Category Archives: Outdoor Accessories

Wood Burning Fire Pits Offer Affordable Backyard Fun

Enjoying the warmth and glow of a flickering fire in the great outdoors is no longer confined to the campground or beach. These days, there is a huge assortment of wood burning fire pits available that are sturdy and safe, yet convenient enough to set up anywhere in your backyard, on the patio or the deck.

A wood burning fire pit is typically made of heavy gauge metal so as to be able to withstand the heat of the fire, but there are all sorts of decorative finishes available that make them a lovely accent to your outdoor decor. They come in sizes ranging from just over 20 inches all the way up to 45 inches. The smaller units are perfect for a tabletop fire that you can enjoy at eye level. Other units sit on the patio or deck on sturdy legs that give them support and help to protect the surface below. They also have a screened cover that helps to contain any sparks and flying embers so you don’t have to worry about damage.

Photo By: J Rosenfeld

You can pick up a perfect lovely fire pit for just under $100, although the more decorative, larger ones can cost up to $200. Still, this is very affordable for something that you’re going to get a lot of use from, not just in the summer but year round.

If your locale prohibits the burning of wood, don’t despair. You can still enjoy a portable fire pit that’s fueled by propane or natural gas. These are actually a lot more convenient because they’re so simple to start, and quick to turn off when it’s time to go back inside.

You’ll need to pay attention to a few safety rules before operating a fire pit. Be sure to read the instructions included along with the product. Never leave the fire burning unattended, and keep a close eye on children and pets in the vicinity of the fire.

Incorporating a Gazebo Into Your Landscape

If you are needing some additional outdoor space you may want to incorporate a gazebo into your landscape. You will find that purchasing a gazebo for your backyard, or for some other area of your landscape, may be the best decision that you have ever made.

A gazebo can give you a great focal point for your yard and garden by providing a center of interest that draws your eyes to it. You can help bring this together as a focal point by placing it in your yard where it can be seen easily, and where it is convenient to be able to walk up to it. This can be done easily by providing some type of path or walkway that winds its way up to where the gazebo is actually located.

Photo By: Skips Outdoor Accents

You can place your gazebo out in an open space or somewhere nestled underneath some shade trees. Another way to focus on your gazebo is to have shrubs or flowers planted next to it so that the color will enhance the gazebo and draw your attention to it.

You may choose to add a little color to your gazebo if it is a canopy gazebo or a canvas gazebo of some type. You can do this by choosing a colored canopy top for it. Another way to add color is to add colorful patterned outdoor furniture to your gazebo. You can choose any type of outdoor furniture that will add color and style to the surrounding area.

Gazebos can be decorated and painted in any color you like. Make sure that the color will coordinate with any existing furniture that may be located outside on a patio or deck area. If you have a pool, a gazebo makes a nice refreshing place to sit and relax out of the sun, and out of the rain. There are many uses for a gazebo but choosing one that fits into your outdoor design should give you the best results.

Get Rid Of Cloudy Pool Water With These Tips

The cloudiness in pool water is caused by millions of tiny suspended particles. These range from skin cells, algae spores, dissolved minerals, dust, leaf debris, bird droppings and other contaminants. Most pool owners have to deal with murky looking water and the good news is that there are many methods available to tackle the problem.

Ensure your filtration system is working property and that filters are clean and clear of debris. Read the manufactures maintenance instructions carefully as cloudy water may be a sign that you need to clean or replace the filters.

Photo by: Lee Coursey

Add a pool shock treatment to the pool to break up any chloramines or combined chlorine components in the water. Chloramines are the compounds that cause eye irritation among swimmers and an unpleasant odor that overhangs the pool water. You can choose between liquid and powders shock and between chlorine based and chlorine free products. Never add swimming pool shock treatment if the pool is being used and only allow swimmers back into the pool once the pool chemistry has returned to safe levels. The shock treatment should also help get rid of algal contamination but you can also add a dose of algaecide to make doubly sure.

Add a dose of clarifier to help clump together some of the suspended micro-particles. Once they have coagulated into larger particles, they should be able to be trapped by your filters and removed from the water.

Test the pool water for levels of total dissolved solids such as calcium and other minerals. If you readings are far out of recommended levels you may need to replace the pool water or use a water softener.

The pH levels can have an effect on pool clarity, especially if they are high. The recommended pH range is between 7.2 and 7.8. If you need to adjust the pH you can do this with pH plus and pH minus chemicals, both of which are widely available.

Where do I look for Shed Plans?

I have been wanting to put a shed in my back yard for years.  The possibility of clearing out some garage space so I can fit the extra car in is very appealing.  I have been acquiring stuff for many years and I have decided that it is time to have another place to put it.  But, where do I look for ideas and where do I find my shed plans?  I asked myself that about 6 months ago and the search began.  I found there are really two places you can go: your home improvement warehouse or through an internet search.

Photo By: jessicafm

I first went to my local home improvement warehouse to get inspired.  The smell of wood and the glimmer of shiny new tools are enough to get anyone in to the DIY mood and I am no exception.  I talked to a few workers and told them what my plans were.  I told them what I wanted to build and asked if they could provide me with some shed plans as an example to get me started.  They did more than that.  They took me over to the book section and showed me a whole variety of shed plans and shed styles.  Who knew I could have a shed fancy enough for lace curtains or one big enough to hold an entire workshop.  I was very pleased with my first stop and picked up a few books of shed plans on my way out the door.

The second search I did was online and my results were more scattered.  Until I found the same book I have just purchased also for sale on amazon I had all but given up.  In the end I was glad I started by going to a home improvement store for inspiration.  While there is noting like a bit of instant information, I will gladly take the smell of wood and glimmer of tools over an internet search any day.

Your Guide To Patio Cushions And Covers

Patio cushions are an ideal way of spicing up the appearance of an outdoor furniture collection, while making said collection more comfortable and inviting at the same time. Some patio ensembles come with customized accessories included, while others are more basic, and require separate purchases for items such as cushions, covers, and other accessories. Even if your original patio set came with cushions included, you may be interested in finding replacements due to weathering and wear and tear. The following paragraphs will offer some advice and guidance on what to look for when shopping for patio cushions and other accessories.

Patio Cushions - Desert Sage

Patio cushions are easy to find in a variety of styles, designs and materials, and are frequently purchased apart from, or in addition to the actual outdoor collection. It is possible to find a great many attractive designs, at reasonable price points, that are pre-fabricated for general sizes and types of furniture. For individuals with more specific or unique tastes, there is also the option of ordering customized coverings and accent pieces, either directly from the furniture manufacturer, or otherwise. Here are some considerations when shopping for cushion accessories.

Remember that patio furniture endures considerably more wear and tear than indoor furniture; it must endure abrupt changes in temperature and humidity, and all sorts of weather conditions. As a result, more outdoor items are constructed in a manner that accounts for all of the above-mentioned variables. Upholstered items are no exception. Popular materials for outdoor cushions include durable and/or weatherproof coverings such as polyester and acrylic, or other marine-grade materials such as umbrella fabrics and Outdura. Although various coverings constructed from more absorbent materials are also popular, owners need to take special care not to allow these items to be left out during rain or even light showers, since the moisture will be absorbed into the foam pads, resulting in the need to dry cushions for several days, and the possibility for mold or mildew to develop.

Another option for protecting outdoor furniture from all kinds of weathering and wear and tear is through the use of specially designed covers. Check with your furniture manufacturer, or with your local home and garden outfitter for a detailed patio covers guide that meets your needs as well as your budget.

Simple Advice on Carpet Shopping

It is very easy to change the look of your house by changing the carpet in one or more rooms.  A new carpet can give an entirely different feel to a space.  Depending on whether you go for patterns or plain, bright bold colors or pastels, you can create whatever look you like.  Changing your furniture and other soft furnishings can cost a fortune by the time you have tied everything together, but simply replacing the carpet can have an astonishing effect on a room.  Go for whatever time period you want.  Give your room a Georgian feel or a Victorian flavor.  Perhaps you want a minimalistic effect or a beach-side look.  Whatever you choose, make sure that you get your carpet pricing strategy straight in your mind before shopping.

Are you bothered about how long your carpet will last?  If you are the kind of person who rings the changes every 2 or 3 years then you will not be worried about the quality of the carpet and will probably not be purchasing something like Axminster.  However if this new carpet is going to have to last for the next 10 years then you will certainly be looking at paying between $2 and $5 dollars a square yard.

Where you are laying your carpet is also an important factor to consider.  If it is in the hallway then you need to be sure that it is very durable and can stand up to some serious usage. If looking outside, consider the quick and easy outdoor carpet tiles.  If however it is a bedroom carpet you are buying then you can afford to go for the cheaper end of the range with something like a Brussels carpet which is priced at between $1 and $1.50.

The final thing you need to consider is where you are going to shop for this carpet.  Shopping online is great if it is difficult for you to get to the stores during opening hours. But if you prefer a hands-on approach, then you will probably prefer to buy face to face.  Whichever you choose, don’t forget to keep your carpet pricing strategy fixed firmly in your head to avoid making costly mistakes. Always remember also that when shopping online either for the best outdoor carpet or traditional rolled carpet, the weight of such items and high shipping costs for such items.

Choosing The Right Wicker Tiki Bar

If you have been looking to get a wicker tiki bar that you can use in your garden then there are some things you will want to think about. Having a nice bar on your patio, or even by the pool is going to give you the convenience of being able to enjoy your favorite cold drinks any time you want. There are so many advantages that you can benefit from by having one of these bars in your garden, like the ability to host the best parties out of all of your friends and family. Here are a few things you will want to take a look at when you are trying to find the best wicker tiki bar for your garden.

One of the things that you will want to give some thought to is the type of covering that you are going to have on your bar. You could go for one that has no covering, but I imagine you will want a cover so that your bar has a bit of protection for when it rains. You will also want to give a bit of thought to the size of the bar you want. If you are limited when it comes to free space you will want to take measurements of the space you have before you going looking for a bar, so that you know what is going to fit and what wont.

These are only a couple of the things you will want to think about when looking for a wicker tiki bar for your garden. You will be able to enjoy all of your favorite summer drinks without needing to go in and out of the house all the time to make them. You are also going to get a great look from your bar no matter where you use it in your garden. Be sure to have a good look at all of the options that are available to you before you make any choices.

String Lights And Outdoor Accessories

Maximizing your outdoor space means enhancing its facade with the use of decorative items such as furniture and lighting accessories.  Among the most practical and stylish items you can install in your lawn are string lights as they do not only provide illumination but great aesthetic appeal as well.

String Lights for the Driveway

Coming home in a car at night can be a little tricky especially if you live in a neighborhood where homes have very limited driveway space.  Having string lights will aid you in parking the car so you do not hit anything in the process.  Driveway lights should have just the right amount of brightness to provide illumination but not too bright for the eyes.

String Garden Lights

If you spend a great amount of time and energy tending to your garden and keeping it beautiful, it should be seen in all hours of the day and at night as well.  Garden solar string lights would ensure that your beautiful lawn and the vast collection of flowered plants can be seen and appreciated by everyone who pass by.

String Light Designs

You can choose from among the several light designs available in the market today depending on your needs and preferences.  For instance, string Christmas mostly in red, green, and white color and you may choose between small or large bulbs for maximum effect.

If you are looking for even better aesthetic appeal, you might also want to consider getting string lamps and ball shaped lights.  They work exactly like any normal sting light fixture except that they have a more pronounced design.

Where to Buy?

Outdoor lights are sold online these days and shopping from online stores is a wise choice especially since they offer a wider range of options as well as discounts especially for customers who place bulk orders.

Visit for more information on string lights

How Solar Powered Garden Lights will Save You Time, Money and Stress

Light up the gardens around your home with some solar powered garden lights and you can save time, money and stress. Solar lights operate with next to no costs, and you can get many types of lights for many different purposes. They offer a stress free way of making your outdoors safer and more attractive.

Save money on your electricity bill by installing some solar powered garden lights around your home. Solar lights are powered by the energy of the sun, and do not use electricity at all. This is a free, renewable energy source that will last as long as the sun shines. They are therefore inexpensive to operate and will save you money in the long run.

You can save time by using solar powered garden lights in your outdoor areas. Solar lights are completely automatic, turning on when it gets dark and off again when it is light. So once you set them up, which is also an easy process, you can usually just forget about them. They will provide you with light when and where you need it, without any operational costs, and without much effort from you at all.

If you want a simple, stress free way to get some extra light around your home then solar lights are for you. The easy installation is due to their lack of need for connection to electricity. There are no electric cables involved so you can put them anywhere in your garden or yard where they will draw the sun’s energy. Just push them into the ground and wait for the batteries to charge up. The lights will even turn on and off automatically. All you need to do is sit back and enjoy the additional light they provide. Use some LED solar Christmas lights for your decorating and you will save time and money as well.

Using solar powered garden lights around your home will save you money, time and stress. The benefits of solar lights make them a great choice for your lighting needs.

Which Type of Garden Lighting Should You Choose?

A homeowner can place any type of lighting he likes in his garden. There are various lightings in the market that can enhance your garden. Some lights are created to illuminate your living space extension outside of your house. There are others created to offer more safety and security. You can combine these lighting to produce a well-lit and secure outdoor garden for your convenience and evening entertainment with family or friends.

Solar garden lights can also be installed in your garden. By going green, you help save the environment and you help save yourself a few bucks from electricity. These lights provide much needed lighting to beautify your garden. They are easy to install and you can do it by yourself. There are different kinds of solar light in the market. There are traditional ones which have solar landscape rocks which can light up your pathway. There are also solar hanging lights that can be draped on bushes to provide them light after the sun goes down. Additionally, there are also solar stake lightings that improve the beauty of your landscape.

There are in-water lights and waterside lights that improve your garden. It is possible to install colored underwater lights in ponds or pools to create amazing light dances across and underneath the water. Water structures, such as fountains, can have lighting or spotlights to provide focus on it. If safety and security is a concern, you can install motion detecting lights in the dark places of your garden to alarm you with possible trespassers. You can also add lights along your pathway, driveways, and walking places in the garden. These garden lights range from as small as landscape rocks with light built in to lighting posts strategically positioned every few steps to provide brilliance to your garden.

There are unlimited ideas for garden lighting. The homeowner can select any design that is appropriate for his garden concerns. After all, the garden should be a safe and nice place to have fun, entertainment, and relaxation.

Outdoor Lights – a Wise buy for your house

Home improvement is always a challenge. We always want to spend our money on a “wise buy” which means purchasing products that can offer more than a sole purpose. Among the many furnitures that can be considered “wise buys”, outside lights are common things that offer not only a decorative purpose but also safety and security to a house. In most houses today, we can easily notice the outside features of the house because of the lights around it that illuminate the house as well as the surroundings. What are these lights for? For elegance and sophistication, and safety.

With a variety of outdoor lights available to choose from, you can be assured that by choosing the perfect outside light fixtures, you can give your house the class and elegance it needs. Old-fashioned houses can benefit from traditional wall lights or porch lights. Big houses that have wide grounds can look even more sophisticated with post lights and pathway lights. Gardens and landscapes can stand out even at night time if garden and backyard lighting are installed in the area. Small houses can also look better with ceiling lights or porch lights. In a row of houses, make your house stand out by putting up outside lights to highlight yours.

Outside lighting also provides safety and security to a home. They allow you to easily notice people or vehicles that pass by or help you clearly see the people that go near your house or surrounding. They also make it more convenient for you to enter the house after parking your car in the roadside. You can certainly feel safe in your own area with an outdoor light.

Elegance and security are both achieved for your house when you have an outdoor light. They are also affordable and if you choose to purchase the durable ones, they will last long. Outside lights are really a wise buy.

Garden Decoration – Screening Your Garden

Some people don’t like their gardens to be visible outside their homes, and the problem of being overlooked can be eased by using overhead screening: horizontal beams set on upright to support planting can be a good idea as well as attractive garden decoration. The direction in which the beams run and their spacing is determined by the position of the overlooking building. Forming a grid pattern is one interesting way of going about it; this could be done when the patio or garden can be overlooked on at least two sides. In principle, when viewed obliquely from above, the beams would obscure any view of the area beneath, but anyone underneath can look up and see the sky if the planting is not too dense. This sort of screen can be installed anywhere in your garden.

Few gardens would not benefit from the addition of a little mystery. A plant trellis or a mirror can add a touch of magic to any corner, and bearing in mind that adding focal points to a garden is important because many gardeners who can see their entire plot at one glance run the risk of becoming bored with it sooner rather later. But sometimes these types of garden decorations are not enough, as it seems that the smaller the space, the greater the need for some hidden corner. Where all the space is at a premium, a separate hidden area may not be feasible but it can still be suggested. Under these circumstances, screening makes a positive contribution to the design, whereas screening introduced to remove unwanted or distracting objects from sight is more a means of returning emphasis to the garden.

Unattractive features may lie inside as well as outside the garden. Compost bins fall into this category, as do dustbins and garden sheds. Whatever the unwelcome object, take care not to draw attention to it inadvertently by using the wrong type of screening. The screen should visually break up the lines of form of the offending object, making one wonder what lies behind rather than being a feature in its own right.

Different Types of Pergolas

Nowadays, people want to have their garden stand out from the other houses in their area. And there’s no better way of doing that than by adding something as unique as a pergola to the mix. While it can’t be considered a staple in every garden, that doesn’t mean it can’t be one. Of course, just like every thing else, this fixture comes in a variety of types. This is done to give home owners more options. At the same time, it helps give their house and garden a more distinct appearance. So if you’re thinking of adding this garden fixture into your home, here are some samples of the different types of pergolas currently being used today.

The first type is the free-standing pergola. This structure carries some similarities with a gazebo. The only difference is that the free-standing version doesn’t have a roof of its own. Aside from not having a roof, pergolas which are free-standing tend to have a floor underfoot which can be designed to serve as some sort of patio. In terms of placement, free-standing pergolas can be placed beside the house or in the middle of the garden. This gives home owners more options when it comes to their overall design and construction.

The second type of pergola currently being used are entryway pergolas. These structures act as a gate which serves as a portal from the garden to the outside world. It pretty much serves as an archway and is constructed to be placed by the entrance of the garden. What makes them stand out is that they’re able to provide a stylish opening or gateway into your garden.

By having an idea as to what types of pergolas are available, you’ll be able to determine which one will fit your garden and make your home a cut above the rest.

How to Select From the Various Types of Wooden Pergola Plans

Garden pergolas are relatively easy to make. Even people who don’t have the expertise can make a pergola within a few days with the help of wooden pergola plans. A pergola plan allows people with no background in construction or carpentry to easily install the structure such as a simple 16×20 square or rectangular structure within a few days without the help of a professional.

In most cases, DIY pergola plans include a step by step instruction on how to go about the construction. Some kits already include the materials while there are plans available where you would need to supply the materials yourself. You can use non-resistant lumber or cedar, the latter being more popular because of the natural gray color it gets after being exposed to the natural elements for some time. However, if you want the wood to withstand elements such as the wind, sun, rain, and snow and preserve their color as much as possible, you can use wood stains or seals.

While you can have a contractor build the pergola, you can take advantage of the different plans or kits that are sold online by different manufacturers and online retailers. Plans and kits for simple structures are available as well as structures that are intended for special occasions and parties such as garden weddings. There are also designs with trellises or a Lath House design and plans for narrow walkways or tunnels that are commonly found in gardens. If you are looking for a structure that would provide a nice shade for your patio, you can use patio pergola plans as a guide. These plans are very thorough and detailed; some would require you to follow instructions step by step while some plans allow for slight modifications.

Some wooden pergola plans include other features such as provisions for planters and trellises. Considering your requirements and the space you intend to put your pergola would help you make an informed decision on what type of plan you are going to purchase. If you are not sure, you can do your research online to see what other options and designs are available to you.

What to Hunt for In Wall-Mount Heaters for Deer Stands

As hunting season approaches, many outdoorsmen and women are going to be looking for a convenient, efficient way to stay warm while hunting. After a few hours spent in a drafty box blind or deer stand, even the most hardcore hunter will be wishing for a little heat.

One great solution is a small, portable propane-fueled space heater. Perfect for outdoorsmen, these heaters typically require no special venting or electric supply. Because of their lightweight construction and convenience, they won’t be weighing you down during your hunt.

So what are we going to look for in a heater for your deer stand? Here’s a brief look at some of your options:

Sparking up Some Heat

We’ll obviously be needing a heater with a no-electric ignition system, unless you plan on dragging an extension cord to your deer stand! Since you can stock up on propane cylinders at almost every gas station or superstore, propane-fueled heaters are certainly the most convenient option.

Usually, you won’t need to worry about your prey sniffing the fuel or exhaust gases from your propane heaters. The smell of propane gas shouldn’t exit the heater, unless there is a supply leak or some of the gas is going unburned. Exhaust gases, which are basically just carbon monoxide are odorless and won’t be noticeable by deer.

While the exhaust may be odorless, that does not mean that it can’t be dangerous if you’re operating the heater without proper ventilation. You’ll want to follow all manufacturer’s safety recommendations for your space heater.

Keeping Things Quiet

You’ll want to purchase a wall mount heater that ignites manually. Even better, you may want to use a long-barreled candle lighter instead. Ignition switches of some heaters create a loud pop that may spook deer or other animals within earshot.

Along the same lines, you’ll want to be sure to purchase a heater that features silent operation. The last thing you want is your heater rattling in the middle of a tense hunt!

Keeping it Portable

One of the nicest features of smaller wall-mount units is that they can be used as either a wall-mount OR a floor heater. As a great example, take a look at the Portable Buddy Heater from Mr. Heater. This small unit can be fueled on the portable 1lb. propane cylinders or the large 20lb. tanks, and can be removed easily from the wall if heat is needed elsewhere.

Small space heaters can even be taken along out in the field after a kill for gutting. If you use the more compact 1 lb. cylinders, the Mr. Heater Portable Buddy definitely lives up to its name!

A Last Word on Safety

As is the case with all propane heaters, be certain to follow all guidelines for safe use. Be certain that you have adequate ventilation when the heater is in operation. Of course, any time you’re running a portable heater, you’ll want to be sure you have a fire extinguisher on hand. You can easily keep a small extinguisher in your deer stand or box blind, even with limited space.

Winterizing Garden Lights

When the months begin to grow colder, a lot of people start to turn their attention to shutting down the garden. It’s time to kill the garden lighting and let everything sink back to the earth.

Winterizing your garden isn’t a bad idea, and the main reason for that is that everything has to take a rest – even plants! If you live in a region where the winter temperatures regularly dip towards zero or you see a great deal of snowfall, then preparing your garden for a long sleep should be a priority.

Your garden lights should not be left out in the cold! First, remove any bulbs that you can. Gently wrap them in soft cloth – old worn denim works best. Then place them in a box where they won’t be rolling around.

Next, gather the light itself – with the bulb gone – and take it inside. This is an excellent time to clean the light. Using a damp cloth, and perhaps a touch of a mild cleansing agent, gently wash the light. Remove all the accumulated dust and dirt from a spring, summer and fall out in the garden.

Let the light air dry, and then store it in a safe place. You might want to keep it near the bulb that goes along with it, so you don’t have to go searching for it come Spring.

Winter is also a good time to evaluate the lighting system you have used in your garden. What did you like about it? What didn’t work? What would you change for the upcoming season?

Make a list and then let your imagination play with it. Every new year is a chance to create better and more beautiful lighting schemes for your lawn and garden. Don’t let this time go to waste! You can even create a map or master list that details your garden lighting plan.

Enjoy your winter – your new garden lighting season will be upon you soon enough!

Outdoor Projects: Woodworking Tips to Antique a Picnic Bench

You think you’d like to give your kids a nice little present, but are feeling the urge to make something from scratch, possibly wood, without the scratches.  You have your doubts about it though.  Perhaps your outdoor space is very limited, perhaps it’s that you doubt that your children will actually get much use out of it.  It may even be that you doubt your own woodworking abilities when it comes to building a cubby or outdoor play house.  There are also always the safety issues to do with yours and other kids using it.  Perhaps it might be better to buy something that can also be used for practical purposes.

As an alternative, it may be an option to build an outdoor picnic benches.  These can be great as imaginary forts or cubby houses, or even for them to sleep under on a hot summer’s night, by simply throwing a plastic or bed sheet over the top.

When built and finished well, you will have a piece of outdoor furniture that can easily seat up to six people in your garden with no set up involved.  All you need to do is carry the food out to it, and you have an outdoor dining area.  You can put it inside a gazebo, or under the sky.

There are many great and simple guides as to how to build a picnic bench, but not so many on how to best finish a bench to not only make it look great, but waterproof.

First off, you will want to apply 2 layers of acrylic paint.  Then sand it back to reveal some of the grain beneath.  You can also add scratches and unevenness to the surface with various implements.  Once you have done this, all you have to do is add a decorative finish to it.  Apply with a sponge brush, and then wipe it back immediately to show some of the wood beneath.  After this, you’ll need to apply a clear weather proofing substance, which will probably help