warm up the patio with outdoor heaters

Canadians live for patio season. After six months of deep freeze, cold winds, ice, and snow, it’s finally time to get outside and enjoy nothing but sunshine and warm nights, right? Not quite. With spring and summer sometimes comes rain, winds, and temperatures that dip down to levels not quite compatible with shorts and a tank top. How can you enjoy the outdoors after a long winter cooped up in the house if you have to bring your hat and parka with you? If you’re ready for patio season before it’s ready for you, here are a few ways to warm up the patio this year.

Why choose an outdoor heater to warm up the patio

Outdoor patio heaters are simple to install, easy to use, and create such a toasty glow you won’t want to go inside. Outdoor fireplaces do the same thing. They can add such a cozy sense of atmosphere and style to your patio you’ll love being outside more than in.

Here’s a look at all of your outdoor heating choices, including patio heaters and outdoor fireplaces you can use to warm up the patio to get outside earlier, and stay outside longer this year.

Warm up the patio with freestanding infrared patio heaters

warm up your patio with a patio heater

If you’ve spent time on a patio in a restaurant, you’ll have experienced the toasty warmth of a freestanding infrared patio heater. They are tall, have a dome or panel, and generally run on electricity. You don’t need a special plug-in for freestanding patio heaters because they just plug straight into a normal outlet.

You’ll find models of freestanding patio heaters that are less expensive to run than a standard propane patio heater. Because they run on electricity, a gust of wind can’t blow out the flame. Infrared heat is also safe, clean, and odourless so you don’t have to worry about having a gas scent when you want to warm up the patio.

One of the best parts of infrared patio heaters is that they are instant on – just flip the switch and you’ll be warm. For a warm, radiant glow in the corner of your patio, freestanding patio heaters are a great choice.

With that said, some prefer propane heaters, which use a propane tank in the base (just like your barbecue) and draw power for heat from that whenever you need it.

Beautify your space with outdoor gazebo patio heaters

If saving space is a consideration and you’d like to create warmth over your patio table, an outdoor gazebo patio heater is a good choice. This type of outdoor heater radiates warmth exactly where you want it, and you can hook the heater onto a chain and hang it over any space just like a light. To use it you’ll just plug it into any outlet, and you can find water-resistant outdoor gazebo heaters that will be perfect for warming you up on rainy, cold nights.

Enjoy a warm glow with flame patio heaters

Patio flame table

Who doesn’t love watching the golden flames of a fire? There’s something relaxing about watching flames dance on a chilly spring night under the stars, and you’ll get to enjoy that experience every day when you warm up the patio with a flame patio heater.

Flame patio heaters run on a 20lb propane tank and provide you with an average of 40,000 BTUs of heat anywhere on your patio. Some models have wheels so you can move them, and you can find flame patio heaters with anti-tip options so you’ll never have to worry about it crashing down if someone bumps into it.

If you have a smaller space or you want a smaller outdoor space heater, you can choose a fire column. In a concrete fire column, the flame glows behind a stone or decorative river rocks and double-walled tempered glass. There’s a snuffer tool to put out the flame when you’re ready to head inside.

Snuggle up in front of a patio fireplace

patio fireplace

Patio fireplaces are a good choice if you’d like something a bit more permanent on your patio. If, for example, you’d like to have a focal point front and centre to position your chairs around, a patio fireplace is a good choice.

Patio fireplaces look just as good when turned off as when they are warming you up. They have stainless steel burners and you can find designs made with beautiful rust-free cast aluminum and glass finish. While they run on propane, you’ll never see the tank because it’s stored under the table.

You can choose a style of outdoor patio fireplace that reminds you of fire pits you enjoyed sitting around on camping trips. Some models are great for roasting marshmallows or just enjoying a cozy fire on a chilly night.

If you don’t need a permit to burn wood in your backyard, you can bring home a patio fireplace that uses logs to burn. All you have to do is add a few logs and some kindling and you’ll have a roaring fire in no time. Some models come with a heavy wood grate to protect your patio and a metal fire poker to stoke the flames. Can you imagine roasted hot dogs and marshmallows over an open fire, right in your backyard? It’s possible with a patio fireplace.

Choose a small, simple fire bowl

fire bowl

When you want the feel of a roaring fire and a way to warm up a small space, fire bowls are the perfect answer. You can think of them as a large candle, but instead of wicks, they burn gel fuel so you can have warmth for hours. There are several different styles of fire bowls, and they add warmth and a nice touch of décor to your deck. If you placed more than one fire bowl or fire column on your patio or deck, you could have enough warmth radiating for a group of people.

Are you ready to warm up the patio?

When you live in Canada, you have to expect wild fluctuations in weather that lean toward the chilly side, but that doesn’t have to stop you from getting outdoors early this year and enjoying your patio. Plant some weather-hardy flowers in a few buckets, set up your patio table, and add a patio heater or outdoor fireplace. You’ll be warm, relaxed, and happy you were able to kick off your patio season earlier than ever.

Shelly Wutke
Editor TV & Home Theatre
I'm a Vancouver freelancer and tech enthusiast. When I'm not writing you'll find me on my farm with my alpacas, chickens, and honeybees. Visit my website Survivemag