Your garden and patio doesn’t have to be a wasted space when the cooler months start to draw in.
Have a look through our outdoor heating ideas and make the most of your evening, whether you want to splash out on a new stand up heater, or just get friends bundled up under blankets.
Electric Patio Heaters
By far the most popular option are Electric Patio Heaters. There’s a whole variety of options, from heat lamps you hang from parasols and walls, to radiators you plugin for heat.
They are cheap to run as the electricity from your mains in the house, it’s clean energy to heat patios and gardens.
Unfortunately it does mean you generally need an outdoor plug or a long lead, which isn’t always possible in larger spaces.
Gas Patio Heaters
There’s a reasons why restaurants and bars have these running everywhere around the world, and it’s because they are cost efficient and, more importantly, warm.
Of all the outdoor gas heaters, the mushrooms heat lamps are the most recognisable. But where there’s gas, there’s ways to create flames. From heater patio towers, to gas fire pit tables, to portable camping gas heaters, these are by far the most versatile in shape and size.
You do need to invest in some form of natural gas or propane container, and if you run out you’ll be left out in the cold, but they are great for heating large gardens and spaces.
Fire Pits – large and small
Who doesn’t love to stare out at the stars, a roaring fire glowing in the dark, the smell of marshmallows toasting in the air?
Fire pits do require a wide open space as you have to be careful with the fumes of the fire, but it is by far one of the cheapest garden heating ideas because it’s just metal and wood.
That’s not to say that cheap is always best; smokeless fire pits are probably one of the many wonders of this century.
There’s small portable fire pits that take little to no space and heats up two of you nicely on a cool spring evening. Or maybe you want big deep bowl fire pits that you can place in the middle of a garden and not need a jumper in winter.
Fire may be the most primitive of garden heating ideas, but sometimes the old ways are the best ways.
Infrared Patio Lamps
From the dawn of man to the new century, we introduce you to the wonders of the Infrared Patio Lamps.
These technically fall under electric heaters, but they deserve their own section because they just do it better than their plain old boring electric cousins.
Infra-red waves is the same heat as what we get from the sun. As such they can offer instant warmth at different setting, making them cost efficient and great for larger spaces. They still don’t have as much oomph as the propane gas heaters, but they come close.
And whilst some of them can give a red glow, many of the more modern version have a red-golden light that is less ‘red light district’ and more ‘tanning in St Tropez’.
Although, just to be clear, you cannot get a tan using infra-red patio heaters.
Underfloor Heating For Decking and Patios
Not for the faint of heart (or wallet) this option is probably one of the most difficult garden heating ideas, but a great investment if you plan on spending lots of time outside.
You’ll need a professional to come in and install this system for you, but with warmth that can melt snow, there will never be a bad time to be outside.
Jumpers and Blankets
We know this may seem basic, but let’s be honest: not all of us can splash out for fancy equipment and smokeless wood and coal for our custom made fire pit table.
Sometime it’s not cold enough to turn on the stand up heater, sometimes it can be as simple as making sure all your guests have a few extra layers clothed, and maybe drape a few blankets over the chairs for everyone to use as they need it.
If your patio is under cover, then bring out a few rugs. You’ll be surprised how these little cosy touches will keep your entertainment area warmer for everyone.
Hots tubs come in all shapes and sizes. From the ones you blow up for a few weeks in the summer, to large installations that take the water straight from the mains.
These days you don’t have to be rich to have one of these in your garden, just the space and an appreciation for bubbles.
It may seem odd, but Hot Tubs are one of the best ways to heat your garden in winter, with water going up as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sure, it’s can get a little cold running back and forth to your tub, but it’s a small price to pay.
It’s not always the cheapest option, either to run or to install, but a great long-term investment if you don’t mind getting close and personal with your guest and loved ones.
We had to have this one on here because we had hot tubs. And what’s a hot tub if not a tiny little heated pool?
If you have the space and cash to get a heated pool, then we’re not sure why you are still even reading this. Go, get a pool, and enjoy it heated in winter and wondrous cool in the summer.
We’re a little bit jealous.
Somebody Warm and a Hot Drink
Try it sometimes. It sounds ridiculous, but put a blanket on the floor, turn off the lights, and lay down with someone close to enjoy the nature around.
Maybe it’s Goldie your favourite Labrador, maybe it’s a sibling or a partner, but there’s something incredibly cosy about sharing a small space with someone you love.
Add a flask of something hot (tea, coffee, mulled wine; we won’t judge) and it’s the perfect recipe for a wondrous night.
What do you do when you get cold inside? You put a few logs in the chimney. What do you do when you’re cold outside? You put a few logs in the Chiminea.
These clay pots are wonderfully good at retaining and dispersing heat, and they make a great garden feature wherever you put them.
They do require a little maintenance, and coal and wood isn’t the cleanest energy, but Chimineas look beautiful and well within the budget of the most avid garden entertainers.
What is the best outdoor heating?
Depending on the space you have to heat you may need different types of outdoor heaters. Generally electric heaters are great for small patios and balconies, whilst fire pits and gas heaters work great for larger gardens and areas.
How do you heat an outdoor area?
You use the many outdoor heaters now available to buy online. From gas heaters, to fire heaters to electric heaters there’s as many options out there, as there are outdoor spaces.
You may only need a small patio heater as many of these heaters are now fit for purpose for the space available, even if all you have is the space for an outside wall heater or a large fire pit for the bottom of the garden.
Do outdoor patio heaters really work?
Yes! You have to get one that works for the space you have, but outdoor patio heaters have allowed people from all over the world, including Norway, Canada and New Zealand, to enjoy the outside all year round.
Do outdoor patio heaters work in winter?
Although many outdoor patio heaters are designed to elongate those cool spring, summer and autumn evenings, there’s plenty of Winter outdoor heaters available. It all depends on how cold it gets, and the kind of shelter you have – but if Canadian pubs can have heated outdoor patios in the snow, so can you. Budget is the only thing that will limit you. (Doesn’t it always?)
How do I keep my patio warm in winter?
You buy one of the many garden heaters available out there, from wall mounted infra-red electric heaters, to gas fire pit tables. The garden should be enjoyed year round, and regardless of your space, there’s a heater you can use.
Are electric patio heaters better than gas?
They are better for the environment as they run off your mains, and they are cheaper to run than gas. Generally, however, outdoor propane heaters tend to be warmer and able to spread heat to a larger area, and more energy efficient.
What size outdoor heater do I need?
It depends on the square footage of your patio or garden, as well as whether you have a large open space, or a sheltered nook. More importantly, it depends on the weather conditions – if you are looking to heat the peaks of Scotland, you’ll need something a little more powerful than the sea breeze of Brighton beach.
Generally, try and heat your seating area. It’s the most cost effective way to determine the patio heater size and strength.
If you only have 6 square meter to heat in shelter of two walls, you’ll only need something running at 30,000 BTUs, whilst a large open garden space may need 50,000 BTUs or a fire pit.
Can outdoor heaters be left out in the rain?
Generally speaking you should invest in a good outdoor cover for any of your outdoor heaters, whether that’s a propane gas heater or a chiminea. Metal and rain, even if it’s a cast iron fire pit, tends to rust, and ceramics crack. To prolong the life of your outdoor heater either cover it with a waterproof tarp, or simply tuck it into the shed or garage when it’s no longer needed.