“Brockbank Drive Contemporary” photo Trina Knudsen

No doubt about it, Utah falls, winters and early springs can be frosty. No wonder so many people spend the seasons hibernating indoors. But the outdoors is still a draw — your patio beckons! So, breathe in that fresh Utah air and enjoy outdoor living all year long.

Extend Your Patio Season

A stunning blanket of untouched white snow over your hardy Salt Lake City lawn adds to the elegance of backyard scenery.

Dress your patio with winter-friendly ornamentals. Shelter them with large rocks, trees, and landscape walls to provide wind-breaks from the elements. A contractor can help you fence in the patio with high walls to keep the cold out. This will keep the heat in and cut down on your heating costs. You can hit the home improvement stores, yard sales, or do some online shopping for the perfect addition to your patio décor.

Add Greenery

“Ridgeline Circle Redo”  photo Trina Knudsen


Potted trees and shrubs bring elegance to your patio, even in the middle of winter. Beautiful plants that survive Utah’s cold weather include:

Snowdrops; bulbs which have white bell-shaped blooms that spring up through the snow.  

Bergenia; a hardy groundcover with tough evergreen leaves. It develops brightly colored flowers in spring and turns a dark red-copper color in the fall and winter.

Evergreen hollyThis beautiful shrub is not just for Christmas. It has lustrous green leaves and bright red berries that brighten up dreary winter days.

Build a greenhouse

Your patio is a great place to do this if you want to keep that green thumb active all year long. Yes, it can become rather costly, so before committing to the project, discuss your plans with a gardening professional. Part of the success of a winter greenhouse includes using good garden soil, choosing hardy plants, and having adequate growing space. You’ll also have to be diligent with watering and removing old vegetation and regulating temperature.

Heat Things Up


“Shadow Wood Lane”  photo Trina Knudsen

Add warmth with outdoor patio heaters. There are many different types from which to choose, including glass tube, propane, gas fire pits, electric and chiminea.  It’s important to know the patio’s exact size (in square feet).


  • Freestanding heaters are thin and tall. They can be electric, propane or natural gas. Freestanding units are easy to place in tight spaces but must be kept away from other items.
  • Tabletop heaters work nicely in small spaces; they’re portable and storable. Tabletops may be electric or run by small propane canisters.
  • Wall or ceiling mounted heaters may cost a little more than other options, but they don’t take up space or can be kept out of reach from children.  These heaters are typically powered by electricity.
  • Hanging electric heaters can be draped from the ceiling. An “umbrella’ heater work well attached to a patio shade. 
  • Fire pits or bowls look nice and warm, but there are no actual fires in them. Fire pits are controlled by a switch, with propane tanks hidden inside.

If you prefer the true aroma of a campfire, you can build a fire pit for wood burning. This is a nice way to enjoy your patio during all seasons!

Light it Up

“Liz’s Michigan Tudor”  photo Lucy Call


Brighten up the patio with globe lights; they’ll keep the party going long after the sun goes down.  Hang them in a round, square or triangular pattern or spread out among the trees. Christmas lasts all year long! LED lights are preferable since they conserve energy and don’t overheat.  Solar lights are another great option as you don’t have to worry about plugging them in.  Globe and hanging lights offer an inviting atmosphere for all occasions.


It may be hard to get around town on days when the temperature drops, but you can turn your backyard patio into a personal fitness area. Outdoor exercise is a great way to expand your breathing capabilities and energy. But, the Mayo Clinic warns exercising in cold weather can be dangerous.  Always note the temperature, windchill, and moisture index.  Watch out for signs of frostbite or hypothermia. And for hot tub owners, it’s very tempting to want to use your unit in every season, but you must take precautions when using the hot tub in the winter. Your body temperature is a factor, too.


Cold weather doesn’t have to mean the end of patio season.  After all, what’s a little snow between friends?


Lucy Crawford is a home design and DIY writer, and lover of herbal tea.  With her busy hands, she is always challenging herself with a new DIY project. She enjoys designing spaces where she can relax and enjoy a good book.




6 tips for extending your Utah patio season year round By: Lucy Crawford

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