Creating a Living Game Board for the Backyard Environment

MB005002Playing games outside in the summer has been an old standby for many youth growing up before the invention of the Internet and electronic games.   A great way of reintroducing backyard games to the youth of today is to create a living game board.

A living game board consists of using a combination of living plant material and/or hardscape that is built into the lawn.  Many different kinds of games can be created through this method and includes chess and/or checkerboard, matching game, tic-tac-toe, and twister.

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Shade the Backyard from the Sunshine & Rain on Umbrella Day

blue_umbrella_peopleWhen rain drops the size of giants’ tears are falling from the sky, you’re more likely to steer clear of the outdoors and seek shelter inside. Rain is Mother Nature’s way of recharging groundwater and flushing out the toxins, and this precipitation is an important part of the water cycle. However, there’s no doubt that these storms or mists can rain on your parade and put a damper on your plans. Instead of stopping your life for the impending drizzle, you can shade those gray clouds out of your life with a functional invention.

On Thursday, February 10, flaunt your umbrellas and step out into the sunshine or rain with confidence, because it will be Umbrella Day! This is your moment to seize the day regardless of the weather and appreciate the many uses of an umbrella, and all umbrellas at Outdora are up to 40% off the list price.

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Landscape Design: How to Use Tantalize One’s 5 Senses Using Stepping-stones

Stepping Stone PathStepping-stones are a great addition to landscape design.  They provide safety and a guide to a visitor as to where it is appropriate to walk.  They also reduce environmental impact by providing a surface to walk without causing soil compaction.  But a little known use for stepping-stones is to create a surface for a sensory experience in the garden.

A sensory experience is very important for any landscaper and garden visitor or general homeowner.  Sensory experiences flood the memory so the old saying, “Walking down memory lane” is true.

To create a sensory experience with stepping-stones first analyze the 5 senses.  Vision is an easy sensory experience to address.  Colorful stepping-stones and/or textured rocks add a contrast to a green backdrop.  Also colorful vegetation adds to what the eyes take in during a split second glance that most gardens receive.  Hearing is another sense that is easily addressed by stepping-stones and their surrounding.  Everyone has experienced the sound of walking onto a different surface or the sound of two surfaces rubbing together like mulch against stone.  Also vegetation adds to this sensory journey by adding crushing, crashing, and scraping sounds as one walks along the path on stepping-stones.

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Why It Is Essential To Keep Your Firewood Safe and Dry in a Log Rack

Woodhaven Firewood RackWood burning fireplaces and fire pits are still extremely popular.  This simple and traditional method of heating is enjoyed in homes all across the continent, whether in the living room or the backyard – and oftentimes in both places.

Although burning wood may be considered dirty or messy by some, it is actually a very natural process and, when done properly, is considered environmentally friendly.  The key is to have the most complete burn and to use the right fuel in your fire.

Log Racks Hold the Right Fuel

To produce the least amount of smoke and soot you need to use dry, seasoned hardwood in your fireplace.  Traditional methods of storing your firewood in a pile between two trees or stacked against the woodshed won’t do anything to keep the logs dry.

When wet wood or logs covered in mildew are used in your fire the result is definitely less than pleasant.  Certain smells and heavy smoke are produced, filling your chimney and your living space and possibly even lingering in furniture and draperies..

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Essential Tips for Fire Pit Safety

Fire Ring BBQHaving a fire pit is a wonderful way to add comfort in your backyard.  But to make sure your cozy gathering place stays that way for the entire family, remember to practice a few basic safety tips.

Fire Pits

Constructed of steel, masonry or reinforced concrete, fire pits come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  Find one that suits your space and always be sure to install it away from buildings and overhanging tree branches or other greenery.

Although fire pits are built to sit up on legs or another type of support, you still need to ensure the area around the pit is made of flame resistant materials.  A stone patio or concrete slab underneath will work best, although a level dirt surface is fine.  If you’re installing the pit on a wood or composite deck, lay a decent sized patio slab between the two for protection.

Sparks are also an issue with open top fire pits.  Place the seating a safe distance away from the pit and use a specially made screen if you’re burning wood that tends to spark, like cedar.

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Tracing the Roots of the Adirondack Chair

Adirondack ChairIt’s an outdoor furniture icon with an intriguing past.  Supremely comfortable with classic appeal, the Adirondack chair has changed only a little in over 100 years.

Originally designed by American Thomas Lee, the Adirondack chair was made for both indoor and outdoor use.  In 1903 Lee was vacationing at his mountainside summer home in Westport, New York and decided that a new style of simple furniture was needed.  Using only 11 flat planks, he constructed a collection of Adirondack chair prototypes.  With a slanted back designed for the best balance on rough, mountainside terrain and handy, wide arm rests, all of the chairs made Lee’s family a little skeptical at first.

Once they sat down though, it was a different story.

Adirondack chairs, and more recent adaptations like gliders, rockers and benches, have a few trademarks.  Besides the flat, slanted back with arched top, they boast a deep seat and tend to sit low to the ground.  Newer styles include an angled ottoman for even more comfort and the Adirondack style has also become popular for porch swings.

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How Did the Hammock Become a Backyard Haven?

Hammock napPeople love to laze in their backyard hammock basking in the haven of relaxation it creates.  But where did this unique piece of furniture come from and how did it become the must have fixture that it is?

Southern Roots

We have the Mayans to thank for the invention of the hammock.  That same ancient culture that brought us exquisite pyramids on this side of the Atlantic, developed their own system of writing and used an incredibly accurate calendar is also responsible for the luxury and rest available in a hammock.

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Re-creating a Backyard Beach with Outdora

Beach Blanket BingoWhat says summer more than being at the beach?  Imagine the smell of suntan lotion, long lazy afternoons, great food, fun, and friends.  It’s easy to re-create that beachy feel right in your own backyard with Outdora, minus the messy sand to clean up.

Start your backyard beach theme with a focal point.  If you have a swimming pool, look no further.  If you don’t, your focal point could be as simple as choosing a fire pit where friends and family can gather around toasting marshmallows and making s’mores on a cool summer evening.  Outdora has an extensive selection of fire pits like an authentic Sojoe Fire Pit, a gorgeous Hand Hammered Copper Fire Pit, or a vibrant Island Series Fire Pit.

You’ll also need some accessories to go along with your new backyard attraction like a set of Smore and Hotdog Forks, a powder coated Good Directions Spark Screen, and a couple of rounded CobraCo Wooden Benches which will provide an intimate and inviting setting.

The next thing for your backyard beach is seating.  Having a variety of options is perfect if you will be entertaining groups of friends or for those quiet beach blanket moments that you just keep to yourselves.  The easiest way to accomplish this is through easily movable, lightweight patio furniture.

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Re-creating a New England Cottage Style with Outdora

Painted Lighthouse Garden WeathervaneThoughts of New England easily fill the imagination with sailing, lighthouses, historical towns or maybe even clam chowder and maple syrup.  Whatever reminds you of New England, you’ll be sure to find an assortment of decor ideas to add that New England Cottage Style touch to your home with Outdora.

Welcoming guests to your home is the first opportunity to display a little New England panache.  Cottage yards are frequently decorated with traditional white picket fences accented with an arbour at the entry way gate.

Consider a majestic Lighthouse Vertical Wall Address Plaque made from recycled aluminum to allow visitors to easily find your home.  You may also want to add a Sailboat Solid Brass Doorbell or a Sailboat Solid Brass Door Knocker for a more nautical feel.  Adorn your front porch with a cozy Glider Bench accented by a Foldable Matching Adirondack Square Table and you’ll welcome visitors in style.

Another important decor feature of a typical New England cottage is a weathervane whose history in the U.S. dates back to President George Washington and his commemoration of a weathervane to signify the end of the American Revolution.  Choose from a Classic Copper Sailboat Weathervane, a Painted Lighthouse Weathervane, or a rust-free copper option in the Lighthouse Weathervane.

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The Ancient Gong: Home Décor Tips from the Past

Woodstock Small Chinese Wind GongThe historical background for the gong is surprising quite involved. This musical instrument stems from Burma, China, Annam and Java. From these regions, seven gong shapes and sounds were developed. Although some might think that the gong was just honored for its sound, the actual construction of this instrument was thought to be magical or divine. Delving into the gong’s past is an interesting journey, because the tradition had different meanings and purposes among various cultures. Knowing how the gong got it start might encourage you to add one to your home.

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