One of the main concerns regarding lawn entertaining in the colder winter months is keeping guests warm.
Keep reading to learn about simple ways to warm outdoor living spaces to make your backyard more enjoyable for you, your loved ones, and your guests, no matter what winter brings our way.
It's All About The Preparation
Stock up on essentials now. Evaluate your wardrobe in addition to your kitchen arsenal, which might include insulated mugs, a thermos, and crockpots. We suggest purchasing a muurikka, a large flat metal pan frequently utilized in Scandinavian countries to cook fish or pancakes over a campfire, basically a pan for outdoor use.
Would-be hosts need to check to see how many guests are allowed per state and local regulations. Though experts say room for social distancing at all times is the most significant element.
Be realistic about the risks your guests may pose, and decide to invite people you feel comfortable with: What other interacting do they do? Do they have jobs that place them at a higher risk of exposure? It's OK to ask.
We all need to get better about getting uncomfortable discussions started. And in the case, you can not have that conversation, that is likely not the person you should be interacting with.
Keep It Short
A gathering for hot beverages and snacks looks more viable in colder weather than a linger-all-night multicourse dinner. The host wants or needs to reduce the risk, so the shorter duration, the better.
Plan Your Setup
It was suggested to take cues from restaurants that have found attractive strategies to cordon off seats or indicate safe spaces. The host could do chalk lines and have your children do fun boundaries or use crepe paper streamers to delineate areas. It could be as easy as placing an in-between pumpkin space.
Setting places for people to eat is essential. It is minimizing touchpoints -- rather than always refilling people's water, have a carafe for them. Or, if it comes to utensils, have all of it to be pre-set or disposable.
Structures such as gazebos, tents, and garages may offer protection from the elements as temperatures dip. Though hosts should continue to be mindful of airflow. Nonetheless, there are no hard-and-fast rules about what constitutes adequate venting just that more is better.
A rented tent that has removable sides, and then ponder the balance between airflow and protection. This question has come up in restaurant rules for outside dining: eateries may serve guests in tents, but only if no more than one flap is down.
A garage might be an alternative, provided that you keep the vehicle entrance wide open and create cross-ventilation by opening windows and doors. The key is to get air moving.
When you invite friends, clearly state your toilet policy. If you let friends use your facilities, suggest a couple of steps to minimize risk: Allow only 1 person in the home at one time and ask that they wear masks.
What To Serve And How
Public Health experts have come to realize that surface-touch transmission of this virus is less common than airborne. However, they caution that many hand-washing or sanitizing is required -- and buffets or communal bowls are not a terrific idea.
Keeping guests spaced a minimum of six feet apart as they get their food is the trickiest part, but health experts say it is the most crucial. The CDC suggests that one individual serve food to avoid having multiple men and women touch serving utensils and control traffic flow.
Jan suggests serving food from several tables to reduce crowding.
New York Designer and lifestyle expert Robin Wilson say you can plan a careful and enjoyable gathering. "If you and a group of friends can splurge, employ a food truck to bring in everything and serve it in individual portions. You have the added advantage of no cleanup," she says.
Another Idea: Imagine you're having a tailgate party in your backyard. The meals could be NFL-appropriate, and people can dress in layers and logos and deliver their own camp chairs. You can also host a basic tea party with people showing up with their own mugs. The tea can be in a thermos; biscuits, bars, or pumpkin bread could be individually wrapped.
Ayer recommends mimicking what many pubs do in Brooklyn: Combine a cauldron of mulled cider. Next, invite friends for a mug, with a splash of rum or bourbon if they're so inclined. (Small finger foods might not be your very best option for glove-wearing guests)
Winter Outdoor Entertaining Tips
Fire Pits and Fireplaces
The most attractive way to warm your terrace is by adding an outdoor fireplace or fire pit to your backyard landscaping.
Fire Pits --
Fire pits are generally a cheaper solution for patio heating and give family and friends the perfect location to gather to spend some time together, swap stories, or celebrate special events.
Offered in portable and permanent alternatives, a fire pit is the sort of backyard heating option that can fit into almost any homeowner's budget.
Portable pits can be found for as little as $50 at home improvement stores and garden centers and are a simple way to instantly add a heat source to your garden.
You can pick up one on the day of your event if you need a last-minute way to heat up your space. This is a fast, easy choice to keep in mind -- mainly because you might have to add to your current heating resources in a hurry if the weather takes an unexpected turn for the worse only a few hours before your shindig.
Permanent Fire pits are a better choice for homeowners considering the overall appearance of their landscape design. They can be installed by a skilled or constructed by homeowners of this handy sort.
Everything you will need to build your own fire pit ought to be available at your local home improvement center, and this is an excellent weekend garden improvement project you can do with a small budget.
Fire pits should always have some kind of fire break surrounding them, like a paving stone terrace, which also provides a flat surface to put seating for your guests.
Outdoor Fireplaces --
Outdoor Fireplaces make good additions to your home's outdoor living spaces and, sometimes, can even increase the value of your home.
A beautiful paving stone terrace with a specially installed patio fireplace as the focal point is the best place to host family gatherings or entertain guests.
A fireplace is a wonderful heat source that could take the chill from the air and may significantly increase the visual appeal of your backyard landscaping.
While this is a more expensive option, it's also a more appealing one.
Professionally designed fireplaces that match your terrace's style, outdoor kitchen, or other landscaping features are the best thing to do when you have the budget. However, many fireplace kits are available for nearby homeowners who feel comfortable taking on this backyard enhancement project.
Chimeneas are freestanding, portable fireplaces usually made from clay but are also occasionally made from aluminum or cast iron.
This patio heating option was originally utilized in indigenous cultures to offer warmth and a cooking supply, which takes up little room and protects the flame.
While some people still use chimeneas for baking or cooking, they are now mostly used as functional garden décor that gives an attractive heating option less expensive than an outside fireplace.
Chimeneas may be used on gravel areas or covered patios, but since they don't typically have a screen to prevent sparks from flying, they shouldn't be used on organic grass lawns and wood chips, or bark.
Due to their layout, chimeneas give off ample warmth to create a warm, cozy atmosphere for small outdoor parties.
We have all been to events where we've huddled around those big freestanding heaters, which are normally fueled by propane.
While they might not be the most appealing addition to your patio, these portable heaters do their work well and provide a fantastic amount of warmth to keep modest areas warm.
There are tabletop, standing, and hanging options available, and, if you're willing to spend somewhat more, there are actually some fairly attractive alternatives available that seem more like floor lamps compared to the normal stainless steel alternatives seen at outside events.
You could also simply use electric space heaters in terms of portable heaters, which you might already have available.
While this option might not be too attractive, portable space heaters do supply a fantastic quantity of heat and are an inexpensive way to warm your outdoor living room on short notice.
Portable heaters made to look like fireplaces or wood-burning stoves are a more appealing option for your temporary heating requirements and can sometimes be obtained for under $100 when they're on sale.
These faux fireplaces are a terrific alternative for folks who have an electrical source nearby and simply need a temporary means to heat an outdoor area for a gathering.
If you're interested in a more stable solution that doesn't involve fire, fixed patio heaters might be your best alternative.
Ceiling and Wall-mounted outdoor heaters fueled by gasoline or electricity are widely available and offer a viable outdoor heating space solution.
Additional Strategies for Keeping Warm
Portable fire pits, patio heaters, and outdoor fireplaces aren't the only means to make a cozy atmosphere for your next party.
Here are ten strategies for creating warm, welcoming outdoor entertaining spots for your family and guests to enjoy.
1. Add patio drapes to your covered terrace to keep in the heat. Outdoor drapes or roll-up bamboo shades can also help block the wind and add privacy to your patio. For those who have a fire pit or outdoor fireplace, just make sure to keep your drapes at a safe distance to prevent a fire hazard.
2. If you're preparing for an outdoor movie night or with a circle of friends nearby your fire pit, give economical throw blankets for your guests for extra warmth.
3. Produce a warm, inviting atmosphere with candles and soft lighting.
4. Be sure to have some comfortable cushions for visitors to sit on to not need to sit on cold patio furniture.
5. Make a warm part of your party motif with an ugly Christmas sweater party or a humorous winter hat celebration.
6. Serve hot beverages, such as spiced apple cider, hot toddies, hot chocolate, or flavored coffees to keep your guests warm.
7. Buy an outdoor rug to include texture and color to your entertaining space while also giving a soft layer between your visitors and a concrete or cold stone patio.
8. Provide lots of table space so that your guests don't need to hold cold drinks all evening.
9. Make or purchase fun beverage koozies for your guests to use on cold beverages.
10. Make roasting hot dogs marshmallow's part of this fun to give your visitors and justification to gather around the fire to remain warm.
More Tips for Winter Outdoor Entertaining
Some Southern California areas do get snow, but all of us get at least a little intermittent rain, which means sand could be an issue when planning outdoor events.
To avoid your guests standing in the sand or tracking it in your home, frequent party hosts might wish to consider installing an artificial turf yard.
Artificial grass provides a flat, mud-free surface on which your guests can gather without worrying about slipping in mud or destroying their shoes.
This low-maintenance, attractive landscaping option always looks its best and can cut back on your party prep because you may cross pre-party mowing or weed from your to-do list.
If evening entertaining programs are in the works, have in mind that it gets dark earlier during wintertime.
This means the temperature may fall earlier in the evening when the sun goes down, and your guests may require a little additional walkway lighting to direct them to your front door or through your own lawn.
While rainy days are a rarity in Southern California, get ready for unexpected inclement weather by providing your guests with a place to place wet umbrellas and coats.