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Al fresco fun doesn’t have to be reserved for summer, especially in Australia, where many of us are fortunate enough to enjoy decent weather year-round. But don’t worry – even if you’re from a colder state, such as Victoria, we’ve got you covered!

That’s why we’ve put together this guide for you to create your very own winter wonderland. Whether you’re planning on hosting buzzing dinner parties, or some intimate drinks and meals between family and friends, there’s no reason you can’t make the most of your verandah during the cooler months.

Heat things up

Consider what kind of heating option will work best for your outdoor space. Although gas heaters, electrical heating systems and outdoor fireplaces are all great options, you might want to dial up the cosy factor and get yourself a fire pit. Perfect for entertaining (and big backyards), there are several fire bowls and braziers on the market designed to maximise your warmth and resist heat.

Many fire pits double as a BBQ, if you’ve got a grill master in your household. Older kids will also love roasting marshmallows by the fire — wrapped up in woollen blankets — or munching on a homemade, stone-baked pizza, fresh out of an outdoor pizza oven. A little spark goes a long way when keeping the conversation flowing on those icy evenings, and a firepit is guaranteed to make your parties and family game nights a success. We recommend the built-in style as a safety measure, and it will provide a rustic, outdoorsy touch to your outdoor area. A fire is ideal not only for warming up, but for creating a warm atmosphere as well.

Let there be light

Another thing to think about when decorating your outdoor space for winter is lighting. You’ll definitely need lights, as the sun goes down early in winter. Plus, lights can add that sophisticated, magical feeling to your garden.

But what kind of lights should you look out for and which should you avoid? Well, for a start, try soft, twinkly lights such as string lights (you can hang on your verandah posts, on fences or around trees), pendant lights and uplights; candles are also a nice touch. Harsh lighting is a big no-no if you’re hoping to create a relaxing oasis where you can escape and unwind.

Lounging around

Next on the agenda is furniture. When putting together your cosy winter canopy, you want to make sure there are comfortable places to sit, plenty of space for everyone — and the materials are sturdy and weather resistant.

Survey your verandah to get an idea of what furniture will work best with the space. If your outdoor area is small, a folding table is a great option, as it can be easily packed away when you’re not using it. Otherwise, you can find a dining table made of weather-proof materials, like stone and timber. You’ll want chairs to match, if you’re going for the complete dining table experience, and wooden chairs add that extra touch of comfort when reclining outdoors. Seat cushions are also a necessity for winter.

Looking for an alternative to a table and chairs? Then sofas are your best bet! Ideal for stargazing, cuddling up with the family and sipping on a hot chocolate or wine: just make sure you search for ones with hardy outdoor fabric. If you need space for additional guests, spread some armchairs around the patio, preferably ones with removable inserts, as they’ll dry off in no time and are washable.

Throws and cushions add a pop of colour to your outdoor furniture, and the covers can be removed and thrown in the wash. (Also, they can come inside with you if you bring the party indoors). You can also style your outdoor patio with a rug; you can find ones resistant to UV and wet weather, and they add an extra layer of warmth to the cold ground.

Seek Shelter

Last but not least, you’ll find shelter from the elements, such as wind and rain, with screens and outdoor blinds. But you can ensure extra security if you hire outdoor living specialists that are able to customise your outdoor structure to your space; this is especially important for those of us in Melbourne, which is known for its unpredictable weather.

Innovative Verandahs have you covered with their al fresco solutions — including configurable roofing systems and fully adjustable louvered sunroofs, allowing you to enjoy more time outside throughout the year.

Contact Innovative Verandahs today to book your consultation.

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