12 Ways to Kit Out Your Backyard for Cold Weather

With the right gear, you can throw a cozy backyard barbecue no matter how cold it gets.

When the days are shorter and the weather’s cooler, many otherwise outdoorsy folks find adventures becoming less frequent. But that doesn’t mean you should cut down on the time spent outside—especially when it comes to relaxing close to home, in your own backyard.

In fact, it’s easy to argue that winter is the most critical season to keep your backyard, front porch, or patio as cozy as possible. When trails are inaccessible, these spaces become a sort of nature home base—a crucial spot to rest, recharge, and gather during the roughest months of the year.

Here are 12 things you can do to cold-proof your outdoor space and keep those backyard parties rolling all year-round.

Man relaxing in the backyard by a fire
  1. Insulated blankets
    When it comes to outdoor winter gatherings, the first order of business is keeping warm. Go-to hosting trick: Stash a couple of Rumpl blankets in a nearby closet or storage bin so you can whip them out at the first sign of a shiver. Rumpl’s insulated blankets offer incredible warmth for their weight, and their packability means they won’t take up too much space between uses.  
  2. Outdoor space heater
    Want to dine al fresco in December? Take a page from restaurants’ pandemic playbook. Propane-fueled outdoor space heaters can warm a patio by up to 20 degrees—making your wintry backyard feel just like spring.
  3. Fire pit centerpiece
    Sitting around a campfire is way more magical when the weather’s cold. That’s because fires provide both warmth and a mesmerizing focal point that invite guests to settle in and open up. Key upgrade: Choose a backyard fire pit that will contain runaway sparks and even reduce smoke. Oh, and always keep ingredients for s’mores on hand.  
  4. Insulated mugs
    Nothing keeps the chill at bay like a warm drink. To defend against premature cooling, use an insulated mug. (You’ll get more years of usage with well-built options like the Yeti Rambler or Hydroflask Coffee Mug, both of which are durable and keep drinks steaming for hours.) 
  5. Down booties
    If you want to entice your family outside on a chill evening, the promise of warm toes goes a long way. Consider a camp-ready option like The North Face’s insulated booties, which boast better traction than most other models. Going for host of the year? Keep a few extra pairs on hand for guests. 
  6. Cozy camp furniture
    Hammocks may be perfect for summer, but that pleasant under-bum breeze quickly becomes a downer when the temps drop. Instead, opt for plush camp furniture or insulated seat covers to keep your guests warm. 
  7. String lights
    Brighten up those winter nights by stringing bulbs across your balcony, deck, or patio. Look for LEDs that offer a soft, yellow glow, which feels warmer and more inviting. MPowered’s option also sports a solar panel for set it-and-forget-it charging.
  8. Movie projector
    Take movie night outdoors. You can project your favorite flick onto a wall of your home if it’s relatively smooth and light-colored, or you can hang a bed sheet by clipping it to the gutter with clothes pins. Grab some extra pillows, warm blankets, and a bowl of popcorn, and you’ve got a perfect cozy evening under the stars.
  9. Outdoor pizza oven
    There’s nothing better than hot pizza on a cold night, and an outdoor oven (or grill-compatible pizza stone) gives you both a crisper crust and a more authentic, wood-fired taste. Plus, unlike grilling burgers or hot dogs, pizza requires less micromanaging once it’s in the oven. That gives you more time to relax with your guests.
  10. Outdoor rug
    Any decorator can tell you that plush rugs and pillows instantly make a space feel warmer. Outdoor rugs can also provide literal warmth by helping to insulate guests’ feet from cold stone or tile, making it more comfortable to wander around and mingle.  
  11. Bluetooth speaker
    Whether you’re hoping to add holiday cheer or just a more festive atmosphere, think of your Bluetooth speaker as your new best friend. Look for an outdoor model that touts long battery life (like JBL’s Flip 5) which can help keep the party going later into cold nights.
  12. Light-up yard games
    In the summer, you often have to wait well past bedtime to bust out the LEDs or light-up toys. Not so in winter. Take advantage of the early darkness with light-up yard chess or glow-in-the-dark horseshoes. Bonus: Because camp and yard games get you up and moving, they can help keep you warm, too.

All articles are for general informational purposes.  Each individual’s needs, preferences, goals and abilities may vary.  Be sure to obtain all appropriate training, expert supervision and/or medical advice before engaging in strenuous or potentially hazardous activity.