It’s obvious why Raleigh frequents best city lists. It’s a beautiful city with a low unemployment rate and a favorable cost of living and is one of the safest cities in the US.

It also has a climate that allows for year-round outdoor activity while having four distinct seasons. Even in winter, you’ll have some gorgeous sunlit days with temperatures in the upper 50’s or low 60’s. With a few additions here and there, you don’t have to “roll up” the patio when summer ends– you can easily enjoy it through autumn and on many days into winter.

Here are some tips that will give you more bang for your patio buck.

1. Awning

Retractable awning, Source: Wayfair

A retractable awning will add to your patio days all year long—on both rainy days and days when the sun is beating down unmercifully. In the winter, it helps protect you from winds and it keeps in any heat. On the days when the weather is just right, and there are many of them in Raleigh, simply retract the awning.

2. Heat

Chiminea, Source: Mike Mahaffie

A fire pit or outdoor fireplace will warm up your patio when the temperatures drop. Relaxing in front of a crackling fire is the perfect way to spend a cold winter evening. It’s been proven to reduce anxiety and lower blood pressure! From far back into prehistory, humans have gathered around the fire to illuminate the dark night, ward off predators, cook, and become a socially cohesive unit in a harsh environment. The warmth, the flickering light and the characteristic aroma of a campfire remain as comforting to us today.

For an artistic touch, add a chiminea (Spanish for “chimney”) to your patio. The hand-decorated terracotta fireplace has the added advantage of keeping the fire contained and protects the flame when it’s raining.

3. Lighting

solar lights

Solar string lights, Source: Target

Since it gets dark earlier in the fall and winter, you’ll want to have additional lighting. Illuminating your patio is also another chance to add to its aesthetic value. You can install path markers, string lights or spotlights, but for a more creative approach, install color changing LED light strips. Each strip is about 16 feet in length and adhesive backed for easy installation. They are waterproof and low maintenance. There’s also a control that allows you to change the colors remotely—from a single color (red, green or blue) to multiple variations of mixed colors.

Solar-powered string lights are another light source that is as beautiful as it is practical. Since they are powered by sunlight, there is no cost and you can string them anywhere you want. There is no wiring, cord, or outlet needed.

4. Weather-resistant patio furniture

Water-resistant outdoor furniture, Source: Wayfair

Make sure your patio furniture is made from materials like powder-coated steel, teak, and poly-resin wicker so that it can withstand the elements through all seasons. It only requires minimal care: cover when it rains or snows and takes the cushions and pillows inside. You can also find weather-resistant materials to cover your outdoor textiles in.

When upgrading your patio with affordable furniture and decor, consider upgrading your landscaping in a carefree efficient way by using LawnStarter. Visit our Raleigh lawn care page for more information on how to have a lush lawn that brings your entire backyard together!

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