For my regular readers, you will no doubt remember my recent blog on outdoor fireplace and fire-pits. The blog references the how the utilization of an outdoor fireplaces or fire pit can enhance your outdoor space and extend your usability of your external spaces into the cooler months. The good news is, there are also many other things you can do to ensure that you can enjoy that time with family and friends!
As we all know only too well, during the cooler months, we tend to stay indoors, and as temperatures drop, so does our enthusiasm for entertaining. However if you follow these few simple tips, you will be embracing stepping outdoors in no time!
Setting the mood with lighting
Firstly, when entertaining outdoors in the evening, light the way! Creating a warm and inviting outdoor space, is all about setting the mood and lighting is a really effective way of doing this. Lighting your garden path will help your family and friends navigate their way around your outdoor area and create a sense of movement and definition. Hanging fairy lights and lanterns are a simple yet effective way to create a little bit of whimsy and add a nostalgic festive appeal. And always, always please use plenty of candles at your seating area. Candles with spicy or vanilla based scents add to a cosy environment, and there is nothing as easy as creating ambience, than by the use of candles. Also use groups of different sized hurricane lamps with candles inside to create gorgeous little vignettes.
Furnishing your outdoor space
Outdoor furniture is generally timber or metal and can get very cold and uncomfortable in the winter months. The best way to combat this is to invest in some padded seat cushions made of a lovely tactile fabric, preferably made of wool. The addition of merino or cashmere throws for your guests to wrap around their shoulders or place on their laps, is another tip that I highly recommend to create enjoyable winters get – together. I personally love the look and feel that a reindeer hide creates. There is just something so sumptuous and luxurious in its Scandinavian appeal.
Outdoor rugs are an excellent way to create both actual and implied warmth. Visually they create a cosy and intimate anchor on which to place your seating group. They are also a way to create a soft layer between your guests and the cold finish that is on your outdoor entertaining area.
I have previously mentioned the many benefits of a fire pit or outdoor fireplace and obviously heating is paramount to successful outdoor living. Using outdoor heaters are effective and there are many options. Ceiling mounted heaters create an excellent source of radiant heat and can be really slim line and attractive. If this is not an option, then portable heaters are practical and flexible with standing, hanging or table-top options available.
Winter wonderland movie nights
Why not have movie nights outdoors in winter? Use beanbags and recliners to lie on, grab woolen blankets and encourage the kids to bring their sleeping bags. Setting up a screen and projector is easily done, and set up time is minimal. Fill thermos’s up with herbal teas and make up some bowls heaving with freshly made popped corn and dripping in butter. This is a wonderful tip that won’t just be a thrill for the kids, but the whole family!
You most certainly cannot have friends and family over to your home to enjoy the outdoors, without the addition of plenty of food and drinks. I am a firm believer that what you serve when entertaining should be appropriate to the season. Serve hot beverages, such as spiced wine and apple cider, decadent hot chocolates with lashings of cream or hot toddies laced with your favourite liquor.
Barbeques are an easy way entertain in Winter, and offer another form of heat to your guests. Other fun culinary ideas you may wish to consider to entertain your guests with is a suckling pig on a spit or even dust off the fondue set ( I know what you are thinking, but believe me, fondue is coming back into fashion )
So why not pull out your warmest clothes, gather your family and friends, and venture outside to embrace outdoor living this winter!