With good outdoor heating, there's no reason to let the cold weather stop you from enjoying the outdoors.
We look at three types of effective outdoor heating, which not only let you entertain outside all year around, but also make a style statement.
Restaurants pioneered gas-fired patio heaters. The portable patio heater is a terrific heater and at about 2.38m in height they're tall enough to be kid-safe.
They work by radiant heat, warming people and objects without heating the surrounding air. Depending on the model and air temp, they will warm a radius of up to 5m, however windy conditions affect their performance, and most will automatically switch off in strong winds.
They run on bottled gas but some models can be connected to your home gas supply.
Prices range from around $800 for Gasmaster and Focus patio heaters from Harvey Norman and K-mart stores, up to $1400 for the top of the range stainless steel Italian- made ones from Sole Mio.
Chiminea (Mexican Fireplace)
Essentially this is a mini outdoor fireplace. Originally made from clay, these days most chimineas are made from more durable cast iron.
They have a chimney on top and an opening in the front, into which the fuel – wood, briquettes or heat beads – is loaded. When alight, chimineas radiate character, ambience and warmth, although they're not the warmest alternative as more than 90% of the heat goes 'up in smoke' i.e., up the chimney!
While they are an attractive feature for your garden, they get pretty hot and probably aren't a good option if you have small children.
Chimineas are available in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth from Innovative Imports. They are also available from outdoor living centres, some chain stores, hardware stores and BBQ specialists.
The brazier is an old-fashioned heater, made from tempered steel that is painted or powder-coated black. They are fuelled with heat beads, and are small and easy to store.
Braziers look stylish and the glowing embers add warmth and atmosphere to your outdoor area. However, like the chiminea, they are hot to touch and could be hazardous when children are around. Also, placing an open brazier or chiminea on a wooden deck might not be a good idea.
Braziers are available from Barbecues Galore and K-Mart. One model, the Sunbrix, is available via 1800 621 253.
Equipment and Suppliers
Ph: 1800 655 212
Innovative Imports Pty Ltd
Ph: 1800 331 336.