With spring just around the corner, it’s almost warm enough to head outdoors again to spend time with your friends and family. There’s nothing better than spending an evening in your backyard grilling up food, toasting marshmallows, and telling stories around a fire.
Being outdoors is good for your health. The only problem is potentially cold weather. You don’t want to have to wait for summer to host outdoor gatherings, but some spring nights can get rather chilly.
You can keep your guests warm by using the following ideas.
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1. Put a gas fire pit in your backyard
Everybody loves fire pits. There’s something almost mystical about gathering around leaping flames to connect with a group of other people while the sun fades into darkness.
Although any fire pit will create that warmth, a gas fire pit will ensure a more dependable experience for you and your guests. The biggest benefit is that gas fire pits are virtually maintenance-free. You won’t have to keep your eye on the fire and steadily chuck wood into the pit to keep it going.
Compared to wood-burning fire pits, gas fire pits are much easier to light: They’re directly connected to the source of fuel and don’t require kindling. You just push a button to create a spark that ignites the pit.
Since the flame is controlled by gas, most pits allow you to adjust the height of the flames with a dial. Equally beneficial is the fact that fire pits don’t produce any ashes, so you don’t have any mess to clean up. Just push the button to shut it off and go back in the house.
2. Get some outdoor patio heaters
You’ve likely seen those outdoor patio heaters that restaurants use to keep their exterior dining areas warm, but did you know those are available for residential use? You can get high-quality, expensive outdoor heaters that would perform for commercial use, but there’s no need for them.
The first thing is to figure out which type of heater you need. There are free-standing or tabletop propane units, and wall-mounted infrared electric units. All of them come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
So you have plenty of heaters to choose from. If you’ve never purchased one before, study the reviews before you make the commitment with your credit card.
The New York Times’s Wirecutter published an in-depth review of several different patio heaters along with a detailed guide that will help you choose the right one for your situation.
3. Stock up on some “Comfy” hooded blankets
If you haven’t seen “The Comfy” before, you and your evening guests are missing out. The Comfy is basically a giant Sherpa hoodie that’s so big it’s basically a wearable blanket.
It’s got a huge hood, giant sleeves, a massive front pocket, and it’s big enough that you can curl up and place it around your legs. Stock up on a few of these for your guests who may forget their jacket or the ones who especially need to be warm.
Sometimes, spring nights can turn suddenly cold, and you might have a guest or three who suffers terribly from the chill. If you missed The Comfy on Shark Tank, check out this YouTuber’s review, which compares it to a competitor’s product. (Spoiler alert: The Comfy wins!)
4. Get a jacuzzi
On cold nights, it can feel simply amazing to be outside, in the fresh, crisp air, while you’re submerged in hot water. As the day fades into night and temperatures drop, most people will gravitate toward heat.
If you and your guests would enjoy continuing to sit outdoors talking with each other in the dark, a jacuzzi makes sense. If you don’t already have a jacuzzi, consider getting one.
Professional installations can cost thousands of dollars, but you don’t have to spend that much money. In fact, you can get an inflatable jacuzzi for no more than several hundred bucks online.
The best part is, you’ll be able to enjoy a hot jacuzzi soak any time you like.
5. Move your gathering to a screened-in patio area
As the temperatures drop, the smart host will be prepared to move a gathering into a section of the patio that’s protected by screens. This will require some forethought to clear your patio in anticipation of the need for your party to move to that area.
Plus, you’ll need an easy way to shift any food that’s settled on your outdoor tables. If you don’t have a screened-in patio, you’ll have to move your guests indoors to escape the chilly night.
Spring nights can get chilly, so keep your guests warm
If you’re going to host night-time gatherings, do what you can to keep your guests comfortably toasty. The warmer you can keep them, the longer they’ll stay for the fun.