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3 Ways to Extend Your Outdoor Living Season

3 Ways to Extend Your Outdoor Living Season

Make an outdoor living area comfortable even after the sun has set or the leaves have fallen.

There are numerous reasons to appreciate outdoor life beyond the summer months. There’s the fall foliage and the chilly, crisp air. Then, why not save money on dining out and entertainment by enjoying amazing food, drinks, and company – as well as breathtaking surroundings – right at home? Here are three ideas for creating a joyful atmosphere in your own backyard.

Light the Deck or Patio

The sun sets earlier on your outdoor living space in the fall, but it shouldn’t limit the number of hours you spend on it. Adding low-voltage or solar outdoor lighting fixtures allows you to party or relax long after the sun has set.

You can do the following with either type of lighting:

  • Light railings and stairs on the deck
  • Define the patio’s boundaries.
  • Light up the margins of paths and walkways.
  • Highlight a planter or a tree.

Other fixtures can also be used to illuminate dining tables, grill surfaces, and even underwater in swimming pools.

Low-Voltage Lighting

Low-voltage fixtures clip into a safe 12-volt wire that connects to a transformer, which plugs into a 120-volt GFCI-protected electrical outlet. A timer or light-sensitive control turns lights on and off automatically.

A system with eight LED step lights and 12 hardscape lights, plus wiring, a transformer, and installation, would cost around $3,000 for a pool area.

Solar Outdoor Lighting

Cables and transformers are not required for solar outdoor lighting fixtures. They simply turn themselves on when it gets dark. Each independent fixture is staked into the ground or secured to a deck or other outside surface. You’ll save electricity because the bulb is powered by a battery charged by sunlight. Solar light fixtures range in price from $188 to $231 for six lights, with installation costing between $167 and $271.

Over time, solar technology has advanced. LED bulbs, which provide a significant quantity of light for their size and energy consumption, are commonly utilized in the lights. Solar lights may last all evening with an eight-hour charge from the sun. However, the amount of sunshine around your property will have a significant impact on how the lights function. Outside solar lights can last three to four years, and LEDs can last ten to fifteen years.

Get Glowing with a Fire Pit, Portable Fireplace, or Smokeless Firepit

A fire pit or portable fireplace will add a pleasant glow and a stunning focal point to your outdoor living space. They come in a range of materials, sizes, and shapes and are irresistible for gathering, warming up, and roasting marshmallows. You can also choose to fuel your fire with wood, propane, gas, or gel cans.

But first, check your local fire codes to see if your community allows the use of a fire pit or portable fireplace on the patio or lawn. (Always avoid using a fire feature on a wood deck.)

A fire pit is an open bowl, dish, or pan that ranges in size from 24 to 40 inches wide. A fire pit can be mounted on a stand (some of which have wheels) or nestled into a tiled surface. Choose a model with screens to keep flyaway sparks at bay. A wood-burning fire pit normally costs $500 to $1,300 with installation, while a gas fire pit costs $900 to $3,800 with installation.

A chimney on a portable outdoor fireplace ($104 to $498) vents smoke up and away from people. Some portable fireplaces allow you to see the fire from every angle.

A smokeless fire pit or stove is a popular option. They aren’t completely smokeless, despite the name, but they produce less ash than a wood-burning firepit. The price ranges from $90 to $600.

Warm Up with a Patio Heater

In the fall or spring, adding a portable patio heater can increase the temperature of your outdoor living area by up to 25 degrees. There are three fundamental models:

  1. Large floor lamps resemble freestanding units. You may place them wherever on your patio that is tall enough to fit their 7- to 8-foot height. For mobility, some variants have wheels. Prices range from $153 to $887, depending on heat output and fuel source.
  2. A tabletop patio heater is designed to be placed on a table, bench, or garden wall. These small units generate less heat than tall, freestanding models. Prices range between $72 and $148.
  1. Ceiling or wall-mounted patio heaters save floor and table space by emitting heat from a halogen bulb. The prices range from $112 to $866.

Choose a model based on how much outdoor living space you want to heat and whether you want one powered by electricity or natural gas (both of which require a connection) or with a propane tank for mobility.

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