An outdoor patio and backyard fireplace is stunning. Not only is it visually breathtaking, but it creates an outdoor living space that is a show-stopper for your family, and your guests. It’s calm and cheery in the summer, yet cozy and warm in the winter.
As if you needed more reasons than stunning beauty alone on why to create an outdoor living space, here are five ways you could use a wonderful outdoor area:
1. Meet your Neighbors – invite them over!
Break out of the growing suburban isolationism, and get to know your neighbors! An outdoor living space and fireplace creates a great atmosphere that is inviting and welcoming. Plus, it helps bring more comfort to all of you as you spend time with new friends outdoors rather than inside of your home.
2. Host Bridal and Baby Showers!
These days, it’s hard to find a great, affordable venue for life’s biggest occasions such as showers and parties. Indoor parties can feel cramped, yet often times our lawns aren’t “where we want them to be” when it comes to hosting outdoor events. An outdoor living space can provide just the ambiance and setting you’re looking for, without the expensive rental fees of renting a venue!
3. Have a family camp out!
Kids dig tents! Have a fun family night as you pitch a tent near your outdoor fireplace and “camp” in the backyard! Use your fireplace to roast smores and make dinner outside! You’ll make memories with your family that will last a lifetime!
4. Create a Teenage Hangout
Parents of teenagers all share one thing in common: anxiety. Skip those worry-filled nights when your teens are away, and invite them to hang out in your backyard. A fire pit or grand fireplace will be sure to capture their attention, and create a fun teenage handout space – without the worry!
5. Cheap Date Night
By investing in an outdoor living space, you’ll create a space for many cheap date nights for years to come! Order in some food, break open some wine, and spend time in front of a glowing fire with your honey.
As the warmer weather makes its way into the Kansas City forecast, spring is officially here! Its time for beautiful tulips, green grasses and days of relaxation out in the sun to make an appearance once again.
Not only does spring present a beautiful outdoor setting, but it’s also the time of year for outdoor parties! Whether you’re hosting a graduation party, engagement party, bridal shower, open house or backyard barbecue, spring is when the outdoor patio opens back up! Start the grill, clean off the patio table, and enjoy the outdoors once again!
Outdoor Patio Party Planning
Having an outdoor living space is a great reason to host an outdoor party! As you get your plans in place, begin to think through the following party planning steps. You already have your location, so the rest of the planning should be pretty simple.
- Pick a date and time.
Think about if you want a daytime or evening party. Both will work great on your outdoor patio.
- Pick a theme for your party.
Especially if you’re hosting a wedding or graduation-themed party. Even if you’re hosting a BBQ, make it fun by having a theme for your food and decor.
- Invite guests through printed invitations, or online through sites like Facebook or Evite.
There are several fun ways to send out invites – and even some online ways that are free! When you send out online invitations, guests can RSVP quickly, and post comments, too.
- Plan the menu and activities.
Make sure you have a plan for food and activities. From elaborate menus to simple grilling choices, it’s good to have in mind everything you’d like to prepare. Also, get out your lawn games, or make preparations for any other activities you’d like to do during your party.
- Configure the arrangement of your furniture outdoors.
It’s important to have a plan for where your food will go and where your guests will sit. This will help you enjoy your party, and not be stressed at the last minute. It will also help you know how many table clothes, centerpieces and other items you’ll need.
- Go shopping for food and party supplies.
Make a good, detailed list. Don’t forget plastic plates and forks if you want an easy cleanup. Think about ice, trash bags, table cloths and any items you’ll need for games, too.
- Make preparations for the party.
Begin making the food with plenty of time. Prepare all of the games and gifts. Recruit help if needed.
- On the day of your party, enjoy! You’ve planned it well.
Stay tuned for our second post in our Outdoor Patio Party series – Recipes!
Last week we talked about the steps to take when planning your perfect outdoor patio party. Today we’ll cover some fun recipes as you’re planning your menu!
Recipes for your Outdoor Patio Party
It’s always fun to try a new recipe when you’re hosting a fun party. Especially in spring, when you can introduce colorful drinks and fun appetizers. Below are a few favorite recipes from readers at AllRecipes.com. They’ve given these recipes rave reviews, and they just might be a perfect fit for your outdoor patio party!
Appetizer Recipes for your Outdoor Party
Appetizers are a great way to kick off your outdoor party. Set up your pub tables, and let guests enjoy these yummy treats as the party gets going.
This recipe is super simple and full of tons of fresh fruit! It uses kiwis, apples, raspberries and strawberries mixed with a bit of sugar and fruit preserves. Bake tortilla chips for a great dipper! It serves 10, and is a great party starter. Download the Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips recipe!
The benefits of avocados go on and on, and making a tasty guacamole dip is one of the many! Try this homemade guacamole recipe to impress your guests (and save money on the pre-made stuff at the store! Download the Guacamole Recipe!
Recipes for your Outdoor Grill
The smell of meat and veggies cooking on an outdoor grill makes any mouth water. Try these new ideas for your next barbeque!
Try this unique option when grilling outdoors. This recipe uses a simple marinade and hints of lemon and garlic to give you a perfect salty-sweet combination. Download the grilled salmon recipe!
These pork ribs do not only taste great, but they are a great way to impress your guests! Create your own marinade, and take pride in creating a delicious, fall-off-the-bone set of ribs. Download the baby back ribs recipe!
Drinks and Dessert Recipes for your Outdoor Patio Party
No outdoor party is complete without a fun drink and dessert! Try some of these great spring selections as the fruit comes in season and the weather heats up!
For a fun occasion, try this yummy punch. Mix cranberry juice, lemonade and limeade with your favorite white wine and champagne and garnish with yummy fresh fruit! Download the Champagne Punch Recipe!
For a non-alcoholic option, try this homemade fruit punch! Download the fruit punch recipe.
Few things in life are better than a homemade chocolate cake. Enjoy this easy, yet delicious, recipe that uses a devil’s food cake mix, pudding and sour cream. Download the chocolate cake recipe!
Let us know if you try any of these new recipes and what you think!
Have any other great outdoor party recipes? Let us know!
Fire pits are the newest outdoor living trend that’s trickled into most American homes. The enjoyment of walking out the door to your backyard and enjoying a quiet evening of ambiance over a fire – in summer or winter – is a great new pastime for many.
Many people simply light a fire, prop their feet up and enjoy their fire pits. But for those looking for some new and creative ways to use your fire pit, here are three ideas:
1. Make foil dinners with your Fire Pit
You don’t have to be a boy scout or girl scout to make foil dinners! Take a rectangular piece of foil and place a raw hamburger patty in the center. Then, stick vegetables like carrots, onions and potatoes into the meat, and surrounding the burger patty. Wrap the foil up so that all of the food is covered, and place foil packs over the fire. Continually check on the meat, and once all of the “pink” is gone, you’ve got a campfire dinner.
2. Tell Scary Stories around your Fire Pit
One of the best parts of a campfire is telling scary stories! With a fire pit, you don’t have to go camping to enjoy fun times around a fire. Take a flashlight and shine it under the storyteller’s chin. Pass it around and have everyone at the fire contribute to the stories. Adults and kids can all join in, and have fun trying to come up with the scariest scenario.
3. Make Fish Tacos on your Fire Pit
When it comes to fire pits, most people think of roasting hot dogs and marshmallows for smores. One new idea is to change up the typical food you’d expect to prepare with a fire pit, like fish tacos! The tortillas can be warmed when placed directly over the fire. Click here for step-by-step instructions on making fish tacos on your fire pit!
One major trend in outdoor living right now is patio kits with at-home assembly. Not only are the kits easy to use, but they provide budget-conscious homeowners a way to improve their backyard without paying for expensive, professional installation.
Install Your Outdoor Living Pieces at Home
Manufacturers are realizing that not only are home owners trying to save money these days, but they’re smart, too. Several of the DIY shows on HGTV, TLC and others prove that home owners are handy, and can find the answers that will help them build and install their own home features. Outdoor living pieces like patio kits, fireplaces and fire pits are no different.
Our Outdoor Living Pieces that You Install
All of the outdoor living pieces carried by Olympic Lawn are designed with the home owner in mind. As customer’s design their outdoor living areas and order the separate pieces, they will arrive to the customer’s home ready for assembly. It’s just like Ikea, except for outdoor living patios and more. Homeowners will receive detailed instructions that help them assemble everything from the grand fireplace to the outdoor tables and chairs.
Home owners don’t only enjoy the reduced price for outdoor living patios and furniture, but they enjoy the satisfaction that they helped build and assemble their impressive backyard centerpieces.
Imagine the scene: you head outside after a long day at work and kick up your feet with a cold drink as you watch the crackles come from your grand fireplace or fire pit. It’s perfect, there’s no TV nor computers to worry about. Just you and the fire… and the bugs.
Although a fire and smoke is said to keep the bugs away, as soon as you walk too far away from the smoke, you’ll be the target of a host of outdoor party crashing bugs.
Keep Bugs Away at Night
If you’re also an outdoor enthusiast and enjoy relaxing in your outdoor patio, you know that we’re not the only ones who enjoy a relaxing backyard living area. So do bugs. And before you know it, they’ve run you out of the backyard and into the house. If you’re looking for ways to beat the bugs and stay in your outdoor patio, here are a few suggestions.
Look into a ThermaCell Lantern
ThermaCELL offers several products that repel mosquitoes and other bugs up to a 15×15-foot area.
Deep Woods Bug Spray
Go ahead and get the “deep woods” bug spray. Sure, your outdoor patio might not exactly be “deep woods,” but you’ll get the best coverage that will make the bugs run from you. You can also get a large hat with a wide brim and spray it on the brim if you don’t like the spray on your skin.
If you don’t like the smell of bug spray or the idea of using it in general, try a plant-based lotion. These lotions are also designed to repel the pesky outdoor bugs.
Tiki Torches and Candles
Look into decorating your outdoor patio with some fun tiki torches or citronella candles. The torches will give off less odor; but both give off scents and flames to repel the bugs.
Check your Diet
Some swear that eating lots of garlic will keep the bugs away; they say the smells in your skin will repel mosquitoes. So if you’re hosting a party, place some raw garlic bulbs on those pub tables and let your guests snack away… just kidding. Or if you take us up on that, make sure to offer gum, too.
Our last post talked about the “Garden Effect” and how landscaping can not only increase your home’s curb appeal, but your property values, too. Homeowners who landscaped their yards and took care of their grass experienced up to a $1.8 return on their investments. Don’t miss out on these type of returns. In the current economic climate landscaping your home is more important than ever.
Landscaping Isn’t Optional Anymore
Long gone are the days where landscaping was a hobby, and optional around the house. With the Garden Effect in full swing, realtors and homeowners alike agree that a lawn must be cared for in order for the maximum property value to apply. For those who are trying to increase curb appeal and property values, consider adding professional landscaping to the “to do” list of household tasks to take care of this summer.
Ideas for Increasing your Property Value through Outdoor Landscaping
If you’re looking for a place to start landscaping, here is some advice as professional landscapers:
1. Pick one area and start small.
When you have it in your head that you want to landscape the yard, the task can be overwhelming and daunting, especially if you haven’t done anything and the yard is a “blank slate.” Pick one area, and start there. Improve the area around you porch and front walkway, or choose to get rid of the weeds in the back and install a nice bed for perennial flowers. Whatever you do, take it one step at a time. Contact us if you need help with landscape design ideas!
2. Consider Concrete Curbing
Concrete curbing is the latest landscaping material, and the best product on the market for landscape edging. Concrete curbing not only looks nice, but it lasts for years, especially if it’s resealed. Concrete curbing offers attractive lines and borders around your home, as well as several benefits for your plants such as weed control and soil aeration. Concrete curbing can be designed, shaped and colored to match your home, providing a perfect way to instantly increase the attractiveness of your landscape design.
3. Don’t Neglect your Lawn
Lawn maintenance and mowing is part of landscape and landscape design. Don’t neglect your yard when you’re in the process of improving your curb appeal. Make sure that it is mowed often, and mowed in different directions each time. Also make sure you are aerating and seeding your lawn and applying seasonal treatments so that weeds and grubs steer clear.
4. Consider an Outdoor Living Area
If you’ve ever watched HGTV’s House Hunters, you’ll notice how prospective buyer’s jaw’s drop when they walk onto a gorgeous deck and outdoor patio. Outdoor living spaces are not only great to have for a relaxing evening or backyard party – but they’re also a great way to increase property value and appeal toward your home. Outdoor living areas don’t have to cost a fortune, and there are also options for patio kits that you assemble by yourself.
These are just four easy ways to start increasing your property value through landscaping. Did we miss any? Let us know if you’re had experience with other landscaping ideas that proved a great ROI!
Nothing says summer like fresh veggies. Slice a deep red and beefy tomato, toss in some home grown basil and a good mozzarella and you’ll have the perfect summer salad. Few things compare to stepping outside and picking the tomato yourself with a snip of herbs on the way back inside.
Unfortunately a vegetable garden requires yard space, may interfere with landscaping or just be difficult to maintain. This is where the container garden steps in. Most any summer veggie can be coaxed into growing in the proper pot and the bounty can be delicious. Watering becomes easier, fertilizing is simple and they can actually add to the beauty of a patio or deck. So if you want the privilege of the backyard side dish there are lots of plant varieties that love the container.
I Say Tomato!
The granddaddy of the summer garden and the number one pick of all vegetable growers the tomato is very happy to be contained. A full size plant need a container with a soil capacity of at least 20 quarts and a water capacity of at least a gallon or more to keep up with this water lover. Patio varieties are also available for smaller spaces and produce smaller but just as yummy fruits. Buying tip: You may be tempted to buy large plants at the garden center with blossoms already set. Avoid this and buy smaller plants with dark green leaves and few or no blossoms. Blossoms can be a sign of stress in a plant that sits in a tiny pot. Give a small plant a big home and you’ll get a happy plant.
Wouldn’t You Like to Have a Pepper, Too?
Green, red, yellow, orange or even purple. Sweet, spicy or fiery. Large, small or just decorative. Pepper plants come in all kinds of delightful varieties and are well suited for containers. They love heat and consistent moisture and some varieties are compact enough to grow well in medium containers or even mix with other small plants in a larger one. Growing tip: Peppers need lots of light and heat so don’t be discouraged if they take a while to get going.
Lettuce Entertain You!
Lettuce is a fabulous container vegetable with almost as many choices for color, texture, size or taste as stars in the sky. They need constant moisture so a self-watering container is ideal. And because they are an early season plant that won’t tolerate summer heat you can use the container again for flowers after your lettuce season ends. Leaf lettuces are wonderful for “cut and come back” harvesting as you can cut the whole plane an inch above the soil and it will grow a new set of leaves.
Cukes Are Cute!
Cucumbers from the garden are a world away from the waxed and dry variety from the supermarket. They need heat, a consistent amount of food and lots and lots of H2O so this make them great for containers that can be tended just outside your door. They’ll need something to climb so if you don’t want that to be your patio furniture provide them with a trellis. Make sure your container is deep enough to sink support stakes into to secure the trellis as the vine can become heavy. Harvest when they’re smaller then the store variety as they will taste better. Beware of powdery mildew and cucumber beetles.
Squash Isn’t Just a Sport.
Summer squash is actually a bush rather than a vine so they can be grown in containers without invading your patio or everywhere else. Plant in the largest container you can manage, self-watering if possible, and deep. Like cucumbers summer squash in the garden should be harvested well before the size you see in the supermarket. Whether green zucchinis or yellow banana yellow squash you’ll be pleased with how well these container plants taste.
Herbs Are Well Seasoned.
Don’t forget the huge and wonderful varieties of herbs that can be container grown. Basil is the champ with colors from dark green to vivid purple and widely varied in taste. Rosemary is a wonderful, pungent Italian herb with a smell that will follow you anywhere once you’ve brushed against the silvery leaves. Thyme, sage, oregano, chives and parsley offer many choices of color and flavor. They can be planted together or separate and add a lovely foliage complement to annuals and perennials. Sneak a pot of chives into the house for the winter and clip the leaves as needed.
If you’ve never planted vegetables or herbs in containers you’ll be amazed at how easy it can be. And it can truly be a pleasure to step out of the kitchen on a lovely summer evening, collect a fresh selection of edibles and serve them for dinner. Entice your guests at a patio party with tiny orange peppers, striped tomatoes and edible nasturtium flowers in a fresh salad at the table.