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Monday, November 27, 2023

How to Enjoy Your Steel Pergola This Winter

The design experts at Architectural Digest describe pergolas as the vessel that makes it possible to create the perfect “living room on the outside.” We’re all in. After all, by creating an outdoor space to enjoy the comforts typically associated with an indoor living room or dining area, you can maximize your home’s usable living space.

But here’s the catch. A traditional wood pergola, which requires constant upkeep and will eventually deteriorate, is not going to cut it in most environments. Instead, consider a pergola made out of steel, which can resist the damaging effects of exposure to the elements year after year. Thanks to its excellent weatherability, a steel pergola can help you carve out a low maintenance outdoor space that family and friends can enjoy—even during the winter months.

Of course, spending time outdoors during the cooler part of the year sounds more appealing in some states than others. That’s why we’re here to throw some cold-weather inspiration your way. With a few simple outdoor upgrades, you’ll be ready to enjoy your steel pergola and the space it provides to sneak away from the daily grind.

Functional fire pits are safe to use next to a noncombustible steel pergola

Fire pits are no longer just for camping—incorporating a fire pit into your outdoor spaces can give added warmth on cold nights and a lovely dose of nostalgia. But “fire pit” hardly sounds like the right word, as there are many different styles available on today’s marketplace that are better described as a functional piece of artwork. Some styles, like the tabletop fire pit you see here, enhance the homeowner’s outdoor experience by providing a rim, which not only puts a buffer between her kiddos and the fire, but also works as the perfect ledge for a cup of hot cocoa.

A fire-smart option, steel pergolas are noncombustible, which means they are safe to use in outdoor spaces that incorporate a fire pit. A stray spark will not pose an ignition risk. This in turn will help reduce the vulnerability of your home and the homes of your surrounding neighbors.

Outdoor steel pergola over a rooftop deck space with a fireplace and white chairs.

Heaters provide sought-after warmth to an outdoor area on cold nights

Depending on what part of the country you live in, you may benefit from incorporating a heater into your partially covered outdoor space. There are plenty of options to choose from, depending on the type of fuel you’d prefer to use and the amount of space you feel comfortable taking up. Standing patio heaters are popular, quickly transforming an outdoor space into a hotel-inspired destination. They’re also portable, which is ideal if you’d like to be able to reconfigure your outdoor seating arrangement on occasion.

Or, you may prefer to use a ceiling-mounted heater, which can be installed in strategic locations to improve the usability of your outdoor living area on a particularly cold night. Here, the homeowner installed electric heaters on both ends of her rooftop steel pergola to direct heat toward the outdoor kitchen and dining space. These are the spots that her family spends the most time in. Because the steel pergola’s rafters, purlins and beams are hollow, there is a natural space to hide wires. This made it easy to incorporate the two spaces heaters without having to look at unattractive wiring.

Outdoor steel pergola over outdoor kitchen space with buildings in the background.

Creative lighting elements can elevate functionality, overall feel of the space

Unfortunately, winter weather doesn’t just bring colder temperatures—it also brings darker, shorter days. To enjoy your steel pergola and the usable outdoor space it offers long after the sun goes down, play with different lighting options. Here, the homeowner elevated the overall feel of her rooftop space by running Edison-style string lights along the sides of the steel pergola. Wall sconces line the perimeter of the deck, enhancing the functionality of the space by pouring concentrated light over the outdoor kitchen and dining area. These types of thoughtful lighting elements, in combination with comfortable outdoor patio furniture and a cozy wool blanket, are sure to also help you enjoy your steel pergola on a winter night.

Steel pergola with string lights over outdoor living space with lounge chairs and tables.

To discover other ways to enjoy your steel pergola this winter, check us out on Instagram at @fortressbldgproducts. See how DIY homeowners and contractors around the country are leveraging the Proven Performance of Fortress® Steel Pergolas to design low maintenance outdoor living spaces that can withstand the elements year-round.


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