Which Outdoor Rug Is Best For Me?

A great looking sustainable outdoor rug is a very nice compliment to any outdoor living area. Not only are they appealing but offer some cushion to the feet, especially for the ones who decide to go barefoot. Like any other piece of backyard furniture, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Rug Material

As with most any kind of rug, indoor or outdoor, there are multiple different materials to choose from. Outdoor rugs typically come in natural fibers, synthetic or plastic. Each has their own unique characteristics and depending on the environment, one may be better suited for you than the other.

Natural Fibers

If your rug is going to be in your three or four seasons room most of its life, it is not as critical you have a waterproof rug. Natural fiber rugs such as sisal, hemp, and seagrass should be kept in a covered area and avoid moisture. These will dramatically enhance your space while adding warmth, texture, and sound absorbent qualities.


Synthetic rugs have combined elegance and durability along with an array of colorful options. They can be exposed to water and still will not grow mold and mildew. Acrylic rugs are another viable option that will resist water damage and also has stain-resistant characteristics.

Regardless of the synthetic you choose to go with, you will want to ensure that the material is also UV resistant. Most are but you will find some that are not.  Also, the synthetic materials tend to offer more vibrant options in colors and design vs the natural rugs.

Remeber, if you happen to fall in love with one that is not 100% waterproof, it is not the end of the world as their are products that can be applied to make them so. Another benefit of the synthetics is the weight. This can become a factor when it comes time to clean or store the rug.


Whether it’s natural or synthetic, black or white, it still needs to be cared for appropriately. Fortunately, this task is usually as simple as rinsing with a mild detergent and simply letting dry.

If the rug is exposed to sunlight and rain all year long you will want to do this more often and re-treat the rug with any kind of protectant as desired. Otherwise, you can expect to replace it every 2-3 years, depending on the harshness of environment.

Out With The Old, In With The New

So, if your old patio is lookin a little blah, an outdoor rug is a perfect way to spice things up a bit for a very reasonable price. Whichever route you decide to take, I’m sure you will be happy with the outcome for years of enjoyment.

Outdoor Fire Pit Designs

With pumpkin spice in abundance and winter fast approaching, now is the time to get outside and enjoy the fresh autumn air. Depending on your geographical location, you may be subjected to some of the prettiest colors on the planet with the season and trees changing. Don’t let the cooler temperatures keep you indoors!

Backyard Fire Pits

While substantially increasing in popularity in the last 5-10 years, there is an abundance of different outdoor fire pit designs available to be either purchased or built. Whether you are looking for heat and/or romantic glow, there is a perfect fit for almost anyone.

Standalone Gas Fire Pits

So many variations of propane fire pits to choose from these days, one could spend hours finding the right one. There is a large range in which they can vary in price and BTU output.

One convenient aspect with these that some people may not be aware of is that most any LP fire pit/heater or grill can easily be ran on natural gas with a simple conversion kit. This usually just entails the changing out of different size orifice that regulates the flow of fuel.

If you prefer to keep them remote and self-contained, a 20lb. propane tank conceals nicely within. They are an excellent source of heat and burn very clean, so there will be no obnoxious odors. Just beware of the output of carbon monoxide and use in a well ventilated area.

Old Fashioned Log Burners

There is just something to be said about a wood fire. The natural crackling flame paired with the rich smokey aromas is enough to mesmerize anyone in the vicinity. Whether it’s a hole in the ground or a store bought fire pit, there is only two things you will need, marshmallows and firewood.

To take it to the next level and really wow your senses (and neighbors), cook a steak over the coals. Preferably oak coals because they burn long and hot. With minimal effort and seasoning, you will have a steakhouse quality piece of meat.

Now, some purchased fire pits have a cooking grate incorporated in the design that is usually adjustable but don’t worry if yours doesn’t. Tripods are readily available online and in camping sections of sporting goods stores. The trick is to get a nice bed of hot coals going and cook over the high heat-not the flame. Just make sure to perfect your timing and technique prior to showing off your new skills.

DIY Projects

Typically you get what you pay for when shopping around for these backyard necessities. But, if you cannot exactly find what you are looking for, there are many DIY projects available. From welded up stainless pits, a recycled metal barrel to concrete and stone, there is an abundance of videos and plans out there. If you are somewhat handy and decide to go this route, your options are endless.

Custom Fire Pits

So you aren’t too concerned with price and can’t find much value in the fire pits for sale. Many modern builders these days have extensive experience building custom fire features. You want an all brick fire feature in the shape of your initials? No problem…. Perhaps add a water fountain in the middle or vise versa.

Or, how about a wood burning pit but you have trouble getting it started? A simple valve and gas line from your house will guarantee to have a fire in no time. Just shut the valve once the wood catches. One other trick to getting a stubborn fire going without spending an hour stuffing newspaper in it is to use a handful of charcoal briquettes.

You don’t have charcoal because your grill is propane? There are fire logs that can be purchased from almost any big box store or there are even tutorials online to make your own. Fire logs are essentially compressed saw dust or paper byproducts held together with some sort of binder. They make quick work out of starting a fire but I would not recommend cooking any food over the flame until the log is completely burned away.


Safety First

Regardless of the style of fire pit you choose to enjoy, nobody has a good time if someone gets hurt. Be sure to have a backup plan should the need arise to immediately extinguish the fire. Also, be aware of your surroundings too not burn down the house (or neighborhood). Leaves and loose yard debris can catch fire and quickly spread, especially on a windy night. When enjoyed responsibly, having a cozy backyard fire can create some of the most lasting family memories.





Barbecue Grill Accessories

Barbecue Grill Accessories-And So Much More!

Outdoor Grilling-Why Not?

Unless you are highly allergic to everything imaginable outside, I strongly suggest everyone at least give grilling a fair shot a few times.  Food in general can bring people (and pets, lol) together in so many ways.  The outdoor grilling accessories that are available today only simplify the process to where pretty much anyone can master the art.  One of the primary reasons some people may not like to grill is that they are inexperienced and haven’t had much practice or knowledge of what’s involved.

Hot dogs and hamburgers over fire for your kids birthday party is a lot more appealing than some overpriced greasy pizza half stuck to the top of the delivery box.  Date night with mamma but you don’t want to go anywhere?  How about a bottle of wine and a nice thick yellowfin ahi tuna steak with some roasted asparagus on the side?  Have some time to kill?  Throw a whole chicken on the spit and watch it baste itself over low indirect heat.  You are the artist with a blank canvas.

The Perfect Steak

Nobody comes out of the womb as a master steakhouse chef.  If you have never burned a steak or flat out ruined it with the seasoning, then you haven’t experimented enough.  Practice makes perfect…  There are thousands of recipes and opinions on different techniques along with dos and don’ts out there but not here, not now.

My tried and true recommendations will be a whole other post as it can get lengthy.  Find what works for you and run with it.  Although, there is one item that is a necessity and that is a good instant read digital thermometer.  Without this handy tool, you are setting yourself up for failure.

Gas vs Charcoal

This debate has been beat to death over and over again on the interweb.  I honestly feel that the people who despise charcoal, could never get the hang of controlling their grill.  There definitely is a bit more of a learning curve at first but a great deal of satisfaction when you master the coals.

Gas is completely fine too but ultimately it is a personal preference in taste.  I call BS on the convenience factor of gas due to the fact that running out of a tank of gas with a chunk of beef on the grates is not real convenient in my eyes.  Besides, waiting 20-30 minutes for your coals to become scorching hot is a perfect time to season your meat and enjoy your favorite beverage.  A quality charcoal chimney makes this pregame task a breeze.

Grilling Is Only For Steaks

Wrong!  So, you don’t eat meat.  Or you have a specific diet that is limited.  No problem here as we have literally grilled everything you can think of, besides ice cream.  Seasoned grill grates can add the perfect hint of flavor to any soy burger that will make people question your protein.  Kids want chicken nuggets and cheese sticks?  Throw them on the grill.

You essentially have an outdoor oven in which can double as a congregation piece while keeping the kitchen mess free.  Some of the best vegetables, especially corn on cob, comes right off the grill.  Pizza, frozen or homemade cooks up beautifully over some coals or propane.  Low and slow cornish hens over indirect heat will make everybody think twice about birds.  Regardless of whats on your grill, you will need a good set of long (12″ or more) tongs to get your goodness safely and securely on and off the grates.

Keep It Simple And Safe

Grilling outdoors surrounded by family and friends can be very much rewarding, especially when that perfect meal is served up.  While you are multitasking and mingling, remember there are a few things that need bot be forgotten.  Obviously, the grill will be very hot-so no little ones around the barbie.  Also, be aware of your surroundings as the grill may emit a few embers occasionally, especially charcoal grills.  Follow the proper lighting procedures when using a gas grill and be sure to shut the gas off at the tank when not in use to prevent a knob getting accidentally turned on.

When first getting into this enjoyable outdoor activity, don’t overwhelm yourself.  Your first couple attempts may not be fantastic.  Don’t beat yourself up but I wouldn’t recommend inviting the neighborhood over at this point of your learning curve either.  It all takes patience and like anything else, if you plan, prep, and execute, you will not want to order out near as much.  Remember, experience is a progressive learning process that requires experience to gain experience.





Backyard Lighting

So, if you aren’t lucky enough to have a moon lit evening or a sky full of stars, there are options. Bottom line is nobody enjoys hanging out in the dark. But, in the same aspect, not many like to be under the spotlight either. This is where the correct lighting such as solar tiki torches could make all the difference.

Tiki TorchesOil Tiki Torch

What a better way to light the walkway, patio or deck than with real flame? Tiki torches can be purchased in bundles to really save some cash and look amazing when you have 20 or 30 lit in the back yard. Not only do they give off a romantic glow, they are also a bug repellent when you burn citronella oil. These torches range in height from 2 to 5 feet and come in many materials including bamboo, steel, and aluminum. One of the most attractive and least expensive ways to add an elegant touch to any outdoor setting can be obtained with a tiki torch.

Solar Tiki Torches

A great alternative for anyone who doesn’t need or can not tolerate the oils of standard tiki torches. These solar torches come in several types, sizes, and styles. Dusk to dawn, LED, realistic flickering flame priced anywhere from $20-$50 per torch. Offering anywhere from 20-50 lumens, they are not a bad route to go if you are looking for some ambient lighting.

String-LightsString Lights

Not to be confused with rope lights, string lights are catching on and becoming more and more popular these days. These lights probably are the most diverse in options when it comes to lighting up the fun. They range from silly, cartoon like characters on a string, to simple round bulb type, to cool old school LED antique bulbs. You can purchase very inexpensive 10′-20′ lengths all the way up to high end, dimmable, color changing 50′ lengths. These look great when suspended through open air such as spanning a stretch from your deck to a tree and back.

Rope LightsRope-Lights

While different from string lights, this option is a big value. They typically are installed as accent lighting to where one can not directly see the light source. For instance, under a deck ledge or railing, under a bar top or simply outlining a patio. These are very easy to install, come in multiple lengths and can even be remotely controlled to change colors and brightness.

Dinner-CandlesLanterns and Candles

Are you looking for just enough table lighting to enjoy each others company while setting a calming mood? Dinner and wine on the deck with just a few close friends? Traditional candles seem to not be so common anymore so what a better way to change things up? Any chance of wind though, you’d better have some battery operated candles on standby. If you don’t want such an intimate setting, there are battery operated LED lanterns. These little but mighty units are fully adjustable that can light up a small end table all the way up to providing enough light for a full picnic table and then some.


It is getting dark, the party started a little late and everyone is just now starting to enjoy the yard games. Time to turn on the flood lights. These lights are either permanently fixed to a structure or you have some mobile lights on a tripod, fence post, or even setting on the ground. It is a good idea to set up a test run the night before your party so you can strategically place your lights and games accordingly without blinding your guests. Then, once darkness falls, all you have to do is simply turn them on and everyone thinks you’re the greatest since sliced bread. This also prevents yourself being distracted from enjoying your guests and partaking in the festivities. One important aspect to remember is that if you are going to need extension cords, try to place them in a discreet manner as it will look much cleaner but more importantly, you don’t want to trip anyone. Lastly, if you plan on having an all out bash and have the property to do so, elevated mobile light plants can be rented for a reasonable fee. These are very useful in lighting up a couple acres at once and are a self-contained unit.

ExitDon’t Be Left In the Dark

One area pertaining to lighting that a lot of people tend to overlook is where your guests will park their vehicles and where they will exit. Be sure there is sufficient lighting for them to safely navigate their way to their cars and leave the party. A few little LED lanterns or similar lights strategically placed will do the trick. Some of the most memorable moments are made after the sun goes down, so don’t let a little darkness rain on your parade.





Yard Games -The Ultimate Social Networking

BoredHave you ever attended an event hosted by someone else and found yourself looking for a reason to leave? Nothing besides the presence of people was captivating. Just a somber, low key gathering with no entertainment besides communicating with one another. What if you didn’t know everybody there or don’t feel comfortable initiating a conversation with people you don’t know? This is where outdoor yard games can really become the missing link and contribute to the fun factor.

Bags – Call Them What You Want Cornhole

Whether it’s in your yard or tailgating at an event, almost a guarantee that everybody there has tossed a game or two. There are bean bags and there is cornhole. The big difference here is the length of the boards with cornhole measuring 4′ and bean bags coming in at 3′. The cornhole boxes seem to be more popular but either is a blast to play with anywhere from 2-4 people. A simple game to 21 with teams or players alternating throws can last 5 minutes with a whitewash or can be super competitive and last an hour or more.

Washer-TossWashers/Washer Toss – No Laundry Here

Another fun game similar to cornhole where players toss metal washers measuring roughly 2″ diameter into a PVC pipe or can that is usually contained within a box. The target hole or pipe is about 4-1/2″ in diameter and about 5″ tall. This pipe is then placed in a 16″ square box on the ground and are set about 20′ apart. Scoring is the same as bags in which one in the hole will net you 3 points and one in the box will get you 1 point with the opposing team able to cancel out points. The game is also played to 21. It may seem more challenging than bags at first but with a little practice it can be just as much if not more fun.

Ladder Toss/Ladder Ball/Hillbilly GolfLadder-Ball

Here is another game that can bring a lot of enjoyment and is growing in popularity and has many names. The game consists of a set of “ladders” typically made of PVC with three horizontal rungs spaced about a foot apart from each other. Each player will toss a piece of string 12″ in length with two golf balls attached to the ends. Top rung is 1 point, middle is 2, and bottom rung will get you 3 points with each team’s points able to cancel the others out until one team reaches 21.

Horseshoes – Who’s Riding Horses?Horseshoes

One game that is centuries old but rarely seen in backyards is good old horseshoes. Although more commonly found in tournament play at local bars and competitions, shoes can very easily be played at home. One reason for this is the fact that most shoes are pitched into “pits” or an area of sand, clay, or some type of material that will allow the shoes to stick rather than bounce. For starters, 2-4 players pitch shoes at stakes that are in the ground 40′ apart. The players do not alternate turns and are trying to get a ringer, or a shoe around the stake. Achieve this and earn 3 points, anything short of a ringer is a dead shoe, unless it is within 6″ of the stake, then, you will get 1 point.

Bocce Ball – Huh?Bocce-Ball

With modern day games available, who would want to play an ancient game dating back to the roman empire? Well, don’t knock it until you try it…Bocce is very simple and easy to play almost anywhere with 2 people or 2 teams of 2, 3, or 4. There are specific rules and specifications to court dimensions and zones if you want to get technical. But, if you just want to have some recreational fun, it’s simple. There are two sets of 4 balls, a little smaller than a softball, and one smaller ball the size of a golf ball which is referred to as the “jack”. One team bowls or tosses all four of their balls toward the jack, trying to get as close to it as possible. Then, the other team does the same. The team with the closest ball to the jack scores a point along with any other ball that is closer than any of the other team’s closest ball. The game can get real interesting when the jack gets bumped by a teams ball in the middle of play. Play to any predetermined score but the game is typically played to either 7 or 13.


FireworksAt The End of The Day, What Will They Say?

Not everyone will be interested in some friendly competition but these are just a few really simple alternatives to standing around tweeting each other and your guests posting pics of the food they just ate. Wouldn’t you want them all to remember how much fun they had at your party? All with minimal effort and planning on your part. In fact, a lot of yard games make great DIY projects and can be built and personalized by yourself. There are of course many other outdoor yard games that can be very entertaining but some may feel there is a bit of athleticism required such as volleyball, badminton, croquet, miniature golf, wiffleball, etc. If you have the space and a few jocks that wanna show off their skills, line up a game of wiffleball ball or even kick ball. Holy cow, some of the best laughs are exposed by reintroducing your childhood years. Throw a couple of adult beverages into the mix and who knows what the outcome will be….Regardless, tranquility is not an option when you are hosting a party, so let the games begin!