Winter Patio Ideas: What To Do With Your Patio When It’s Cold Out

If you have an outdoor patio in your home, you'll know how wonderful it is in the summer for family barbecues, sunbathing, early evening cocktails, backyard birdwatching, and many other activities. But what about in winter? Many people simply stop using their patio, especially if they live in colder, snowier parts of the country. 


But this doesn't have to be the case! Keep reading for potential solutions to help make your patio space not just usable, but enjoyable—even in frigid conditions.


Winterizing Your Patio 

The key to being able to use your patio in the colder months is to winterize it. Fortunately, there are various ways you can do this depending on your patio and your location.  


How to Enclose a Patio for Winter 

This is one of the most effective winter patio strategies. There are different enclosure options available, and the best one for your patio will depend on your location and climate. 


For locations that experience dry winters (like homes in Colorado), if your patio already has an overhead roof and surrounding supports, consider hanging clear vinyl tarps or more durable clear vinyl panels. 


If you live in an area where cold air is the main concern, you might consider insulated curtains. Wetter winter regions (such as homes in Michigan) may require a more durable solution that can withstand heavy cold rains and heavy snow. If your patio is not covered, consider extending the roof of your house and building an enclosure. For those on a budget, there are lower-cost standalone structures, such as enclosed canopies to geodesic domes. 


Patio Furniture That Can Be Left Outside in the Winter 

Should you put patio furniture away in winter? It all depends on the material. Patio furniture that can be left outside in the winter includes anything made from concrete, aluminum, plastic and teak wood.  


Steel, iron and wicker furniture must be brought inside. Those metals are highly susceptible to rust and corrosion, while wicker can be easily damaged by rain and freezing temperatures. All-weather furniture and outdoor cushions can be a good way to make a patio usable year-round. 


How to Protect Patio Plants in Winter 

Some plants can be left outside in the winter, while others can't, and it depends on the hardiness zone they're rated for. The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map provides the hardiness zone for all U.S. states. Plus, when purchasing plants, its tag will indicate the hardiness zone.  


Plants that should be brought inside include all tropical plants and tender bulb flowers like begonias and dahlias. If you live in a harsh winter climate, you should also bring all container plants indoors. Plants that are in the ground around your patio may need to be gently covered to protect them from frost.  


While you're winterizing your patio plants, explore our other seasonal maintenance tips! 


Winter Patio Decorating Ideas 

There are multiple ways to turn your patio from drab to fab in the winter. Winter patio ideas range from upgrading the lighting all the way to adding a hot tub. They range in cost, but many winter patio ideas are possible even if you’re on a tight budget. Check out a few of our favorite ideas below! 



One effective way to winterize a patio and make it inviting for months with shorter sunlight is to add lights. There are many options for outside lights, such as string lights, solar lamps, patio floor lamps and lanterns. You can hang string lights from a patio roof, place solar path lights around the perimeter, or use solar-powered standing lamps. Smart lights can be set to go on and off at specific times.  


Fire Pit

Is anything cozier than a patio fire pit table? They are great for creating a cozy, warm environment, perfect for entertaining or just enjoying appetizers and drinks on a cold winter’s night. In addition to providing additional light and heat, they also provide a convenient place to roast marshmallows or place hot beverages. Don‘t worryThere are tons of fire pit tables available for a wide range of prices. 


Hot Tub 

Having even a small hot tub can make your patio an attractive space during snowstorms or extra cold days. They may be the ultimate place to unwind outdoors in the winter. Thankfully, there are many different types, such as inflatable or in-ground, available at various prices great for a range of budgets. With proper maintenance (and a winterized cover), hot tubs can be enjoyed year-round. 


Enjoy Your Outdoor Space Even in the Cold 

Feel free to try some of our patio suggestions for this coming winter and discover what works best for you and your household. Creative ideas, like adding string lights or a gas heater, will help you to make better use of a wonderful home feature while expanding your living space and enhancing those cold winter months. 


If you’re looking for a new home with an inviting patio to entertain guests or relax, be sure to check out our new construction homes. Our online homebuying experience makes shopping for a new home convenient, allowing you to view floor plans, outdoor space, and more.