What could be more wonderful than relaxing at home? These days as people are looking for opportunities to enhance their homes, many are investing just as much on their exterior space as they are on their interior spaces. Outdoor environments can be useful and functional, not only in warm months but in cold months as well. From selecting the ideal project, pricing your project and selecting those to perform your winter renovation project, with the new year, why not take on a new renovation project?


There are a number of outdoor renovation projects that can be fully planned and executed during winter. When looking for ideas and inspiration, first decide how you wish to use your outdoor space in colder months. Some ideas that come to mind include outdoor saunas, outdoor spas, as well as outdoor fire pits and fireplaces.

Getting started

The first step in the renovation process should be to determine what type of project you wish to take on and an ideal outdoor location. From here, I suggest that you begin to gather inspiration images in order to be able to narrow down the creative and aesthetic aspects relating to your project. There are numerous websites that will have galleries and after photos of actual projects submitted by home owners.

Selecting a contractor/landscaper

The selection of a contractor and landscaper can be an integral and critical aspect relating to the success of your project. I believe landscaping is the necessary icing on the cake. Landscaping can truly help your outdoor winter renovation project come to life and many homeowners may argue is money well spent.

You will likely need to hire a contractor to do any prep or construction work, while employing a landscaper to design and plan your landscape. In some instances, depending on your outdoor project, an electrician or plumber may also have to be employed as well.
Planning your project

Although numerous renovation projects are ideal for winter, with some projects the weather will need to be taken into consideration. Projects that require digging, excavating or pouring of a foundation will need to be done prior to the ground freezing. However, once the foundation is in place, the installation of your project can happen even in snow. For example, if you are looking to install an outdoor spa, you are going to want to have your foundation in place prior to the ground freezing. After the foundation is in place, the actual outdoor spa can be installed all winter long.

When it comes to design preparation, planning and plotting out your project on paper can be a time- and money-saver, while not planning and making changes mid renovation can cause unnecessary cost over runs and expenses. Drawing and plotting the location of your renovation project is key to the pre-renovation process. Be sure to determine the measurements associated with your project, while also adding additional space for plantings and landscape as well as space for the project to be visually enjoyed from a far as opposed to feel cramped in your environment.


By Cathy Hobbs, Tribune News Service (TNS)

Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Contact her at [email protected].