David Kirkpatrick

January 7, 2010

Mood lighting and outdoor living

Filed under: et.al. — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:26 pm

What is the single best way to set a mood with lighting indoors, or out? I’m guessing an almost universal answer would be the soft, flickering glow of a natural fire. The source can be as varied as warm fireplace, a campfire, a single candle on a tabletop or even what was most likely one of mankind’s first inventions after harnessing fire — the torch. If you are an outdoor living aficionado you’re looking to spend as much time in you outdoor living space as possible, and with a wide variety of atmosphere and mood.  When thinking about lighting options, don’t look past patio torches. They are time-tested and can be very attractive as decor alongside the utility of firelight.

Outdora offers a variety of outdoor torches including hanging torches, standing torches and table top torches with fuel options as varied as propane, candle, lamp oil, and for anyone looking for a bit of insect repellent to go along with the light, citronella oil. Just imagine the look and effect of a series of garden torches strategically placed around your outdoor living space.

Standing torches are available in a number of designs including tiki-style, colonial-style that can replace other outdoor lighting and torches designed to be placed in large planters. Hanging torches are exactly what they sound like — torches meant to be hung, creating the impression the light is floating in mid-air. Hanging torches have a lantern look with decorative openings to allow the light to escape. Another torch with a perfectly descriptive name is the table top torch. These torches are meant to be place on a table and come in several styles including lantern and oil lamp.

Whatever type of outdoor torch strikes your fancy, it’s sure to make your outdoor living space a little more interesting, a bit more mysterious and certainly more romantic.

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December 31, 2009

Shade for small spaces

Filed under: et.al. — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:02 pm

I’ve done a lot of blogging on outdoor living lately, and typically the topic means having access to a reasonably large yard. It takes space to outfit a deck with patio furniture, canopies, large grills and the like. That doesn’t even take into account outdoor living aficionados who go so far as to create fully outfitted and utility equipped outdoor kitchens or outdoor living rooms. I’ve even read about outdoor bedrooms. I guess that’s a solution for someone who likes seeing the stars at night, but doesn’t particularly enjoy roughing it at an actual camp site.

Outdoor living doesn’t have to be overly extensive, or expensive for that matter, to be enjoyable, and it certainly doesn’t require a wide expanse of space either. If you live in an urban environment with limited outdoor real estate, or if your home has a tight spot where you need a bit of shade a half umbrella is the perfect solution. What is a half umbrella you ask? It’s pretty simple — it’s an umbrella, just in half circle form.

Here’s an example:

7-1/2 ft. Half-Canopy Patio Umbrella

As you can see it perfectly solves the issue of not enough space for a full umbrella, but still provides a nice bit of shade for a small grouping of patio furniture. Or maybe outdoor half umbrellas give you shade over a hammock so you can read and relax on the patio no matter how small of footprint you have to work with.

Another use for half umbrellas is to shade a window as an easily moved awning. Outdora has a wide selection of outdoor half umbrellas made from powder-coated aluminum and weatherproof outdoor fabric built for durability. Outdora even offers a custom half umbrella stand that is designed to sit flush against a wall to get your half umbrella perfectly positioned.

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December 26, 2009

The joys of lounging in a hammock

Filed under: et.al. — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:32 pm

Hammocks come in many different types — the old standard rope hammock, fabric hammocks, weave hammocks and even hammock chairs. The common denominator is whatever version of hammock you find yourself in, it’s pretty tough to not relax. There is something about lying or sitting on a hammock that pushes cares and worries just a little farther back in your internal priority list. Maybe it’s the connotation of beaches, islands and vacationing, or the traditional image of hitting the backyard hammock after a long day of yard work, but even the idea of a hammock just feels restful.

Years ago I bought a a bargain rope hammock that become a favorite spot for reading, light writing and just contemplating the universe. It followed me for several moves, always finding a home in the best spot on the patio or deck and ready for use as needed. Eventually that hammock wore out from the elements, age and lots and lots of use. It was very basic, but was proof that sometimes simpler is better. Rope hammocks come in a number of styles and sizes — some big enough for two — and in a wide variety of material including cotton, polyester, nylon, DuraCord, polycord and olefin. A great feature of rope hammocks is the open web of the hammock provides total ventilation to help keep you cool during those hot days — hot days that are coming sooner than you think.

Outdoor living is a very hot topic, and often you’ll hear about a tricked-out outdoor living room or kitchen that basically takes everything that you find indoors and puts it in the backyard. Going back to the simpler is better idea, great outdoor living needs little more than a nice deck, a backyard grill and a couple of outdoor hammocks. I mean really, what else do you need? I’d say nothing.

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December 12, 2009

Make sure you’re covered …

Filed under: et.al. — Tags: , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:29 pm

… from the elements in your outdoor living space with a patio umbrella. Right now the weather outside may be frightful, but spring is coming sooner than you think and right now is a great time to plan your outdoor living area and decor. The patio umbrella for your outdoor furniture may seem like something of an afterthought — it’s just there to keep the sun and elements away after all — but with options including shape, styling, color and material, the patio umbrella can also become a major design element in your overall decor.

Outdora offers a selection of outdoor umbrellas in a number of styles and looks to suit whatever decorating effect you’re looking for. You can find everything from a basic table umbrella for your patio furniture to large awning umbrellas that cover a large swath of patio or deck real estate. Whatever you are looking for in outdoor shading Outdora’s selection can meet your need.

The background of the simple umbrella is interesting. The design is simple and was most likely an improvement over the shade provided by tree canopies. Umbrella use can be historically traced to cultures spanning the globe and utilizing many different materials. At least some umbrellas in ancient Egypt were made from palm leaves or feathers, ancient Greek women used umbrellas as objects of fashion and one district in the Aztec empire used an umbrella consisting of feathers and gold as an identifying banner similar to the modern flag.

The word “umbrella” itself is derived from the Latin umbra. The Latin comes from the ancient Greek ómbros. Both words mean shadow.

Hit any link in this post to find your outdoor patio umbrella at Outdora. Jack Frost may be keeping you from enjoying your outdoor living space right now, but if you plan ahead you’ll be ready to enjoy the very first days of spring.

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December 11, 2009

Put a little music in your backyard …

Filed under: et.al. — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:09 pm

…. front porch, garden or anywhere you choose with the relaxing sounds of a wind chime. Don’t let the gardener provide the only tinkling sounds amongst the shrubbery … thank you thank you, I’ll be here all week. Be sure to tip your waitress and come back tomorrow for the Saturday brunch.

Wind chimes make great gifts for people on your holiday list who appreciate relaxing sounds created by a few simple materials and the wind, and even though the weather might not be too conducive for outdoor living, you are probably already planning your outdoor decorations and landscaping for the coming spring.

The perfect wind chime can add to your outdoor living experience by providing an aural reminder of nature’s forces, and wind chimes come many materials, sounds and looks. If you want musical tones the choice would be tuned aluminum chimes with bell-like melodies. If appearance and visual appeal is your goal, check out glass and capiz seashell wind chimes for a number of different looks. And if you want a more natural sound to fill your outdoor living space bamboo wind chimes are the way to go providing the deep sounds of falling rain and tropical drums.

Outdora offers a large variety of windchimes:

  • aluminum wind chimes tuned to specific tones and melodies
  • bamboo wind chimes with rich and deep natural tones
  • copper wind chimes designed to artfully age to an attractive patina
  • glass and capiz seashell wind chimes full of color and brilliance

And if you’d like more than a passive role with your outdoor aural experience, Outdora also has hanging gongs and old-school dinner bells. Hit any link in this post to see the entire selection and even listen to audio samples of the different chimes. You’ll find chimes from manufacturers including Music of the Spheres, Woodstock Percussion, Grace Notes and Corinthian Bells.

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November 20, 2009

Cooler weather, outdoor living and outdoor heaters

Filed under: et.al. — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:18 pm

Regular readers of this blog know I’ve done quite a bit of blogging on the outdoor living trend lately, covering grills, fire pits, outdoor furniture and decor, and more. What happens to all that outdoor living fun when the weather turns cold? Easy answer — patio heater. The trick to effective outdoor heating, especially in an open area like a deck or patio — is to use radiant heating rather than convection heating.

Convection heating works by blowing air over a heated surface like many small indoor space heaters work. Radiant heating uses electromagnetic infrared radiation that warms close by objects rather than the surrounding air. This means radiant outdoor heaters will warm you, your patio furniture and even your cold beverage if you don’t drink it fast enough instead of the surrounding air that is constantly blowing around and being replaced with cooler air. Radiant outdoor heating is much more efficient and effective for keeping you warm while enjoying your outdoor living space.

Hit any link in this post to head to Outdora for a patio heater selection that will meet any outdoor heating need you might have. Outdora has both residential and commercial ceiling and wall mounted quartz outdoor heaters, standing patio heaters with push button ignitions and even decorative table-top heaters

The quartz outdoor heaters are all weather and are both efficient and economical. These electric heaters don’t require any warm-up to start heating your outdoor living space and eliminate the need for replacing and storing propane fuel tanks.

You’ve invested in your outdoor living area, make sure cooler weather isn’t keeping you from enjoying that investment during the fall and winter by adding a few outdoor heating units. And if you want portable outdoor heating, Outdora even has a wheel kit you can install on a standing heater to easily move your outdoor heating unit.

November 17, 2009

BBQ grilling

Filed under: et.al. — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:53 pm

I’ve done some recent blogging on the outdoor living trend and how it’s led to some people creating entire outdoor living spaces including fully outfitted outdoor kitchens, but things can be much more simple and I bet the first thing that comes to mind when most people hear outdoor living is the humble BBQ grill. Or maybe not so humble, depending on what type of grill you have.

You want to go down-to-earth (literally) basic? Dig a small depression, surround it with some rocks, build a big wood fire and let that burn down, then add a metal grating over the top of the smoldering coals and you have a perfectly serviceable barbecue grill. Of course you can also buy a brushed stainless steel freestanding unit with separate grills for propane and charcoal alongside a rotisserie grill, side burner and a built-in mini-fridge to keep cold ones close at hand.

I enjoy food cooked on a barbecue grill and would be hard pressed to name a favorite. Hot dogs are better grilled, well really better boiled and then grilled, brats are certainly best grilled, hamburgers are great grilled, but one food almost demands open flame — a good steak. Sure you can fan fry steaks or use some other method, but barbecue grilling is the only way to truly prepare a choice cut of beef. For me I like a thick cowboy cut ribeye — that’s bone-in for anyone not familiar with the cut — done blue rare. Lightly seared on the outside, bloody and cold in the middle. Try that on a stove-top. Or better yet, don’t because it can’t be done and you’ll trash an awesome cut of beef.

If you’re looking for barbecue grills hit any link in this post to head to Outdora for a huge selection of grills and grill accessories to meet any budget and need.

November 11, 2009

Outdoor living to the max with Viking Grills

Filed under: et.al. — Tags: , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:34 pm

I’ve done a fair amount of blogging on outdoor living lately, and one aspect of outdoor living I covered on the outdoor lifestyle for a no-longer-publishing home improvement magazine was outdoor kitchens. Just simple grilling is a major part of outdoor living and building an entire outdoor kitchen takes the concept to an even higher level. When you want to really maximize your outdoor kitchen, it’s time to take a look at a Viking grill. It’s an ultra premium grill experience with a matching price tag, but also a host of features including 29,000 BTU burners, the most powerful standard in the industry,  rotisserie rods, stainless steel construction and cast iron porcelain coated grill grates.

Hit any of the links in this post to head to Outdora for a huge selection of Viking grills and grilling accessories. You will find built-in & freestanding grills, side burners & rotisserie kits, warming & utility drawers, access doors, components & accessories, service carts & stations, grill bases and other grilling accessories such as covers, pans, vents and more.

Here are a few more features you will find on a Viking grill:

A big advantage for checking out Outdora for your Viking grill needs is all items are available below the list price. It doesn’t matter if you want a fully tricked-out E-series with TruSear, side burners and an oven base, or if you’re just looking for replacement rotisserie forks, you’ll find the lowest possible price at Outdora.

Viking grills aren’t for everyone, but when you want to outfit the ultra premium outdoor kitchen Viking is a great choice.

October 28, 2009

Looking for Fire Magic Grills?

Filed under: et.al. — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:56 pm

Look no further than Outdora.com.

Outdora offers a full line of Fire Magic grills, grill accessories and other Fire Magic products, all offered at a sale price marked below list. Do you need a built-in Fire Magic grill? Outdora has models with rotisseries, countertop grills and basic built-in grills. Freestanding grills? You can find freestanding grills on pedestals, table top models, grills with rotisseries, grills with built-in LCD thermometers and more. You can even find side burners and rotisserie kits to add to a Fire Magic grill.

Cookouts, barbecues and even preparing full meals outside is a big part of outdoor living. Everything from knocking out a few hot dogs to slow-smoking racks of ribs to cooking multiple dishes over an open outdoor flame makes for a fun and relaxing meal and atmosphere. To make your outdoor kitchen or barbecuing experience smooth and easy you want to have the right equipment on hand and that equipment begins with your outdoor grill.

Fire Magic grills are on the high-end of outdoor grill options out there, but the product line offers a wide variety of grilling options including how the grill is installed (built-in, freestanding, countertop, table top), accessories and features (rotisserie, side burner, and more) and type of heat (electric, propane, charcoal and wood burning). Speaking of heat — some models cooking temperatures up to over 700 degrees for intense and instant searing of your favorite cut of steak. My personal favorite is a blue rare cowboy cut — that is, a very thick ribeye cut with the bone left in.

Fire Magic grills have been around since 1937 providing barbecue and outdoor living fun. Fire Magic’s current line of outdoor grills feature stainless steel styling to complement modern decors. So if all that makes you interested in a Fire Magic grill, hit the link and head to Outdora to check out the entire line of outdoor grills and grilling accessories.

October 22, 2009

Protecting your outdoor living furnishings …

Filed under: et.al. — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:15 am

… is easy. Make sure you have patio furniture covers for all your outdoor furniture pieces like tables, chairs, pool-side lounges and umbrellas.

Outdoor living has evolved from a fad to a trend and now to a full-blown lifestyle. At the most extreme many outdoor living enthusiasts are creating, and furnishing, fully equipped  outdoor kitchens, outdoor living rooms, outdoor bedrooms and more. Often these outdoor living spaces are outfitted with plumbing and electricity and furnishings that mimic indoor furniture styles. This opulent variant of outdoor living truly takes the indoors out. With that level of investment in furnishings it only makes sense to provide a patio furniture cover for each and every piece of specialty outdoor furniture to help protect it from the elements and seasons.

Even if your outdoor living experience ends with a backyard deck, a barbecue grill, a set of comfortable patio furniture and maybe a fire pit or outdoor fireplace — especially now that fall has arrived — investing in patio furniture covers is a good idea to prolong the life of that comfortable outdoor furniture. Patio furniture left exposed to the sun will fade over time and the material it’s constructed with can become damaged leading to cracking or flaking paint. Cushions that become water-logged by rain or melting ice and snow can mildew, and letting winter weather attack your patio furniture can lead to damage and cracking when ice freezes, thaws and re-freezes submitting your furniture to expansion and contraction.

If you are looking for outdoor patio furniture covers, hit one of the links in this post to head to Outdora.com where you can find a selection of protective covers for all types of patio furniture from table and chair sets to pool-side chaise lounges to outdoor couches to even umbrellas.

Outdora’s patio furniture covers are made of high-grade vinyl and come with a prorated three-year warranty.

October 20, 2009

Outdoor living and patio furniture

Filed under: et.al. — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:01 am

Outdoor living is certainly more than a fad — it’s here to stay. Like I’ve blogged previously, I’ve covered the topic fairly extensively when contributing to a no-longer-published do-it-yourself magazine geared toward young homeowners. At the extreme end, outdoor living can get pretty wild with fully outfitted living rooms outside featuring all-weather furnishings and electrical hookups for televisions. Outdoor living certainly doesn’t have to be that difficult. A simple deck, comfortable outdoor patio furniture and maybe a fire pit or outdoor fireplace is plenty to fully enjoy the relaxing benefits of outdoor living.

Of course if you are looking for something more than the basic outdoor patio furniture setup, there are plenty of options to choose from out there. Hit the link to head to Outdora.com where you can find outdoor patio furniture to meet any design, function or layout need. Outdora’s conversation sets are geared for comfort and to create a lounging atmosphere in your outdoor living space in a range of materials including wrought iron, aluminium and natural wood. The conversation sets of patio furniture are built to withstand the elements while encouraging pleasant lounging.

Outdora’s patio dining sets include seating and a table ready for your next gathering, or even just a family dinner in your outdoor living space. The patio dining sets are available in aluminum, wrought iron and wicker, and are built to withstand the seasons and as much use as you can throw at them. If you are looking for something a bit closer to traditional patio furniture, Outdora offers patio and pool seating that fits the bill and includes everything from pool-side lounge chairs to outdoor patio furniture that looks good enough to put inside.

Outdoor living is more than a trendy lifestyle and whether you want to keep things simple, or to create different outdoor living rooms and specialty areas, Outdora is a great resource for your outdoor furnishings.

October 5, 2009

Cooler weather, outdoor living and fire pits

Filed under: et.al. — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:59 pm

When fall weather brings cooler nights I enjoy sitting by my outdoor fire pit. Several years ago I regularly contributed to a do-it-yourself magazine for homeowners and one topic we covered in some fashion in every issue was the then growing trend of outdoor living. I did one story on how some people were taking the idea to extremes by creating entire living rooms and bedrooms outside, sometimes fully outfitted with electricity and plumbing.

I enjoy my backyard, but to my mind an outdoor bedroom takes the idea a little too far. Sometimes simple is best and few things are easier to build or install and pleasing to use than outdoor fire pits. Of course there is a quick bit of advice before you install a fire pit — make sure and check the fire codes and regulations where you live on whether or not you can have an outdoor fire, and if you can what are the requirements. Usually the fire pit has to be contained in some fashion and maybe even covered with a grillwork or something similar.

The simplest fire pit is a small hole in the ground surrounded by some rocks for containment, and is pretty much a glorified camp fire. My fire pit is a bit more ornate variation. I dug a pretty large square hole and used decorative cinder blocks from a home renovation job I was working on at the time to line the hole and add a partial cover and backstop for the fire.

All that work and material is certainly not necessary. If you want an outdoor fire pit without all the fuss, you can find fire pits in many ready-to-go versions. Find a decorative above ground unit, usually made of a metal like steel or copper, pick out a good location and start enjoying the cool fall weather.