
Outdoor Patio Heater
Whether you have one of the above setups already or not, you may want to include outdoor patio heaters. You see these at restaurants as outdoor space heaters. They typically run on propane and can provide heat at a wide range. Patio heaters are probably the best way to keep your guests comfortable if you're basing your party around a grilling station.
An outdoor patio heater won't provide the central focus of your gathering the same way, say, a fire pit will. However, it can make your cold weather party more comfortable. For example, you could set one up near a food-serving station or around the perimeter where the heat might dissipate. As a bonus, such heaters also help chase away the dark.
Enjoy your outdoor living even in the cool weather by planning gatherings around heat sources. Pate's Pool Service and Supply has everything you need to keep the party going into the cold months.