If you occasionally need to supplement your usual heating source in a cold snap, or if your climate is mild enough to make an outdoor heater rarely needed, a portable gas heater is your best bet. It usually has wheels, so you can easily roll it out when the weather’s chilly and store it safely out of the way when not in use. Output will depend on size, but most gas patio heaters will heat an area of at least 15sqm, and around 6sqm for tabletop models.
Portable gas heaters run on an LPG bottle, but a fuss-free alternative is a wall-mounted outdoor gas heater that connects to the home’s gas supply, so you’ll never run dry. It’s a safer option for families or for use in crowded spaces, as the heater is mounted out of reach of small fingers and can’t be bumped into or knocked over.
The most important consideration with gas heaters is ventilation; make sure your space is an ‘outdoor area’ as defined in the instruction manual to ensure safe operation.
Slimline and unobtrusive, electric strip heaters are mounted on the ceiling or wall and make for a visually uncluttered outdoor zone, ideal in an area that opens off and is visible from the house. They give off radiant heat, gently warming anything below them. The primary consideration is the height of your outdoor area; mounting height and heating area will vary between models, but as an example the Heatstrip ‘Classic’ and ‘Elegance’ models should be mounted between 2.1m and 2.5m off the ground (2.7m at the most), and will heat an area of 4-8sqm.
Plug-in strip heaters can be installed yourself but take care not to overload the power point – if you’re looking to operate multiple units, you might be better to opt for hardwired heaters. Any hardwired electrical fixtures must always be installed by a licensed electrician.
The crackle of an open fire is primal, hypnotic and often the main attraction at a party. When you’re dealing with flames, though, you can’t be too careful, and a fire pit won’t be suited to every outdoor area. It must be located in an open space, not under cover, and needs to be well clear of any structures, foliage or other flammable materials. Fire pits must be placed on a non-combustible surface, like bricks, concrete or gravel, and cannot be used if conditions are windy, or in the event of a fire ban.
If you’re aiming to use your outdoor areas a lot through the cold months, a fire pit or chiminea is likely to be a supplementary or occasional form of heating, rather than your everyday go-to.
*Available to order online or at the Special Orders Desk
To ensure a memorable winter of entertaining, take note of our tips on how to safely set up your outdoor heater.