Winter is coming, and we’ve got a few ideas to keep it alive in your backyard. Whether you want to repopulate the lovingly crafted snowman or add some color and life to the ever-frozen landscape – these 25 Winter Backyard Ideas for All Budgets are sure to keep the frosty season alive.
Table of Contents
- 1. Warm Up the Area with an Outdoor Heater
- 2. Enclose Your Patio
- 3. Install a Backyard Outdoor Sauna
- 4. Create a Cozy Fire Pit Area
- 5. Light Up the Yard
- 6. Set Up a Bubble Tent!
- 7. Make Sure You Have a BBQ Area
- 8. Create an Ice Rink
- 9. Build Snow Forts and Have the Ultimate Snow Ball Fight!
- 10. Add Year-Round Comfortable Outdoor Furniture
- 11. Go Camping in a Canvas Tent
- 12. Get a Hot tub!
- 13. Build an Igloo
- 14. Grow Some Vegetables
- 15. Install a Pergola
- 16. Add Warm Blankets to Your Outdoor Furniture
- 17. Build or Buy a Covered Gazebo
- 18. Start Smoking Meat!
- 19. Create an Outdoor Movie Theatre Zone
- 20. Play Some Yard Games
- 21. Add Some Warmth with an Outdoor Rug
- 22. Watch the Game Outdoors
- 23. Play Summer Sports in the Snow
- 24. Roast Marshmallows over the Fire
- 25. Get Fancy with a Wood Fired Hot Tub
- Final Thoughts
1. Warm Up the Area with an Outdoor Heater
You can’t go wrong with an outdoor heater. Heating the area with an outdoor heater is a great way to keep yourself warm this winter. A heater can be mounted on the wall or the ground, providing you with a comfortable, warm place to sit without freezing your you know what off!
You can find different types of heaters designed to heat small and large areas. These include:
Portable sized heaters – These are compact enough to take just about anywhere, but they still produce enough heat to keep you warm while outside. They come in many different sizes and can be used inside or outside, depending on your preference. These heaters are often electric heaters.
Stand-alone heaters – These are more powerful than smaller portable heaters and they don’t always have to be plugged into an outlet for use. These heaters can be gas powered with propane or natural gas. They’re usually larger than portable ones and can be placed in large areas like patios or yards so all guests can enjoy their warmth. You can see our best patio heaters for windy conditions here or you can check out our best hanging patio heaters in this detailed guide.
Read this guide to learn if patio heaters can be successfully used in the winter here!
2. Enclose Your Patio
The easiest way to create a space for entertaining and relaxing outdoors is to enclose the patio. If you have a patio, it’s easy to let it go unused year-round — just close it up when the weather gets cold, and open it up when it warms up. However, even if you don’t have a patio, you can still make use of your backyard. Here are some ideas for how to enclose your yard:
Build an A-frame trellis: This will provide shade in summer and privacy in winter. It’s also an easy project if you’re handy with tools because all the woodwork is done above ground level.
Install a pergola or arbor: You can find prebuilt kits at garden centers or online retailers like Amazon; they’ll provide all the materials except the labor. For more personalized options, try building one yourself from cedar planks or pressure-treated lumber. If you’re looking for something less permanent, consider making a solar screen instead — just make sure to carefully measure so that there’s enough room for the panels to open fully.
Read our article on 10 ways to enclose a patio space in the winter here!
3. Install a Backyard Outdoor Sauna
An outdoor sauna is another great way to spend your free time outdoors. A backyard sauna is an excellent option if you’re looking for somewhere to keep your body warm on chilly winter days. They are also effortless to maintain, making them ideal for those with limited space.
And since this type of sauna is easy to set up, no building experience is needed. You can even use it in your backyard as a way to relax after work or on weekends when you need a break from being inside.
If you’re looking for something portable but sturdy for the winter weather, consider getting the ALEKO 4-Person Wet Barrel sauna option. It’s made of solid Finland white pine wood and a total of 44 pounds of natural sauna stones for the complete sauna experience.
Learn about building your own backyard sauna here in our detailed guide!
4. Create a Cozy Fire Pit Area
If you don’t have a fire pit already, maybe now’s the time to consider installing one. Fire pits are great for creating a cozy area that feels like home and can be used year-round. You’ll want to have the coziest fire pit chair! You can use them in your backyard as an outdoor living space or as part of a more elaborate outdoor entertainment system.
You’ll need to choose between two types of fire pits: freestanding or built-in. Freestanding fire pits are designed to sit on the ground and require a concrete pad or something similar underneath them to support their weight. Built-in fire pits can be mounted directly onto cement walls using brackets, though they may require additional work to secure them properly due to their size and weight.
If you want to create something even cozier, try building one out of bricks instead of concrete blocks. You can add features like seating around the edge or heating elements inside the pit — it’ll be much easier to maintain and clean up after use.
5. Light Up the Yard
We all know that the white backdrop is a great way to make your backyard look beautiful. The beauty of this backyard design idea is that you can use all sorts of different lighting techniques to bring it to life.
In fact, there are so many ways to use it, and they don’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. So here are some ideas to try:
- Use twinkling, string, and Christmas lights to create a festive atmosphere.
- Make yourself a white lantern from empty cans or bottles.
- Hang white curtains on your deck or patio for a softer look.
- Create a white wreath on your door handle for an easy way to dress up your front door.
6. Set Up a Bubble Tent!
You’ll be amazed by how much fun you can have with this. You can play around with various sizes and designs but set up a clear bubble tent to hang out in for the best results. Here are two good ones we’ve found easy enough to set up with just a few pieces of tape.
Alvantor Pop-Up Bubble Tent: The main selling point of this tent is its automatic pop-up feature and the generous amount of room it offers, which is excellent for those who want to get some extra furniture into their bubble tent. You can place things like chairs, tables, or even beds inside your new space and make it look like a real home away from home!
Inflatable Bubble Camping Tent: The best part about this inflatable tent is that it’s made of durable material that will withstand high winds and heavy rain without failing on you during those times when it’s pouring outside (or vice versa). You can set this guy up in just a few minutes, so you don’t have to worry about how long it takes to set up tents before the camping trip you go on next weekend.
7. Make Sure You Have a BBQ Area
BBQs in the winter is fun! Set aside space for a dedicated BBQ area that is covered or even enclosed and ready for grilling!
Make sure you have plenty of charcoal and gas. If you don’t, you’ll need to buy locally. You can also get propane tanks if you’re not near any natural gas lines. The weather might be too cold to use your grill outside, but with a bit of creativity, you can still get some great food cooked outside.
8. Create an Ice Rink
If you have a large enough area, this can be a great way to get your kids outside and active. It’s also a great way to keep their minds sharp by learning how to skate. Before starting, you’ll need to purchase some ice skates and ensure they’re in good condition.
If you don’t have a rink of your own, consider renting one for a few days (or even longer) from nearby parks or recreation centers.
9. Build Snow Forts and Have the Ultimate Snow Ball Fight!
If you have ample enough space (and if there isn’t an actual storm coming), build a snow fort. This idea is one of those things that sounds so simple but takes longer than it looks like it should. But if you’re up to the task, it’s a great way to build your child’s confidence and one of the best ways to have fun in the snow.
10. Add Year-Round Comfortable Outdoor Furniture
If you’re looking for something that will last for years and give your backyard a luxurious look, outdoor furniture is your best bet. You can get a great deal on outdoor furniture by buying used or taking inspiration from some of the most comfortable sectionals we’ve reviewed this year.
In addition, if you have an older home, chances are high that there are some unused patio chairs and tables in your basement or garage that you can use to create the perfect outdoor space.
11. Go Camping in a Canvas Tent
If you’re looking for an easy and cost-effective way to enjoy the great outdoors, camping in a canvas tent is an excellent choice. These tents are made from durable, waterproof material that can withstand the elements. As long as you get a good one — like the TETON Sports Sierra Canvas Tent, the only thing you’ll have to do is find a spot where you’ll be able to pitch your tent, then set it up.
The set-up process is simple enough that even kids can help you out if they’re old enough (and if they don’t mind getting dirty). Once your tent is set up, you can relax and enjoy the great outdoors.
12. Get a Hot tub!
If you have a backyard, a hot tub is an ideal way to spend time with friends and family. It’s a great way to relax, talk, and enjoy the outdoors.
A hot tub is also great for entertaining guests. You’ll want to ensure you have plenty of seating around your hot tub, so everyone feels comfortable. Hence, an inflatable one like the Bestway SaluSpa Hot Tub is an excellent option if space is a premium.
If you don’t have room for that many chairs right next to the bathtub, consider adding extra seating on the patio or inside your house.
13. Build an Igloo
If you’re looking for a way to keep the kids entertained in your backyard this winter, consider building an igloo. It’s an excellent way for your family to get together with friends and neighbors, and it costs only snow!
All you need is a base of snow blocks, some string, and a little time. You’ll need about 1/4-inch thick snow blocks for the base, which you can find near your outdoor shovels or at a nearby park.
14. Grow Some Vegetables
Growing your food is one of the most rewarding ways to spend time in your backyard. It’s a great way to educate your children, save money, and provide fresh produce for your family.
Backyard gardens are a great way to grow your own food, and there are excellent choices of winter vegetables you can grow in the winter period. In addition to being a fun and rewarding hobby, growing your vegetables is also good for the environment and can save money.
You don’t need a large space or a lot of money to get started. You can grow almost anything in your backyard garden plot with some thought and planning.
15. Install a Pergola
A pergola is the ultimate backyard luxury. It’s a wooden arbor or trellis with a series of horizontal supports extending from a central point. The idea is simple: install a large piece of wood, metal, or other material over your patio area, cover it with glass or metal panels, then place plants inside and add lights for added ambiance.
You can use them to create an outdoor living space and add plenty of shade to your backyard. If you don’t have one yet, try these top louvered roof options for size — they’re effortless to install and look great.
16. Add Warm Blankets to Your Outdoor Furniture
If you spend extended hours in your yard or patio, you need to ensure that your furniture and cushions are covered with blankets, so they don’t get cold. If you’re using blankets that are too small, they won’t last long at all. It’s better to have several blankets than to buy one blanket that will fall apart after being used for a few 15 months.
If you want something more durable, look for something made from natural materials like wool or cotton that can handle the elements for many years. If you want something cheaper, choose polyester or acrylic material that won’t last as long but won’t cost much. Finally, wash your blankets frequently, so they don’t get dirty or torn up by anything in your yard.
17. Build or Buy a Covered Gazebo
One of our favorite backyard projects is building a gazebo. This simple structure can transform any backyard into an oasis, and it’s easy to DIY.
To start, find a spot in your yard that will provide shade during the summer and protection from rain in the winter. You’ll also want to ensure it has a flat surface that doesn’t slope too much so that you don’t have to worry about drainage problems.
Next, choose the materials for your gazebo. We recommend a wood frame with cedar siding if you want to save money, but if you want something more aesthetically pleasing, consider using aluminum siding instead. After you’ve chosen your materials, cut them according to the dimensions of the building site you’ve chosen.
Once everything is cut correctly and laid out, nail together the components until they’re solid and secure enough to stand up independently without additional supports (like rafters). Then paint or stain it however you’d like!
18. Start Smoking Meat!
This project is the perfect idea for your backyard if you’re a meat lover. A backyard smoker is an investment, but it’s a small one that can pay big dividends. You’ll need some space to work and a smoker — try the Z GRILLS BBQ Smoker and some basic ingredients.
The smoking process will take several hours, so plan ahead by prepping the meat beforehand. Then, once it’s done cooking, grab your grilling tools and show off your skills in the grill master spotlight!
19. Create an Outdoor Movie Theatre Zone
Theaters are a great way to spend time with family and friends. A simple but elegant outdoor movie theater has become a popular addition to gardens, patios, and backyards all over the world.
The idea is simple: Designate a spot in your yard where you can set up your projector, screen, and speakers. You might want to include seating around the area so people can relax while they watch their favorite movies.
A simple way to create an outdoor movie theatre zone is by using a portable projection screen and projector. These are relatively inexpensive ($100-$300) and easy to set up, but they can be tricky to use well. For example, you may need to adjust the image or the projector’s light levels before enjoying your movie.
Once you have everything set up, it’s time to get ready for some movie night fun!
20. Play Some Yard Games
If you want to make your backyard more fun, you have to add some games. These are great for the winter, and the kids will love them.
Yard Pong: The only thing better than a beer or two in the yard? Bowling with friends. This backyard game is excellent for not only drinking but also for just hanging out and enjoying some good times outdoors. All you need are some wine bottles and a big pile of rocks. It’s easy to make, fun to play with, and perfect for any occasion.
Corn Hole: Corn hole is a fun way to get outside during winter when it’s too cold to do anything else. It’s straightforward to make your own cornhole game at home. You just need some corn kernels and two boards. If you want to play competitively, you can buy or make a set of plastic cups instead of using your own corn kernels.
Giant Jenga: Giant Jenga is another popular backyard game that’s perfect for small spaces. It’s easy to set up and doesn’t require much space; just some space on each side of your house and somewhere to put it all together.
21. Add Some Warmth with an Outdoor Rug
Having an outdoor rug in your yard is a great way to add warmth and comfort to your home. It can also be used as an area for children to play. In addition, outdoor rugs will help insulate the ground beneath it, keeping it warm and comfortable for you and your kids. They’re also great for protecting against snow and ice when the weather turns chilly.
If you live in a place with lots of snow, you can get breathable outdoor rugs that look like natural grass. If you have an old rug you no longer use, you may want to give it a second life and make it an outdoor rug. There are many different ways that you can do this, and all of them will give your yard a new look.
22. Watch the Game Outdoors
We all love a good hockey game, but sometimes you just can’t go to the ice. So instead, you can watch from the couch with a big bowl of popcorn. Plenty of fun DIY winter yard games will keep you entertained while you wait for your favorite sport to start.
Suppose you don’t have a backyard rink, head to your park or neighborhood and grab some boards or sticks. If it’s not too cold outside, try playing a game on a snowy patch of grass or in an open field. The grass is always greener on the other side.
Set up chairs and take the TV outside for the hockey game. You can even make your own rink by piling up snow in a large container and using shovels to smooth it out, so it’s nice and flat.
Get creative and build a snow fort to watch the game in. You can use whatever materials you have around the yard — cardboard boxes work great for walls — but make sure to leave room for air circulation, so your guests don’t get too hot inside.
See our best outdoor TV’s in our outdoor tv guide here!
23. Play Summer Sports in the Snow
It’s winter, so what better time to play a game in the snow? Of course, these games require a bit of equipment and outside space, but they’re totally worth it.
Soccer in snow: This is by far the most popular game we’ve seen. You can play it on any grassy surface, but we love the look of a frozen soccer field. You can use shoes or cleats for traction if you don’t have any snow boots on hand.
Football, Baseball, and Volleyball: These sports are fun for all ages, and they’re easy to set up in your backyard as long as you have room for the ball or net. If you want to make this a family activity, try tossing ping pong balls instead of real ones—it looks just as good.
Spikeball: You may not be able to play ice hockey outside, but you can still have fun playing winter sports. These yard games are perfect for the winter when it’s cold and snowy, but they’re still fun to play in the snow.
24. Roast Marshmallows over the Fire
Roasting marshmallows over the fire is an easy way to start off your backyard barbecue. By roasting them in a metal pan over the fire, you can create a delicious dessert perfect for any occasion. Here are some tips for making marshmallow roasting over the fire easier on yourself and your family.
See our best fire pits for roasting marshmallows here.
Use a roasting stick instead of tongs to hold the marshmallows over the fire until they’re done cooking.
If you have some extra time to spare, stick a long stick into the ground at an angle to act as additional support while roasting over the fire (this helps keep them off your hands).
You can also use these sticks as handles while holding the marshmallows over the fire, so they don’t burn too quickly before they’re ready to eat (just make sure whatever you use doesn’t melt into a puddle!).
25. Get Fancy with a Wood Fired Hot Tub
A wood-fired hot tub is an excellent option if you’re looking for a way to get fancy with your backyard. It’s beautiful and functional and can also be used as an area for entertaining. If you’re looking for something budget-friendly, there are affordable options like the Canadian Redwood Wood-Fired Hot Tub is great for most budgets.
Alternatively, if you enjoy the DIY process of building one from scratch, the first step is to pick out the type of wood you want to use for the tub. Then, you can install several options available at any home improvement store or online without worrying about them coming loose from their base.
Once you’ve picked out your material and installation options, start building! This project is relatively simple and doesn’t require much more than a few tools and some elbow grease (or power tools if you have them). You’ll need wire mesh, PVC pipes and fittings, some conduit clamps, a leveler clamp, and some wire ties (which can be purchased at most home improvement stores).
These winter backyard ideas will spruce up space for winter so you can enjoy it all year round, no matter the temperatures. So ignore those cold winter months and get yourself ready for the summer sun or party with family and friends in your beautifully finished backyard.
We loved being able to take you on an outdoor journey through these 25 ideas, and we hope you had as much fun looking at them as we did making them. The key is to identify the projects that suit your particular home and budget and enjoy the satisfaction of bringing them to life.
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.