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The Sands is a collection of 33 townhomes located north of Toronto in Georgian Bay and is designed with outdoor fun in mind. Surrounded by walking trails and a golf course, the development also offers multiple patios that can be used year-round.IMAGE COURTESY OF SHERWOOD HOMES

In Canada, fall has traditionally been the time when homeowners and condominium owners grudgingly put away their patio furniture and barbecues while contemplating their winter escape to warmer climates. Sadly, COVID-19 restrictions and travel warnings are still a reality for many Canadians, leaving house and condominium owners looking for closer-to-home alternatives such as their decks, patios and balconies.

With winter around the corner, patios and terraces are undergoing four-season makeovers to help protect them from the elements while keeping them open to nature and the outdoors. Developers are taking patio living to new heights with rooftop terraces replete with fireplaces, wet bars and outdoor kitchens for cooking and dining under the stars.

Nestled in the sought-after area of Georgian Bay, just north of Toronto, Sherwood Homes is offering an extraordinary collection of 33 luxury townhomes that are built for four-season fun. Jennifer Muller, director of sales and marketing and customer experience for Reid’s Heritage Homes, says The Sands is unprecedented for the builder.

“We really thought about how our purchasers want to live. It’s all about being able to experience the joys of life all year-around,” she says.

With walking trails at the doorstep, a golf course and Blue Mountain Resort just minutes away, The Sands is truly a four-season destination. Designed with a modern aesthetic, the three-storey homes offer 2,600 square feet of indoor living space and multiple patios to not just withstand the elements but embrace them to the fullest. Glass railings double as privacy screens and protect against the wind. Covered sections create small havens for cozy conversations. The rooftop patios offer expansive views with powder rooms, wet bars, fire pits and other heating options to guarantee warmth in inclement weather. Each home offers plenty of storage space for skis, bicycles and golf clubs.

“We’ve designed these homes for people who are searching for a place to retreat for an extra-long weekend or want to live amid the beauty of Georgian Bay full time,” Muller says.

While restaurants and bars look at ways to winter-proof their outdoor patios for customers to enjoy, interior designers also are putting their skills to the test for homeowners who want to get the most out of their patio investments. They are designing to add warmth, create shelter and incorporate furniture and materials that are cold-weather friendly.

According to megaretailer Wayfair in its 2021 Outdoor Trend Report, shoppers have shown increasing interest in items such as all-weather wicker chairs and teak patio furniture with searches for these items up 59 per cent and 65 per cent, respectively.

Glass railings protect against the wind, covered areas protect against rain and snow and rooftop patios offer heating for warmth.IMAGE COURTESY OF SHERWOOD HOMES

Heather Johnson is owner and founder of HouseLife Services, a unique one-stop-shop based in Etobicoke, Ont., for all things related to preparing a home for sale. For Johnson gone are the days when the master bedroom was marketed as the home’s retreat.

“You won’t see us putting trays on the end of the bed with a silk tulip,” Johnson says. “The new escape is the backyard and patio.”

She says more people are vacationing at home, making these outdoor spaces more of a draw. “As an extension of your home, it’s more important than ever that your backyard or patio is accessible from within your home,” she says.

Johnson says she expects to see retractable awnings and covered gazebos become popular this fall once the heat of summer subsides and people realize they want to continue to enjoy their patios.

Extending your patio life doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are a few simple ways to create a winter patio oasis that you’ll never want to leave.

  • Add some heat. Incorporate a fireplace or table, a propane tower or wall-mounted heater for warmth and ambiance. Imagine sipping your coffee or glass of wine while staring at the flames and drops of snow just beyond.
  • Light things up. As daylight hours dwindle, you’ll want to keep those patio string lights out and even add some attractive solar or LED lights.
  • Leave your barbecue outdoors (but make sure you cover it), add a pizza oven or outdoor kitchen.
  • Add shelter. Temporary gazebos, glass panel rails, awnings and even roofs are all great ways to offer protection from the elements.
  • Choose weatherproof furnishings. Sofas and tables made of teak or synthetic wicker are great choices for harsher weather.
  • Accessorize. Create a cozy vibe by putting out rugs, throws and pillows when you’re in the patio mood or guests arrive.

Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio . The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.