One of the many joys of living in Austin is that we have so many months of splendid outdoor weather. And it doesn’t take much to extend your outdoor time through the cooler months if you have a few tricks up your sleeve to stay comfortable, even when it’s chilly.
In Austin, the average high in November is 72. The average low is 51. That drops to about 63 and 42, respectively, in December and January. So a little warmth goes a long way toward extending the patio season.
There are several ways to provide some outdoor heating so you can enjoy the great outdoors on your deck or patio.
Here’s a look at a few options that might suite your style and your budget.
Since the outdoor heating season is relatively short in Austin, portable heaters are an attractive option. You can pull them out when the cooler season arrives and stow them away in storage once it warms back up in spring.
They also come in many shapes, sizes and colors. You could get a small tabletop heater, like this, to keep a few people warm. Or you could go with a taller infrared heater, like this one that uses standard electricity instead of propane to accommodate more people.
As is true of all heating devices, it’s important to reduce fire and injury risks by paying close attention to where they are placed.
Chimineas blend some of the best attributes of fireplaces and portable heaters. You can move them around, watch the flames flicker and keep warm. In some cases, you can even cook on them, which one of the reasons they became popular in Mexico years ago.
Since they are versatile, they don’t look out of place on your patio even during warmer months. And they come in a wide variety of designs and sizes. See some options here.
If you’d like heating to be as easy as a flick of a switch, a mounted heater may be a good option to consider. They are often mounted above patio doors to provide warmth right when you step outside. They’re simple to turn on and off once they’re installed. See a few options here.
Such mountable heaters also come with accessories to hang them from other structures.
They may take a little more work, but a fire pit is perhaps the most fun and interesting way to generate some warmth in the cooler months. Yes, you’ll need wood. Yes, you’ll have to consider any fire bans that are in effect. But nothing compares to the campy feeling of the open flame fire pit, which is ideal for family gatherings, roasting marshmallows and telling stories. See some options here.
Pits can be built by hand, or you can buy a free-standing fire pit that you can move to different areas of your yard.