Summer could not have come soon enough. With social distancing guidelines and restrictions on gatherings, people have been making the most of the outdoor spaces, whether that’s a sprawling yard in the ‘burbs or a fire escape in the heart of the city. And with fall quickly approaching, the last thing anyone wants is to lose the use of their precious outdoor space. It’s time to get creative. From blankets to heaters, there are so many clever ways to extend the life of your outdoor space.
Home has taken on new meaning during the pandemic. Instead of frequenting restaurants and bars, people are chilling at home and having a functional outdoor space that you love makes that an even better experience. Spending time outside is one of the best things to do for your mental health. Soaking in the sun can boost your mood and promote vitamin D production. And just a little bit of time spent in nature each week can make you happier.
And if you’re looking to spend time with a small group of family and friends, the outdoors is the safest place to do it. Marcus Plescia, MD, MPH, chief medical officer of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, tells Well+Good that due to airflow and having space to social distance, small gatherings with friends outdoors is best. “If it’s your backyard, you can control how things go in the backyard, you can control how the furniture is laid out if you have stuff for people, whereas in a park or other place you may have a little less control over that,” says Dr. Plescia. And don’t worry—if you have a balcony that requires people to pass through your apartment, as long as you all wear a mask and don’t linger outside, he says you’ll likely be okay.
Shop the below items to get the most out of your outdoor space as we enter cooler, darker months.
Products to get the most use out of your outdoor space in fall
1. West Elm Cotton Knit Throw, $20
This cozy blanket is perfect for snuggling up on a cool evening. This large blanket in gray is currently on clearance for $20. It’s available in other colors and sizes priced between $80 and $159.
Shop now: West Elm Cotton Knit Throw, $20
2. REI Co-op Camp Blanket, $80
If you’re looking for something a bit more weatherproof, opt for this camp blanket. The machine-washable blanket is durable and has a water repellent finish that sheds water, stains, pet hair, dirt, and other debris. It’s also insulated to protect you from wind and prevent any cold spots.
Shop now: REI Co-op Camp Blanket, $80
3. The Comfy Dream, $40
Shop now: The Comfy Dream, $40
If you’ve got a good amount of outdoor space, consider getting a fire pit. This wood-burning 35-inch pit is great for warming you up on chilly nights (and roasting marshmallows, of course).
Shop now: Garden Treasures Steel Wood-Burning Fire Pit, $80
For smaller spaces, opt for this fire pit that has a 13.5-inch diameter. So you don’t have to deal with logs, this pit runs off of wood chips which produce minimal ash and require little cleanup.
Shop now: Flame Genie Black Steel Wood-Burning Fire Pit, $127
Since June 20, the sun has been setting earlier and earlier. As sunsets begin creeping into the afternoon, outdoor lighting will be a must. This 72-inch string of solar-powered lights will add a warm glow to your space.
For small spaces, this 10,000 BTU tabletop heater is perfect. Just attach it to a one-pound propane cylinder and it will raise the temperature around you 10 to 25 degrees.
Shop now: Fire Sense Bronze Steel Tabletop Liquid Propane Patio Heater, $105
This 48,000 BTU heater can warm up to 200 square feet. Attach to a 20-pound standard propane tank house and bask in its warmth.