Don’t restrict your patio to daytime use in the summer – there are loads of options for heating and lighting out there, so your patio can be an extra room all year-round.
Gas-powered patio heaters tend to be around 220cm high, with casing at the bottom which hides a gas cylinder, a slim pole which is sometimes collapsible, and at the top is a heating element, with a shade to direct the heat down and out. A number of styles are available, and a couple of different sizes – a small tabletop version can be bought, which is perfect for camping; there is also a lower, bollard-style version for areas where height is restricted. There are even eco heaters out there, which use less gas.
A wider variety of electric heaters are available than gas – without the need for a large gas bottle, electric heaters can be more versatile. However, they do of course require a source of electricity. Wall-mounted, free-standing, and even parasol heaters are available, in a range of styles.
Taken from the Spanish word for chimney, a chiminea is a bulbous clay oven with a chimney, which is open at the front for loading wood in, and sits on a metal stand. Chimineas have become very popular, and there are a range of different types available now, from cast iron versions which often have safety grills over the opening, to very modern steel versions.
Firepits and Fire Bowls
A firepit or fire bowl is a wide, round bowl-like structure on short legs, which contains a small log fire. Firepits are very attractive patio features, and often have barbecue attachments for basic outdoor cooking while you keep warm. Often firepits have a mesh cover to protect you from spitting embers.
Fire Baskets and Braziers
A fire basket or brazier is quite simply a strong metal basket, shaped a bit like a bin, standing above a metal plate which catches ash. Some models feature a barbecue grill which rests on the top of the basket. Fire baskets can be used for burning garden rubbish as well as logs.
LED lighting has been emerging over the past few years and has now been refined into a viable solution for all the lighting in your home due to the fact that it can save you masses on your energy bills and also the bulbs themselves have a much longer life span than traditional bulbs. Many companies both producing and selling LED lighting now offer solutions not only for the home but also for your garden in the form of all the lighting options listed below so this is also an area that is worth looking into. For more information on these visit our LED lighting project
If your patio is right next to the house, then it’s easy to get an outdoor wall light installed. There are loads of styles available, from old fashioned carriage-lamps to ultra-modern globes with everything in between! Don’t use a security spotlight to light up your patio though – unless it’s just for security – the light is too harsh and will blind anyone sitting in front of the light.
Either small, solar-powered post lights or larger, electric bollard lights can make a nice border around the edges of your patio. If your patio is not next to the house, you’ll need to light the way to it, which post lights are just perfect for.
Decking and Ground Lights
If you have decking, then recessed lighting looks really effective as well as providing low-level safety lighting for steps and edges. Ground lights are a good way to light up a garden path, and solar versions are available – often disguised as rocks or garden ornaments.
Not just for Christmas, string lights are a lovely feature all year round. Solar and electric options are available – just make sure you get ones that are suitable for outdoors. Large colourful bulb strings give a real party feel, or delicate strings of stars or dragonflies can be used to give a magical, fairy-grotto effect. Parasol strings look great and provide a nice, atmospheric level of light.
From old-fashioned oil lamps and citronella candles in glass bowls to keep the flies away, to colour-changing globes and modern solar lanterns, there is a huge variety of table lighting available. Head to your local garden centre or DIY store and take a look at their range – there is sure to be something to suit your style and budget.
For advice on safe electrics for outdoors check out our Garden and outdoor lighting project.