How to prolong your porch and patio season this year

As the temperatures drop and the days get shorter, we tend to get into hibernation mode, perhaps a bit early. We still need to soak in that vitamin D from the sun and breathe in fresh air. Here are some easy ways to keep your porch, patio and deck inviting even as a chill sets in.

1. Leave the Leaves

Yes, eventually you’ll want to rake them, pile them up and put them to use, but what a beautiful carpet they make when they drop. Enjoy them while they’re crisp and dry; that crunch underfoot can be satisfying.

2. Warm Up With Tea

Throw on an extra layer or two, make sure you’re wearing wool socks and head outside to enjoy your afternoon tea. The brisk air will invigorate you while the soothing tea will warm you up.

3. Decorate Overhead

A branch chandelier already has a nice fall feel, but adding colorful vines and branches to it gives it an even more welcoming and autumnal look. Take some clippings from your yard, or invest in some faux foliage for a display that will last longer.

Don’t have a branch chandelier? Try hanging some branches from the rafters with eye hooks and fishing wire.

4. Extend Potting Bench Season

Just because summer’s over doesn’t mean you have to give up your potting station activities.

At your potting bench you can prep plants for overwintering, organize your bulbs for fall plantings and arrange clippings like branches and vines for container plantings and centerpieces.

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5. Light a Fire

Consider adding an outdoor fireplace, fire pit or chiminea to keep you and your loved ones cozy outside. If you or your neighbors are concerned about smoke, opt for a smoke-free fire.

6. ‘Hygge’ It Up

Denmark is known for hygge (pronounced “huu-ga,” as in “huge"), a lifestyle philosophy that embraces coziness and enjoying simple pleasures. The concept has been spreading around the world lately. Warm throw blankets and sheepskins keep this Gothenburg, Sweden, balcony cozy on chilly afternoons.

7. Add Fall Color

Throw pillows and blankets inspired by the colors of autumn leaves will feel right in season.

8. Enjoy an Alfresco Lunch

It may be too chilly to have outdoor dinners, but on a sunny day the temperature can be just right for serving lunch in the open air. Just make sure to give your guests the heads-up so they can dress appropriately, and you should have a few extra wraps and blankets ready if needed.