Don’t wait for summer to use your patio! Outdoor spaces can be used all year round, particularly if they’re made of easy to clean materials, such as natural stone flooring. Keep your stone tiles swept clean of leaves and dirt, then you’ll be ready to make the most of the space when the sun shines. Here are four top ideas for having a bit of fun in the garden in winter.
#1. Bundle up for a winter picnic
Sitting outside on a sunny day can be surprisingly warm – that’s why you see all those photos of happy skiers sunbathing. If a weekend in the Alps is out of the question, take advantage of your home comforts and have a picnic on your patio. Wrap up warm, bring out the sun loungers and throw down some cosy rugs to take the chill off your natural stone flooring. The kids will love the chance to run around, and who knows – you might even get a winter tan.
#2. Try a Christmas BBQ
If you’re looking for something a bit different this year, why not have a festive barbecue? Many barbecues have slow cooking, roasting or smoking functions, so you can pop your meat on to cook outside while the kitchen stays clear for the side dishes and vegetables. This is particularly practical if you have a built-in stone barbecue and are catering to a large group over the holidays. Of course, you can also have a classic BBQ, but that relies on good weather!
#3. Let the kids get messy
Natural stone flooring is easy to clean, and that’s just as true for patios as kitchen floors. Put the kids in warm, waterproof clothing and let them go wild with pavement chalk, water based paint and other art supplies. You can let them draw on the patio directly or roll out a giant piece of paper for their master work. Either way, use materials that the rain will wash off, and you won’t have to worry about clearing up.
#4. Go star gazing
You’ll need to wear your warmest layers for this one, but if you can make it outside, a clear winter evening is one of the best times for looking at the stars. As night falls earlier and it’s dark longer, it’s easier to get a good look at the distant lights. Make sure you turn off all the lights in your house and garden, and give your eyes time to adjust to the dark.
#5. Toast marshmallows around a camp fire
OK, we don’t recommend setting a fire on your natural stone flooring – that could genuinely damage your stone patio tiles. However, many barbecues can be used to light a small wood fire. Compact and easy to clean up the next day, it’s a lovely way to have a romantic evening cuddled up with a favourite person and is great fun for kids. Roast potatoes in the embers, toast marshmallows or make mulled wine or hot chocolate to round the experience off.