Create a Cozy Space for Socially Distanced Hangs This Winter

Winter usually means spending more time indoors. Here in Oregon, we deal with a lot of moisture that makes it particularly hard to enjoy the outdoors from November to April. To add a dash more trouble, this year we’ve already been more isolated than usual. I’ve been thinking a lot about how we can maintain the small amounts of social interaction we’re allowed when it isn't possible to social distance inside. And I think I’ve got a pretty good solution:  

This is the year to be investing in your outdoor space! If you haven’t already, you still have a few more weeks to make your patio, porch, or yard space winter-friendly and social distancing compliant! Here are a few tips I’ve been collecting for our backyard:

Heat It Up

One of the easiest ways to make your backyard space suitable for winter is to add some warmth—literally. From roasting marshmallows to sipping hot beverages, a firepit is a perfect way to warm up and bring your loved ones together. Plan for space between you and your guests when considering your size and mode of heating. There are many options: from portable pits to standing heaters, to gas, electric, and wood-burning. Whatever you choose, adding a heating source is a great way to make your space more accessible for outdoor hangs. HGTV also suggests to complement your firepit with some warm-toned accessories, “orange cushions pop against the surrounding snow, the fire pit creates an irresistible glow.” 

Add Coverage

As we all know, here in Portland, it rains...a lot. Don’t let this deter you! If you don’t already have a covered patio, there are other ways to get some extra weather protection. Consider a gazebo or canopy. These are a great way to stay out of the rain and even add a little extra privacy to your backyard space. This space below using a corrugated plastic sheet over a wooden framework and it more than does the trick! 



Let There Be Light

Shorter winter days also mean fewer hours of natural daylight. Fortunately, this is an easy problem to solve. The Spruce says to, “ add more lighting and readjust timers to illuminate your outdoor spaces. Lighting fixtures can be solar and LED, along with different types, like path markers, spotlights, and patio string lights.” The options are practically endless—I think we’ll be going with a combination of the twinkle lights below and perhaps a few of these awesome floating light cubes.

Make it Cozy

Your space is getting closer to ready! Now it’s time to add weatherproof furniture and cozy accessories to really pull your space together. Who doesn’t love some comfy pillows and warm throw blankets? For some added convenience, try having a weatherproof outdoor storage bin for your pillows and blankets when you aren’t using them.

Bonus Fun

If you are looking to take your space to the next level, adding some backyard fun is always a good idea. Find some board or lawn games for your guests to enjoy while you are entertaining. Horseshoes, ladder toss, or cornhole can all be enjoyed at a safe distance!

Winter in Oregon can already be difficult. Take care of your social needs in a safe way by taking some time to nurture your outdoor spaces this year. Imagine what a relief it will be to still have friends and family over around the fire, rain or shine! I hope you found these tips helpful—stay tuned for more here on pieceofpdx.com

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