Four ideas for creating an outdoor space you can enjoy all year long.

In the northern states, the winters are so cold that pergolas are all but unusable for half the year. Biting winds, snow flurries, and bitter cold make it difficult to relax under the sun—if it’s even shining!

Here in Texas, we’re lucky to enjoy much milder winters. This means we can also enjoy our pergolas year-round—as long as we do a little prep work.

We’re sharing our best tips for making your pergola a little cozier for winter enjoyment, starting with a roof.

Add a roof cover to your pergola.

Most pergolas have an open-slat roof. This is lovely on days when the air is warm and the breeze is refreshing. But if there’s any precipitation, even a little mist, you’ll wish you had some coverage.

With a roof cover, you can enjoy even drizzly days from the safety of your pergola. Plus your furniture won’t get wet if it rains, snows, sleets, or anything else.

There are many options to consider when choosing a roof or roof cover for your pergola. You might choose a retractable cover, so you can open it up when the weather’s warm. You may also consider a flat roof that you can remove or replace yourself. Roofs also come in many materials, from canvas to plastic to metal. Do a little research and ask your contractor for advice.

Add something to block the wind.

Even with overhead coverage, a chilly wind can wreck the cozy ambiance under the pergola. You might consider installing something to block it out. Thankfully, you have lots of options, including:

  • Curtains.
  • Shade screens.
  • Blinds.
  • A glass enclosure.
  • Boxwood or other hedges.

Add a heat source.

Many restaurants keep their patios open well into the winter months by installing patio heaters or fire features. You can copy this idea and make your pergola the coziest outdoor destination in the neighborhood—at any budget.

You can spend as little as $150 on a patio heater. Plus, they’re easy to find. Most major hardware stores carry them, and Amazon has dozens available for shipping.

If you have more money to spend, an outdoor fireplace can be a stunning addition to your backyard. It can also lengthen your pergola season by making the space much warmer. On average, an outdoor fireplace will cost you about $3000. But a really luxurious custom fireplace can cost $20,000 or more. It all depends on materials, fuel type, and the size and complexity of the build. Extra features, such as a pizza oven, can also increase the price.

Choose cozy furniture.

No one wants to sit on a mesh or plastic lawn chair when it’s freezing outside. It’s better to invest in plush or padded furniture for comfortable cold-weather lounging. You might also invest in a thick rug and some warm blankets. All that softness will keep you warm and make the experience much more enjoyable.

Have you successfully winterized your pergola? Care to share a tip or two for cold-weather lounging in the comments below?