5 Items That Will Make Your Outdoor Space Warm And Cozy For Fall

While many think of summer as the prime time to spend luxuriating in our backyard spaces, autumn is often overlooked as a season perfect for relishing those last few weeks before colder weather settles in. Particularly in warmer climates, there are still a couple more months to take advantage of the lengthier nights under the crisp stars and changing leaves. Even cooler locales can squeeze a few days and nights outdoors with the right additions like a firepit, cozy lighting, and blankets. According to The Wall Street Journal, fall is the ideal season for entertaining outdoors, making cozy and stylish outdoor patios, porches, and gardens an important part of the fall agenda. 

Perfect backyard fall activities include picnics, bonfires, soirees, children's campouts, and movie nights with your favorite Halloween or horror flicks on a projector. With the help of warming elements like outdoor heaters and firepits, you can even host an evening of outdoor dining with your favorite fall and harvest dishes while guests will be able to warmly linger well past sunset. Whatever your climate, a few key features to add to your backyard can make it a cozy spot that long outlasts the summer months.

1. A fire pit

A fire pit, bonfire, or outdoor fireplace is a necessity in the colder climates for fall outdoor living, but actually can be a great focal point in your backyard regardless of the weather or season. A hearth provides a perfect opportunity to gather, whether it's for late-night chats, roasting marshmallows, or telling the perfect ghost story.

While a built-in stone fireplace or fire pit in your outdoor space can be a beautiful and much-used feature, other more portable options are readily available at most home and garden retailers, including chimeneas and simple convex pits that are lightweight and can be moved to different areas or taken with you if you are renting. With some precautions for the fire surround (via Cool-Off), you can also place a fire feature on your deck, patio, or among seating areas. If local laws allow it, you can also create a larger bonfire out of leaves and fallen timber for a perfect fall celebration. If you are looking for something safer for children and pets, you can opt for outdoor heating elements that involve flamed heat or heating coils as well.

2. Lighting

With the nights growing longer and the sun setting earlier than ever, lighting becomes even more important for outdoor spaces. There are many options for attractively lighting the outdoors, including solar outdoor fixtures, string lights, candles, and camping lanterns. Twinkle lights make elegant atmospheric lighting, particularly when strung across a fence or railing, or when mixed among fall foliage to highlight the colors even at night.

Fall string lights also come in a number of spooky designs for the season, including skeletons, ghosts, and witch hats that are perfect for outdoor Halloween gatherings. Simple bulb or star-shaped lights are an elevated alternative perfect for al fresco dinners and harvest celebrations. Candles provide both flame and light and are key elements for your table or patio, providing delicious fall scents in pumpkin, apple, and cloves. Lanterns or torches are suitable for areas where more light is needed in the yard, including pathways and wooded areas. According to Backyardscape, other stunning lighting ideas include mason jar tea lights and lit centerpieces.

3. Fall blooms

While all you may need for your backyard decor is the beautiful array of leaves already on the trees (or on the ground), you can also make your backyard space beautiful by adding a bit more in terms of fall flora, including gorgeous arrangements of dried blooms, branches, and leaves. Flowers that thrive in cooler fall temperatures include most varieties of chrysanthemums and marigolds. You can also plan out your garden to include fall-blooming plants like aster and stonecrop (via Blooming Backyard), as well as non-flowering plants like pampas grass and sumac that turn an array of fall-perfect colors. Early autumn can bring sunflowers and apples to fruit trees.

Fall flowers look lovely when placed in pots, caldrons, and kettles. You can also add other decorative elements like straw and hay bales to your outdoor space that are biodegradable when no longer needed, as well as an abundance of pumpkins, gourds, and squashes that create a perfect fall tablescape. 

4. Textiles and textures

Even with a fire, some climates may require a little more to keep you and your guests warm and cozy.  Throw blankets are an excellent option and can be taken up or discarded as needed. The fall brings a number of beautiful throws in fall colors and patterns, which can also be paired with cushions and pillows to add more softness to harder patio and outdoor furnishings. According to USA Today, many retailers even offer waterproof and outdoor-friendly options.

Chaises, daybeds, and large benches are perfect for spreading out blankets, cushions, and other soft things for an afternoon nap. Throws, flannel blankets, and sleeping bags make important additions to backyard camping escapades in chillier weather. Even autumn picnic table dining can be augmented by having some throw blankets within easy reach for guests to cuddle up under. Adding throws to your outdoor space is a perfect way to provide warmth and texture with materials like plaid flannel and chunky knits.

5. Snacks

Setting the mood for your autumnal backyard shenanigans is key and what better way to do that than with food, which becomes even more of a centerpiece for gatherings as the weather gets colder and the holidays approach. There are a number of things that can be prepared in advance and require little cooking effort that are perfect for your night out under the stars. 

Consider a s'mores board (via A Classic Twist) with all the fixings for the sweetest of confections. An outdoor movie night demands treats and popcorn, which can be easily cooked over a fire. Fall provides its own host of autumnal cuisine for outdoor celebrations, including pumpkin soups, squashes, apple baked goods, and stews. Even hotdogs and chips become more idyllic and romantic when cooked over your own fire. Fall beverages are the perfect libations for cooler weather, including hot cocoa, mulled wine, and cider, all of which can be kept warm in thermoses or other insulated dispensers.