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.


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.


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.


December 23, 2009

A picnic in the wintertime?

Filed under: et.al. — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:45 pm

Depending on where you live a picnic right now could be a mighty cold prospect. But not in your imagination. Just picture — you, a loved one and a full picnic basket. Throw in a leisurely walk across a green, flower-filled park, or a gentle hike into a rustic woods before coming into a small clearing. It’s a sun-filled day with nothing more than a very gentle breeze bringing the fragrance of blooming wildflowers to you. After the walk you spread out a sturdy blanket and settle down for quiet repast.

You open your basket, or better yet open your two picnic baskets (keeping the cold and warm provisions apart) to find a bottle of favorite wine, a couple of pints of lightly chilled Belgian ale, a selection of finger sandwiches, fresh fruit that’s already been cut, a small block of aged swiss, several pastries and cold-wrapped bottle of champagne. And a minimal, but essential, selection of utensils, implements and ware. Where to begin? Ah yes, the pastries and champagne of course. Couldn’t let it get too warm, right?

It’s probably cold right now when you’re reading this, but there’s no time like the present to start thinking about outdoor fun, and what better way to welcome in the spring than to be prepared with one of Outdora’s many romantic picnic baskets. Outdora offers literally hundreds of picnic options. Everything from the classic English-style picnic basket for two, to picnic shoulder packs and backpacks, to picnicking kits specially designed for wine and cheese snacking or even for coffee service. You can even find accessories to make your picnicking easier and more fun. Accessories as basic as bar ware and plates to as extensive as picnic games and shelters. Whatever picnic supplies you are looking for, you’re sure to find it at Outdora.


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.


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.


December 4, 2009

Year-round gardening with a greenhouse

Filed under: et.al. — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:54 pm

I did a post earlier this week on composting. Now there are many reasons to compost, but usually if you take the time and effort to turn organic scraps and waste into soil and plant food, you are a somewhat serious gardener. Now that the weather has turned colder, the best way to keep gardening all year is by adding a garden greenhouse to your outdoor tool kit.

If you are looking for a solution to maximize your gardening and personal agriculture efforts, hit any link in this post to head to Outdora for a wide selection of garden greenhouses. You will find everything from very simple and inexpensive options to very large and elaborate structures ready for serious horticulture. Outdora’s greenhouse selection includes the AmeriLux greenhouse and Riga greenhouse product lines.

For the gardener looking for a hobby greenhouse Outdora has a redwood cold frame starter box greenhouse and small footprint lean-to greenhouses, solving the problem of finding space for a larger walk-in structure. And if space isn’t a problem the FlowerHouse farm house is great option for a versatile greenhouse at a reasonable price.

With a greenhouse in your backyard you can get a head start on spring plantings by getting those seeds going long before the weather is ready to cooperate, and the growing and blooming season for your vegetables and flowers will be instantly expanded. And if your outdoor living space includes a water feature with delicate aquatic plants or animals to protect an easy to assemble greenhouse  will provide protection from winter weather.

All of Outdora’s greenhouse kits are designed for easy assembly and don’t require professional installation, and the serious gardener will appreciate the conservatory-style greenhouses designed by plant scientists with space to nurture shrubbery and  trees. Whatever your greenhouse needs may be, Outdora is certain to have the solution.


December 2, 2009

Composting for fun and profit

Filed under: et.al. — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:12 pm

Okay, that title is a total lie. Composting isn’t all that fun unless you consider saving food scraps and collecting leaves entertaining pastimes, and really you’d have to compost on a massive scale to make any profit selling the results. But if you do any gardening or other personal agriculture, a garden composter is a great way to create your own fertilizer and enriched soil, and it does provide a nice way to dispose of organic material that still has a lot to give. A much better alternative to sending all that material either down the disposal or to the landfill.

Garden composters come in many sizes, shapes and formats, and can even be built from scrap material around the workshop. If you are looking to build your own composter, do a quick internet search for plans that best fit your space. I created a very simple composter using two-by-fours for corner posts and old fencing slats as side walls with a little breathing space between slat. It doesn’t look great, but it does get the job done.

If you’d prefer something a little more organized, and certainly better looking than my homemade composter, hit any link in this post for a wide variety of composters and composter accessories from Outdora. You can find units that stay in the kitchen or on the counter top for ease of adding leftover food material, and larger outdoor units that’ll handle anything you want to throw at them.

If you’re new to the composting game keep in mind you want to add what is considered “green” and “brown” organic material. Green material is kitchen scraps including fruit and vegetable waste, egg shells, coffee grounds and tea leaves and the like. Avoid meat products because they tend to attract vermin, and don’t add citrus waste such as orange peels. The acids will kill beneficial organisms in your compost. Brown material includes fallen leaves, chipped tree wood and straw-like material. Lawn trimming fall under both categories depending on whether they are freshly cut and still green, or dried out and brittle brown.


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 12, 2009

Add some gong to your life

Filed under: et.al. — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:08 pm

Looking for an Eastern touch touch for your garden decor, something to help focus your thoughts while musing or meditating, or maybe just searching for an interesting accent piece for your home or garden? A meditation gong from Outdora might well be the answer. Gongs are East and Southeast Asian musical instruments, with origins in China, consisting of a flat metal disc struck by a mallet to produce its tones. Gongs can be traced to at least 2000 B.C., but it’s believed to have been use much further back in history. Chinese history records gongs beginning around 500 A.D.

Traditionally gongs have been used for many purposes including communication and to make announcements, to make music, as an accompaniment for ceremonies, and for healing. Adding a gong to your home or garden allows you to join centuries of tradition using this instrument for celebrations, mourning, theater and making music.

Outdora offers a variety of meditation gongs to meet different needs and size requirements. You will find freestanding gongs with a built-in frame, hanging or suspended gongs, wind gongs and garden bells. There are gongs sized for desk- or table-top and gongs large enough to really make a statement in your garden, both visually and aurally. Outdora’s Woodstock Chau Gong meets big size/big sound requirement with an ash wood and steel stand complementing the bronze disc. The Woodstock Chau Gong stands 65 inches high for a dramatic and elegant look.

Outdora’s gong collection is all handmade and designed to stand up to the outdoor elements. Purely as a decorative element, a gong will add appeal to your indoor or outdoor living space. And every Outdora gong is a musical instrument as well, ready to provide a sense of peace, tranquility or drama to your day.

Hit any link in this post for the full selection of meditation gongs from Outdora.

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.

November 5, 2009

It’s that time again …

Filed under: et.al. — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 8:18 pm

… autumn is in full swing and winter isn’t far behind. If you haven’t winterized your home, now is the time. Depending on where you live this could be a quick afternoon of mild chores, or an entire operation to get your house ready for worst Jack Frost can bring. The first step should be checking out the heating portion of your HVAC system to make sure everything is working order, clean and ready for operation. Next is the roof and chimney, particularly gutters and downspouts. Take a look at your gutters or gutter protection to make sure things aren’t clogged up preventing proper drainage. Also inspect the “envelope” of your home for drafts, air leaks and missing insulation. And don’t forget your pipes — especially outdoor pipes. You don’t want a surprise water leak after a hard freeze and thaw.

One good way to minimize your winterizing chores is to cover your chimney and gutters to minimize debris accumulation. A good gutter protection system will protect your gutters, downspouts and drains year-round and end that pesky winterizing chore of making sure every spot is clear of leaves, bird and rodent nests, and areas of standing water that can lead to corrosion and mosquito problems during warm weather.

Hit any link in this post to head to Outdora.com and the GutterPiller gutter protection system. The system has been featured on “This Old House” and has won the “Retailers’ Choice Award” multiple times. Outdora offers two GutterPiller gutter protection systems — the GutterPiller Twisted Wire Gutter Protection System and the Black Magic Filter Gutter Screen Protection System. You can even find gutter brushes to help you clear out clogged — and probably unprotected — gutters, and splash guards to help disperse water under your drainspouts.

If winterizing isn’t your favorite seasonal chore, and I’m betting it isn’t, a gutter protection system takes one item right off of your list.



October 29, 2009

The old school dinner bell

Filed under: et.al. — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:14 pm

My Dad’s parents lived on a large rural spread with multiple sheds filled with old farming equipment, kitchen utensils and all sorts of rusting bric-a-brac. One thing that ended up in our suburban backyard was a large dinner bell forged in the late 1800s. It was heavy enough to seriously list to one side without a substantial weighted pull cord and totally unnecessary for the size of the yard. It was incredibly cool — a big old chunk of iron that passed through multiple generations of my family. Some day I’ll be proud to ring that bell in my own backyard.

If you don’t have a treasure trove of heirloom ranch material to go through, you can still enjoy the look and sound of a dinner or farm bell. Hit the link and head to Outdora for a large selection of outdoor bells, wind chimes and sources of pleasant natural music provided by a little metal and the wind. And if your kids regularly don’t hear the call to get in the house to eat, a dinner bell might be just what the cook ordered.

Medium Black Country Bell

Of course the need for a dinner bell or farm bell isn’t required to add one to your outdoor decor. Outdora has a variety of outdoor bells to meet whatever decorating scheme you have. If you want to rustic that’s not a problem; if you prefer more of a wind chime look and sound, you can find that, too;  and Outdora even offers a combination water fountain with bells.

The bell currently resting in my Dad’s backyard dates back to a couple of centuries ago and is one of the lucky amongst farm bells to still have a place of honor in someone’s yard. You can start your own tradition by adding a dinner bell to your backyard.

Nothing says good cooking better than a pealing farm bell.

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 16, 2009

Firewood, fireplaces and wood-burning furnaces

Filed under: et.al. — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:24 pm

Winter is coming and with it comes the season for burning wood. You may simply enjoy an indoor fireplace or maybe an outdoor fireplace or fire pit, and you might even use wood burning as a sustainable and economical way to heat your home with a modern wood-burning furnace. The common denominator in all these ways to burn wood is the firewood itself, and firewood means having a place and way to store your supply. The best way to do so is with a firewood rack that protects your firewood and keeps it ready for burning.

Firewood racks come in a number of varieties, but beyond helping organize your firewood pile most racks will keep your wood off the ground helping keep it dry and not quite so attractive to insects. Some firewood racks even feature covers to keep your firewood even more protected from rain, snow and other moisture. If you keep a large supply of firewood you’ll want a large rectangular rack to maximize your storage area, but if you only keep a small supply of firewood on hand you could go with a more decorative hoop-style rack. And if you need to transport your firewood around the yard you can even buy a portable rack on wheels.

If you are considering a wood-burning outdoor furnace as a way to cut down on your winter heating costs, you will certainly want a large firewood rack to keep a large and ready-to-burn supply of wood close to your outdoor furnace to keep it stoked.

Whether you are burning wood for pleasure, for heating your home or maybe even both, remember drier wood provides more heat per pound of wood when it burns. Make sure your firewood has been properly seasoned — that is allowed to dry for months or longer after it’s been cut — and then kept dry by storing your wood in a firewood rack.

October 14, 2009

Can you find me now?

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

If you own a home the answer to that question might be, “No, I can’t find you now,” if your home isn’t easily identifiable by an address plaque. It can be hung on the front wall or front door of your house, and can even be featured in your front yard, maybe highlighted with a spot light.

Prominent address plaques provide three immediate benefits. The first I just outlined. If your address is only marked by faded paint on the curb in front of your house, or numbers tacked on a dark area of the front of your house, your home can be very hard to find for visitors, party guests, delivery services and this list could go on for a while. And if your house is hard to pick out from other homes around you during the day, just think how hard it will be to find at night. A properly displayed address plaque will draw attention to your address and make your home that much easier to find.

The second benefit is you can display a customized address plaque that reflects your interests, hobbies or just simply your personality. Address plaques come in many styles and options and with little effort you can most likely find something to meet most any criteria you can come up with.

The third benefit of a prominently displayed address plaque is probably the most important — it helps emergency response vehicles quickly find your home day or night. If you have to call 911 for any reason the last thing you want is to delay the police, fire or ambulance response unnecessarily by leaving your home poorly marked from the street. Emergency response time lost because the response team is lost in your neighborhood could be the difference between getting to a fire before it has the chance to engulf the entire house, beginning needed emergency medical treatment or being forced to deal with a burglary or home invasion situation on your own.

October 8, 2009

Christmas is going to be here …

Filed under: et.al. — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:37 pm

… before you know it.

Anyone who reads the “Tuesday Morning Quarterback” by Gregg Easterbrook at ESPN.com’s Page Two gets a weekly update on “Christmas Creep,” the term he applies to the holiday season reaching deeper into the year in terms of music, store displays and other “signs of the season.”

I’m no fan of Christmas creep in the stores, but I am guilty of starting the Christmas music pretty early each year. And I’m a huge fan of the holiday season overall and always run the WordPress holiday snow on this blog (if you don’t know what this is, just come back around December.) One place it pays to plan ahead is with large Christmas decorations you intend to install outdoors.

If your outdoor holiday decoration plans include multiple elements working together, such as large Christmas ornaments complementing a display of Santa and his reindeer, you want to have your design completed in time to have all the different parts delivered and ready for display when you want to put them up. Few things are more forlorn looking than a team of reindeer surrounded by giant Christmas ornaments pulling an empty sled because Santa is stuck at a delivery hub somewhere south of the North Pole.

Anyone who is looking for large Christmas decorations should hit the link and head to Outdora.com. You can find a selection including everything from basic wreaths and garland to solar-powered ornamental light sticks to truly gigantic tree ornaments and holiday themed displays.

Christmas creep in the stores, in public events and in advertising can be pretty annoying for most everyone. Just ask Gregg Easterbrook. Planning ahead and having the best decorated yard in the neighborhood is something else altogether. Maybe you have outdoor decorations that go up each year as a holiday tradition. Check out Outdora’s large Christmas decorations to create some new traditions.

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.