9 Ways to Extend Patio Season into Fall

As temperatures drop in the fall, our outdoor activities start to dwindle, and the bustle of life moves indoors. But there are still beautiful days and evenings left to enjoy outside if only we have something to draw us out there. For example, a fire pit or spa can turn your yard into the place to be on a bracing autumn evening. Beefed-up outdoor lighting can make your property more inviting as the days grow shorter, and installing an outdoor kitchen will keep the food prep—and the party—humming away outside. And don't plow the garden under just yet! Plant fall vegetable crops and fruit trees to keep your green thumb nimble until the ground freezes. There are so many ways to prolong the season. We've gathered just a few of our favorites.

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  1. Put in a Fire Pit


    Nothing says autumn like roasting marshmallows over a backyard fire pit. Swap your sandals for a sweatshirt and head outside for some ghost stories and s'mores. Buy one, or DIY one. You won't regret it.

    Related: How To: Build a Basic Backyard Fire Pit


  2. Plant Fall Veggies


    When summer harvests of tomatoes and cucumbers fade, plant some cold-weather veggies, such as kale, spinach, lettuce, peas, broccoli rabe, and more. Fall garden crops will draw you outside for tending and picking, and will extend the season's bounty on your dinner table.


  3. Get a Patio Heater


    Don't let 50-degree temps force you indoors. A patio heater makes sitting outside on a chilly fall evening not only possible but comfortable too. Whether you want propane or electric, tabletop or stand-alone, you can find a patio heater that will fit your needs and let you enjoy your outdoor spaces until the extreme cold sets in.


  4. Create an Outdoor Room


    An outdoor room can make or break the time you spend outside in autumn. Install a pergola or patio and fill it with comfortable furnishings, and you'll have a hard time tearing yourself away. Have a screened porch? Trick it out for cool weather with soft lighting, a patio heater, pillows, and throws. Who says the season's over?


  5. Plant a Fall Bearing Orchard


    Plant fall bearing fruit trees to create opportunities for outdoor activity as temperatures dip. Surveying and tending trees is a pleasurable pastime, and once the harvest is in, a DIY cider press, juicer, or canning equipment can make quick work of your crop, with plenty left over to share with the neighbors.


  6. Install an Outdoor Kitchen


    Grillin' and chillin' is not just for summer. If you upgrade your grill to an outdoor kitchen, you'll be more likely to keep on cooking outside, long into sweatshirt weather. The smells of autumn should include barbecue sauce!


  7. Upgrade Outdoor Lighting


    As the days get shorter and darkness arrives earlier, it's natural to retreat inside even when the weather is good. Keep your yard inviting well into evening by upgrading your outdoor lighting.  Well-placed string lights, wall lights, and path lights can extend the time you spend outside before it's time for bed.


  8. Put in a Spa


    The pools may be closed, but you can still enjoy the outdoors in colder weather if the water is warm enough. A spa is great for soothing sore muscles after a long day of raking leaves, and there's no better place to sit and enjoy the evening stars.


  9. Head Outside for Games


    When the weather cools, you're not as easily drawn outdoors by games and activities, so make the time. Build a horseshoe pit, or make or buy other outdoor games, then grab a cup of hot cider and head outside. Your friends and neighbors will soon join in.


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