Autumn Is Calling Us To Fall In Love With Our Outdoor Spaces.

Autumn Is Calling Us To Fall In Love With Our Outdoor Spaces.

Five Tips to Extending Your Enjoyment of Your Balcony or Terrace This Fall

If you have ever traveled through parts of northern Europe in the fall or early spring, you’re sure to have noticed that unlike us Canadians, Northern Europeans have figured out the art of alfresco dining even in the “off” season. The streets there are often animated with busy patios and places to sit and enjoy the outside even when it’s not blistering hot.

I am not sure about you, but I know that as the season has changed I have approached the fall with a sense of impending doom. The pit in my stomach only seems to grow with each cool breeze and the ever-encroaching sunsets. I feel like one of the things that have gotten me through this pandemic (relatively) sanely has been getting outside – socially distanced of course- as often as possible. Whether it’s for a jog, a bike ride, relaxing in the park with friends, or even on a park bench to read a book, I spent more time outside this summer than ever. My outdoorsy-ness has been my strongest and most effective COVID-coping mechanism.

And while it’s true temperatures are falling, I’ve been thinking recently about how to extend my new-found love of being outside into our Canadian autumn.  And luckily, this year, it seems that we may have some help with extending our time outdoors as most weather experts are calling for warmer temperatures and an extended fall season this year.

Here are some of the things I hope to do, many of which, are inspired by life in cities like Copenhagen. I’ve listed them in order starting with what I think is easiest to implement.

1. Switch Your Outdoor Plans From “After Work or Dinner” to “During Lunch”.

With shorter, cooler days officially here try to switch your outside dinner plans to outside lunch plans! With many more people working from home now, its possible to use your lunch time to get outside while the sun is at its highest (and hottest), whether or not that’s to eat lunch, go for a jog, or even a quick workout in the park. For those who have to leave the house for work, try getting outside for lunch, that splash of sun on your face, despite the cooler temperatures is sure to help.

2. Move Your Outdoor Furniture Around

Whether or not you have a backyard or a balcony, the sun is going to be shining in different (and more limited) spots at this time of year. Pay attention to where the sun lands at the time of day when you are most likely to be able to spend time outside and move your patio/balcony furniture over to that spot so that when you do go outside to relax, you’re not ‘chilling’ in the shade.

3. ‘Redecorate’ for Fall

If your flower pots or garden need to be prepped for the season, look after them! No one wants to be relaxing by the wilted, dried up, or dying tomato plant. That’s a definite unneeded reminder of winter. Many grocery stores and gardening centers sell potted plants suited to the fall season, which will help keep your balcony or garden feeling alive and fresh through to at least October.

4. Storage for blankets

Easy and convenient layering is key to extending a comfortable stay outside into October. If you are in need of new patio furniture, look for seating that incorporates storage for cushions and other items. This is helpful all year round (to store items when not in use) but especially in the cooler months, when you will want a place to tuck away some blankets.  Organic linen is a nice option if you want to splurge, but fleece blankets work equally as well and are a bit easier to maintain.

5. Electric Infrared Balcony Heaters

Infrared heaters actually use the same physics as the sun to create heat. Meaning the heat generated from these types of heaters feels very much like getting heat from the sun itself! The sun generates infrared heat, which is the heat that you feel on your skin and clothes when in direct sunlight. This type of system heats up the people (and objects) that are within its “rays” and not the air. This is a benefit for providing heat to people outdoors as a heater that relies on heating up air is not going to do much against even the slightest gusts of wind outside. Electric infrared heaters can be plug-and-play and are available in a variety of sizes. Remember to review your condominium community bylaws regarding what you can or cannot use in your outdoor space before you purchase.

I hope that you are able to use some of this month’s design tips and tricks to extend your time outside into the falls and enjoy every bit of the outside and sun in these weird and trying times.

Jim Stoops

Director, Design Services

Jim believes in ignoring the rules and creating spaces that are personal and tailored to the client.  His design style leans toward layered, saturated spaces with an identifiable history. His pro-tip: In small, open-concept spaces, make the kitchen as seamless and integrated as possible.