Which of the following locations would you rather spend time in with your family and friends this winter?
a. A fine restaurant
b. An outdoor cafe
c. Your living room
d. An art gallery
While most people would choose A, C and D, would you believe that B is actually a good choice? With the right setup, any external zone can stay warm and comfortable throughout the wintertime. All you need is the right type of design techniques and a smart choice in fixtures.
Choose the Right Heater
The first step will be to purchase several heaters for the outdoor area. The sheer number depends on several factors:
- The size of the space
- The power of the heaters
- The total heated area
You’ll also have to be aware of cold zones within your building exteriors. Is there a corner where your current heaters don’t reach? Are there areas which seem to be windier than normal? Have a look at the layout of your decking, cafe or courtyard and analyse where the colder spots are. With a little experimentation, you can work out how many heaters you need to purchase and where they should be installed.
Put up Some Wind Barriers
One of the worse culprits for freezing on a winter’s day is the wind. Even in milder temperatures, a breeze can drastically lower the mercury and make any setting truly uncomfortable. For this reason, it’s important to erect some wind barriers where they are needed. See where the wind typically comes from and then put up one or more of the following:
Remember that a true windbreak needs to be slightly porous so the wind doesn’t simply whip over the top and then swing down towards the floor. For this reason, avoid plastic sheets and awnings unless you are going to enclose the entire area when the wind picks up.
Avoid Metal, Stone and Plastic
Lastly, remember that some materials hold warmth better than others. Since you are creating a heated outdoor area, avoid furniture and fixtures made from metal, stone or plastic as these can become quite chilly. Instead, try and fill the space with the following:
In this way, your guests can relax in the great outdoors without getting a rude shock when they sit down or lean on the tables. Opt for materials which remain pleasant to touch and you can create the perfect heated outdoor area. Wood and fabric also looks fantastic, presenting a warmer, more welcoming atmosphere to those who visit in the future.
By following these methods, you should be able to turn any outdoor setting from a frigid wasteland into a cosy area that people will enjoy spending time in. Whether you are modifying your home patio or building a beer garden or street-side restaurant, creating a warm, toasty environment is well within your grasp. The right heaters, some effective wind barriers and the proper materials will help you obtain the perfect entertainment/hospitality zone regardless of the winter temperatures.
Diane Bradbury wrote this article for conceptoffice.com.au. Diane works decorating commercial interiors for shops, restaurants and other hospitality businesses. She also enjoys reading about new design trends and applying these techniques to her own home. In her spare time, she can often be seen snuggling up at home reading Gerri Russell or out with her friends sampling the best coffee in Melbourne. She also has a pet terrier called Fluffy who is her closest pal.