While most of the country begins to pack up patio furniture and cover the grill, Floridians are looking forward to cooler nights and more good times. Granted, we may need to make a few small changes to our backyard setup through the winter months, but for the most part, using outdoor space is possible all 12 months of the year.

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Make it Cozy Floridians, especially those who have lived here for many years, tend to get a bit chilly as temps fall overnight. We recognize that others may think our idea of “chilly” is a little strange, but many of us tend to head inside to entertain when nights get cooler. To accommodate friends and family, consider adding one or two heating elements to your yard. A wood-burning fire pit adds ambiance and the delightful sounds and smells of fire. If you want something that looks a bit more elegant and modern, consider a propane fire table. If fire isn’t your style or you have limited outdoor space, outdoor heaters come in many styles and fit most design schemes. Heaters run on either electricity or natural or propane gas and create a circle of warmth for anyone sitting near it. There are models to suit any budget, so you can keep all your guests warm.

Keep the Lights On: It also gets darker a bit earlier in the evening as the summer fades to fall and winter. String lights and small lanterns are great for the summer; to brighten fall’s darker nights, add additional lighting like path lights and even a floodlight or two if you have a large backyard. Adjust your timers if you have them so that the lights turn on a bit sooner and extend your enjoyment of the night. If you love the look of fire, consider stationing a few torches around a patio to have the aesthetic flickering of flames. Adding exterior lighting systems is easier than you think, so if you believe it will increase your backyard’s aesthetic, go for it!

Invest in Good Furniture: High-quality, year-round furniture can make all the difference in your outdoor space. We experience some rough weather here–from daily summer storms to high temperatures and salty ocean breezes. You need to decorate your outdoor living space with weather-resistant pieces to keep the area looking great no matter what’s going on outside. Some excellent material options are polyresin wicker, thick recycled plastic, steel, or teak wood that isn’t affected by sunlight or salt exposure. Any fabrics you use to enhance the space should be rated for both indoor and outdoor use, as these types are made to be easy to clean and resist fading or rotting. They’re especially useful if you’ve got messy kids or pets that love using your outdoor space.

Cook Outside: Barbeques aren’t just for summer! Throw on a sweater while you operate the grill for some fall al fresco dining, or invest in a gorgeous brick pizza oven to bring many new menu items to your outdoor cooking nights. Your fire pit can also serve a double function as a cooking surface if you lay a grate over the top or wrap food in foil and toss it into the flames for a true outdoor-living aesthetic. Now is a great time to reimagine your outdoor kitchen!

Games and Entertainment: Stock your garage with fun yard games to keep everyone entertained no matter the time of year or temperature outside! Corn hole, pong, or life-size sets of games like chess and checkers are always a hit. If you’ve got a big stretch of flat wall, get a projector and host a movie night–everyone can lay out on blankets in the summer or wrap themselves up in them in winter.

Florida weather allows for amazing outdoor entertaining options all year long. If you want to transform your backyard and begin using outdoor space in versatile ways, call West Coast Design Build Florida for a design consultation.