A patio can be the perfect place to entertain, dine, or relax outdoors -- even in winter. When the air is brisk and a light rain is falling, all you need to do is provide for warmth, shelter, and comfort.
Dress your outdoor space with candles and potted blooms, and toss some fleecy throws on the chaise. Then bring out the mugs of steaming hot chocolate or tomato bisque, sink into the cushions, and enjoy the view.
An outdoor fireplace makes a great gathering spot. It creates a feeling of intimacy while letting you stay outside to take advantage of crisp winter evenings.
You can install one in a sheltered entry courtyard, along the rear wall of a home, or at the boundary between paved and planted areas.
An adobe-style patio transitions into a cool-weather haven centered around a mesquite-burning fireplace that works as a pizza oven.
One determined homeowner used smart design to maximize his small yard (25 feet deep and 50 feet wide) and create three distinct areas -- one to watch tv, another to eat, and lastly one to sit by the fire -- for year-round enjoyment.
Sometimes it's too cold for even the staunchest cold-weather lover, but that doesn't mean you can't still appreciate the great outdoors. This comfy furniture-filled outdoor room (adjancent to the deck) gives its inhabitants a bird's-eye view to the frosty outdoors.