Posted on

Entertaining Kids Around Fire [Guide]

Gathering around a fire pit can create unforgettable family memories. We at S&S Fire Pits are passionate about helping you make those moments as enjoyable and safe as possible.

This guide is designed to offer practical advice and fun activities that ensure the whole family, especially the kids, have a great time around the fire pit.

Keeping Kids Safe Around Fire Pits

Ensuring the safety of children around fire pits requires prioritizing supervision, instilling fire safety knowledge, and arranging safe seating. Families can enjoy their time together around the fire pit with peace of mind by adhering to practical measures.

Consistent Supervision Is Essential: Never leave children unattended near a fire pit, even for a moment. Adults must always be present to monitor the fire and the children’s activities. Supervision prevents accidents and allows for immediate reaction if a risky situation arises.

Educate Kids on Fire Safety: It’s paramount to teach children about the dangers associated with fire. Explain the basics of fire safety in a way that’s easy to understand. Topics should include keeping a safe distance from the fire, not throwing objects into the fire, and the importance of adult supervision. Starting this education early puts kids on the right path to respecting fire as they grow. For more insights on teaching fire safety, consider exploring fire pit safety tips.

Establish Safe Seating Arrangements: Designate seating that’s far enough from the fire pit to prevent accidents but close enough to enjoy the warmth. Avoid flammable materials for seating like plastic chairs, and ensure stability to prevent tipping. Arranging seats in a semi-circle with a clear boundary can help keep everyone at a safe distance.

By integrating these practices, families can foster a safe and enjoyable environment around the fire pit. Remember, the goal is not only to prevent accidents but also to create a responsible mindset towards fire safety among kids. This proactive approach ensures that gatherings around the fire pit remain cherished and safe experiences for everyone involved.

Engaging Fire Pit Activities

Bringing families together around a fire pit opens up a world of opportunities for both fun and learning. These activities not only keep kids entertained but also teach them valuable lessons about nature, science, and the universe. Here’s how to make the most out of your time around the fire.

Turning Marshmallows into Memories: One of the simplest and most beloved activities is roasting marshmallows. This classic pastime is more than just a treat; it’s an exercise in patience and following directions. Kids learn about heat distribution and the science of caramelization—the process that turns the marshmallow golden brown. Elevate the experience by encouraging kids to share stories or sing songs while they roast. It’s a perfect way to bond and create lasting memories.

Important - Roasting marshmallows is not only fun but also a valuable lesson in patience and science for kids.

Nature and Fire Science Demystified: A fire pit gathering is an excellent chance to teach children about the natural world and the principles of fire. Explain how fire needs oxygen, heat, and fuel to burn, illustrating the combustion triangle. You can discuss different types of wood and why some burn hotter and longer than others. It’s also a great opportunity to teach about the responsibility that comes with using fire, including the importance of extinguishing it properly. For detailed guidance on building and managing fires safely, exploring resources like campfire safety tips can be incredibly useful.

Fact - Fire requires oxygen, heat, and fuel to burn, illustrating the combustion triangle.

Stargazing and Constellation Identification: After the sun sets, the night sky offers a fantastic natural canvas to learn about stars, planets, and constellations. Download a stargazing app or bring a constellation map to identify various celestial bodies. This activity can spark conversations about astronomy, mythology, and navigation. It’s an engaging way to introduce children to the vastness of space and our place within it.

By integrating these activities into your fire pit gatherings, kids learn valuable lessons in a relaxed and enjoyable setting. Each of these activities encourages creativity, curiosity, and critical thinking, setting the stage for a lifelong love of learning and exploration. Keep the focus on safety, and ensure that every fire pit experience is both enriching and enjoyable for the whole family.

Fun Crafts and Games

When the fire pit becomes the heart of your evening, blending interactive games and crafts into the mix not only keeps children engaged but also fosters a rich learning environment. Moving beyond mere entertainment, these activities can cultivate creativity, teamwork, and an appreciation for the natural world. Here’s a glance at some hands-on fun that can elevate any fire pit gathering.

Spark Creativity with Shadow Puppetry: With just a flashlight and their hands, children can create an entire world against the backdrop of your fire pit’s glow. Encourage them to tell stories through their shadow creations, stimulating their imagination and narrative skills. This simple yet profound activity can transform an ordinary night into a mesmerizing tale.

Flow Chart - Stimulating Imagination Through Shadow Puppetry

Natural Bingo Brings Learning Alive: Create bingo cards featuring common natural elements found in your backyard or camping site, such as leaves, rocks, and insects. This game not only entertains but educates children on their immediate surroundings. It’s an excellent way to encourage exploration and attention to detail, proving that learning can be a fun treasure hunt.

DIY S’mores Kits Spark Culinary Interest: Allowing children to build their s’mores kits from a variety of chocolates, marshmallows, and biscuits not only caters to their culinary curiosity but also teaches them about different flavors and textures. It’s a delicious lesson in creativity and decision-making. Plus, it adds a personalized twist to a classic fire pit snack.

Incorporating these activities into your fire pit evenings not only ensures entertainment but also enriches the experience with valuable learning opportunities. Here are a few quick tips to maximize enjoyment and safety:

  • Preparation is Key: Gather all necessary materials for games and crafts before lighting the fire to ensure a smooth transition into activities.
  • Safety First: Always supervise children during activities, especially when they are near the fire or handling food.
  • Encourage Participation: Invite kids to suggest their own game rules or craft ideas. This boosts their confidence and makes the activities more engaging.

By blending fun, education, and creativity around the fire pit, you’re not just passing time; you’re building memories and skills that last a lifetime. For more ideas on engaging family activities, explore family fun ideas.

Final Thoughts

In closing, the essence of gathering around a fire pit extends far beyond merely basking in its warmth. It’s about nurturing a safe, creative, and educational enclave for our families, especially the little ones. At S&S Fire Pits, our goal has always been not just to provide high-quality, durable fire pits but also to enrich your family time with safety, joy, and learning.

Key Takeaways - Entertaining Kids Around Fire [Guide]

Safety and supervision stand as our top priorities. Ensuring a secure environment means parents can relax and children can explore their curiosity without risk. Every family gathering around an S&S Fire Pits is an opportunity for knowledge sharing and creating priceless memories, set against the backdrop of the gentle crackle of fire.

We encourage diving into creative and educational activities that spark not just the flames but imaginations as well. From the simple joy of making s’mores to the adventurous tales spun under the starlit sky, these moments are the building blocks of lifelong learning and memory formation.

Let’s cherish these gatherings as opportunities for growth, laughter, and discovery. With every fire pit lit, we’re not just lighting up a dark evening but enlightening young minds, strengthening familial bonds, and fostering a profound respect and understanding of nature’s elemental force. So, let the flames rise, let the laughter echo, and let the learning continue around the fire pit.

Here’s to more enriching family time gathered around the warmth of a fire pit, under the canvas of the night sky. Remember, every ember tells a story and every spark can ignite curiosity. Let those fires burn bright with safety, knowledge, and creativity as their fuel.

Posted on

Fire Pit Buying Guide: Essential Guide

Choosing the perfect fire pit can transform your outdoor space into a cozy, inviting retreat. Here at S&S Fire Pits, we understand the importance of finding a fire pit that not only meets your aesthetic desires but also your functional needs.

This guide is designed to walk you through the essentials: from the types of fire pits available to key features you should consider, and maintenance tips to keep your fire pit in top shape. Our aim is to help you make an informed decision, ensuring you get the most out of your outdoor gatherings for years to come.

Choosing Your Fire Pit

Navigating the diverse world of fire pits is essential to enrich your outdoor space with warmth and style. The ultimate choice boils down to understanding the variants and aligning them with your personal and space needs. Let’s explore the prevalent fire pit types and discern what makes each unique, aiming to steer you towards the perfect addition to your backyard or patio.

Unveiling the Fire Pit Types

Initially, categorize fire pits into three core types: wood-burning, gas, and portable options. Each carries distinct advantages and limitations, pivotal in shaping your decision-making process.

Wood-burning fire pits are the traditional choice, offering an authentic experience with their crackling sounds and the mesmerizing dance of flames. They invite a hands-on interaction, from lighting the fire to stoking it. However, maintenance and smoke output are considerations that might lead some to explore alternatives.

Gas fire pits stand out for their convenience, featuring easy start-ups and minimal cleanup. They provide a continuous flame without the intermittent refueling required by wood-burning units. The downside? They generally require professional installation and, for some, lack the primal allure of wood fires.

Portable fire pits offer flexibility, allowing you to shift the warmth and ambiance to various outdoor locations. Their movability makes them a fit for those with evolving outdoor layout preferences or for adventurers seeking to enhance their camping experience. The trade-off here includes smaller sizes and, often, less heat output compared to their stationary counterparts.

Pro Tip - Consider the ambiance and practicalities your ideal fire pit should embody, aligning with your outdoor living dreams and space constraints.

Making the Right Choice

Your decision should pivot around key considerations specific to your outdoor living aspirations:

  • Space Availability: Larger areas can accommodate grand wood-burning pits, while compact patios might benefit from sleek gas models or portable fire pits.
  • Usage Frequency: For frequent use, the convenience of a gas fire pit might outweigh the charm of wood-burning options.
  • Aesthetic and Ambiance: Consider the sensory experiences you value. The rustic allure of wood fires or the clean elegance of gas flames?
  • Maintenance Willingness: Wood-burning pits demand regular cleaning and ash disposal, a commitment not everyone prefers.
  • Local Regulations: Some areas have restrictions on wood-burning units due to smoke emissions, nudging residents towards gas or smokeless alternatives.

In essence, aligning the fire pit type with your practical needs and aesthetic desires guarantees an outdoor extension that complements your lifestyle. For firsthand insights and additional guidance, exploring how our fire pits are made and beginners’ tips for using a fire pit might offer valuable perspectives.

Fact - Wood-burning fire pits create a traditional ambiance with their crackling sounds and the mesmerizing dance of flames.

With an informed choice, your fire pit will not only elevate your outdoor ambiance but also serve as a backdrop for countless memories made under the open sky.

Key Fire Pit Features

When selecting a fire pit, the critical elements that determine its longevity, safety, and suitability for your space are material quality, size, shape, and the inclusion of safety features and accessories. These components significantly affect not only how your fire pit integrates with your outdoor environment but also its ease of use and maintenance.

Material Quality and Durability: The lifeline of any fire pit hinges on its construction material. High-grade materials like stainless steel, cast aluminum, and tempered glass stand up well against the elements, ensuring your fire pit remains a focal point in your garden or patio for years. Stainless steel, for instance, offers rust resistance and longevity, while cast aluminum is lightweight yet sturdy. Opting for durable materials might come with a higher upfront cost, but it reduces the need for frequent replacements or repairs, saving money in the long run.

Size, Shape, and Portability: The spatial dynamics of your outdoor area and how you intend to use the fire pit should guide your choice on its size and shape. A larger, permanent fixture suits spacious yards intended for hosting large gatherings, whereas a compact, portable design is ideal for smaller spaces or for those who prefer the flexibility of moving their fire pit. Square or rectangular fire pits can offer a modern look and fit neatly into certain patio layouts, while circular ones encourage more intimate gatherings.

Safety Features and Accessories: Never compromise on safety. Look for fire pits with stable bases and those that come with spark screens to contain embers. Features like automatic shut-off valves for gas fire pits add an extra layer of safety. Additionally, accessories such as protective covers extend the life of your fire pit by guarding against weather and debris when not in use. Integrating safety features and using protective accessories will not only protect you and your loved ones but also safeguard your investment.

Important - Choose durable materials and integrate safety features to ensure longevity and safe enjoyment of your outdoor fire pit.

For further details on safely enjoying your fire pit, consider strategies and tips from fire pit safety guidelines. Understanding the best practices for fire pit use ensures you and your family can enjoy your outdoor space securely.

Remember, investing time in choosing the right fire pit by considering these key features simplifies maintenance and maximizes enjoyment of your outdoor living area. Your selection should reflect not just your personal style but also prioritize practicality and safety, ensuring your fire pit serves as a cherished addition to your outdoor spaces for a long time.

Keeping Your Fire Pit in Prime Condition

Ensuring your fire pit remains a centerpiece of your outdoor space for years involves regular maintenance and adherence to safety measures. A well-maintained fire pit not only looks better but also operates more efficiently and safely. Here are practical tips to help you achieve this.

Regular Cleaning is Key

After each use of a wood-burning fire pit, make sure to remove ash and debris when the pit is cool. This prevents accumulation that could impede air flow and efficiency. For gas fire pits, check for debris that might block gas lines and periodically inspect burners for clogs. Regardless of type, a gentle soap and water solution can be used to wipe down exterior surfaces; avoid harsh chemicals that can damage the finish.

For specific cleaning advice on stainless steel and cast aluminum, visiting fire pit care can provide targeted strategies to keep them looking their best.

Safety Measures for Optimal Use

Safety should always be a top priority. For wood fire pits, ensure you’re only burning dry, seasoned wood to minimize smoke and prevent residue buildup. Gas fire pit users should regularly inspect their equipment for leaks. Always check local regulations about fire pit usage to ensure compliance with restrictions and guidelines.

Moreover, positioning your fire pit away from combustible materials (furniture, plants, buildings) and overhead tree branches reduces fire risk. Having a dedicated fire extinguisher or water source nearby provides peace of mind and preparedness for emergencies.

Best Practices for Longevity and Performance

  • Use a cover: Protect your fire pit from the elements with a suitable cover, especially during adverse weather conditions or long periods of inactivity. This can prevent rust and debris accumulation.
  • Follow manufacturer guidelines: Every fire pit is unique. Adhering to the manufacturer’s instructions for care, maintenance, and operation ensures optimal performance and longevity.
  • Quality fuel matters: For wood fire pits, using seasoned hardwoods like oak or maple not only provides a better burning experience but also maintains the pit’s condition. Gas fire pit users should ensure their fuel source is clean and consistent to avoid operational issues.
  • Regular inspections: Periodically inspect your fire pit for signs of wear, tear, or damage. Addressing issues early can prevent more significant problems down the line.
Quote - The fire is the main comfort of the camp, whether in summer or winter, and is about as ample at one season as at another. It is as well for cheerfulness as for warmth and dryness. - Henry David Thoreau.

Maintaining your fire pit doesn’t just extend its life but enhances safety and enjoyment of your outdoor space. Taking proactive steps in care and maintenance ensures that your fire pit remains an inviting focal point of your backyard gatherings, providing warmth and ambiance reliably whenever you seek the comfort of its glow.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right fire pit is about blending functionality with aesthetics, ensuring it complements your lifestyle and enhances your outdoor space. Whether you lean towards the traditional ambiance of wood-burning fire pits, the convenience of gas, or the flexibility of portable designs, the perfect fire pit is out there waiting to transform your backyard into a year-round haven for relaxation and entertainment.

Key Takeaways - Fire Pit Buying Guide: Essential Guide

Here are our final tips for potential buyers:

  • Consider your space and usage to determine the best type and size.
  • Prioritize quality materials like those found in S&S Fire Pits to ensure longevity and safety.
  • Safety features cannot be overlooked. Opt for fire pits with stable bases and protective screens.
  • Maintenance and care are key to preserving your fire pit’s condition.
  • Local regulations are a must-check to enjoy your fire pit without legal concerns.

And when you’re ready to find a fire pit that promises durability and timeless design, we invite you to explore the handcrafted, solid steel fire pits at S&S Fire Pits. Our commitment to quality and American craftsmanship ensures each fire pit is a worthy addition to your outdoor living space, guaranteed for life. From classic hemisphere designs to modern elliptical options, plus essential accessories for the ultimate fire pit experience, we’ve got you covered.

Remember, a fire pit is more than just a heating element; it’s a gathering spot, a source of ambience, and a key component in creating lasting memories outdoors. Choose wisely, maintain regularly, and your fire pit will serve as the heart of your backyard for years to come.

Stay safe and enjoy the warmth and beauty your fire pit brings to every outdoor occasion.

Posted on

Fire Pit Party Themes: What You Need to Know

Here at S&S Fire Pits, we understand the joy that comes from gathering around a warm, inviting fire. Whether it’s a chilly autumn evening or a cool summer night, a fire pit can be the centerpiece of an unforgettable get-together.

In this blog post, we’ll guide you through setting up the perfect ambiance for your fire pit party, suggest some exciting themed party ideas, and offer practical tips to keep everyone safe and comfortable. Our goal is to help you host a memorable event that your friends and family will talk about for years to come.

Setting the Fire Pit Party Scene

Creating the right atmosphere for a fire pit party goes beyond just sparking up the fire. To host a memorable evening, paying attention to lighting, seating, and music can transform your backyard into an enchanting venue.

Firstly, lighting sets the mood. Don’t rely solely on the fire pit for illumination. Strategically placed outdoor lanterns can cast a cozy glow, while string lights draped around can add a whimsical touch. For a practical and ambient option, solar-powered lights can line walkways, ensuring guests can move safely without overpowering the fire’s soft light.

When it comes to seating, comfort is key. While traditional patio furniture is a solid choice, consider adding outdoor cushions and blankets for extra warmth on cooler nights. Bean bags and hammocks can offer a laid-back vibe, inviting guests to relax and stay longer. It’s essential to arrange seating in a semi-circle around the fire pit, fostering a sense of community and encouraging conversation.

Music is the invisible thread that weaves together the evening’s atmosphere. A well-curated playlist can complement the crackling fire, whether it’s soft acoustic tunes or upbeat tracks to match the party’s theme. Opt for waterproof and wireless speakers placed around the seating area to ensure a seamless audio experience. However, keep the volume moderate to facilitate conversations and allow the natural sounds of the fire to be heard.

Important - To host a memorable fire pit party, focus on lighting, seating, and music to create an enchanting atmosphere.

In summary, the magic of a fire pit party lies in the details. Thoughtful lighting, comfortable seating, and mood-enhancing music are all critical in crafting an unforgettable night. Through these elements, you can create a welcoming space that encourages guests to gather, share stories, and enjoy the warmth of the fire together.

For further inspiration on enhancing your outdoor space, consider exploring tips on creating the perfect area for a fire pit and brightening your patio with lighting ideas. These resources can provide additional insights and practical advice to elevate your fire pit experience.

Themed Fire Pit Parties

Transforming your fire pit gathering into a themed party elevates the excitement and creates unforgettable memories for your guests. Beyond the warm glow of the fire, these themes bring an extra layer of fun and engagement that makes your event stand out. Let’s dive into some hands-on ideas to make your next fire pit party a hit.

S’mores and Storytelling Night

Nothing says cozy like a night of s’mores and storytelling. Encourage guests to bring their favorite stories, whether personal anecdotes or classic tales, to share around the fire. For the s’mores, go beyond the traditional marshmallows and chocolate by offering a variety of spreads like Nutella, peanut butter, and different types of crackers and cookies. This not only caters to diverse tastes but also adds a fun twist to creating s’mores. Setting up a S’mores station with these varied ingredients laid out lets guests get creative with their concoctions. Don’t forget to check out our backyard s’mores ideas for more inspiration.

Rustic Outdoor Movie Night

A rustic outdoor movie night can transform your backyard into a magical cinema. Use a portable projector and a white sheet or a blank wall to screen films that fit your chosen theme—be it a classic movie marathon or a selection of adventure films. Comfy seating with blankets and pillows will make your guests feel like they’re in a VIP movie-watching experience. Don’t miss out on our outdoor party planning tips for essentials on hosting the ultimate movie night that keeps everyone comfortable and entertained.

Grilled Feast and Games Evening

For a more active theme, a grilled feast and games evening combines delicious food with friendly competition. Use your fire pit or a grill to cook meals that are easy to eat outdoors, like skewers, burgers, or grilled veggies. Pair the feast with backyard games such as cornhole, bocce ball, or giant Jenga. This encourages everyone to mingle and enjoy some playful rivalry. For an added touch, organize a tournament bracket and offer small prizes for the winners to boost the competitive spirit.

Practical Tips:

  • Always have a first-aid kit and fire extinguisher nearby for safety.
  • Ensure there are non-alcoholic drink options for guests who prefer them.
  • Prepare for potential weather changes with extra blankets and umbrellas.
  • Use biodegradable or reusable dinnerware to minimize waste.
Pro Tip - Consider a theme that resonates with your interests and those of your guests for an engaging and memorable fire pit party.

By choosing a theme and planning with these practical tips, you’re set to host a fire pit party that combines the allure of an open flame with tailored entertainment. Whether it’s through shared stories, a movie under the stars, or a feast accompanied by laughter and games, these themes promise an evening that your guests will cherish.

Ensuring Guest Safety and Comfort

A successful fire pit party is safe and comfortable for everyone attending. This means being proactive about safety measures, preparing for weather changes, and ensuring the comfort of your guests from start to finish. Here’s how you can achieve that.

Fire Safety First

Fire safety is non-negotiable. Always position your fire pit away from flammable structures and materials. Keep a bucket of water, sand, and a fire extinguisher within easy reach. Never leave the fire unattended and make sure it’s completely extinguished before calling it a night. Educating your guests on fire safety upon arrival can prevent accidents and ensure everyone knows what to do in an emergency. For comprehensive fire safety tips, consider reviewing fire pit safety guidelines.

Weather Check

Weather can be unpredictable, with sudden changes potentially disrupting your well-planned party. Stay informed about the weather forecast and have a backup plan in place. If cold weather is expected, stack up on extra blankets and perhaps add a portable heater to your setup. For warmer nights, ensure there’s plenty of water and even handheld fans to keep guests cool. Canopies or tents can offer shelter from unexpected drizzle, keeping the party going despite a few raindrops.

Maximize Guest Comfort

Comfort is essential for an enjoyable fire pit party. Adequate seating should be a top priority, ensuring every guest has a cozy spot near the fire. Invest in weather-proof furniture that’s not only durable but also comfortable for long hours of sitting. Have insect repellent on hand to ward off mosquitoes and consider soft lighting like lanterns or fairy lights to reduce glare and create a welcoming ambiance. Transparent communication about what to wear and what they might need to bring can also contribute greatly to guest comfort and enjoyment.

Fact - Always position your fire pit away from flammable structures to ensure safety.
  • Safety Checklist: Keep emergency numbers handy and brief your guests on safety exits.
  • Weather-Proof Your Party: Have a plan B for extreme weather conditions.
  • Comfort Essentials: Offer cushions, blankets, and have a food and drink station close to the seating area.

Remember, attention to detail when planning can make all the difference in hosting a memorable fire pit party. By prioritizing the safety and comfort of your guests, you’re setting the stage for an evening filled with warmth, laughter, and shared experiences.

Wrapping Up

Hosting a memorable fire pit party intertwines the essences of creativity, safety, and atmosphere. Drawing from our discussion, setting a whimsical scene, choosing an engaging theme, and staunchly prioritizing safety protocols lay the foundation for a remarkable gathering. But remember, the soul of any fire pit party lies in the warmth of the relationships it nurtures, the stories shared, and the laughter that fills the night air.

Key Takeaways - Fire Pit Party Themes: What You Need to Know

Central to the success of these gatherings is the quality of the fire pit itself. At S&S Fire Pits, we pride ourselves on offering handcrafted, solid steel fire pits that not only promise durability and safety but also serve as the heart of your outdoor living space. Our meticulously designed accessories, from snuffers to cooking plates, further enhance your hosting experience, making each event uniquely memorable.

Incorporating fire safety measures, planning for weather variability, and ensuring guest comfort are critical. These aspects not only demonstrate your thoughtfulness as a host but also guarantee that everyone can relax and enjoy the evening to its fullest. A well-planned party considers potential hazards and sets measures in place to mitigate them, ensuring that your gathering remains a fond memory rather than a cautionary tale.

As you embark on planning your next fire pit party, let your imagination run wild with themes but anchor your preparations in the practical advice shared. Your efforts to create a cozy, engaging, and safe environment will not go unnoticed by your guests. And when you choose a fire pit from S&S Fire Pits, you’re choosing a guaranteed life-long centerpiece for these memorable occasions.

In the end, a successful fire pit party is more than just an event; it’s an experience—a chance to foster connections, indulge in good food and entertainment, and bask in the glow of a crackling fire. Let creativity and safety guide you as you plan, and don’t forget to visit us at S&S Fire Pits to find the perfect fire pit and accessories for your next outdoor gathering. Let’s make every moment around the fire count.

Posted on

How to Finance Your Outdoor Upgrades

Upgrading your outdoor space can be a game-changer for both the functionality and aesthetics of your home. However, figuring out how to finance these improvements can often be daunting.

Here at S&S Fire Pits, we understand the importance of making your outdoor living dreams a reality without breaking the bank. This post will guide you through various financing options and practical tips for budgeting and saving on your outdoor upgrades.

Financing Outdoor Upgrades

Embarking on outdoor upgrades can significantly enhance the value and enjoyment of your home. Yet, the financial aspect can be overwhelming. In navigating through the maze of financing options, it’s pivotal to choose one that aligns with your financial health and long-term goals. The key is to weigh the pros and cons of each and select the most economical route.

Savings and Personal Funds always stand out as the first option. It is the most straightforward way to finance your project without the burden of interest. However, it requires discipline and time to build a sufficient fund. Here’s where setting aside a dedicated outdoor upgrade fund can help. Automating savings specifically for this purpose ensures a steady growth of your fund over time.

Loans and Credit offer immediate financing to kickstart your project. Personal loans are a popular choice due to their fixed interest rates and structured repayment plans. The trick is to shop around for the best rates and terms. Credit cards are tempting for their rewards and immediate access but beware of high-interest rates that can significantly increase your project’s cost unless you can pay off the balance quickly.

Home Equity Loans and HELOCs leverage the value of your home, offering potentially lower rates compared to personal loans and credit cards. A home equity loan provides a lump sum with a fixed interest rate, ideal for sizable, one-time projects. On the other hand, a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) offers flexible access to funds, making it suitable for ongoing or phased projects. Remember, both these options are secured against your home, which means timely repayment is crucial to avoid risking your property.

Fact - Automating savings for outdoor upgrades can ensure a steady growth of your fund over time.

Practical Tips for Financing:

  • Start by getting a clear estimate of your project to know exactly how much you need.
  • Compare interest rates and terms across multiple lenders.
  • Consider the repayment period; don’t let the upgrade cost linger for years.
  • Factor in any potential tax advantages or deductions.

Opting for the right financing method is not just about making your dream outdoor space a reality; it’s also about ensuring financial stability and peace of mind. A successful upgrade requires a blend of meticulous planning, savvy financing, and a vision for enhancing your living space. Don’t hesitate to consult with a financial advisor to make informed decisions tailored to your personal finances.

Before moving forward, familiarizing yourself with outdoor design trends and cost-saving tips can provide additional insights and inspiration for your project.

Planning Your Budget

Crafting a precise budget for outdoor upgrades is vital for preventing financial overflow and ensuring your project aligns with both your dreams and your wallet. Here’s how to navigate the financial landscape of upgrading your outdoor space effectively.

Accurate Cost Estimation

Begin by researching what each aspect of your project might cost. This includes materials, labor, and any unforeseen expenses. Getting multiple quotes from contractors offers a clearer picture and enables you to compare prices. Remember, the lowest quote isn’t always the best. Factor in the quality of materials and the reputation of the contractor.

Regular maintenance costs for any new additions should also be considered. For those eyeing an outdoor kitchen or a fire pit, ongoing maintenance can vary widely, so it’s best to factor these costs in from the start.

Important - Factor in quality and contractor reputation when evaluating quotes to avoid costly mistakes.

Prioritize Wisely

Not all projects offer the same return on investment or pleasure. Prioritize upgrades that increase both your home’s value and your enjoyment. For instance, professional landscaping and decks often yield a high return compared to swimming pools. Use resources like the outdoor living space value guide to determine what projects will add the most value.

Quote - Investing in quality is not an expense, but rather an investment in your home's future. - Warren Buffett.

Cost-Effective Alternatives

Exploring DIY solutions can offer significant savings. Many online tutorials guide homeowners through simple landscaping projects or building a fire pit. However, consider your skill level and the time investment required. Sometimes, hiring a professional for more complex projects can save money in the long run by avoiding costly mistakes.

Don’t overlook the potential of repurposing materials. Recycled or reclaimed materials can offer a unique look at a fraction of the cost. Additionally, choosing off-season times for purchasing materials and hiring contractors can also lead to discounts.

In summary, a well-planned budget can transform your outdoor space without emptying your savings. By estimating costs accurately, prioritizing based on value, and exploring cost-effective alternatives, you can achieve the outdoor oasis of your dreams within a reasonable budget. With these strategies, you’re not only investing in your home’s aesthetics and functionality but also in your personal satisfaction and property’s value.

Smart Saving Strategies for Outdoor Upgrades

When planning to revamp your outdoor space, smart budgeting can stretch your dollar further while achieving impressive results. Below are strategic approaches to save money on outdoor upgrades.

Timing is Everything

Purchasing materials or hiring professionals during off-peak seasons can lead to significant savings. The demand for landscaping and outdoor renovation services tends to decrease during cooler months, which often results in lower prices and better deals. Keep an eye out for end-of-season sales on outdoor furniture and building materials. Retailers need to clear out inventory before new lines arrive, offering savvy shoppers the chance to snag great deals.

Pro Tip - Consider signing up for newsletters from your favorite outdoor and garden suppliers to get alerts on upcoming sales and special deals.

The Art of Repurposing

One person’s trash can be another’s treasure, especially in the context of outdoor spaces. Reusing or repurposing materials not only saves money but also adds unique charm and character to your outdoor area. Old bricks can be turned into a lovely garden path, and reclaimed wood can give life to a rustic patio or garden bench. For more inspiration, DIY outdoor projects offer plenty of cost-effective options that make use of materials you might already have on hand.

Flow Chart - Repurposing Steps for Outdoor Upgrades

Value of Professional Insight

While the DIY route is tempting, complex projects often require the expertise of professionals to avoid costly mistakes down the line. A professional can ensure that installations are done correctly the first time, potentially saving you a significant amount in redo costs. Additionally, pros can provide valuable advice on material choices and design considerations that fit within your budget while maximizing aesthetic appeal and functionality. Selecting the right professional might seem like an added expense, but it can actually lead to savings by optimizing the project’s efficiency and longevity. Consider checking references and portfolios to find a reputable contractor who understands your vision and budget constraints.

In conclusion, strategic planning and clever choices can dramatically reduce the costs associated with upgrading your outdoor space. Whether through timing your purchases, repurposing materials, or leveraging professional expertise for complex tasks, the opportunity to save is substantial. This approach not only ensures a beautiful outdoor area but also maintains financial health and peace of mind.

Final Thoughts

In the journey to upgrading your outdoor space, it’s clear that smart planning, effective budgeting, and creative financing solutions are key. By considering various financing options such as savings, loans, and credit, you can find a path that fits your financial situation. Moreover, crafting a precise budget with accurate cost estimation, prioritizing projects based on value, and exploring cost-effective alternatives like DIY projects and repurposing materials can significantly reduce expenses.

Key Takeaways - How to Finance Your Outdoor Upgrades

It’s also essential to remember the value that thoughtful outdoor upgrades bring to your home. Not only do they enhance the aesthetic appeal and functionality of your space, but they also increase property value and personal satisfaction. Whether it’s adding a professional landscaping touch or investing in durable and beautifully crafted solid steel fire pits from S&S Fire Pits, the benefits of investing in your outdoor living space are manifold.

We at S&S Fire Pits are committed to helping you elevate your outdoor living experience with our handcrafted fire pits and lifestyle accessories. Our products are not just about warmth and ambience; they’re built to bring people together and create lasting memories. With our range of fire pits, accessories, and our interest-free financing options, we strive to offer you quality, durability, and innovation.

In conclusion, upgrading your outdoor space is an investment in your home and your quality of life. With the right planning, budgeting, and creative solutions, you can achieve the outdoor oasis of your dreams without compromising your financial health. Encourage yourself to think outside the box and make strategic decisions that lead to a beautiful, functional, and enjoyable outdoor area.

Posted on

How to Landscape Around Your Fire Pit Beautifully

At S&S Fire Pits, we understand the transformative power of a well-designed outdoor space. Landscaping around your fire pit goes beyond aesthetics; it’s about creating a harmonious blend of function and form.

This guide is packed with practical tips to enhance your outdoor living area, focusing on plant selection, hardscaping, and accessorizing. Let us help you turn your fire pit area into a beauty spot that beckons for relaxation and enjoyment.

Selecting Fire Pit Friendly Plants

Creating a verdant ambiance around your fire pit is an art that combines beauty with functionality. Choosing the right plants is more than picking what looks good; it’s about understanding the environment and making informed decisions to craft a space that’s both enchanting and enduring.

Heat tolerance is your top priority. Plants close to the fire pit will experience higher temperatures, so selecting species that can withstand a bit of heat without wilting is key. Succulents like Sedums and Sempervivums thrive in these conditions. Not only are they heat resistant, but their diverse shapes and colors add unique textures to your fire pit area. Lavender and Salvia also rank high for their heat tolerance and bring the added benefit of aromatic foliage, enhancing the sensory experience of your outdoor space.

Important - Selecting heat-tolerant plants like Sedums and Lavender enhances both the beauty and functionality of fire pit areas.

Growth habits and maintenance are equally important. Ground cover plants, for example, can provide a lush look but require regular trimming to keep them from encroaching on the fire pit area. Conversely, dwarf shrubs offer structure without the constant need for pruning. Dwarf Fountain Grass, with its elegant plumes and minimal upkeep, is an excellent choice for adding movement and interest without overwhelming the space.

Planting and spacing correctly ensures your plant selections mature into the visual you envision without overcrowding. Always consider the mature size of plants and space them accordingly. This not only aids in maintaining airflow but also reduces maintenance efforts. Incorporating a mix of perennials and annuals guarantees seasonal color and interest, keeping your fire pit area vibrant all year.

Here are a few more tips for success:

  • Use mulch around plants to help retain moisture and reduce temperature fluctuations in the soil.
  • Install a barrier or use potted plants to protect more sensitive species from the heat.
  • Remember that less is more. A few well-chosen plants make a bigger statement than overcrowding your fire pit space.

For more detailed insights on creating the perfect area for a fire pit, including how to incorporate these plants effectively, check out our guide on creating the perfect area and our guidance on proper fire pit placement.

By selecting the right plants for your fire pit area, you’re ensuring a durable, low-maintenance, and beautiful outdoor living space that enhances your enjoyment and the overall appeal of your backyard.

Enhancing with Hardscaping

When it comes to landscaping around your fire pit, integrating hardscaping elements is as essential as selecting the right plants. Hardscaping—comprising non-living elements like stones, bricks, and concrete—adds structure, functionality, and an aesthetic appeal that complements the natural beauty of your plants and fire pit.

Choosing Hardscaping Materials

The materials you select for your hardscaping can dramatically influence the ambiance of your outdoor space. For a cohesive look, it’s paramount to choose materials that not only complement the design of your fire pit but also match the overall style of your home and landscape.

  • Natural stone offers a timeless and organic look, ideal for creating a rustic or traditional setting.
  • Bricks provide a classic appeal, perfect for achieving a cozy, welcoming atmosphere.
  • Concrete pavers are versatile and customizable, suitable for modern designs due to their clean lines.

Assess your space and style preferences before making a selection. Combining materials, like natural stone with metal accents, can also add depth and interest.

Pathways and Seating Areas

Pathways not only enhance accessibility but also guide guests to your fire pit area, serving as an inviting entrance. Consider the pathway material and design carefully; it should be durable, safe for foot traffic, and resonate with the overall design theme.

Seating is key for comfort and socializing around the fire pit. Built-in seating, such as stone benches, integrates seamlessly with hardscaping and reduces the need for additional furniture. Alternatively, adding a few strategically placed Adirondack chairs or a garden bench can offer flexible seating options.

Hardscaping for Safety and Functionality

Safety is paramount in any fire pit area. Ensure your hardscaping materials are fire-resistant and properly installed to avoid any hazards. Creating a non-flammable barrier or using pavers around the fire pit can help prevent stray sparks from igniting nearby plants or materials.

Functionality should also be considered:

  • Ensure adequate drainage to avoid water pooling near the fire pit.
  • Incorporate lighting into your hardscaping design for safety and ambiance. Well-placed solar or LED lights along pathways and seating areas can transform the space into a cozy evening retreat.
Pro Tip - For an instant cozy evening vibe, consider integrating solar or LED lighting into your hardscaping design.

For those interested in enhancing their outdoor living spaces further, exploring our insights on fire pit designs offers a broader scope of possibilities, from aesthetics to practicality.

By thoughtfully integrating hardscaping elements around your fire pit, you create a space that’s not only beautiful but also functional and safe. This enhances the overall enjoyment of your outdoor living area, making it a favorite spot for gatherings, relaxation, and creating memories.

Elevating Your Fire Pit Space with Lighting and Accessories

Transforming a fire pit area into a captivating retreat requires more than landscaping and hardscaping. The inclusion of strategic lighting and thoughtfully selected accessories plays a pivotal role in enhancing both the functionality and aesthetics of the space. The right combination of lighting, furniture, decorative elements, and protective accessories not only elevates the ambiance but also extends the usability of your fire pit area into the evening hours.

Outdoor lighting serves two primary purposes: ambiance and safety. Soft illumination is key to creating an inviting atmosphere that encourages relaxation and conversation. Solar path lights or LED stakes can guide guests to the fire pit, while string lights overhead add a magical touch. For a more dramatic effect, installing low-voltage landscape lighting to highlight surrounding plants or architectural features can make the area truly stand out. Always prioritize fixtures that offer sufficient lighting to navigate the space safely without overpowering the gentle glow of the fire pit itself.

When it comes to selecting accessories, start with comfort and functionality. Choosing the right outdoor rugs can define seating areas, add color, and enhance comfort underfoot. Opt for materials that are durable, easy to clean, and designed specifically for outdoor use to ensure they withstand the elements. Outdoor furniture should offer a balance of style and durability, with materials like teak, aluminum, and high-quality resin being top choices for their longevity and minimal maintenance requirements. Throw pillows and blankets in outdoor-friendly fabrics can add a layer of comfort and style, making the fire pit area more inviting.

Decorative elements such as lanterns, planters, and garden sculptures can personalize the space, reflecting your style and interests. However, avoid cluttering the area; instead, choose a few standout pieces that complement the overall design.

Protecting your fire pit when not in use is equally important. A high-quality fire pit cover is essential to safeguard against weathering and debris. Look for covers made from heavy-duty, waterproof materials that fit your fire pit snugly. Some covers also offer UV protection to prevent fading and deteriorate from sun exposure. Investing in a durable cover not only extends the life of your fire pit but also maintains its beauty for years to come.

In summary, balancing functionality with aesthetics is key to enhancing your fire pit landscape with lighting and accessories. Thoughtful selections can transform an ordinary fire pit area into a personal haven for relaxation and social gatherings. For inspiration on selecting the perfect accessories, explore our insights on fire pit accessories.

Fact - Soft illumination from solar path lights or LED stakes can create an inviting atmosphere that encourages relaxation and conversation.

These practical tips can help you upgrade your outdoor fire pit space:

  • Utilize solar lights for an eco-friendly lighting solution.
  • Choose outdoor rugs that complement the color palette of your outdoor furniture.
  • Invest in high-quality, weather-proof furniture for durability.
  • Consider decorative elements that add personality without overcrowding the space.
  • Protect your investment with a durable fire pit cover.

Wrapping Up

In crafting an inviting fire pit area, the journey from plain to picturesque hinges on thoughtful landscaping, hardscaping, and accessorizing. This voyage marries functionality with aesthetic appeal, ensuring not just a visually inviting space but one that lives up to practical use and enjoyment. It’s essential to select heat-tolerant plants, incorporate durable hardscaping materials, and select lighting and accessories that blend seamlessly with the outdoor environment and personal style.

Key Takeaways - How to Landscape Around Your Fire Pit Beautifully

A fire pit isn’t just a backyard feature; it’s a focal point for gathering, a source of warmth, and a beacon for creating lasting memories. Enhancing this space beautifully and functionally requires a keen eye on safety, maintenance, and the overall harmony of the elements involved. Whether you’re drawn to the soft glow of landscape lighting, the organic feel of natural stone, or the inviting comfort of well-chosen furniture, each contributes significantly to the overall experience.

Personalization is key. Your fire pit area should reflect your unique style and suit how you enjoy your outdoor space. It could be a tranquil refuge, a lively entertainment spot, or a cozy family gathering place. What’s important is that it complements your lifestyle, making every moment spent around the fire pit enjoyable and memorable.

At S&S Fire Pits, we’re committed to helping you elevate your outdoor living. Our range of handcrafted fire pits and lifestyle accessories is designed not just to stand the test of time but to enhance your outdoor gatherings, big or small. From the initial selection of a fire pit to choosing accessories that match, we’re here to ensure your outdoor space is everything you dreamt it could be—and more.

In conclusion, a beautifully landscaped fire pit area is within reach. By balancing beauty with utility, making smart plant and material choices, and tailoring the space to your personal taste, you’ll create an outdoor sanctuary that beckons for company, conversation, and relaxation. It’s more than just landscaping; it’s creating a backdrop for life’s best moments. And we at S&S Fire Pits are excited to be a part of that journey with you.

Posted on

How to Clean Up Your Fire Pit Efficiently

At S&S Fire Pits, we understand the importance of keeping your outdoor space pristine. That’s why we’ve compiled our top tips for efficiently cleaning your fire pit.

With the right techniques and a bit of regular maintenance, you can ensure your fire pit stays in prime condition for years to come. Let’s explore how to keep the heart of your garden gatherings looking its best.

Starting the Clean-Up

Before diving into the cleaning process, it’s essential to prepare. A bit of preparation can make the difference between a cumbersome clean-up and a swift, efficient one.

The first step is gathering all the necessary tools for the job. You’ll need items like a broom, a garden hose or bucket, rubber gloves, towels, a sponge, steel wool, a stiff brush, dish soap, and a scouring cleanser. Having these tools at hand will ensure you’re not running back and forth, saving you time and energy.

Next, it’s paramount to wait until the fire pit has cooled completely before attempting any cleaning. This might seem obvious, but the impatience to get the job done can sometimes lead to hasty decisions. A cool fire pit is safe to handle and prevents the risk of burns or injuries.

Once the fire pit is cool, begin by removing any debris and loose ash. This not only minimizes the mess but also makes the cleaning process more manageable. Ash and partially burned wood can be scooped out and disposed of properly. For disposing of fire pit ash, it’s worth reading through guidelines on environmentally responsible methods such as those provided in disposal of fire ash, ensuring you’re not harming the environment in the process.

Important - Proper preparation and safety measures streamline the fire pit cleaning process.

Here are a few additional tips to keep in mind:

  • Always wear gloves to protect your hands from dirt and potential sharp objects hidden in the ashes.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area if using any chemical cleansers to avoid inhaling fumes.
  • Inspect your fire pit for any signs of damage or wear. Early detection can prevent further issues down the line.

Taking these preparatory steps seriously sets the stage for a successful and efficient cleaning of your fire pit, maintaining its beauty and functionality for many gatherings to come. Following chapter will go in-depth into the actual cleaning process, detailing the best practices and techniques to get your fire pit sparkling clean.

Efficient Fire Pit Cleaning

After preparing your workspace and gathering the necessary tools, it’s time to dive into the nitty-gritty of effectively cleaning your fire pit. The key to an efficient clean-up lies in adopting techniques that tackle different components of your fire pit, from the basin to metal surfaces and potential rust spots.

When it comes to the fire pit basin, start with a thorough scrub to remove any residue or baked-in dirt. Using a mixture of warm soapy water and a stiff brush proves to be effective for most residue types. For tougher spots, a solution of water and vinegar can break down stubborn grime without resorting to harsh chemicals. Rinse thoroughly with a garden hose and let it dry completely. It’s critical to remove all moisture to prevent rusting, especially in metal basins.

Metal surfaces, whether part of the pit itself or accessories like grills and screens, require a careful approach. Each metal has its quirks, but generally, a non-abrasive cleaner paired with a soft cloth or sponge can clean effectively without scratching the surface. For stainless steel components, a specific cleaner aimed at this type of metal can add shine and provide a protective layer. Additionally, treating metal surfaces with a heat-resistant spray after cleaning can significantly extend their lifespan by providing a barrier against the elements.

Rust spots are a common concern and can deteriorate your fire pit if not addressed promptly. First, identify any rusted areas. Use a wire brush or sandpaper to gently remove the rust. Afterward, clean the area with warm, soapy water and dry thoroughly. To prevent future rust, apply a coat of high-temperature paint designed for metal surfaces. This not only revitalizes the look of your fire pit but also adds a layer of protection against moisture and corrosion.

For further insight and step-by-step guides, exploring resources like fire pit maintenance tips can be incredibly helpful.

Pro Tip - Always dry metal components thoroughly to prevent rust.

Here are a few bonus tips:

  • Schedule regular cleanings every six months to maintain optimal condition.
  • After cleaning, applying a protective layer can extend the life of your fire pit.
Fact - A mixture of water and vinegar can effectively break down stubborn grime on fire pit basins.

Adopting these techniques ensures your fire pit remains a centerpiece for gatherings without compromising its durability or appearance. By giving attention to each component, you’re not just cleaning; you’re caring for an investment that brings warmth and joy to your outdoor space.

Fire Pit Longevity Tips

To keep your fire pit in optimal condition and extend its lifespan, adopting a proactive maintenance regimen is essential. This isn’t just about cleaning; it’s about integrating practices that shield your fire pit from the elements and ensuring it’s stored correctly when not in use. Here are practical steps to maintain your fire pit over time.

Embrace Regular Cleaning
Commit to a bi-annual cleaning schedule. This isn’t just for aesthetics; it prevents the build-up of materials that can cause damage over time. After every use, remove ashes and debris to keep your fire pit in top shape. For a deeper clean, refer to our maintenance tips.

Defend Against the Weather
Protect your fire pit from the harshness of weather. If left exposed, rain, snow, and even sun can wear down your fire pit, leading to rust and deterioration. Invest in a high-quality, waterproof cover. The cover should fit snugly around your fire pit, ensuring no part is left exposed to the elements.

Flow Chart - Fire Pit Maintenance Steps

Proper Storage is Key
When your fire pit is not in regular use, especially during winter months, proper storage is crucial. Before storing, ensure it is completely dry to prevent rust formation. Store your fire pit in a dry, covered area to shield it from moisture and cold temperatures. If storing outdoors under a cover, place it in a location shielded from wind to prevent the cover from blowing away.

Additional Protective Measures

  • Use a rust-inhibitor for metal fire pits. This adds an extra layer of protection against moisture.
  • Place your fire pit on a level, fire-resistant surface. This reduces the risk of accidental tipping and spreading of fire.
  • Consider using a fire pit mat to protect your patio or deck from heat damage.

By following these guidelines, you ensure your fire pit remains a welcoming centerpiece for your outdoor gatherings for years to come. Taking these steps not only preserves the beauty and functionality of your fire pit but also safeguards your investment. Remember, a little effort goes a long way in maintaining the joy and warmth your fire pit brings to your outdoor spaces.

Wrapping Up

We’ve provided a comprehensive guide to keeping your fire pit in excellent condition, emphasizing the effectiveness of regular maintenance and careful cleaning. To summarize, efficient cleaning of your fire pit involves gathering the right tools, waiting for the pit to cool, removing debris, and using appropriate cleaning solutions for different components. Applying protective measures like rust inhibitors and using a cover can significantly prolong your fire pit’s lifespan.

Key Takeaways - How to Clean Up Your Fire Pit Efficiently

Regular maintenance isn’t just about preserving the fire pit’s appearance—it’s essential for safety and functionality. By removing ash and debris after each use and conducting a thorough clean every six months, you prevent buildup that could lead to damage or even hazardous situations.

We encourage fire pit owners to adopt these care practices to ensure their outdoor gatherings continue to be warmly lit and welcoming. By investing time into the care of your fire pit, you safeguard an integral part of your outdoor living space, ensuring it remains a source of joy and warmth for many years.

Discover more about enhancing your outdoor experiences with our range of handcrafted, solid steel fire pits and lifestyle accessories at S&S Fire Pits. Our products, crafted with attention to detail and quality, are built to be the center of your garden gatherings for a lifetime. From the inviting ambiance of a fire pit to the practical elegance of our accessories, we offer everything you need to make the most of your outdoor space.

Posted on

Ways to Use Your Fire Pit in the Summer

During summer nights, we often want to spend time outdoors, but lack a good way to do so. In a word that is so dominated by screens on our phones, computers and TVs, spending quality time around a fire pit is a nice return to simple living, free of distractions. Not only do outdoor fireplaces and fire pits provide warmth at night, but they can also act as a very design-driven centerpiece in your patio or backyard area.

With days getting longer and warmer as summer approaches, we have all the more reason to spend our free time outdoors. However, once the sun sets, it might be less tempting to stick around in your backyard. This is why it makes sense to install an outdoor fire pit this summer. This neat, unique hardscape feature will surely make your outdoor celebrations, family gatherings, and barbecues the talk of the neighborhood! Read below for a few ways to use your fire pit this summer – or why to get one if you have yet to take the plunge!

Free People Roasting Marshmallow Stock Photo

Fire Pits are a Great Way to Style Your Patio

Outdoor fireplaces can be built to match the design language of your home. From metal to stone they come in a wide variety of styles both modern and more traditional. A high quality fire pit can definitely set the tone for the rest of your back yard or patio set up, and many enthusiasts end up investing in higher quality outdoor furniture once they realize how much time they are spending outside.

With a natural stone veneer surrounding the fire pit, you have no cause for concern since the sparks and smoke will be contained within the fire pit area. Also, having natural stone surrounding this part of your backyard is a great way to make your backyard unique as well as enjoyable.

Although you might need to adapt your backyard a little bit by constructing a path made of pavers or slabs, all the effort and investment will be worth it in the end. Furthermore, you can decorate your backyard with the fire pit taking center stage. You can further embellish a path leading to the fire pit with sculptures, stones, garden gnomes, or flowers. These additions will transform your regular backyard into an organic oasis where you can socialize, party, or contemplate on your own in the evenings.

With a fire pit in place, you can organize all kinds of gatherings that will leave a lasting impression on your family, friends, and neighbors this summer. If you do not have the time to take care of plants and flowers, a fire pit will be a true statement piece that will make your backyard stand out effortlessly.

Fire Pits are Easy to Install

Fire pits are relatively inexpensive and easy to install compared to some of the more complex backyard staples such as pools, trampolines, or playgrounds. Not only are outdoor fire pits affordable, but they can definitely contribute additional value to your home and can be a great selling point for those looking to put their house on the market in the near future. Fire pits are available at nearly every price point, from simple fire bowls to custom stone or iron, you can find a fire pit for any budget.

Fire Pits are Great for Gatherings

A fire pit creates a focal point for your outdoor gathering. Some might say that it is simply in our genes to gather around a fire. Solidify your position as the go-to host for the neighborhood barbecue with a centerpiece that doubles as a conversation piece.

Aside from cooking, you can use your fire pit as a gathering spot all year round. You can make desert-themed parties in the summer, Halloween parties in the fall, and family gatherings in the winter as well. Not to mention a huge bonfire makes any birthday party an event to remember. Furthermore, you will probably be inclined to spend more time in your backyard. A fire pit can also serve as a setting for stargazing with your family or friends.

Fire Pits Come in a Variety of Fuel Options

The most popular fuel option for fire pits are wood, natural gas, and propane. If you’re looking for a more natural experience and you have more space, wood is a great option, but be aware that it is more work to find firewood, chop it and light a wood fire. Natural gas and propane have the benefits of being ready to go at the flick of a switch. They also require less space and are usually more safe than a wood fire pit. The main difference is that a natural gas pit cannot be moved and pulls from your home’s supply of natural gas. A propane powered fire pit can be moved, but you also have to deal with a clunky propane tank which is not always the most stylish option.

Fire pits that use gas are also reasonably easy to maintain. You do not have to worry about running out of wood. Furthermore, fire pits that are lit up with propane reduce mess, ashes, and other debris. They are also easy to start, eliminating the need to stack and replenish wood or coal to maintain the fire. It is not only supplies and low maintenance that might lead you to opt for a gas-powered fire pit. These kinds of fire pits are also safer because they do not emit sparks, which is crucial in dry summer months when the grass and foliage dries and becomes flammable.

Fire Pits Can Serve as Outdoor Kitchens and Dining Rooms

Unlike other nice landscape features that you can add to your backyard, such as fountains, fire pits can also be very practical. Aside from the usual marshmallow roasting, you can extend the functionality of the fire pit by placing a grill grate or a rotisserie over the flames. Thanks to this makeshift stove, you will be able to grill as many sausages, steaks, or fish as you want. You will no longer have to clean and air out your indoor kitchen, which can be really hard, especially in the summer. Also, you can place a table and chairs in the vicinity of the fire pit and thus make an outdoor dining room. This will transform your regular evening meals or barbecues into cozy, exciting, fire-lit events under the stars.

Extend your Interior Decorative Style your Fire Pit Area

Fire pits are so much more than just a stone or metal barbecue. They are made in all shapes and sizes, which means you can construct them to fit your aesthetic preferences. If you are traditional when it comes to design, you can install a rustic, bowl-shaped pit surrounded by natural rocks and stones. In contrast, if your personal taste gravitates toward minimalistic, modern lines and structures, your fire pit can reflect this, as well. Flat, smooth paving with a simplistic stone or marble ledge surrounding the fire pit makes for a perfect chill-out zone for your family and friends to make use of in the summer.

All in all, if you decide to install an outdoor fire pit this summer, you can use this opportunity to showcase your style and aesthetic affinities tastefully and practically.

Posted on

Fire Media for Gas Fire Pits

If you are considering a fire pit, one of your concerns may be about the difficulty in starting the fire itself. While a cozy, hand-built wood fire is something everyone should try at least once in their lifetime, it may not be a responsibility you want to take on every time you want to use your fire pit. Luckily, in the modern age, a gas fire pit is always an option. S&S fire pits can accommodate a variety of set ups, so now you just have to consider what your options are for accessorizing your flames. Fire media, an umbrella term for fire glass, fire stones, fire shapes, lava rock, and gas logs, is a decorative add-on that lays on top of a gas burner in your fire pit. Although the choice really comes down to your preference, below are the pros and cons of each style so that you can select the one that is right for your needs.

gas burner

Fire Media Best Practices

Fire media comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles. Its main purpose is to conceal your gas burner and pan from sight. Because fire media lays on top of the burner, the gas is dispersed through the pockets in between each piece rather than concentrated at the burner ports through which they exit from. This helps create a more natural flame pattern.

Fire media is compatible for use with natural gas or propane fire pits only. They are not designed for use in wood-burning fire features and should never be combined with wood. It is also essential that your fire pit has adequate ventilation. Oxygen is required for combustion, so using fire media incorrectly can cause heat and gas to build up within your fire pit, which can result in damage to person and property. Always make sure to follow the instructions listed in the owner’s manual on safe placement of media.

No matter what fire media you use, if your gas fire pit has been exposed to moisture or rain, it is always important to inspect if the fire media is completely dry prior to lighting it. You should never light your fire pit when the fire media is wet because water can expand when heated and may cause it to crack, pop, or burst. We also recommend taking some protective measures, such as using a snug snuffer lid, to help keep your burner and fire media as dry as possible.

If you opt for fire glass or lava rock, it’s a good rule of thumb to cover your burner with no more than a 1-inch layer to ensure the flames receive adequate oxygen for optimal airflow, especially if your fire pit is running on propane. If you are using fire stones or fireballs, you would still use about an inch of lava rock then place your fire stones or fireballs over on top.

Types of Fire Media

Gas Logs

Perhaps it’s the comfort of a crackling campfire surrounded by trees or the coziness of a hearth inside a cabin, but there’s just something about gas logs that makes it a tried and true option for gas fire pits. This classic accessory allows you to maintain the beloved traditional style but with a modern twist of convenience. With their detailed design, gas logs offer an authentic appeal of wood logs but without the mess. Compared to real wood burning logs, gas logs will not burn or emit any ash or embers as they, for the most part, are made from ceramic or concrete. Our version is made from steel and is designed to look highly realistic. The steel means the logs will last just as long as your S&S fire pit, and they will emit radiant heat that will keep you warm, even after you let the fire die down. Since they are custom-built to work with our pits, there is no need to buy a separate burner or line the base with another material like lava rock.

Fire Glass

Fire glass is a translucent, jewel-like media made of tempered glass that is heat-treated for use in gas fire features. Designed to radiate heat and never melt, discolor, or produce any smoke, this type of media is offered in an array of colors, styles, shapes, and sizes. From reflective-coated options that will add a hypnotizing luster and panache, to broken and diamond edges that’ll add a unique texture against the flames, fire glass is certain to accentuate your gas fire pit with a modern touch without making the burner too cluttered. However, depending on how often you use your fire pit, one thing to keep in mind is that fire glass requires a little bit of maintenance. With a little TLC, it will take as little as 15 minutes to remove any dirt and debris with water.

Fire Stones

If fire glass is just simply not for you, fire stones are a great alternative for homes with modern, contemporary styles. As the name implies, this type of media sports a smooth surface that mimics the look of river rock. Yet unlike their genuine counterparts, these pieces will not pop under extreme temperatures as they are made from heat-resistant ceramic. They are offered in natural shades if you prefer a more neutral look or an assortment of vibrant colors if you are looking for something livelier. However, remember that some soot will be more noticeable on lighter colors than on darker colors. Another thing to consider is that some fire stones require lava rock filler as the base, so you may have to make an additional purchase on top of your fire stones.

Fire Shapes

Fire shapes are another great fire glass alternative if you are seeking something more contemporary. Like fire stones, fire shapes are also made from a heat resistant ceramic material that ensures they can withstand extreme temperatures. Whether it is the simple, smooth design of fire balls or the fun, whimsical design of geometric outlines you prefer, there is a shape for everyone. Depending on the style, fire shapes can be positioned on top of one another to create the appearance of a fuller flame. But you will also want to keep in mind that soot marks may appear more noticeably on lighter colors.

Lava Rock

Lava rock is a timeless option for gas fire pits. This naturally-formed mineral’s porous composition promotes better air circulation for your gas fire feature and does a wonderful job of retaining heat. Though rough and coarse by nature, lava is also offered in a tumbled style that removes the sharp, harsh edges and makes it smooth if you are a fan of the polished, modern or transitional look. Because it is an organic material, sizes and colors will vary from each batch. From large chunks that make for great standalone fillers to tiny granules that serve as the perfect base layer for fire stones and fire shapes, lava rocks offer quite an amount of versatility.

Unlike other fire media that is offered in various shades, lava rock’s brownish-black or deep red complexion is the standard. But this can be of benefit since the dark tones are better adept to masking unwanted soot marks, making it relatively maintenance-free. Keep in mind that because lava rock does fade over time, it will need to be replaced in the future.

 

 

Posted on

How to Be a Responsible Fire Pit Owner

Few activities in the outdoors are quite as satisfying and comforting as sitting around a fire pit with friends and family. But before you light up a blaze, take some time to reacquaint yourself with the basics of backyard fire safety. From establishing the correct placement for your fire pit, to identifying the types of wood you should never burn, there are several rules to know and share with those who gather around the fire for seasonal fun all year round. Read on for our tips on using your fire pit responsibly.

Check the Direction of the Wind

Before you start up a blaze in your fire pit, check the local weather forecast. Do not use your fire pit on unusually windy days, as the wind can make it hard to light the kindling and could blow sparks to surrounding brush or structures, potentially starting a fire. Also, always check the direction of the wind before you start your fire. Advise guests to sit on the upwind side of the pit to keep clear of the smoke. If you have a portable fire pit, like one of our many great options, consider moving it to a location with a natural windbreak—before you light the fire. One of the perks of a movable fire pit is that you can play around with location and potentially get more safe use out of it than if you were confined to a single location.

Build a Fire in the Open Fire Pit

Never light your fire pit when it is underneath the overhang of a building or beneath trees, and keep the immediate area around the pit clear of yard waste and other flammable materials. Wayward sparks can blow out of the fire and ignite nearby structures, dry wood, leaves, or other debris, and you could end up with a fire emergency.

Do Not Burn Construction Lumber

To fuel your fire, go ahead and use the branches you sawed off that damaged oak tree after last winter’s storms or buy seasoned hardwood kindling and logs. You can also use softwoods like pine, but you should know that they burn less efficiently and can give off more sparks and smoke than harder woods, leading to a less pleasant evening by the fire. However, you should never burn construction materials like plywood, MDF, pressure-treated boards and posts, or chemically treated wood pallets. Construction lumber is treated with chemical resins, adhesives, and other substances that emit toxic fumes when burned—definitely not what you want to be inhaling (or eating) with your roasted marshmallows!

Be Ready to Extinguish the Flames

Fire can be unifying and magical. It attracts people to its warmth and light and infuses outdoor gatherings with joy and romance. But it can also be an unpredictable, destructive force. If you’ have set your fire pit in a safe location and taken the speed and direction of the wind into account, you probably will not encounter any serious problems. But you should always keep a shovel and water at hand, just in case. In an emergency, you can use the water to quench the fire and the shovel to smother the flames by throwing dirt on them. You may also want to invest in a fire blanket, which can be used to smother a blaze in or outside the fire pit or, in the worst-case scenario, on one of your guests. And be sure to teach kids to “stop, drop, and roll,” in the event that their clothes catch fire. You may never need any of these safety measures, but without them, a fun evening could end in tragedy.

Keep Chairs Away from the Fire Pit

Everyone knows to be careful around a fire pit, campfire, or chiminea, but in the heat of a s’mores session, folks may inch a little too close to the flames, and that is the prime moment when hair, clothes, or other materials can catch fire. Keep chairs at a safe distance from the fire pit, and make sure your sleeves are rolled up and hair tied back when you are tending a fire or roasting food over an open flame. If your fire pit has a screen, be sure to always use it.

Never Leave a Fire Pit Unattended

Even after a fire has died down and only glowing embers remain, do not leave it unattended—not even to dash into the house for a beverage or bathroom break. If you must leave, deputize a responsible party to stay with the fire, or extinguish the fire completely before leaving the scene. While tiny flames may seem innocuous, they are still a potential threat to your safety. After all, fires that were not quite all the way extinguished have been responsible for some of the most severe wildfires in U.S. history. When you are done with your evening festivities, you should pour water over live embers, and turn logs to make sure all sides of the wood have stopped burning before you call it a night. If you have a cover for your pit, you should always put it on when you are done, and make sure it is completely sealed. This will cut off the oxygen supply and help smother any lingering sources of flame that could reignite a roaring blaze.

Drink Responsibly When Near the Fire Pit

Fire and alcohol do not mix. Not only is alcohol flammable, but overindulgence in alcohol impairs coordination, judgment, and reflexes, which could result in injuries to anyone gathered around the perimeter of a fire. If you or your guests are going to drink by an open fire, do so in moderation. Keep everybody a safe distance from the flames, and be ready to douse the fire in case of any alcohol-induced mishaps.

Heed No-Burn Alerts

When high emissions and weather conditions combine to increase fine particulate pollution to an unhealthy level, some municipalities issue no-burn alerts to protect local air quality. Noncompliance with a no-burn order not only puts your community’s health at risk, but could also result in fines. So, before you light the kindling, check to see if there is a no-burn advisory in effect. Respecting the rules of your locality is an important part of being a responsible fire pit user. The experts put these warnings into effect for a reason, and you do not want to be responsible for devastating your local community or public lands because of one mistake at one small party.

Store Firewood Safely

To keep a fire going all evening, you will need to continue feeding it fuel. Take care, though, to keep firewood at a safe distance from the fire pit. You want to feed the fire at your own pace and not have it jump the fire pit and feed itself.

 

A fire is a lovely thing to have, but remember that if you do not keep it in control, you will very quickly lose control of the situation. Of course, do not ever try to be the hero. If a fire at your home or vacation spot ever does get out of control, evacuate the area immediately and call the proper authorities

Posted on

6 Tips to Get the Most Out of a Fire Pit in the Winter

An outdoor fire pit is often considered a summertime luxury. Winter is knocking at our doors, and it will not be long before we take out the winter jackets from the bottom of our drawers and the back of our closets. But before any that happens, we need to make sure that our houses are warm for the upcoming winter. Some people have the tremendous benefit of owning a yard or patio, and, contrary to what some people may think, yards too can be a cozy spot to spend time in even during the coldest season. All of this is provided you have a fire pit, of course. Need some tips on how to stay warm and cozy in your backyard this winter? Starting with the more practical and ending with some fun, here are some useful winter fire pit ideas that will give you the chance to try a different kind of recreation this holiday season.

  1. Use a lid or cover on your fire pit to keep it clear from snow

This is an important step, maybe the most important step, to enjoying a fire outside during the winter. Similar to your grill, you want to keep some type of cover over the main part of your fire pit to prevent snow from collecting inside. A wet base can make it more difficult to start a fire. If you unfortunately left the cover off or have not purchased one yet and there is already snow inside, shovel out as much as you can.

As an alternative, if it is a light and portable fire pit, consider moving it to a covered area, whether under an awning or on your porch (as long as it has cooled down and the embers are no longer active, of course).

  1. Keep your firewood dry or give your gas fire pit a quick once-over

Like we mentioned above, wet can make starting a fire difficult. It is not impossible, but you will end up with more smoke and less flame. Store your firewood in a dry place throughout the winter for quick and easy fire starting. Also, make sure your kindling is dry.

Ensuring the wood is dry will yield warmer, faster results because it increases the surface area and allows room for more oxygen to get to the fire. Additionally, softwoods (wood from coniferous trees such as pines, spruces and firs) typically generate the most heat. Softwoods are also easier to start a fire with.

For a gas fire pit, just give the unit a once-over to make sure nothing is leaking or caked with snow that would prevent it from working properly and safely.

  1. Dig a path to your fire pit

After snowfall, it might be delightful to build a fire to stand around as you build igloos, have snowball fights, and sled the day away. Create a clear path to your fire pit to keep your guests a little warmer than standing in knee-high snow. You can do this when you go to check on the fire pit and set up the scene. For a more festive area, put that snow to good use and build an open igloo around the fire pit for a fun twist to the experience.

Make it even easier to find your way to the fire pit by adding lighting along the patio or pathway. There are many solar lantern options available or string lights in nearby shrubs or trees to create a magical glow in the backyard.

  1. Make sure seating is dry and bring out some blankets

Clear off the seating area of snow if you already have chairs, benches, or other seats around your fire pit. If you can bring already clean chairs over to the area, that might be better as they will not  be as cold and wet. Another festive idea is to use large tree stumps as seats. If you do not mind the cold, you can get creative and build seating made of snow!

Do not forget the blankets. It can help keep guests warm as they take a reprieve near the fire. Store the blankets in a large, plastic tub to keep them from getting wet.

  1. Sit back and enjoy

The fire is built, the family has bundled up, and the fun is being had in the snow. While you are around the fire, bring out the s’more supplies and some hot coffee and cocoa. A fire pit just is not complete without drinks like hot chocolate or Bailey’s and coffee! Prepare thermoses or use insulated cups to keep drinks warm. Just add roasted marshmallows and you are set!

  1. Throw a Party

More bodies mean more heat and warmth, so the more, the merrier when it comes to keeping warm! Having an outdoor fire pit is the perfect way to extend the living space especially for giving guests an extra area to go and relax during parties and other indoor gatherings.

Start a roaring fire in the backyard and make sure to light the pathway to the fire pit well! Create zones for guests to grab hot chocolate, cozy blankets and a roasting marshmallow/s’mores station.

Beat the winter blues by cooking some great foods over the fire reminiscent of summer nights. You can do s’mores, hotdogs, foil meals, sweet potatoes, and any camping food to help get out of a winter slump. A fire pit cooking grill, grate, or tripod is a great accessory to pull out of the shed to do this. Do not forget to keep a warm beverage nearby while cooking.

Wood grates are also another great option to maximize the amount of heat in a pit. These are steel grates that are placed in the bottom of a fire pit to lift the wood up a little and allow more room for oxygen and air circulation.

 

Fire pits do not need to be limited to use in the summertime, the cozy glow of a warm fire can easily be enjoyed year-round, including winter.

Whether you are gathering with friends around a roaring fire in the yard or quietly enjoying an evening around a small fire after the kids go to bed, the frosty winter night can be an outdoor escape if you want it to be, just take a look at all of these great ideas above to make your space extra cozy

Posted on

Accessories for your Fire Pit: Part 4

Let us set the scene: you have your new, handcrafted fire pit installed and ready for action. You have acquired all of the necessary safety equipment, and you have the all the tools handy that are necessary to use your fire pit effectively, plus some handy extras to make your life easier. Now it is time for the fun part! Every fire pit owner will have a different style and décor envisioned for their backyard getaway. There are so many different ways to use your home fire pit, and there are countless accessories you can get to add the finishing touches to your patio ambiance or to enhance the entertainment value of your fire pit. Keep on reading for some ideas on fun items that can jazz up your next fire pit session or outdoor gathering. 

Person Roasting Marshmallow

1. Fire Pit Cover 

A well-fitting cover for your wood-burning or propane fire pit has both form and function. It will help keep you safe from stray sparks, protect your pit from damage, and can show off your personality and style. The odds are against your fire pit already, especially if it is out in the weather regularly, so it is very important that you keep it clean, dry, and covered. A cover is absolutely one of the key fire pit accessories on this list that will help your fire not only look clean and stylish, but also working in top condition for years to come. 

2. 20 lb Propane Tank 

If you are looking to buy a propane fire pit, know that they typically do not come with the required standard 20 lb propane tank. If you have a gas fire pit already, having an extra or even a few more propane tanks can save the day if you run out of propane during a fire pit gathering. Plus, if you have a propane barbecue grill, you will have an extra tank on hand if there is a need for that, as well. If you do not want to own the tanks, we recommend picking up a few tanks at a time at your local Blue Rhino or Amerigas dealer. That way, you can always have extra on hand and can circulate the tanks as you run out. You will pay a little more upfront, but your new filled tanks will be much cheaper when you trade in the empties for freshly filled ones. 

3. A Way to Play Music 

An easy way to take your fire pit experience up a notch is to add a little music. Whether you are hosting a big backyard bash or having a quiet night in, the right mood music can really set the tone for the evening. For a combination of great sound and convenience, try out some Bluetooth-enabled portable speakers. They are the perfect option for outdoor use. Better yet, you might want to splurge for some speakers with Wi-Fi connectivity that pair with a voice-activated assistant, like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, so you can control your music from your phone or by speaking, without ever having to leave the coziness of the fire to adjust the music. Many outdoor options also come with durability features, such as weatherproofing and drop resistance. 

4. Marshmallow Roasting Sticks 

If you like roasting marshmallows over an open fire, then a nice set of roasting sticks can make the job a lot easier, neater, and even safer. If the kids are going to be at your next fire pit gathering, you really can’t go wrong with a set of these skewers. Children, of course, do not always watch where they are pointing sharp objects, and yours are likely no different. If you have young ones around and want to share this time-honored tradition with them, try out a type of marshmallow roasting stick where the sharp ends where the marshmallows go are bent backward like a hook. Take the worry out of the fun times, and no poking the person next to them accidentally (or on purpose, when it comes to siblings). 

5. Fire Pit Popcorn Popper 

This is will be your new favorite cooking implement for making something to eat over the fire pit (and there is little risk of getting poked in the eye in the process). If you are a fan of the old school Jiffy Pop popcorn, you will really appreciate this one. A fire pit popper is basically a handle with a ring on the end that you place your popcorn tin into for cooking over the fire. There is the added benefit of having no greasy mess with butter, no cleanup, and no bowl necessary, so this easy and fun trick is a win all around. Plus, it is exciting to watch and hear those kernels explode as they heat up! 

A fire pit popcorn popper is a lot lighter than your traditional cast iron campfire cookware, and you will have your popcorn quick and with a low chance of burning. There are models where you can simply add the popcorn tin to the popper for the ultimate ease, or there are types where you can add the loose kernels if that is what you prefer. If you do not have a grate or something to rest your popcorn popper on, try to find a version with a telescoping handle.

6. Beverage Cooler 

Having a solid cooler around the fire pit is a definite nice-to-have to keep everything cool and hold a supply of ice for those who want to use it for their drinks. Additionally, it will save you the trouble of having to run inside every five minutes to get drinks for everyone. Look for one with wheels to make it easily transportable – these things can get quite heavy! When choosing a size, think about how many people it is likely to be serving most of the time. Keep in mind that your cooler will stay colder longer when it is fuller. One of the perks of having a home fire pit also means that you can choose an electric model if you like. 

7. Fire Pit Flame Color 

Another fun one for the kids or anyone else in your family that might like a colorful fire is flame color. It is as simple as it sounds. You just drop the color packet unopened in the center of the fire, just like magic, you get a colored flame show that will keep the kids busy for at least as long as the spectacle lasts. They will probably ask for another color after you introduce this one for the first time, so be prepared with multiple packets.

 

This concludes our series on how to accessorize your new (or old) fire pit in both fun and functional ways. As you can see, there are a lot of ways to play with it and make your patio the happening place to be, so have fun with it! As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at SS Fire Pits with any questions or if you are looking for advice.

Posted on

Accessories for your Fire Pit: Part 3

Some items you will need for your fire pit are flat out necessary, such as those discussed in Part 1 of this series, which are products used for safety and are not negotiable. In Part 2, we have also written about non-safety items that you need to have in order to operate your fire pit. However, some accessories, while not integral to running your fire pit, are designed just to make your life a lot easier. They are not absolutely necessary, and you can manage without them, but they will make your fire pit experience go a lot smoother and it will be much more enjoyable and carefree. In this part of the series, we will talk about all those bonus accessories that are nice to have as extras as a fire pit owner.

 

1. High-Quality Fireglass or Firerock

For a propane or natural gas fire pit, you will want some good quality fireglass or rock to line your fire pit. Many propane fire pits often come with low-quality fire pit beads in the traditional clear color. This may or may not be the look you want, but in many cases, if the fire pit is not from a reputable vendor, the glass beads can include broken pieces with sharp edges that can cut you when you move it with bare hands (another place for your new fire pit gloves to come in handy).

Additionally, many propane or natural gas fire pits come with lava rock as an alternative to fireglass. While lava rock performs well as a low-cost retainer and distributor of heat, it too might not be the style you are going for in your backyard gas fire pit, depending on your taste. While lava rock does do a good job at what it is intended for, it is not the most interesting to look at and does not stand out at night, lacking the shimmer and color options of the wide variety of fireglass choices on the market today.

If you are planning to build a propane or natural gas fire pit or have one already installed, or even if you just want to try out a new decorative scheme or backyard ambience with your current fire pit media, look for quality tempered fireglass that will not crack or shatter and will hold up to constant heat exposure and weather.

Check with your local outdoor or fire pit specially store to discuss what type, size, and color fireglass you are looking for and explore your options before you buy. The fireglass market is huge and you want to get a good understanding of what is out there. If you want something truly unique and special, consider trying out one of our custom steel gas log sets. This gives the rustic and cozy appearance of using natural wood to fuel your fire pit, without the effort of actually acquiring wood and building a fire each time.

2. Seating for your Fire Pit Area

If you are looking for seating that can be brought out and put away each time you have a gathering around the fire pit, folding chairs are an excellent option. Everyday metal folding chairs will do, but for something a little more comfortable and sturdy (and designed for the outdoors already), another choice to opt for is a set of nice camping chairs. These come in a range of options from basic to more luxurious with extra bells and whistles, such as cup holders, pockets, and extra padding, so you can cater your seating to any type of style or gathering. Best of all, when you are done, you simply fold everything up and put it away in a canvas or nylon bag that comes with it for easy storage.

Of course, if you prefer something more permanent that you do not have to set up each time and have a dedicated place in your yard for it, there are lots of gorgeous and affordable patio sets on the market for every taste and style.

3. Natural Mosquito Repellents

If you live in a buggy area, the great thing about owning a fire pit is that it can be its own method to ward off pesky biting pests during an evening spent outdoors. You could try burning pinyon (or piñion) firewood. Flying insects of all kinds, especially mosquitoes, do not like the smell it gives off when burned and stay away. It is somewhat localized to the U.S. Southwest, but you can search for it though online and specialty retailers, and it will really do the trick.

Additionally, the smoke from burning sage or rosemary will help keep mosquitoes away, as well. Be sure that you do not use the dry ground up stuff found in your pantry – it has to be fresh sage or rosemary. Buy either herb in bunches at your local supermarket and throw a little on the fire throughout the entire time you are outside.

If you do not feel like keeping fresh herbs on hand to keep mosquitoes at bay during your next fire pit burn, there are also other burn-in products available that are specially made for this purpose that you can keep on hand for when you need it. These products are usually made from recycled wood or other burnable material that has been treated with citronella, citrus, geranium, thyme, peppermint, cinnamon, rosemary and/or lemongrass, which are all things mosquitoes are not fond of.

4. Firewood Carrier

Once you have split and stacked your firewood, you will need something to keep the number of trips to the woodpile to a minimum. A good waxed canvas firewood carrier can help you carry more logs comfortably and keep you clean in the process from not having to carry a stack in your arms.

5. Propane Tank Stand

If you have a gas fire pit and its propane tank is not stored inside the fire pit unit itself, a stand can be a very useful tool for keeping it upright and out of the way while in use, in storage, or in transit. Further, if your propane tank is regularly left out in the elements, a tank stand will keep rust rings from forming on your wood or concrete patio. It is a very small investment for a lot of payoff. Rust rings can be a real pain to get off stone or cement once they have formed.

6. Fire Pit Heat Deflector

It is no secret propane and natural gas fire pits do not give off quite as much heat as their wood-burning counterparts, so being able to channel that heat exactly where you want it makes your gas fire pit that much more functional and useful. This is where a fire pit heat deflector comes in handy.

A fire pit heat deflector is essentially a square or round heat shield, positioned above your fire pit to vector heat outward where you want it, thus having it disappear vertically where it does the least good for everyone nearby. Additionally, if you are using your gas fire pit under an overhead covered structure, such as a gazebo or a pergola, a heat deflector will minimize the long-term effects of regular heat exposure on those structures. If you have a longer, rectangular shaped gas fire pit, multiple heat deflectors can be used side by side to cover the entire burner pan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on

Accessories for your Fire Pit: Part 2

What good is having a fire pit if you can’t use it to its full potential? That is where all the fun accessories come in! In our last post in this series, we focused on items that are absolute must-haves and non-negotiable for operating your fire pit safely and being prepared for any scenario. In part 2 of this series, we will discuss the various items you need that will make your home fire pit experience easier and will ensure everything runs smoothly. Read on to learn more about the accessories you need to use your fire pit effectively.

 

 

1. Pair of Fire Pit Tongs

This one likely does not need a lot of explanation, but having a good set of solid fire pit tongs can be a big help when moving firewood around or to your fire pit safely, especially when you are trying to add wood to a specific spot in a hot fire. Tongs can help you do all of that with less risk to yourself or your clothing, and as you know by now, safety is paramount when it comes to fire pit use. There are a lot of cheap flimsy options out there, so do your homework. Check out a pair at your local fire pit/fireplace specialty store and actually pick them up and handle them, or go with a trustworthy, well-made option like our handcrafted fire pit log tongs.

2. Fire Pit Poker

This is another pretty common fire pit tool. Having a poker on hand is great for repositioning wood already in the fire pit. If you are adding wood and trying to avoid having your stack collapse under the weight of what is being added, being able to safely move wood around to a better location without getting too close to the heat source is a must. However, the main problem with traditional pokers, like the ones used in fireplaces, is their length. Most fireplaces are not particularly deep, and the need for a long poker just is not there.

Wood-burning fire pits, on the other hand, are getting larger and larger as demand grows, and the need for longer pokers to get good there, while maintaining some distance, is growing with it. When shopping for a fire pit poker, try to pick up the longest option you can find. Most fire pit pokers generally come in the 25 to 45 in. range. If you are able, shoot for a poker that has a combination of length and light weight to minimize fatigue when moving wood around your fire pit while still allowing you to keep your distance. A solid but lightweight option is our fire poker with ball. It is even stylish, with a lovely decorative touch!

3. Heat-Resistant Gloves

On occasion, you may need to move your portable fire pit a few inches over for one reason or another while it is in use, or you might need to handle the spark screen when adding firewood. Like most people, you probably do not enjoy burning your hands, so it is a good idea to keep at least one heat-resistant glove in your pocket or nearby and handy when using your fire pit. Having a pair of gloves is quite nice, especially when you need to lend one to someone who is helping you out with maintaining the fire or cooking over it.

Like most accessories on this list, there is a range of options you can choose from. Splurging for the pricier gloves may seem like overkill, but the confidence you gain knowing you will not get burned when you use them to touch something hot will be well worth it. There are some slightly cheaper options out there, but just make sure you are getting what you pay for and that they are properly rated for the temperatures you will be handling.

4. Homemade Fire Starters

Save your newspaper for your wood-burning fire pit, just like you would for a fireplace! It is a cheap and easily accessible for starter and does a pretty good job getting the kindling started. Once your initial firewood stack is ready, just loosely ball up a couple of pages of newspaper and stuff them into pockets of space at the base of the stack. Light when you are ready – it is as simple as that.

Another cheap and very effective tool in getting fire pit fires started is using toilet paper rolls stuffed with dryer lint. Dryer lint lights very easily and burns quickly, lighting the paper in the roll, which lights your kindling and so forth. You can probably get creative with other types of fire starters you can find around the house, but always make sure you use a material that is safe to burn and will not cause any toxic fumes or other hazardous situations.

Of course there is nothing like cheap or free for effective fire pit accessories, but sometimes it makes more sense to spend a little more and save some time with a purchased product. There are a number of commercially available fire starter products on the market if you do not want to bother with the suggestions above. Most are made from cedar or fatwood shavings and some sort of wax binder.

5. Lighter or Fire Steel

You know that cheap disposable plastic utility or barbecue lighter that you keep hanging around in the junk drawer in your kitchen? The one you have to try to light several times before it produces a flame and whose spark blows out in the slightest of breezes? Believe it or not, there are better options out there for lighting your fire. If you are not using a windproof butane or electric arc lighter to light your fire pit, you are missing out on making your life a whole lot easier. When they work as they were designed to, they can’t be beaten for performance. Electric arc lighters are easy to operate, do not need too be refilled with gas, and are cool to look at, but be warned that if you have a dog or are considering getting one, they typically do not like the high-pitch sound arc lighters can make and may start barking in response. In this case, you may want to opt for a windproof butane lighter instead.

If you are a little more traditional, a fire steel or ferro rod, is a solid choice as you will not need to fill it with butane or charge its battery – it always works out of the box.

6. Firewood Ash Bucket

When cleaning out your wood-burning fire pit the day after a burn or removing hot ash from the fire pit during or after a fire, having a solid firewood ash bucket on hand is a definitive must-have. Whatever the situation, an ash bucket is a safe, clean, and durable option designed for storing your ash until disposal or use for other purposes.

It is important to choose a durable option. Look for features such as a double bottom to avoid burn through and galvanize iron which means it will be more resistant to rust while handling whatever heat is thrown at it. You will also need something to scoop the ash with. Try our handcrafted ash shovels, which are made from recycled 55 gallon drums. The curve of the handle follows the curve of our pits making it easy to scoop out your ashes.

Posted on

Maintaining Your Home Fire Pit

Adding a fire pit to your yard or patio, whether you buy one that is pre-made or use supplies to build your own, creates an exquisite and cozy focal point for your outdoor living space. Fire pits come in a variety of sizes and types, and they bring style and functionality to your property. They are great for outdoor entertainment or a romantic evening at home at any time of year. However, if you want your fireplace to last and build these memories year after year, proper maintenance is essential for keeping your backyard centerpiece looking and working well throughout the seasons. Read on for our advice on how to keep your fire pit in top working condition. 

Burning Wood

Location 

The location of your fire pit has a big impact on how easy it is to maintain. To avoid smoke concerns or scattered ash, we suggest choosing a location with some wind protection. For safety, any nearby trees with potential overhang over the pit should be trimmed back on a regular basis. Any yard debris should be confined to a minimum distance of 10 feet away from the circle around the pit. 

Avoid Cracking 

Cracks in your fire pit can result from stress, which can be caused by a hot fire raging in cold weather. To prevent the possibility of cracking, footers should be extended to the frostline or built on a reinforced concrete base when building masonry fire pits in cold climates. Cracking is a common problem. Even if some cracks are only cosmetically significant, they should all be examined. Severe cracks should be repaired before continuing to use the product. 

What to Burn 

Be mindful of what your put into your fire pit. Burning garbage or pressure-treated wood in a wood burning pit can release hazardous pollutants that are unsafe to breathe and can damage pit surfaces. It is best to use split, dry wood. Green wood also should not be burned. To start your fire, we recommend using broken pallets or yard-picked leaves and sticks as kindling. It is not advised to use accelerants because they can be harmful and can discolor or ruin the fire pit. 

Extinguishing the Flames 

Flames should be allowed to burn out naturally wherever possible. Although water should be maintained on hand in case of an emergency, pouring water on an active fire can induce fast temperature fluctuations, which might cause the vessel to break or otherwise be damaged. 

Removing Ashes 

Because ashes are acidic, it is critical to remove them from the pit on a regular basis to avoid long-term damage to the fire pit. You should have a metal ash container available nearby to collect ashes the next day after the pit is utilized. Because embers can smolder for a long time after a fire has died out, care should be taken when clearing them, and they should be doused with water once they have been removed. Spent ashes should be gathered in a metal bucket with a lid and disposed of appropriately once the bucket is full. 

Cleaning: Masonry Fire Pits 

If residue builds up over time, stone fire pits can be cleaned by scrubbing the interior with a solution of one part muriatic acid to nine parts water. After cleaning, rinse thoroughly with water and let air dry for 48 to 72 hours before using. 

Cleaning: Metal Fire Pits 

Metal fire pits, like cast iron fire pits, are prone to corrosion. Scrubbing with a sharp wire brush and wiping away the residue is an easy approach to remove surface rust. Protective coatings, such as oil and silicone, are available to help prevent rust, but it is crucial to know which ones are right for your metal. Before applying any surface treatments, check the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Cleaning: Gas Fire Pits 

Gas fire pits, which are powered by natural gas or propane, are a wonderful choice for existing patios because of their ease of use, safety, and low-maintenance requirements. They create less heat than wood burning pits, but they have instant starts and do not produce messy ashes to clean. Keep the burners clean for efficient gas flow and check the fuel lines on a regular basis to keep your gas fire pit in good working order. 

Before cleaning the fire pit, turn off the gas valve or turn off the gas line. Clean the burner pan of any refuse, rocks, and leaves. Check for bugs and make sure the drains and vents are not clogged. Do not use water to put out the fire since the abrupt change in temperature in the fire pit can cause breaking and deterioration of the metal. Wait for the pit to cool down fully, then cover it. 

Cleaning: Wood-Burning Fire Pits 

Wood-burning pits create that campfire smell and feel, but they leave messy ashes behind, so it is important to keep up with cleaning these after use. Sweep up any ashes and debris using a brush. Because ashes are acidic, it is critical to remove them from the pit on a regular basis to avoid long-term damage to the fire pit. 

Allow flames to die down naturally while not in use. Putting out a fire with water might result in rapid temperature swings, which can cause the pit to crack or otherwise be damaged. Split, dry wood is preferred for burning, as trash or pressure-treated wood release pollutants that are detrimental to the environment and can damage pit surfaces, making them harder to clean and maintain over time. 

Using a Cover 

Whether it is a simple vinyl cover or something more ornate, keeping your fire pit protected from the elements is a simple way to extend the life of your backyard or patio fire pit and to preserve it in good working order. Make sure it is completely cool before covering. 

Using Screens 

Although it is fair to say that using a screen can occasionally distract from the beauty of an open flame when gathering around the pit on a cool evening, many prefabricated pits come with flat or domed screens to prevent embers from spreading and to reduce char and clutter. If your pit does not come with one, consider purchasing or making one to add to your outdoor fire pit for easy cleanup and added safety. 

Surfaces for Cooking 

If you plan to cook outdoors with your fire pit, make sure to clean the grates and other cooking surfaces as soon as possible after you finish. Grease, fluids, and food residue can accumulate inside the fire pit, producing stains and hastening the deterioration process. 

Tools for Fire Pit Care 

Having the correct tools on hand can help you maintain the appearance and functionality of your fire pit. You can get a simple fireplace tool set to use with your fire pit at the hardware store. You will need an ash scoop, a long poker, and tongs to move the logs about so they burn evenly. 

Pit Storage 

Permanent pit installations can usually withstand year-round weather conditions with little maintenance, but if your pit is portable, storing it under a covered space or in a garage or shed when not in use can save you the time and effort of cleaning off-season buildup of dirt and debris before sharpening those marshmallow sticks for the season.

Posted on

8 Things to Know Before You Get a Fire Pit

Whether you buy a ready-made model or work with a professional to create a design that is unique for your space, you have a staggering number of options when it comes to installing a fire pit. It can be difficult to know where to begin, in any case. Take a look at the following advice and considerations to assist you in making your decision. You should be able to work with a pro to select the appropriate fire pit for your taste, demands, budget, and location, using this information as your guide. 

Close-up Photo of Bonfire

  1. Local Regulations

Before you go out and buy a fire pit, check with your city’s building code and the local authorities to see if there are any limits on where you can put one outside or whether you may burn wood. Check with your building or homeowners’ association to see if there are any restrictions on outdoor fire pits if you reside in a condo or apartment complex. If you are renting, check with your landlord first. 

Fire pit placement is frequently regulated for safety reasons, and there are rules, such as keeping a fire pit at least 10 feet away from buildings and fences. Some counties may demand that your planned location be inspected by local fire officials to ensure that it is fire-safe. If your county has fuel restrictions due to environmental concerns, avoid wood-burning models in favor of smoke-free models that run on propane or natural gas. 

  1. Style

Fire pits are available in a variety of sizes, styles, and designs to complement any backyard decor and meet the desires of any homeowner. The difficult part is whittling down your choices and selecting the best one for you. Finding a fire pit that matches your existing backyard design in terms of style, color, shape, or material is an excellent place to start. 

In addition to picking a fire pit that complements the overall landscape design, you should select a model that is appropriate for the purposes for which it will be used. Look for features that are work for you and your family. For example, if you want to use the edge of your pit as a table for food and drinks, make sure there is a wide enough lip around it so you do not wind up with your cold items heating up after a few minutes. 

  1. Size

Fire pits come in a variety of sizes, from small ones you can carry with you to bigger built-in types. Select a size and style that is appropriate for your budget and region. The diameter of store-bought fire pits is typically 24 to 30 inches. The width of built-in units can range from 36 to 58 inches. 

There are also a variety of heights available, from low-to-the-ground fire bowls to taller models. Choose a type that is either even with or slightly lower than regular seat height if you want to rest your feet on the fire pit’s lip (typically 18 inches). Reflected warmth is also affected by the height of the fire pit in comparison to the seat height. Choose a lower fire pit if you want the flames to warm you from your seat. More heat is provided to the body by keeping the fire pit a little lower, at 18 to 20 inches. 

When deciding on the size of the fire pit, keep in mind how much space you will need for seating and circulation. As a general rule, allow 5 to 7 feet of space around the perimeter of a fire pit for chairs and movement. Make sure you plan your space around the fire pit, with plenty of area for big, comfortable chairs and mobility. If you are planning to construct built-in seating, leave 40 to 48 inches between the back wall of the seating area and the fire. 

  1. Permanent or Portable

Another factor to consider when purchasing a fire pit is whether you prefer the ease and adaptability of a portable model or a fire pit that will be a permanent fixture in your backyard. Renters may find lightweight portable fire pits to be a fantastic alternative because they can be moved around and lit in different sections of an outdoor space. 

  1. Material

Stone, metal, concrete, or a combination of these are just some of the materials used in fire pits. Choose a material that complements your style, blends in with your backyard’s decor, and can withstand stains and frequent use. Each substance has advantages and disadvantages. Concrete is a long-lasting material; however, it can be stained by soot. Metal that has been powder-coated is tough, but it can get hot. Natural stone is beautiful, but it can darken and shatter from heat if not installed properly. 

You may be able to choose the material in the flame area that covers the burner if you are using a natural gas or propane-burning device. Your choices include decorative balls, lava rock, and fire glass that all come in a variety of colors, sizes, and shapes. 

  1. Cost

The price of a fire pit varies greatly. You can stay under $100 with a fire pit constructed of stacked stones in a ring or a basic one made of metal and set up only for wood burning. Depending on the design, freestanding fire pits constructed of stone, concrete, or powder-coated metal can cost anywhere from $300 to $2,000 or more. Budget $1,000 to $5,000 or more for custom and built-in models. 

  1. Fuel Type

Your fire pit can burn with three different types of fuel: wood, propane, or natural gas. Wood-burning fire pits provide the characteristic crackling sound of a campfire, but they are being increasingly restricted due to air-polluting smoke issues. Propane and natural gas have the advantages of not producing smoke, being easier to clean, and being quicker to turn on and off. 

Both options have advantages and disadvantages. If you go with natural gas, be prepared to pay more for installation. In order to extend a gas line, you will also need a permit. Propane will save on the cost of not having to extend a gas line, but you still have to figure out where to put the propane tank, ideally somewhere out of sight but still accessible for refilling. 

  1. Permitting

A standard-size backyard fire pit does not require a permit in most cases. You may require one to expand your gas line if you choose a natural gas fire pit. Some counties may demand that your planned location be inspected by local fire officials to ensure that it is fire-safe. Extra-large fire pits (those with a diameter of more than 4 feet) may require a permit or additional safety or installation requirements. Before you begin, double-check your city’s building codes and with municipal authorities. 

 

Choosing to install a fire pit at your home can be an excellent idea that will provide fun and comfort for years to come, but it does take a little bit of planning. However, as long as your city does not have any ordinances against outdoor fires, most homes can accommodate some kind of set up. You just have to be creative and imagine how you will use it in the future.

Posted on

Choosing the Perfect Fire Pit

Every family or homeowner has a dream set up for their backyard remodel or design. Some families yearn for a warm, sunny pool. Others fantasize about a large deck with plenty of space for grilling and sunbathing. Regardless of the size of your backyard, many homeowners have the same dream: a blazing fire pit. 

Fire pits are a great way to add a rustic, relaxing element to your backyard. Furniture, outdoor lighting, and elements, such as lattice walls and more substantial structures that radiate outward from your fire pit, ground your design and offer you room to be creative. 

Regardless of the season, fire pits serve as a social meeting location. You and your family can gather around the fire during the crisp autumn evenings, roast marshmallows, and tell ghost stories late into the night. On a hot summer day, fire pits allow you to finish off your favorite BBQ meal, while watching the kids splash around in the pool (or maybe going for a dip yourself). 

Are you ready to add a fire pit to your backyard to make it more inviting? A Google search for fire pit ideas on the internet can leave you unsure of where to start. Where do you begin with so many shapes, materials, designs, and construction methods to pick from? We have compiled a list of our top ready-to-build and ready-to-buy fire pit ideas for you, so you can spend less time browsing and more time around your new fire pit! 

Photography of Wood Burning on Fire Pit

Building Your Own Fire Pit 

The creative options with a fire pit are practically infinite when you collect and install the materials yourself. You can create a fire pit from scratch in any area of the yard with some forethought, precision, and a lot of hard work. DIY projects need more time and effort, but they usually result in reduced expenses. 

  • Round Stone Fire Pit 

Stone fire pits are one of the most cost-effective solutions for outdoor fire pits. Choose palletized stone for a consistent shape and size when placing your order. Determine the width of your fire pit area with a piece of rebar and twine. Make a big circle with spray paint. Excavate to a depth of roughly six inches in the place you want your pit to go. Make a second circle with the perimeter of your actual fire pit inside that circle. 

Pour premixed cement and allow it to dry in the region between the inner and outer rings. Lay the first round of fire bricks, the second and third rounds of fire bricks, and then carefully place your capstones before finishing your seating area, applying mortar as you go. 

  • Square Concrete Fire Pit 

For sleek, contemporary outdoor aesthetics, concrete fire elements are becoming increasingly popular. These can also be raised so that your s’mores station is level with your outstretched palm while you relax on a deep seat sofa. Square concrete fire pits have a lot of steps: first, build the interior and outer rings out of fir planks. To defend against the elements, add reinforcement and wire or mesh matting. 

Once you have finished the previous stage, pour your concrete to the top of the form. Once the concrete has dried, carefully remove the forms and apply finishing touches such as a smooth finish or a layer of slate on top of the concrete. Fill the center of your bowl halfway with gravel, and then secure it. Last but not least, fill the remaining space with beautiful rocks of your choice. 

  • In-ground Stone and Brick Fire Pit 

In-ground fire pits fit in perfectly with your backyard’s scenery. While this can be a safety concern if you have small children or pets, an in-ground fire pit can lend a touch of casual elegance to any outdoor space. Depending on where you get the components, a fire pit like this can be built for less than $100. 

To begin, dig a hole that is four feet deep and 12 feet in diameter, with the sides slanted out slightly. Fifteen liters of lava rocks should be used to fill the hole. Place the bricks vertically around the hole’s rim, tilting them on their sides. In the circular area where you’ll set up chairs and side tables, shovel sod away from the pit’s edge. Cover the bricks with flat, ornamental stones around the pit’s edge. You are now ready to build a fire by filling in the top region in and around the flat stones with earth. 

 

Fire Pit Ideas You Can Purchase 

Is it not possible to take on a new construction project by yourself? If you do not have the time, skills, or ambition to build a fire pit from the ground up, there are numerous varieties of gorgeous fire pits that you can buy for your backyard dependent on your budget. These alternatives can add a functioning fire pit to your outdoor entertainment options, while also elevating your aesthetic. 

  • Concrete Basin 

Use the color palette of your existing patio furniture to determine the best shade for a basic, low-cost concrete basin fire pit. A freestanding bowl’s floating look offers an unforgettable visual statement and embellishes circular patios and flat spaces. All you need to know before ordering your concrete basin is the color of your current chairs or the color you want to purchase. A simple approach for cohesion is homogeneous color, especially when contrasted with your dwelling or decking materials. 

  • Steel Cauldron 

A hanging cauldron fire pit and grill will impress any visitor, whether you have a modern home with clean lines or a rambling wood cabin. Steel cauldron fire pits have a tall triangular frame that supports a spherical cauldron that seems like it sprang from a smithy or forge and landed in your backyard. These cauldrons, especially the larger ones, can be expensive. However, the artistry is well worth the money for the right family and home. 

  • Propane-Powered Fire Pit Tables 

Small standalone fire pit tables that are metalworked and powered by propane are becoming popular in many homes with limited yard space or with basic patios instead of traditional yards. These stylish, low-cost fire pit tables frequently have a side table that conceals the gas tank. These fire pit tables can cost as little as a couple hundred dollars, depending on the type of metal used and the craftsmanship. 

For the homeowner who wants the most low-maintenance fire pit option that is easy to set up and light, a fire pit table can be the perfect option. They can come in varying sizes to fit all sizes and layouts of backyard or patio space. Another very handy feature of a fire pit table is that, besides making sure your propane tank is full, you do not need to maintain the fire and can adjust it with a switch. 

 

With a little inspiration and a design that appeals to you, you can either craft a DIY fire pit or save time and money by ordering one that matches your outdoor concept. The entire family may gather around a fire pit table for meals, games, beverages, stories, s’mores, and countless new memories. After you have finished putting the finishing touches on your fire pit, determine what style of furniture best suits your unique location, whether you are furnishing a desert hideaway or a lake house.

Posted on

How to Build a Wood Fire in Your Fire Pit

If you spent your childhood taking camping trips every weekend with your family or you spent time in the Scouts, you may already be a skilled pro at building a fire. However, if you are not the outdoorsy type, you may never have learned the proper techniques for building a quality fire. Even though this skill can seem intimidating for a newbie, it is actually quite manageable once you get the hang of it! 

With a wood-burning fire pit in your backyard, you do not even need to venture out into the wilderness to achieve a cozy, roaring fire. You can enjoy such luxuries from the comfort of your own home. If you want to learn how to develop this easy and straightforward skill, or if you just want to improve on the knowledge you already have, read on for our tips on how to start the perfect (or most efficient!) fire in your backyard fire pit. 

 

Fire Safety 

Before you ever light your fire, make sure that safety is your top priority. Fire pit safety is incredibly important, and if you follow the best practices, you can avoid costly mistakes. Here are some safety guidelines to keep in mind when using your fire pit: 

  • To prevent flames or embers from escaping the pit, start your fire on an even surface. 
  • Make sure your fire pit is at least 10 feet away from any trees, houses, fences, or other flammable things. 
  • If the weather is very windy, choose a different night to light a fire. 
  • Keep a safe distance from the fire pit, and pay attention to any children and pets nearby. 
  • Avoid use of propellants or other potentially hazardous or toxic substances.
  • Never leave your fire unattended. 

 

How to Build a Fire with Wood in a Fire Pit 

1. Preparation 

After you’ve chosen a safe site for your fire, it is time to collect the appropriate supplies to prepare your fire. But do not worry; the list of things you will need is not excessively long, and everything is easy to acquire. Here is everything you will need to get your fire going: 

  • Fire Starter: You can choose from a variety of various fire starters. Kitchen lighters and matches are the most common household items you could use. These will get the job done, but this can be a time-consuming choice. You can also use a butane torch lighter or an electric arc. Most people do not have one of these on hand, but they are far more effective at starting a fire in a fire pit and are fairly inexpensive to purchase. 
  • Tinder: To ignite your fire, you will need to use tinder. Leaves, pine cones, newspaper, or tree bark can all be used as tinder, as they catch fire easily. As long as the material is dry and non-toxic, it can be used to light a fire. If you need ideas, a quick Google search will show you many types of DIY fire starters you could use for starting a fire in a fire pit. Different options have different advantages, but there are so many options to choose from. 
  • Kindling: Kindling pieces are dry sticks that will keep your fire going for long enough for the bigger logs to ignite after the tinder has burnt up. Softwoods, such as pine, cedar, poplar, and spruce, are usually the most effective sticks and twigs for kindling. 
  • Firewood: The base of your fire will be made up of logs, which will keep it going all night long. Hardwoods, such as maple, oak, ash, and birch, make the best firewood. Before using your logs, make sure they are properly seasoned and stacked.  

Next, it is time to start your fire, now that you have gathered all of the necessary supplies. 

2. Starting Your Fire 

This is the bit you have been waiting for: lighting a fire in a fire pit without the use of lighter fluid or hazardous chemicals. Let’s go over each stage of how to build a fire in your fire pit: 

  • To begin, construct a tinder pile in the bottom middle of your fire pit. This pile should be around the size of your palm. 
  • Next, take your kindling and lay it at a 35-degree angle right above your tinder, forming a pyramid or tee-pee shape. Make sure the kindling structure is dense and close enough together, but not so tightly constructed that it will not still allow for air flow through small gaps. 
  • After you have set up your kindling, light your tinder pile using the fire starter. It is time to start placing your firewood once the kindling has started to burn.
  • Finally, begin to stack the seasoned timber in the fire pit. The formation of the firewood should be identical to that of the kindling, either forming a pyramid or a tee-pee shape. Keep the firewood close together to keep the fire concentrated, but leave small gaps to allow for maximized air flow. 

If you follow these steps correctly, you should soon have a roaring fire before you.  

3. Maintaining Your Fire 

Keeping the fire in your fire pit properly maintained is necessary if you want the flame to burn brightly all night. If your firewood is not catching fire or the flame is dying out too quickly, try adding more tinder and kindling to the mix. You may want to check out the state of your firewood, as well. Switch more new firewood into the fire if the logs start to turn completely black and are disintegrating, or if the flame is dying. Keep in mind that you always should keep an eye on your fire, adding more dry tinder, kindling, or logs as needed, and avoiding suffocating the flame. 

4. Extinguishing You Fire Pit 

After successfully starting and sustaining a fire in your fire pit, the party is winding down, and you are ready to call it a night. It is now time to put out the flame in a safe manner. You would not want any stray sparks or embers still hanging around that could reignite. When putting out a fire in your fire pit, you should follow these simple steps: 

  • Take a hose or a pail of water and gently trickle water on the flames. Make sure you do not just dump or pour the water into the fire pit, since this can damage it. 
  • After you have finished sprinkling water and the flames have withered into embers, grab a shovel and mix the ash and embers around until you can’t hear any hissing anymore. 
  • Finally, lightly touch the ash and, if it is cool, dispose of it properly.

 

Now that you know what you need to do in order to get that billowing backyard blaze going, you do not have to narrow down your options to only gas fire pits or automatic starts. You can feel confident that you can accommodate everyone’s comfort the next time the family wants to spend the evening outside but it is a bit too chilly or you are having guests over and need an activity after dinner. A wood fire pit can provide you with a cozy, rustic feel in your own backyard and create the ambiance you are looking for.

Posted on

How to Get the Most Life Out of Your Patio Furniture

Ideally, your backyard patio is like an extension of your living space, just another room of your home. You want it to feel comfortable and inviting and to not have to think twice about having this space look and feel nice to relax in or host guests. However, unlike your indoor furniture, your outdoor decor is subject to a lot more abuse beyond the regular wear and tear. 

While patio furniture is designed to be much more hardy and more durable than regular furniture, this does not mean that it is indestructible or impervious to any damages. Like anything you own, if you want to get as much use out of your patio furniture as possible, you have to take good care of it over the years. Luckily, maintenance of your patio furniture is not too difficult or time-consuming, and you can ensure your outdoor pieces last for many years to come with these few simple steps. 

Take Care of The Finish 

All patio furniture is designed to hold up in an outdoor environment, but the type of material you choose for it can determine in part just how well it keeps over time. Keep in mind that different materials work better for different climates, so if you do not want to be replacing your patio furniture much more frequently and you are flexible with the aesthetic, choose a type that will withstand the climate conditions where you live. Refinishing your furniture every now and then will go a long way towards maintaining its original quality and look. 

  • Wood: For wood furniture, it is important that water does not seep into the wood and damage or warp it or causing rotting over time. If you notice you wood furniture could use a new coat of protection, you should first sand all exposed surfaces to get rid of any splintering edges. Next, apply a fresh coat of varnish to make your pieces look as good as new. You could even paint it a new color if you want to change up your look. For bigger cracks and holes, use a wood filler. 
  • Plastic: You should frequently clean plastic furnishings with soapy water and wipe it down with a soft, non-abrasive cloth. If your plastics need a fresh coat of paint, make sure you use a special paint with a strong bond that is made for adhering to this type of material. 
  • Wicker: Use a microfiber cloth to remove dirt and dust from your wicker pieces often. When your pieces need more of a deep clean, you can use soapy water and scrub it with a nylon brush. Rinse it with fresh water, preferably a hose with a strong stream, and always allow it to dry completely in a bright, sunny spot. Touch up the finish as need with a wicker varnish or stain. 
  • Metal: Rust is easier to prevent than to remove, so try to take a proactive approach to protecting you metal furniture. At least once a year or at the beginning of the season, refinish your metal pieces with a primer or a wax. If you already have some small rust spots, there are plenty of commercial rust removal products available, or you can sandblast it back to life. Always repaint and finish any treated rust spots so that they do not come back. 

Keep Your Fabrics Fresh 

Many patio sets come with their own cushions or pillows made of fabric. While these materials are usually burlier than your average couch cushion and may be more resistant to stains, they are still designed to be soft and comfortable and need regular care. Wash or launder your fabrics regularly. If the fabric cover is removable, you can usually just machine wash it. If it is not, you can mix ¼ cup of mild dishwashing detergent with a gallon of warm water. Scrub the surface gently with a soft nylon brush, then allow the fabrics to dry fully in the sun. 

Sometimes, the padding inside your cushions can become worn out over time. You do not necessarily have to buy new ones if you like the ones you already have and do not want to spend the extra money. You can have them restuffed or do it yourself with a little foam or batting from the hardware store. If you are unsure of the right material to refill your cushions with, many outdoor living retailers sell special pillow filler for outdoor use. 

If you live in an area where you get many surprise summer showers, you may want to finish your fabrics with a protective finishing spray. This way, if you do not always remember or are unable to bring your cushions inside in time, they will be more resistant to water and mildew. 

Store and Cover Your Furniture When Not in Use 

If you live in a climate with a harsh winter season or cold weather, you should strongly consider storing your furniture inside before the season changes. It is harder for your patio furniture to accumulate weather damage if it is rarely exposed to bad weather. If you do not have room to store your pieces indoors, consider renting a storage space for the winter.  

If you are bringing your items inside for the season, make sure that you thorough clean and touch up your pieces before putting them away in storage. You do not want to put away your patio furniture to protect it from damage for the season, only to find that rust spot or wood rot you neglected has made your beautiful furniture unusable when you go to put it out next season. 

If possible, you should also try to store your patio furniture whenever some harsh weather conditions are in the forecast. Depending on the materials and age, your furniture may be able to stand up to some light rain, but a big storm could really do some damage. If you leave your wicker or wood furnishings out when there is flooding, this is a perfect recipe for mildew. Similarly, strong winds could blow your furniture around and damage it, or you could lose your cushions if they are not secured properly. 

Many retailers also make special covers for your patio furniture to protect them between uses. You can use these covers for your pieces while they are in storage, or you can use them while your furniture is still out on the deck but not in use to shield it from dew and sun. 

Arranging Your Furniture Outside 

When your furniture is living outdoors, you should also consider where you place it. If you have a shade sail over your patio or big, shady tree, this can provide you with some additional sun protection. On the other hand, you will want to keep your furniture far away from certain trees. Nut trees, like hickory and oak, have oils in their bark that can stain your pieces. Nuts and acorns could also fall and dent your furniture. If you want to avoid bird droppings, do not place your pieces near or under trees with nests or bird houses. 

 

With these simple tips, you can make sure that your make the most of your investment and that your patio furniture will last to provide you enjoyment for years to come. 

Posted on

Patio Ideas for Small Spaces

You absolutely do not need a grand, sweeping backyard to create an enjoyable and stylish outdoor living space. In fact, some of the most cozy and creative designs have been created as a result of the need to save on space. Whether you live in an apartment with small balcony or have a small patio or yard in a crowded neighborhood, there are tons of options for making your outdoor living space just as comfortable and stylish as if you had all the room in the world. Read on for our tips on how to make the most out of your small outdoor space. 

Wine Glasses on table Near Pillows

Built-In Bench 

If you are a homeowner and have the option to make modifications to your home, you should consider creating some built-in furniture for your outdoor space. Not only will a built-in piece last longer than other furniture, it will save space too. You could create a custom stone or concrete bench that is flush with the side of your house, or you could build a wood seat that fits perfectly between two columns if you have a covered space. With a custom piece you also do not have to worry about finding the right fit, and you can be sure you get the most out of the space you have as possible. 

Hidden Storage 

Storage for various items that are not always in use is a great way to maximize space. Pillows, throws, and entertainment items can all be easily stashed away somewhere that won’t take up room inside your home, which is a good idea in any climate. This is even better if you can reuse space that would go to waste or be unused otherwise. A bench or ottoman with a lifting top and storage capacity are great multi-use options, as is a crawl space built under your deck. 

Multipurpose Furniture 

Similar to furniture that doubles as storage, other multipurpose items can be of great use in a tight space. Even in larger outdoor living spaces, flexible furniture can make your patio a lot more versatile for any type of gathering you want to host. Other ideas include a sturdy coffee table that can double as extra seating, flat stools that can be side tables when you have fewer guests but need more surface areas, or large, weatherproof throw pillows that can be placed on the ground and used as floor cushions. 

Outdoor Rug 

A colorful rug is a great way to add a touch of pizzazz to a cozier patio and can help a small space feel more intentional. The right size rug can outline the borders of your space, which is helpful if you have a smaller footprint. Be sure to choose a rug made with materials for outdoors that will hold up better to the elements. 

Faux Grass 

Another good option for covering the ground of your outdoor space is faux grass. This is an especially good choice for urban environments or balconies. You may not have the space for a real backyard, but fake grass can add some ambiance and color to your outside area, without all the upkeep that comes with a real lawn. If you want your grass to look more real, make sure to lay it across an entire defined area. 

Micro Garden 

Contrary to popular belief, you do not actually need a huge amount of space, or even a yard, to create a garden outside of your home. If you have a balcony or another type of outdoor living space without ground access, you can satisfy your green thumb with a container garden. This means you will grow everything in various containers or pots. This actually affords you a lot of flexibility in design and style, as well as in moving things around and rearranging. You can use your pots as fun accent pieces to tie your color scheme together or create a jungle feel with hanging potters and vines. A great space-saving idea is to create a vertical garden with leveled shelving to house your plants in a more compact way. With a little research, you will find there are many types of flowers and edibles plants that grow well in confined spaces. 

Outdoor Drapery 

Particularly if you live in an apartment building with multiple units with balconies or your home is in very close proximity to your neighbors, you may be interested in a bit more privacy in your outdoor space during the nice season when everyone wants to be outside at home. While a wall or other more permanent barrier may feel a little claustrophobic and may not even be allowed if you rent, curtains are great way to create a little distance between you and your neighbors, while still maintaining an airy, light feel. Outdoor curtains can have the added benefit of providing some shade for sun protection. If your patio is uncovered and if there is nothing to hang drapes from, you can easily craft a simple wooden frame for this purpose. 

Fire Pit Table 

A fire pit is the ultimate in outdoor living luxury, but you may think you do not have room for one in your tiny outdoor living space. A fire pit table could be the solution to your problems. You can easily get a separate, storable tabletop to cover the fire pit while it is not in use, so you can use it for outdoor dining or game night. As the night wears on, you can remove the cover to generate some warmth with the fire and roast some marshmallows. 

Grill Grate for Fire Pit 

One of the most coveted uses for patio spaces is for outdoor cooking. However, if you have a very small patio space, you may not want to take up precious space with a bulky grill. If you already have a fire pit for your patio, whether it is portable, built-in, or a table pit as mentioned above, you can actually turn this item into your cooking station without adding an extra piece of furniture. Simply add a removable grate for grilling, and you have instantly saved a sizable amount of space for other kinds of furniture. 

Use Your Overhead Space 

You may be able to eke out more space on your small patio if you just look up. Whereas a shade device like a standing or table umbrella might take up floor space or be in the way at head-height with people passing back and forth, a shade sail can be just as effective without occupying valuable square footage on the ground. A shade sail can be affixed to your house and another nearby sturdy object. This also allows you to play with the height and angle of the sail to create a more open feel for your space. The same goes for lighting. If you do not have lighting fixtures already wired to the outside of your home, you may opt for floor lamps for evening hang outs. A better, low-cost and easy-install option is to hang strings of fairy lights. 

 

If you have a more confined outdoor living space, you may need to account for every square foot you have available. However, as we have shown, there are plenty of easy ways to make your small patio feel roomy and inviting.

Posted on

Fire Rings Versus Fire Pits – What Is The Difference?

Fire Rings Versus Fire Pits – What Is The Difference?

Some of the best memories that you will create with family and friends are made around a fire. You do not need to rough it at a campground or deal with the hassle of lighting a fire in your fireplace to enjoy the warmth and the inviting glow of a fire.

At S&S Fire Pits, our customers often ask us about the differences between a fire pit and a fire ring. While these two options are similar in several ways, a fire pit is a superior option for many people. Before making your final selection, you should get familiar with the advantages of a pit.

Backyard Aesthetics

For many folks, the best place to relax around a fire is in the backyard, but the placement possibilities for these two options in your yard will vary. A fire pit ring sits directly on top of the ground. Often, homeowners will invest in expensive masonry work to surround the ring. The ring becomes a permanent, immobile fixture in the yard. Because it is a primary gathering space, it often takes up a considerable amount of the yard space throughout the year.

A fire pit, on the other hand, sits in a slightly elevated position. All of our pits at S&S Fire Pits are handcrafted using solid steel. They are available in a range of styles, so you can easily find one that elevates your yard’s ambiance. Because they sit on top of the ground, they are mobile.

This means that you can place your pit off to the side when it is not in use. While they will be a focal point in your space while in use, you are not committed to having a permanent fixture. You can even use a snuffer to cover the top of the fire pit when it is not in use. By doing so, you can turn your fire pit into a table or a place potted plants on top of it.

Longevity Of A Fire Ring

Because a ring sits directly on the ground, it is prone to rusting and related deterioration. This directly affects the life of your ring. With a relatively short lifespan compared to a solid steel fire pit, you can enjoy greater overall value from the pit.

In fact, all of our solid steel fire pits have a lifetime guarantee. As the steel becomes weathered and aged, it will not deteriorate. These effects actually make the fire pits look more rustic and beautiful over time.

A Variety of Uses

The fact that a fire ring sits on the ground and is a permanent fixture can limit how you use it. While you could cook over a ring, you will need to bend down considerably. You may even need to sit on your knees or squat as you cook.

On the other hand, a fire pit may sit more than 18 inches above the ground. The raised position of a fire pit makes it much more convenient and comfortable to use as a cooking surface.

Once you select a location for your fire pit ring, you are locked into that location permanently.

A fire pit, on the other hand, can be moved into the front yard for a block party or even taken to a campground or another location. The mobility of a fire pit dramatically increases how frequently you can enjoy using it.

The Matter of Safety

Depending on the type of ring that is in a yard, it can have several potential safety hazards that are not a concern with a fire pit. The ring’s lowered stance directly on top of the ground can create a tripping hazard.

Because the ring cannot be moved, this hazard remains in place throughout the year. In addition, some types of fire rings are less capable of fully containing the fire. It may be easier for a small campfire to turn into a bonfire and to potentially cause property damage. Logs rolling out of the ring may also be a concern.

A fire pit, on the other hand, has a bowl-like shape. This shape and the pit’s position over the ground effectively prevent the fire’s size from growing out of control. The rounded shape of the pit also prevents logs from rolling out of the fire. If you invest in a snuffer for your fire pit, you can quickly and easily put your fire out when you are ready to head indoors.

Cleaning and Maintenance Chores

You will need to remove the ash and other debris from both of these fire features regularly. Once the debris has had ample time to cool down, you will need to shovel it out of the ring. Given the ring’s low placement directly on top of the ground, this can be rather grueling. Also, any nicks in the material should be sealed as soon as possible. These nicks can quickly lead to irreparable damage to the ring.

While a fire pit also needs to be cleaned out thoroughly, this process is generally easier to do. All of the ashes and debris are contained within the bowl. Most fire pits are only a few feet wide in diameter.

They are large enough to meet all of your needs for warmth, cooking and entertaining, but both their dimensions and their elevation above the ground make them easier to clean. In some cases, it may also be easier to remove debris from a fire pit because it can be moved to a more convenient location for cleaning.

How to Choose a Fire Pit

While you may have started your search looking for a custom fire pit ring for sale, you can see that a solid steel fire pit is a better overall option when all important factors are reviewed carefully. Now that you have narrowed down the possibilities to a pit, your next step is to select the perfect one for your home.

Some fire rings can cost several thousand dollars, so you may appreciate the affordability of a fire pit. All of our fire pits are handcrafted using solid steel, and they have a lifetime guarantee.

We also offer short-term financing so that you can more conveniently pay for the fire pit that is a perfect fit for your space.

After you establish your budget, you are ready to narrow down the options by size. Our fire pits range from 30 inches to 42 inches. Several dozen styles are available with variations to the bowl shape, the base and the overall decorative look.

Both the hemisphere and the elliptical bowls are available on a flanged base or a three-leg base. With dozens of styles to explore, you can likely find a superior alternative to a custom fire pit ring for sale.

Before you finalize your purchase, remember to order all of the accessories that will elevate your experience with your new fire pit. Some of these items are a snuffer, a cooking grate, a spark screen and a firewood rack.

At S&S Fire Pits, we are passionate about helping our customers enjoy the full outdoor living experience with the ability to gather around a fire pit to cook, relax and stay warm.

You could plan to purchase a new fire ring every few years, or you could invest in a fire pit that has been handcrafted to last a lifetime. Take time to explore the many styles of quality fire pits available on our website.

We are always happy to answer questions so that you can make a selection that brings you pure enjoyment in the years ahead.

Posted on

9 Tricks to Update Old Patio Furniture

As we transition into spring and the weather begins to warm up, sunny days and balmy evenings seem to be just on the horizon. The pandemic has sparked a lot more interest in outdoor living and socializing in outdoor spaces, so you will likely be making ample use of these types of spaces at your home. However, if you dropped the ball on taking care of your patio furniture this winter, your outdoor amenities may be looking a bit shabbier than you would want to show to company or even just for your own enjoyment.  

Fortunately, there are many easy ways to spruce up your patio furniture if it did not survive the winter well or is looking a little bleak from too much sun. Read on to learn our top tips for making that outdoor furniture look as good as new again. 

1. Spray Paint 

A fresh coat of paint is a tried-and-true way to bring new life to ancient pieces of furniture, but regular painting can be a little more involved than some people want to get with their DIY projects, with cans of paint that are hard to store and equipment required to paint with that may never be used again. 

However, spray paint is an easier and cheaper option for most and works really well for outdoor furniture materials, such as metal. It is also a lot easier to get into all of the nooks and crannies if your items have slats or curly iron details. This method of painting is so easy that you can do it every year and change up your color scheme. Make sure you wash and dry your piece properly before painting so that you get an even coat. 

You can even extend the life of worn and drab cushions and pillows with a little spray paint in the right spots. Another fun and easy technique to try is creating a funky pattern by apply painter’s tape in stripes or other patterns. Simply apply your first coat of paint, let it dry, add the tape, then spray with a second color and remove the tape to reveal your base color underneath. 

2. Reupholstering 

If your furniture has been sitting out in inclement weather or the direct sunlight often, your chair cushions could look pretty faded by now. Reupholstering your seat pads can make your seating look cleaner and more inviting, and it will allow you to stay up-to-date with the latest styles of the season if your patterns are a bit dated. 

You may be worried reupholstery is hard, but it does not have to be. You can simply remove the pads from the chairs and use a staple gun to secure your new fabric. You do not even have to remove the old fabric, as long as it is not too thick or badly damaged. 

3. Revive Your Teak 

Teak wood furniture is a popular choice for patio pieces because it is known for being very hardy and long-lasting. However, to get the most out of your teak pieces, you should take proper care of them and refresh the wood every few seasons. Start by applying a cleanser made specially for teak wood. Next, you can give your furniture a light sanding to smooth any rough edges that could become bigger issues. Finally, use a protective sealer to help your furniture be more weather-resistant. 

4. Use a Slipcover 

One of the easiest and quickest fixes to reanimate lackluster and dingy furniture is to use a slipcover. The light airiness of the fabric can give your pieces a summer vibe. If you decide you do not like the look you have chosen, a slipcover is not permanent and can easily be swapped out for a new one. In fact, this method is very affordable, so you can have multiple slipcovers for every mood and occasion. Another benefit is these are easy to remove and are washable. 

5. Tung Oil for Wicker 

A popular and stylish alternative to treated, plasticky wicker is natural wicker. Unfortunately, a natural finish is more vulnerable to the outdoor elements. You can keep your wicker furniture looking good and lasting longer by finishing it with tung oil. Wash you pieces first to remove any debris and dirt that has collected, then coat the entire surface with tung oil, making sure to really get into the nooks and crannies between the wicker pieces. This finish will protect your furniture and will give it a deep, rich oiled look. 

6. Add Some New Accessories 

Maybe your furniture is still in pretty good shape, but your pieces are out of style or look bland and boring. Or perhaps you recently updated your patio or outdoor living area, and your old furniture does not match as well with your new design. Sometimes, simply adding a splash of color with an accent piece is all you need. New throw blankets and pillows are a great choice, but you can also get creative by adding decorative items to tables, such as potted plants or ornamental watering cans. You can make new updates year after year, as trends change. 

7. Rust Removal 

Even finished or coated metal pieces can rust when exposed to the elements and moisture season after season. That tiny chip in the paint you thought was a minor flaw can quickly turn into a large rust spot. Before you trash your beloved pieces, assess the damage. If the rust is just on the surface and has not damaged your furniture structurally, it is completely salvageable.  

This fix can take little more elbow grease to renew a piece, but it is well worth it. Acquire a stiff wire brush and use it chip away any loose paint around the rusted areas, then get to scrubbing the rust itself. Sand the painted edges so they are smooth, then wash the metal thoroughly and let it dry completely. After this, you can apply a fresh coat of primer and paint, and your metal furniture will look good as new. 

8. Whitewashing 

To get that crisp, summery look to your outdoor furniture, try whitewashing it. Water down some white paint with two parts water to one part paint, and brush it on and wipe it down with a dry towel. You can go over the finish once more with a dry brush to give the look more depth. Remember that your paint job does not have to be perfect. Luckily, that is the point of this look, to appear a little rustic. 

9. Restain Wood 

Even the most weathered of wood furniture can look brand new with a fresh coat of wood stain. Sand your piece first to remove the rough edges, then clean it of any debris. After you wash it, make sure it dries completely. Next, apply a coat of the stain according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and enjoy your dramatically improved piece. 

These are some of our favorite tips, but they are far from the only tricks you can try to give your patio furniture a new and refreshed look for the upcoming outdoor season. There are many ways to make your outdoor living area more beautiful and enjoyable, and with the money you save on frequently buying new furniture, you can upgrade your yard with fun amenities, such as a firepit from us! 

Posted on

10 Tips to Improve Your Home’s Outdoor Living Space

An outdoor living space is an invaluable element of a modern-day home. Whether it’s a patio, deck, covered gazebo or just a garden area, you can use this space to host parties and enjoy the outdoors. But if you’re looking to get the most value from your home’s outdoor living space, you’ll need to pay attention to the design. The following design tips can help you achieve a more attractive, functional outdoor living space.

#1) Use the Right Color

The color used in your outdoor living space’s decor will affect its mood as well as the overall atmosphere. According to HGTV, purple is an excellent choice for outdoor living spaces because it creates a welcoming and inviting mood. Alternatively, green is another great choice. Regardless of which color you use, don’t leave your outdoor living space white.

#2) Consider Foot Traffic

Don’t overlook foot traffic — the path or paths where you and your guests walk — when designing your outdoor living space. Your outdoor living space should feature clean, clearly defined paths for foot traffic. If guests are forced to walk unnecessarily long distances around your yard to reach your outdoor living space, neither they nor you will probably use it frequently.

#3) Choose Water-Resistant Furniture

Not all furniture is suitable for outdoor living spaces. Untreated wooden furniture with soft fabric cushions, for example, may succumb to damage when left outdoors for multiple consecutive days. On the other hand, plastic furniture without fabric cushions can last for months or even years when left outdoors. You don’t have to necessarily limit your outdoor living space to plastic furniture, but you should choose furniture that’s water resistant or waterproof. Teak wood furniture is a popular choice for outdoor living spaces because it contains natural oils that repel fungi-causing mold. From teak chairs and benches to stools and tables, it’s a smart investment for your home’s outdoor living space.

#4) Install an Overhead Fan

Assuming your outdoor living space is covered, you can improve it by installing an overhead fan. It’s an inexpensive and easy-to-install accessory that creates a more comfortable environment. With an overhead fan, you can create a cool breeze over your outdoor living space on those otherwise hot spring and summer days. Furthermore, can overhead fan can deter insects by literally blowing them away, thereby protecting you and your guests from common pests like mosquitoes, bees and gnats.

#5) Create a Focal Point

No outdoor living space is complete without a focal point. As the name suggests, the focal point is the “focus” of attention for your outdoor living space. It’s typically the area where you and your guests attention will be directed. In the living room, a TV or fireplace is often the preferred focal point. For an outdoor living space, though, you’ll need to use something else. A popular focal point for outdoor living spaces is a fire pit. You can place it in the center of your outdoor living space, with furniture arranged around the perimeter.

#6) Define Area With a Rug

Contrary to what some homeowners believe, it’s perfectly fine to use rugs outdoors — assuming they are made of a waterproof fabric or material. You can place a single square, circular or rectangular area rug outdoors to define your outdoor living space. It’s a small, simple accessory that can make a big difference in your outdoor living space’s decor. The right area rug adds new color and life to the space while helping to define its boundaries in the process.

#7) Add Greenery

There are countless ways to decorate an outdoor living space, but you can’t go wrong with greenery. If it’s on the ground, try creating a flowerbed and filling it with brilliantly colored plants and flowers. If your outdoor living space is a deck or patio, you can use container plants to enhance the decor with greenery.

#8) Mood Lighting

Mood lighting refers to the use of controlled lighting that you can adjust. When the sun goes down, you can lower its illumination to create a more relaxing ambiance. There are dozens of different fixtures available for mood lighting, including traditional overhead fixtures as well as pendant, sconce, track lighting and more.

#9) Consider Storage

You’ll need some form of storage solution for your outdoor living space. Some homeowners use benches with hidden storage compartments for this purpose, while others use shelving. It doesn’t matter what you use. Rather, make sure your outdoor living space has some area or furnishing where you can store items.

#10) Clean and Maintain

Finally, don’t forget to clean and maintain your outdoor living space on a regular basis. From cleaning the deck to removing encroaching weeds and washing the furniture, there are certain things that you’ll need to do to keep your outdoor living space clean.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

Posted on

7 Ways to Deal With a Tree Stump in Your Landscape

If your landscape has a tree stump, you might be wondering what you should do with it. Leaving it in place means you’ll have your lawn around the tree stump while also using caution not to trip and fall on it. Depending on the particular tree species, though, stumps can have roots extending as deep as 2 feet into the ground, making them difficult for the average homeowner to remove. Thankfully, there are several ways to deal with an unwanted tree stump in your landscape.

#1) Dig It Out

For stumps with shallow roots — extending no deeper than 1 foot — you should be able to dig it out. A mini excavator is ideal for this project, though even a shovel will suffice. Just dig a trench with about a 2- to 3-foot clearance around the stump, at which point you can dig underneath the stump’s roots to remove it.

#2) Burn It

Burning is an effective, time-tested way to deal with a tree stump. But you can’t just start a fire on top of the stump and expect it to burn away the stump. Rather, you’ll need to dig out a hole or cavity in the center of the stump, at which point you can fill it with tinder and kindling. Once lit, the stump should catch fire and slowly burn. Keep in mind that it can take several days for a stump to completely burn. During this time, either you or someone you know should monitor the smoldering tree stump to ensure the fire doesn’t spread.

#3) Chop It Up

One of the easiest ways to deal with a tree stump is to chop it up. While possible with an ax, it’s recommended that you use a gas-powered stump grinder for this project. You can rent them for about $100 to $200 per day — or you can hire a tree/stump removal company to chop it up for you. Either way, a stump grinder will make quick work of your unwanted tree stump (or stumps) by chopping and grinding them to a pulp.

#4) Treat It With Chemicals

There are chemical-based products available that are designed specifically to destroy tree stumps. Available for sale at most home improvement stores, chemical-based stump-removal products generally contain potassium nitrate. Contrary to what some people believe, this chemical doesn’t burn stumps. Instead, it works by speeding up the stump’s natural decaying process. Tree stumps can linger for years or even decades, slowly drying out and decaying until there’s nothing left. If you treat a stump with potassium nitrate, however, it may decay in as little as one or two months. Once decayed, you can then dig out or chop up the stump using some basic tools.

#5) Turn It Into a Stool

If the tree stump is located in a convenient area, you could try turning it into a stool for your landscape. To do this, cut down the stump to an appropriate seating height of about 23 to 28 inches, at which point you can apply a wood sealer to the top surface. The wood sealer will create a waterproof barrier over the stump, protecting it from moisture and pests.  You can then use the stump as a stool when relaxing or lounging in your outdoor living space.

#6) Grow Plants On It

Another innovative way to deal with a tree stump is to grow plants on it. There are a few ways to grow plants on a tree stump, one of which is to simply place a soil-filled planter or container on top of it. Alternatively, you can cut out a hollow cavity in the middle of the tree stump, fill it with soil and then add your plants.

While you can grow any type of plants on a tree stump, vine plants are ideal because of their natural ability to grow down and around the stump. As the vine plants grow, they’ll cover your tree stump with colorful flora. Just remember to water and prune the plants as needed.

#7) Use It as a Table

Finally, you can use medium- and large-sized tree stumps as a table for your landscape or outdoor living space. Just place a couple of chairs or stools around the stump, and you’re good to go! You can place cups, drinks or other items on the tree stump — just like a conventional patio or outdoor table. It’s an innovative way to handle unwanted tree stumps in a landscape.

Don’t let your landscape suffer from an unwanted tree stump. Use one of the seven methods listed here to deal with it. Whether you dig it up, treat it with chemicals, turn it into a stool or use any of the other methods listed here, you’ll create a more attractive landscape that improves your home’s curb appeal.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

Posted on

How to Design a Low-Maintenance Landscape

How much time do you spend maintaining your landscape? According to a survey cited by the Chicago Tribute, the average American homeowner spends a staggering 70 hours on his or her landscape each year. Of course, that’s nearly the equivalent of two full workweeks. The good news is that there are ways to design a low-maintenance landscape

Plant Slow-Growing Grass

Consider planting a slow-growing variety or grass in your landscape. The most time-consuming task of maintaining a landscape is mowing the grass. During the spring and summer, you can expect to mow your lawn about once a week — sometimes even more frequently — with most common varieties of residential grass. But some varieties grow slower than others, and planting one of these varieties will ease the burden of mowing your lawn. Zoysia grass, for example, typically requires mowing just once every two or three weeks, making it an excellent choice for a low-maintenance landscape.

Cut Down Unwanted Trees

The number of trees your landscape has will affect the amount of work it requires to maintain. From tree limbs, pine straw, leaves, acorns and other debris, trees can create a quite mess. Therefore, you should cut down and remove any unwanted trees in your landscape. If a tree offers shade or aesthetics, keep it. Otherwise, hire a tree removal company to cut it down. Not only will this create a cleaner landscape, but it may provide you with a plentiful stack of firewood to use in your fire pit.

Install an Automated Irrigation System

You can’t always rely on Mother Nature to keep your grass hydrated. While manually watering your lawn is always an option, an easier solution is to install an automated irrigation system. There are different types of automated irrigation systems, but they are all designed to automate the process of watering grass. Once installed, you can control when the sprinklers are activated and for how long they stay active. It’s an easy, hands-free way to ensure that your grass receives adequate water, even when you’re away from your home.

Use Perennial Plants in Flowerbeds

Avoid using annual plants in your flowerbeds and instead use perennial plants. Perennial plants are defined as plants that last for at least two years. In comparison, annual plants only last for a year, so you can expect to replant them every year.

Here are a few low-maintenance perennial plants that work well in the Southeast:

  • Daylily
  • Latana
  • Rudbeckia Fulgida
  • Peruvian lily
  • Heuchera
  • Yarrow

Spot Treat Weeds

The secret to maintaining a weed-free landscape is to eliminate them as soon as they emerge through the soil. When you spot a new weed growing in your landscape, either pull it out using a handheld weed extractor or treat it with an herbicide. The former requires more work, but the latter is more effective at killing weeds. There are dozens of herbicides available that will quickly kill weeds without harming your grass. Alternatively, you can make your own weed-killing herbicide using a solution of vinegar, salt and liquid dish soap. The vinegar and salt is what kills weeds, but the soap creates a sticky texture that clings to weeds. Just combine the three ingredients in a spray bottle, at which point you can spray it over any weeds growing in your landscape.

Create a French Drain Around Waterlogged Areas

If you discover an area of your landscape where rainwater collects and “pools up” rather than drains away, construct a French drain to prevent it from becoming waterlogged. Also known as a trench drain or rock drain, a French drain consists of a downward-sloping tunnel that’s filled with gravel or small rocks. When it rains, water will seep past the gravel or rocks and into the tunnel, at which point it will drain away from your landscape.

Use Mulch Around Trees and Plants

Adding mulch around trees and plants offers two main benefits, one of which is fewer weeds. It covers the soil so that newly sprouted weeds are unable to receive sunlight, thereby preventing them from growing. Additionally, mulch reduces the watering requirements of your trees and plants. Mulch absorbs and holds moisture, gradually releasing this moisture back into the soil where it’s then absorbed by the adjacent trees and plants.

Create a Dedicated Outdoor Living Space

Finally, consider creating a dedicated outdoor living space in your landscape. You can clear out a section of your landscape, for example, to lay gravel, brick pavers or even cement. When finished, you can use set up a fire pit, chairs and other accessories to complete your new outdoor living space. Even if it’s only 10 by 10 feet, that’s still 100 square feet of landscape space that you won’t have to worry about maintaining.

Low-maintenance landscapes are gaining popularity among homeowners in the United States. According to a survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), they are the third-most popular landscape project, surpassed only by “native plants” and “drought-tolerant plants.” And now you join the crowd by creating a low-maintenance landscape using these tips.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

Posted on

Is an Outdoor Kitchen a Smart Investment? Get the Facts

Defined as a dedicated outdoor space for cooking, eating and relaxing, outdoor kitchens have become a popular home renovation project in recent years. They offer the functional benefits of an indoor kitchen but with the added beauty of the outdoors. When the weather is nice, homeowners can use this area to cook, eat and host parties. Building an outdoor kitchen is neither easy nor cheap, however, so you should consider if it’s worth the investment before embarking on this major renovation project.

Benefits of Building an Outdoor Kitchen

An outdoor kitchen will open the doors to a world of new possibilities for you and your family. Granted, you can always cook and eat inside your home, but having this space outside your home is uniquely beneficial for the following reasons:

  • It’s easier to grill and smoke foods with an outdoor kitchen.
  • You don’t have to travel far beverages.
  • It enhances the aesthetics of your home’s curb appeal.
  • Saves space inside your home.
  • Keeps odors from cooked foods outside.
  • Offers the perfect space to host parties and get-togethers.
  • Promotes a more energy-efficient home, which can save you money on your monthly utility bills.
  • You may find yourself preparing and cooking more meals with an outdoor kitchen rather than eating out.
  • It will expose you to sunlight, ensuring you get an adequate amount of vitamin D.
  • Using it will keep your indoor kitchen clean.

Average Cost of Building an Outdoor Kitchen

So, how much does it cost to build an outdoor kitchen? Prices vary depending on the type of appliances you intend to install, where you want to install then, the state and city in which you live and other factors. According to a report by Home Advisor, however, the average cost of building an outdoor kitchen in the United States is about $10,670. Of course, some homeowners spend less to build an outdoor kitchen, while others spend more. For a typical, medium-sized outdoor kitchen consisting of a grill, refrigerator, cabinet materials and storage, though, you can expect to pay about $10,670.

If you’re on a tight budget, there are ways to save money when building an outdoor kitchen. Building it yourself is one way to save money. Most contractors charge a premium for this service, so a do-it-yourself (DIY) route can easily save you thousands of dollars. You can even rent the tools needed to build your outdoor kitchen from a local home improvement store. Choosing smaller appliances will also save you money. You probably don’t need a full-sized refrigerator for your outdoor kitchen. Instead, choose a smaller “compact” refrigerator, which are available for as little as $300.

You can skip a gas grill altogether by using a fire pit for your outdoor kitchen. Fire pits offer the beauty of a burning fire with the functionality of a grill. You can gather around your fire pit during the evenings and at night, but you can also use this accessory to grill and cook foods. And since fire pits cost a fraction of the price of gas grills, using one can further reduce the cost of building an outdoor kitchen. These are just a few ways to save money when building an outdoor kitchen.

How an Outdoor Kitchen Will Affect Your Home’s Resell Value

The high cost of building an outdoor kitchen may deter some homeowners from moving forward with this project, but you should consider the impact it will have on your home’s resell value. Building an outdoor kitchen will almost always increase your home’s resell value. Prospective home buyers today pay close attention to outdoor living features — and there’s no better feature for this space than a fully functional kitchen. With all of its previously mentioned benefits, an outdoor kitchen will make your home more appealing to prospective buyers, resulting in a higher resell value.

According to one study, outdoor kitchens increase the resell value of U.S. homes by an average of 100% to 200%. If you spend $10,000 to build an outdoor kitchen for a $200,000 home, for example, it should increase your home’s value to $210,000 or $220,000. That’s a pretty strong return on investment (ROI) that’s difficult for homeowners to ignore.

In Conclusion

Building an outdoor kitchen requires an investment of your time, energy and money. Once it’s complete, though, it will provide you and your family with a wealth of benefits. You can use it to grill and smoke food, host parties, lounge and more. To determine if an outdoor kitchen is right for your home, weigh the pros and cons while also considering how frequently you’d use it. But considering that it has an average ROI of 100% to 200%, an outdoor kitchen is usually a smart renovation project that pays off in multiple ways.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

Posted on

How to Protect Your Patio From Mildew

It’s frustrating when you step outside to rest and relax on your patio, only to discover that it’s covered in mildew. While it typically doesn’t cause any immediate health concerns, mildew can turn this otherwise attractive area of your home’s exterior into an eyesore. And if there’s a significant amount of mildew on the floor, it may pose a slip-and-fall hazard for you, your family members and anyone else using the patio. You can protect your patio from mildew, however, by following some simple steps.

What Is Mildew? And Why Does It Grow on Patios?

Mildew is a type of fungus that’s closely related to mold (also a fungus). It’s typically thin with a white or light green color. Because they are classified as a fungus, both mold and mildew need a few things to survive. This includes oxygen, organic matter and moisture. Without a readily available supply of these three elements, neither mold nor mildew will take hold on your patio. Mold- and mildew-causing fungi actually feast on organic matter. Whether it’s tree leaves, grass clippings, tree sap or even the wood, fungi will feast on organic matter as a source of food. Combined with accessibility to oxygen and moisture, mildew-causing fungi can easily thrive on your patio if certain precautions are not taken.

Embrace the Sunlight

You may discover that shaded areas of your patio are more susceptible to mildew than those exposed to the sun. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays inhibit the growth of mold- and mildew-causing fungi. eHow explains that fungi doesn’t have the same photosynthesis properties as plants. While plants convert sunlight into food, fungi do not. Instead, they tend die from exposure to the UV rays. As a homeowner, you can use this to your advantage by embracing sunlight on your patio. If you have a large table umbrella preventing sunlight from reaching your patio, take it down at the end of the day. The more sunlight that hits your patio, the better protected it will be from mold and mildew-causing fungi.

Clean the Debris

Allowing debris to accumulate on your patio doesn’t just hurt your home’s curb appeal; it opens the doors to mold and mildew. All forms of fungus need organic matter to thrive. As a result, mildew often forms in areas where organic debris — tree leaves, branches, grass, etc. — have accumulated. To keep your patio free of mildew, you must clean this debris on a regular basis. The easiest way to clean debris off a patio is to use a leaf blower. If you don’t have access to a leaf blower, though, you can use a push broom. Just remember to get into the habit of cleaning your patio at least once a week to discourage the formation of mildew.

Check for Drainage and Runoff

It’s also important that your patio has proper drainage and runoff. In other words, water should flow away and off your patio rather than accumulating on it. As previously mentioned, mildew needs moisture to survive. If water pools up in the center or anywhere else on your patio, it will likely contribute to the formation of mildew. The good news is that most patios with a wood or composite deck are designed with many individual planks, each of which are separated with a few centimeters of space. When it rains, gravity will pull the water off the patio and through the cracks between these planks. There are times, however, when water may collect on a patio, resulting in the formation of mildew.

Seal It

The single most important thing you can do to protect your patio from mildew is to seal it. There are both wood sealers as well as brick sealers. Regardless of which material your patio floor is made of, you can use a sealer to create an invisible protective layer over it. Sealers work by creating a layer over the brick or wood floor. In doing so, mold- and mildew-causing fungi is unable to penetrate your patio floor. You can find sealer products available for sale at most home improvement stores.

Choose the Right Furniture

Certain types of patio furniture are more susceptible to mildew than others. Most untreated wood furniture, for example, carries a high risk of mildew because it contains organic matter that fungi can feast on. In comparison, plastic and synthetic furniture is naturally protected from mildew because it lacks organic matter. Alternatively, you can choose teak furniture for your patio. Although teak is a natural hardwood, it has special properties that protect it from mold and mildew. You see, the oils within teak deter insects and fungi alike, making it the ideal material for outdoor chairs, benches, tables and other patio furniture.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

Posted on

How to Improve Your Landscape’s Runoff

Does your outdoor living space get flooded or washed out when it rains? It’s hard to enjoy this extension of your home when it doesn’t drain properly. The presence of standing water will damage your lawn, create mold and attract pests. In some cases, it can even jeopardize the structural integrity of your home. So, follow these steps to improve your landscape’s runoff and regain control of your outdoor living space.

Clean Gutters

The first step to improving your landscape’s runoff is to clean the gutters. Consisting of metal or composite drainage channels, gutters are responsible for catching and guiding water safely away from your home. When it rains, any water that lands on your roof will flow to the gutters, down the downspouts and, hopefully, away from your home. If your gutters are clogged with leaves, dirt, branches and other debris, however, water will simply fall off the side of the roof. Clean your gutters at least once every six months to encourage better runoff and drainage.

Position Downspouts

The way in which your downspouts are positioned will affect your landscape’s runoff. A good rule of the thumb is to include at least one downspout for every 30 feet of gutters. Assuming your roof runs 60 feet wide, that means you should have at least two downspouts on the front and back. These downspouts should be positioned at a slight pitch so that water flows rather than stagnates.

Position Splash Guards

It’s also important that you place downspout splash guards in the right position. Some homeowners assume that the widest end should be placed closest to their home. The correct way to position splash guards, however, is to place the narrowest end closest to your home. This allows water to flow freely down and out the catch basin. When positioning a catch basin with the widest end closest to your home, water will accumulate at the opposite end. Check all your downspout splash guards to ensure they are positioned properly.

Aerate Lawn

Aerating your lawn isn’t just good for the grass; it also improves runoff. As you may already know, aerating involves the use of a special tool that “scores” the soil by creating small holes that are a few inches deep. The primary purpose of aerating is to nourish grass with additional water and nutrients. As water fills the holes, grass is able to absorb it more easily. A secondary benefit, however, is its ability to control runoff. A significant amount of rainwater will run into the holes created through aerating instead of pooling up around your home or patio. Just remember to use caution after aerating your lawn and avoid walking over it. The soil be delicate for the next few days, so you want to avoid any pressure or stress that could otherwise disturb it.

Reseed Grass

In addition to aerating your lawn, you should also reseed bare or dying patches. If there’s one or more areas of your yard where grass is missing, reseeding can help fill it in. Just remember to water and fertilize the area shortly after reseeding it.

Rain Garden

Thousands of homeowners from across the United States use rain gardens to improve their landscape’s aesthetics and control rainwater. What is a rain garden exactly? A rain garden is simply a collection of flowers or plants that’s used to catch rainwater. When it rains, some of the water will fall onto the plants and flowers, and some of the water will flow to the base of these plants and flowers. When it makes contact, water will absorb into the garden. Creating a rain garden is an excellent way to improve your landscape’s runoff while enhancing its aesthetics in the process.

Permeable Sidewalk and Driveway

While concrete is the most popular material used to construct sidewalks and driveways, it’s not the only material. There are permeable materials that can absorb water and improve runoff. Known as permeable paving, it’s a porous material that’s highly useful for controlling rainwater. Some studies have even found that using permeable paving reduces pollutants and, subsequent, promotes a cleaner environment.

French Drain

When all else fails, consider building a French drain to improve your landscape’s runoff. Also known as a filter drain or sub-soil drain, it’s characterized by a relatively shallow trench that’s filled with gravel or pebbles. As rainwater flows into the trench, it’s guided away from the home. One of the great things about the French drain is its simplicity. Although you can create it with a pipe, the only thing it actually requires is a shallow trench with rocks on top. Rocks stabilize the soil while still allowing water to flow through. Using nothing more than a few bags of rocks from your local home improvement store and a shovel, you can build a French drain in your yard.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

Posted on

Innovative Patio Storage Solutions

Is your patio messy or otherwise cluttered? Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common problem experienced by homeowners. Once they begin using your patio, they allow clutter to accumulate. Before long, there’s garden hoses, tools, cushions and other items strewn across the deck. Not only does this affect the patio’s aesthetics, but it also affects its function. Clutter prevents homeowners, family members and their guests from using the space as intended. If this sounds familiar, consider the following storage solutions to de-clutter and improve your patio.

Deck Box

Perhaps the best all-around storage solution for the patio is a deck box. Basically, this is a large rectangular-shaped box that’s designed specifically for outdoor storage. They are usually made of a heavy-duty waterproof material, allowing for the perfect patio storage solution. Using a deck box, you can store everything from gardening tools and fire pit accessories to seat cushions and decorative items. Best of all, they usually feature a stylish design that enhances the patio’s decor.

When choosing a deck box for your patio, consider the following:

  • How big is the deck box?
  • What material is it made of?
  • What color is it?
  • Does the style match the rest of your patio decor?
  • How much does it cost?
  • Does it double as seating? (some deck boxes feature a seat on top)
  • What’s the quality like?

Taking these factors into account will help you choose the perfect deck box for your patio storage needs.

Garden Hose Storage

With an average length of 25 to 100 feet (though sometimes longer), the garden hose is a major source of clutter on the patio. Sure, you can toss it on your lawn, but this doesn’t solve the problem, rather it moves the problem to a new area. Thankfully, there are several storage solutions available for garden hoses. One idea is to place it in a large tin bucket. Another idea is to mount hardware on the wall, allowing you to wrap up the hose and store it here.

Additionally, you’ll find that many home improvement stores and gardening nurseries sell storage solutions for garden hoses. Some are retractable, consolidating the hose into a smaller size, and others are designed to conceal and hide the hose when not in use. Regardless of which one you choose, you need some type of storage solution for the garden hose.

Outdoor Storage Ottoman

Of course, another idea is to use an outdoor storage ottoman. Like indoor “living room” ottomans, they typically feature a soft cushion on top — for sitting or propping up your feet — with a removable top and empty interior. From an outsider’s perspective, it looks like a regular piece of patio furniture. However, the top of an outdoor storage ottoman should either come off completely or fold up; thus, allowing you to store items inside.

You’ll find that patio furniture sets are often sold with matching storage ottomans. So, if you’re looking to buy a new set of furniture for your patio, consider a set with a matching ottoman. This helps to balance your decor, creating a more cohesive appearance in which all of your furnishings flow together. But if you only want to buy a storage ottoman, look for a style that matches your existing patio furnishings.

Storage Shed

You can always invest in a separate storage shed for your patio. Because of the large size of storage sheds, however, you won’t be able to place them on your patio. Instead, you’ll have to place them in your yard or next to your home.

Storage sheds have their own advantages and disadvantages. Some of the primary advantages include large storage space, protection from the rain and elements, and a stylish design. On the other hand, disadvantages include a high price and difficult/time-consuming to set up. If you’re willing to spend the money and invest the necessary time and energy into setting it up, however, a storage shed is a great way to de-clutter and improve the appearance of your patio.

What You Shouldn’t Do

When storing items on your patio, don’t simply shove them underneath your furniture. Nine out of ten times, they’ll still be visible — and this doesn’t exactly reflect positively on your patio’s decor. For proper storage, items should be fully hidden and concealed from plain sight.

You should also consider whether or not the item is suitable for patio storage. Even with a deck box or storage ottoman, certain items may damage when stored on a patio for long periods of time. Moisture from rain and humidity may soak inside items like cushions, causing them to develop mold and mildew. Therefore, you should only store water-resistant items on your patio. Seat cushions made of cotton or similar indoor materials, shouldn’t be stored on the patio.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

Posted on

The Do’s and Don’ts of Maintaining Your Patio During Summer

Now that summer is here, you’ll probably find yourself spending less time indoors and more time outside enjoying the warm weather and sunshine. For millions of men, women and children, summer is the preferred time of year. The comfortable climate allows you to host backyard parties and barbecues, as well as perform other activities. To enjoy your home’s patio or outdoor living space this summer, though, you should follow some basic maintenance tips.

Do Inspect for Pests

Take a few minutes to inspect your patio for pests this summer. Assuming it’s made of wood, an infestation may cause serious damage that’s difficult and expensive to repair. Some pests will bore holes into wooden structures, including your patio, so that they can build nests or eat the cellulose material. Either way, it damages your patio and can jeopardize its structural integrity.

Some of the most common wood-boring pests in the United States include the following:

  • Carpenter bees
  • Powderpost beetles
  • Termites
  • Deathwatch beetles
  • Longhorn beetles
  • Ambrosia beetles
  • Carpenter ants

Don’t Place Fire Pit Too Close to Your House

There’s nothing wrong with using a fire pit on your patio. On the contrary, it’s a great way to enhance the decor and functionality of this space. Once set up, you can use it to grill food, roast marshmallows or simply create a relaxing ambiance in the evening. However, it’s important that you keep your fire pit at least 10 feet away from your home and all other combustible surfaces. While rare, there have been cases of stray embers from a patio fire pit  setting fire to homes. This problem is easily avoided by placing your fire pit at least 10 feet away from your home.

Do Choose the Right Seating

Comfortable, attractive seating is essential to a modern patio. Without seating, neither you nor anyone else can fully enjoyable the patio and everything it has to offer. Rather than tossing up a half-dozen cheap plastic lawn chairs, though, consider using higher quality seating. Teak lounge chairs are always an excellent choice because of their unparalleled strength, durability, weather-resistant properties and style. Other seating options to consider for your patio include hammocks, benches, swings, stools and chaise lounge chairs. Just remember to strategically place them around your patio’s focal point. If you have a fire pit on your patio, this will be the focal point, so arrange your chairs and seating so that they face it.

Don’t Leave Fabrics Exposed to the Elements

If any of your patio furniture contains fabric — either on the furniture itself or an attached cushion — don’t leave it exposed to the elements. When you are finished using the furniture, bring it indoors to protect it from damage. Although it seems harmless enough, allowing your furniture to sit outdoors exposed to the elements may degrade it. The combination of moisture, dirt and ultraviolet (UV) sunlight can wreak havoc on fabrics, causing them to wear and fade. By bringing your furniture indoors, you’ll make it last a little longer, allowing you to get more bang for your buck.

Granted, not all fabrics are all susceptible to damage when left outdoors. Synthetic fabrics, such as polyester and nylon, typically don’t suffer from the same weather-related degradation as natural, organic fabrics. Unless your patio furniture is made of a weather-resistant synthetic fabric, though, you should bring it indoors to protect it from damage.

Do Secure Your Furniture

Make sure your patio furniture is secure so that it won’t fall over or blow away during storms. Loose, lightweight furniture can easily topple during a sudden summer storm. And once the storm is over, you may be forced to search your yard and your neighbors’ yards for your missing furniture. There are a few ways to secure your furniture, one of which is to anchor it to the bottom of your patio using bungee cords or straps. Alternatively, you can choose heavier furniture, such as cast iron, instead of lightweight furniture.

Don’t Leave Standing Water on Your Patio

What’s wrong with leaving standing water on your patio? Standing water poses a few problems for homeowners. First, it attracts pests like mosquitoes. Female mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, with a single female laying up to 100 eggs every three days. Second, standing water encourages mold and mildew. Upon walking out on your patio, you may discover the planks are slick from mildew buildup. Finally, standing water contributes to rot and decay. If your patio doesn’t contain pressure-treated wood, or if it’s not treated with a waterproof finish, standing water may cause it to rot.

Pressure Wash It

Summer is the perfect time of year to pressure wash your patio. Going over your patio with a pressure washer will remove stubborn dirt and debris, making your patio look 10 years younger. And even if you don’t own one, you can rent a pressure washer from your local home improvement store.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

Posted on

10 Fall Landscaping Tips All Homeowners Should Follow

The beginning of fall marks the end of the warm summer weather. With this seasonal transition, you can expect cooler temperatures and shorter days. As a result, it’s important for homeowners to give their landscape a little TLC during this time of year. By following these 10 tips, you’ll create a cleaner and more attractive landscape that enhances your home’s curb appeal.

#1) Keep Mowing the Lawn

Some homeowners assume that they can stop mowing their lawn during the fall. Although grass grows slower during this time of year than summer, you’ll still need to mow it. Mowing your lawn encourages a healthy, manicured landscape while keeping weeds and other unwanted, invasive plants in check.

#2) Raise the Mower Blade

You should raise your mower blade so that it doesn’t stress your lawn. Depending on the particular grass species, a blade height of about 2 inches might be ideal for the summer. During the fall, however, 3 inches will give your lawn a little extra breathing room while minimizing stress.

#3) Test the Soil’s pH Level

There’s no better time than the start of fall to test your soil’s pH level. If it’s too acidic or alkaline, grass, flowers and trees may struggle to grow. Using a disposable or reusable testing kit — available at most home improvement stores and gardening centers — you can measure the pH level of your soil. Healthy soil should have a pH reading of around 5.5 and 7.0.

#4) Remove Leaves

Depending on the number and variety of trees in your landscape, you may discover an excessive amount of leaves blanketing your lawn. Turning a blind eye to these leaves won’t make the problem go away. Rather, they’ll prevent your grass from receiving the sunlight and nutrients it needs to survive during this seasonal transition. To promote a healthy lawn during the fall, either rake or vacuum the leaves.

#5) Winterize Flowers

You’ll need to winterize the flowers in your landscape so that they aren’t killed off by the cold fall weather. This involves pruning shoots and stems as well as adding mulch. The latter is particularly important because mulch acts as insulation. When added around the base of a flower, mulch traps in heat, thereby keeping the flower warm during this otherwise cool time of year. Of course, mulch also contains valuable nutrients that further promote healthy flower growth and development. So, add an extra layer of mulch in your flowerbeds to winterize and protect them from the cold weather.

#6) Fertilize

Spring isn’t the only time of year when you should fertilizer your lawn. It’s also a good idea to fertilize it during the fall. A high-NPK fertilizer — either synthetic or organic — will provide your grass with the right combination of nitrogen, phosphorus and calcium, as well as other “micro” nutrients, that it needs to grow and stay healthy. Fertilizer also encourages lawn grasses to rise earlier in the spring, which is another reason to apply it during the fall.

#7) Trim Dead Branches

Even healthy trees will suffer from dead branches. Rather than leaving dead branches on a tree, though, you should consider removing them. Assuming the tree is relatively low, you should be able to trim them using a ladder and gardening shears. Remove all dead, dying, diseased or injured branches from trees in your landscape.

#8) Trim Perennials

If your landscape includes perennials, trim these flowers during the fall to discourage pests. It’s not uncommon for plant-eating slugs to feast on perennials. And large perennials are more likely to experience pest infestations than smaller, more manicured perennials. You can encourage healthy growth for your perennials while minimizing the risk of pests by trimming them.

#9) Water Lawn

Your lawn still needs water during the fall — just not as much as it does during the spring and summer when the temperatures are warm. Give your lawn at least one more watering of at least 1 inches during the fall. The water will soak into the soil, providing your grass, trees and plants with valuable moisture. Just use caution not to overwater your lawn, as the cool temperatures reduces water evaporation and can subsequently lead to soggy soil.

#10) Bring Container Plants Indoors

If you have container plants on your patio, outdoor living space, garden or elsewhere, bring them indoors before the winter season arrives. Because they typically container smaller, more confined root systems, container plants are susceptible to injury from the cold fall weather. Thankfully, you can protect your container plants from shock and injury by bringing them indoors. If you have a climate-controlled basement, consider bringing them here for the fall and winter months. Once spring arrives next year, you can take your container plants back outside to further enhance your home’s landscape.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

Posted on

10 Landscaping and Exterior Design Tips to Increase Your Home’s Value

Neglecting to create and maintain an attractive landscape can have a negative impact on your home’s value. It creates an unkempt atmosphere that discourages prospective buyers from considering the property. Whether you plan on selling your home in the near future or not, though, you should invest your time and energy into touching up the exterior. By making a just a few small changes outside, you can increase your home’s value.

#1) Pressure Wash

Pressure washing your home’s siding, the driveway, sidewalk and patio will make it look cleaner and newer. Over time, mildew, dirt and debris will accumulate on the aforementioned surfaces of your home’s exterior. This typically won’t damage the surfaces, but it can make look them dirty and dingy. Pressure washing, however, will blast away stubborn dirt and debris to restore the original appearance of your home’s exterior.

#2) Replace Mailbox

If your mailbox is rusted, faded, decayed, falling over or otherwise damaged, you should consider replacing it. With an average cost of just $20 to $50, a new mailbox is an inexpensive outdoor accessory that won’t send you in debt. Just remember to fall the United States Postal Service’s (USPS’s) guidelines. Among other things, this includes positioning your new mailbox so that it’s 41 to 45 inches tall and 6 to 8 inches away from the road. Your mailbox should also feature your street address number as well as a carrier signal flag.

#3) Grow Trees

Growing trees in your landscape can increase your home’s value. According to Turf Magazine, homes with tree-filled landscapes sell for 10% to 12% more than homes with grass-only landscapes. This is because homeowners want trees in their landscape. Trees improve the air quality, provide shade, create wind blocks and more. So, if your landscape currently consists solely of grass, try planting some saplings. They may take a while to grow — five to 20 years on average — but they’ll eventually enhance your home’s exterior and increase its value.

#4) Add a Fire Pit

You might be surprised to learn that adding a fire pit can increase your home’s value. A survey conducted by The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLS) found that fire pits and fireplaces were the most wanted accessory for outdoor living spaces in 2015. Although you can use either in your home’s outdoor living spaces, fire pits offer the highest level of versatility due to their portable design.

#5) Edge

Edging is an important step to creating an attractive landscape. If you don’t edge your driveway, sidewalks and other paved paths, you may discover weeds encroaching them. Using a string edger, however, you can define these areas to protect against weeds and other invasive, unwanted plants.

#6) Water and Fertilize Lawn

Watering and fertilizing your lawn is essential to creating a lush green landscape. This is particularly true if you live in the South, where the summer heat can scorch an otherwise healthy landscape. By watering at least once a week and fertilizing a few times a year, you’ll promote a healthy, lush green landscape that makes your home more valuable to prospective buyers.

#7) Add Seating

The right outdoor seating can increase your home’s value. When furnishing your home’s outdoor living space, don’t use cheap plastic chairs. Instead, invest in a high-quality furniture that’s made of premium materials like hardwood or iron. A few premium chairs, swings and/or benches will create a more functional and attractive outdoor living space — something that may increase your home’s value.

#8) Mulch Flowerbeds

Mulching your flowerbeds offers several benefits. First, it provides additional nutrients to support healthy plant growth. Second, it retains moisture so that your plants don’t dry out and die. Third, it protects against weeds by covering otherwise open areas of the soil’s surface. The culmination of these effects may, therefore, increase your home’s value. To take advantage of this, sprinkle a 1- to 2-inch layer of mulch throughout your flowerbeds.

#9) Prune Trees and Plants

You should also prune any trees and plants growing in your home’s landscape on a regular basis. Many homeowners have a linear mindset regarding landscaping. They focus all their time on mowing the lawn, neglecting the trees and plants in their landscape. When neglected, though, trees and plants will become overgrown and unkempt. You can prevent this from happening by using a pair gardening shears or scissors to prune the trees and plants in your home’s landscape.

#10) Install a Ceiling Fan

If you have a patio or deck with a covered ceiling, consider installing a ceiling fan. Along with high-quality seating, a ceiling will create a more functional outdoor living space. When the weather is hot, you can turn on the fan to create a cool and comfortable environment. It won’t necessarily offer the same cooling power as air conditioning, but it still creates a pleasantly cool breeze that’s guaranteed to keep you and your family comfortable during the summer heat.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

Posted on

How to Make Your Outdoor Furniture Cushions Last a Lifetime

Furniture is essential to your home’s outdoor living space. It creates a more functional area by providing you and your family with a place to rest, relax, cook, eat and enjoy the outdoors. But if your outdoor furniture has cushions, you’ll need to follow some basic steps to protect them from damage. When neglected, outdoor furniture cushions can fade, develop mold or otherwise become damage. To prevent from this from happening to your outdoor furniture cushions, consider the following tips.

Choose a Water-Resistant Fabric

If you’re shopping for new outdoor furniture cushions, choose a fabric that’s resistant. Traditional fabrics like cotton and linen aren’t recommended because they absorb and hold a significant amount of moisture. If you leave cotton or linen furniture cushions outside, they’ll likely develop mold or mildew. Vinyl, olefin and textilene, on the other hand, are designed specifically to repel moisture, making the ideal for outdoor furniture cushions.

Use a Fabric Sealant

Even if your outdoor furniture cushions are made of a water-resistant fabric like vinyl, olefin or textilene, you should still use a fabric sealant on them. Fabric sealants work by creating an invisible layer of protection over a fabric to protect against moisture, sun damage, insects, spilled liquids and more. They are typically sold in aerosol cans — like spray paint — that you spray over the surface of your furniture cushions. Along with choosing a water-resistant fabric, using a fabric sealant can protect your cushions from damage.

Keep Furniture in the Shade

Sun exposure won’t cause any serious damage to your outdoor furniture cushions, but it can cause discoloration due to fading. If your cushions are left under the direct sun, they’ll naturally fade to a lighter color. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light bleaches fabrics to create the appearance of a lighter, more faded tone. This isn’t something you’ll notice overnight, however. It can take several months for sun exposure to cause any noticeable change in the color you cushions. To prevent fading, try placing your furniture — with the cushions included — in a shaded area. The cushions will still receive some sunlight here, but it shouldn’t be enough to cause fading.

Clean Them Regularly

Outdoor furniture cushions made of a water-resistant fabric can still develop mold and mildew when dirty. This occurs when mold- or mildew-causing fungi feast on the organic matter covering a dirty cushion. The dirt essentially acts as food for mold and mildew, allowing it to thrive. The good news is that you can easily clean your cushions. Assuming they are made of a water-resistant fabric, you can clean them using warm water and liquid laundry detergent. Just wet the cushions with soapy water, and scrub them with a clean washcloth. Try to get into the habit of cleaning your cushions at least once every one to two weeks to prevent the buildup of dirt.

Enclosure Your Outdoor Living Space With a Screen

It’s not uncommon for insects and yard debris to end up on furniture cushions. A simple way to prevent this from happening to your cushions is to enclose your outdoor living space with a screen. Neither insects nor yard debris can enter a screened-in space. Not only does this preserve the original appearance of your furniture and cushions, but it also creates a more comfortable lounging space for you and your family. With a screened-in outdoor living space, you can enjoy the outdoors without worrying about common backyard pests like mosquitoes, flies and wasps.

Keep Them Dry

It’s important that you keep your outdoor furniture cushions dry. You might be wondering why this is necessary with water-resistant cushions. Well, water resistant isn’t the same as waterproof — and most cushions only feature the former type of fabric. As a result, they may succumb to damage when left outside and exposed to the elements. To make your cushions last a lifetime, you’ll need to keep them dry. Ideally, your cushions should be placed in an area where they won’t be rained on. And when they do get wet, use a clean towel to dry them. Keeping your cushions dry will prevent the moisture from saturating and damaging the fabric.

Remove and Store Them Indoors

When all else fails, you can always remove the cushions from your outdoor furniture and store them somewhere inside your home. Depending on the type of furniture, you may be able to detach the cushion. Chairs and benches, for example, often have Velcro cushions that you can easily remove. If your furniture features removable cushions, take them off and store them indoors when you are finished using your outdoor living space for the day. Alternatively, invest in a durable outdoor box or storage container for your furniture cushions.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

Posted on

How to Prepare Your Landscape for Winter

Even in South, winter brings cold temperatures, dry air and shorter days, all of which can take a toll on your landscape. You may discover your grass turning brown, wilting or even dying during this time of year. Not only doesn’t affect your home’s curb appeal, but it also affects the functionality of this space. With a degrading landscape, you won’t be able to fully use your outdoor living space to the best of its abilities. But there’s still some time before the winter season hits, so consider the following ways to prepare your landscape for this seasonal change.

Aerate It

In the latter half of fall, aerate your soil one last time for the year. This involves the use of a special lawn tool, known as an aerator, that “scores” the soil with many small holes. As the aerator pokes holes in the soil, it allows water, oxygen and nutrients to reach the roots of your grass more easily. Depending on the size of your lawn, however, you may want to invest in a walk-behind aerator. Available to rent at most home improvement stores, walk-behind aerators are powered by gas, so you don’t have to physically push them across your lawn.

Add Mulch to Plants

Plants are often susceptible to shock during the winter because of the cold temperatures. When the first cold snap of the year hits, you may find your once-healthy flowers falling over and dying. You can give your plants a helping hand, however, with mulch. If you have a flowerbed that you’d like to protect this winter, for example, add about 2 inches of mulch to the top layer. A high-quality organic mulch adds valuable nutrients that keep your plants healthy. Most importantly, it creates a layer of insulation that protects your plants from the cold winter temperatures.

Reduce Watering

You don’t need to water your landscape as frequently in the winter as you do in the summer or spring. As the temperatures begin to drop, less water will evaporate from the soil. Therefore, your grass and plants will absorb more water throughout the day. If you continue to water your lawn during the winter the same amount as you did during the spring and summer, you may inadvertently make it “waterlogged.” When this occurs, the soil will turn soft and mushy — and it will eventually kill your grass and plants. You can still water your landscape if there’s a drought. Assuming Mother Nature is providing you with adequate water, though, keep your sprinkler turned off.

Rake It

You should also use this opportunity to rake any leaves covering your lawn. Leaves aren’t just an eyesore; they can harm your lawn by restricting it from sunlight and contributing to fungal disease in the process. When left unchecked, leaves will create a blanket-like layer over your grass that reduces or eliminates the amount of sunlight it receives. And without sunlight — or without enough sunlight — grass will cease to grow on your lawn. Furthermore, the presence of leaves on your lawn creates a wet environment, as moisture will remain trapped under the leaves. Without anywhere to escape, this moisture allows fungus to thrive, thereby increasing the risk of fungal disease. To promote a healthy lawn through winter and beyond, rake and dispose of all leaves covering your landscape.

Eliminate Weeds

Spring isn’t the only time of year during which weeds are common. You’ll also find them scattered throughout your landscape during winter. Dandelions are particularly common during this time, with many homeowners struggling to keep them under control. Whether it’s dandelions or any other weeds, though, you should eliminate them from your landscape before winter arrives. You can do this by pulling them up by the root, or you can you can use an herbicide. A homemade herbicide that works wonders for weeds is vinegar mixed with regular table salt and dish soap. The vinegar and salt kills weeds — and grass, so be careful — while the dish soap encourages the solution to stick to the weeds.

Bring In Container Plants

If you have container plants outside, you should bring them indoors to protect them against the cold winter temperatures. Regardless of size, nearly all potted plants are susceptible to frost shock. The good news, however, is that you can bring them indoors during this time of year. Before the first cold snap, make a point to bring in all your potted plants.

Mow One Last Time

Finally, you should mow your lawn one last time immediately before winter. Mowing your lawn to an appropriate height for the specific grass species encourages healthy growth while improving your home’s curb appeal in the process. After winter arrives, though, it should stop growing until the following year. So, mark your calendar for the last week of fall to mow your lawn one last time.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

Posted on

Fire Pits: The Perfect Focal Point for Your Outdoor Living Space

When designing an outdoor living space, it’s essential that you create a focal point. As the name suggests, this is the space’s point of focus. It’s the object or element that naturally attracts your attention, making it the single most important component of your home’s outdoor living space. And while there are several solutions available for creating a focal point, a fire pit often works best for the following reasons.

It’s Unique

One reason to use a fire pit for your outdoor living space’s focal point is because it’s unique. This doesn’t necessarily mean that no two fire pits are the same. Rather, it means that a fire pit is a unique decorative element when used in your outdoor living space. Unless you have two fire pits, it will create a unique appearance that’s not found in other decorative outdoor accessories. But the unique appearance of a fire pit is just one of many reasons to use it a focal point for your outdoor living space.

It’s a Natural Gathering Area

When a fire pit is lit, people will naturally gather around it. It’s only human nature to gather around as fires, as we’ve been it since the dawn of mankind. Whether you’re lounging outside with your family or hosting an outdoor party with the entire neighborhood, you’ll probably discover people gathering around your fire pit when it’s lit. As a result, their attention will be focused on the fire pit, thereby enhancing its utility as an outdoor focal point.

It Repels Pests

Designing your outdoor living space with a fire pit as the focal point will also repel pests. If you place it in the center of your patio, for example, the smoke it produces will deter mosquitoes, wasps, gnats and other common outdoor pests. Most insects hate smoke, so a fire pit acts as a natural pest repellent. To take full advantage of this, though, you’ll need to place it in the center of your outdoor living space. Otherwise, the smoke won’t adequately cover the surrounding space.

It Improves Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Want to improve your home’s curb appeal? Try using a fire pit as the focal point. High-quality fire pits, such as those sold here at S&S Fire Pit, are designed with premium steel materials that compliment most outdoor living spaces. They introduce a new metallic finish and visual style that, ultimately, will improve your home’s curb appeal. If it’s not used as the focal point, however, it won’t have the same, positive impact on your home’s curb appeal.

It Creates Warmth

Using a fire pit as the focal point will help you create a warmer and more comfortable outdoor living space. Even if you live in the South, you’ll probably get at least some days of the year when the temperatures are brutally cold. A fire pit in the center of your outdoor living space, however, will create warmth that allows you to enjoy this extension of your home throughout the year. From spring to winter, you can rest assured knowing that a fire pit will provide ample warmth for your outdoor living space.

It Makes Cooking Easier

Regardless of where it’s placed, you can use an outdoor fire pit to cook meats, vegetables and other foods. But when used as the focal point, it makes cooking a little easier. When your fire pit is the designated focal point, you — as well as your family members and/or guests — will gather around it. This means you won’t have to walk long distances from your seat to the fire pit.

How to Use a Fire Pit as the Focal Point

Now that you know the benefits it offers, you might be wondering how to use a fire pit as the focal point for your outdoor living space. The key thing to remember with focal points is that they should be the center of attention. Assuming your outdoor living space has seats (which it should), it’s usually best to place the focal point in the middle of them. In other words, arrange your outdoor living space’s chairs, benches, stools or other seats around your fire pit.

Also, remember to draw attention to your fire pit using lighting. Installing a new light fixture can illuminate your outdoor living space while drawing attention to your fire pit in the process.

A fire pit is just one option to consider when choosing a focal point for your outdoor living space. As revealed here, however, it offers several unique benefits. Among other things, using a fire pit as the focal point creates a unique appearance, serves as a natural gathering, repels pests and makes cooking easier. Just remember to choose a high-quality fire pit rather than a cheap, generic brand.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

Posted on

How to Protect Your Outdoor Furniture From Fading

It’s not uncommon for furniture to fade outdoor furniture to fade over time. A table that was once midnight black may turn to a lighter, charcoal gray color. This typically doesn’t happen overnight. Rather, it takes months or years of exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays to cause any noticeable change in color. As a homeowner, though, seeing your outdoor furniture fade can be frustrating. You purchased your furniture with the assumption that it will retain its color, only to discover this isn’t the case. So, what can you do to protect your outdoor furniture from fading?

Choose High-Quality Furniture

Don’t try to cut corners with your outdoor living space by purchasing cheap, low-quality furniture. You may save a couple bucks, but there’s a greater risk of fading. A cheap plastic chair, for example, will probably fade more quickly than a high-quality teak wood chair. This is because manufactures use thin coats of paint on low-quality furniture to save money, thereby making them more susceptible to fading from sun exposure. High-quality furniture, on the other hand, is made with thicker coats of paints to achieve greater protection from the elements.

Apply UV Protectant

Perhaps the most effective solution is to keep your outdoor furniture from fading is to apply a UV protectant product. These products live up to their namesake by protecting fabrics and surfaces from UV light, which is the catalyst of fading. Like sunscreen, it’s designed to reflect the sun’s UVA and UVB light. By blocking out these otherwise highly penetrating rays of light, UV protectant is able to keep your furniture from fading.

You can use UV protectant on a wide variety of furniture types, including plastic, vinyl, rubber, fiberglass, wood and more. Furthermore, it’s easy to use, as mot UV protectant products come in a spray bottle. Just spray the product over the surface of your furniture, and it will remain protected from the sun’s UV rays. Keep in mind, however, that it’s effects will wear off. For maximum, long-lasting protection, it’s recommended that you reapply the UV protectant once every few months.

Place in Shade

Conventional wisdom should lead you to believe that placing your furniture in the shade will protect it from fading. If it’s not exposed to the sun, it won’t fade — not fast, at least. Your furniture will still receive some indirect sunlight, but it typically takes many years of exposure to indirect sunlight for outdoor furniture to fade. Therefore, you should consider placing your furniture in the shade. Assuming your patio or outdoor living space has a roof, place the furniture in an area that receives the least amount of direct sunlight. If it doesn’t have a roof, on the other hand, use a large patio umbrella or awning to create shade. By reducing the amount of direct sunlight your furniture receives, you’ll discourage fading and, subsequently, retain your furniture’s original color.

Clean Furniture

It’s important that you clean your outdoor furniture on a regular basis. When left outdoors for a long period of time, furniture will attract dirt, pollen, dust, insects and other debris. As this debris accumulates on your furniture, it can wear down the fabric or outer layer of paint, thus increasing the risk of fading. The good news is that you easily clean most outdoor furniture by spraying it down with a garden hose. There’s no need for a pressure washing, as it typically does more harm than good by blasting away the outer layer. Instead, spray your furniture down with a garden hose every few months to keep it clean and protect it from fading.

Bring Cushions Indoors

For outdoor furniture with fabric-based cushions, you can prevent fading by removing and bringing the cushions indoors when they aren’t being used. Most outdoor chairs, benches and other fabric-based furniture feature removable cushions. Bringing these cushions indoors will reduce their exposure to the sun and protect them from fading.

Use It

The more you use your furniture, the less likely it is to fade. If you and your family sit in chairs, for example, those chairs will be protected from the sun. You can’t expect to use your outdoor furniture 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Nonetheless, this can still help to protect your furniture from fading, especially when combined with the other tips listed here.

What If My Furniture Has Already Faded?

If you discover that your furniture has already faded, there are a few options to restore it. If it features a painted surface, you can repaint it with a fresh coat of the same color. Alternatively, if you faded furniture has cushions, consider replacing the cushions with new ones of the same type and color.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

Posted on

8 Mistakes to Avoid When Designing an Outdoor Living Space

Are you looking to design an outdoor living space for you and your family? Well, you aren’t alone. According to the AIA’s Home Design Trends Survey, it’s the single most popular “special function room” among homeowners in the United States. The survey found that consumer demand for outdoor living spaces increased by 38% from 2012 to 2017, attesting to its popularity. While an outdoor living space can open the doors to new activities and entertainment for you and your family, you should avoid making the following mistakes when designing it.

#1) Insufficient Lighting

If you intend to use your outdoor living space in the evening or at night, you need to design it with sufficient lighting. When the sun goes down, you should be able to illuminate this spaces so that you and your family members can use it. There are countless lighting solutions available for outdoor living spaces, including string lights, solar lamps (they work at night), pendant lights, sconce and traditional overhead fixtures. To save money on power, choose a lighting solution that uses an energy-efficient bulb like compact fluorescent lighting (CFL) or light-emitting diode (LED). CFL and LED use a fraction of the energy of conventional incandescent bulbs, making them a smart investment for your outdoor living space.

#2) Incohesive Decor

It’s important that you use a cohesive decor when designing your outdoor living space. Some homeowners make the mistake of using a half-dozen colors and multiple decor styles, only to create an eclectic eclectic design that hurts their home’s curb appeal. Stick with a single color scheme and design style to create an attractive, lively environment that reflects positively upon your home’s aesthetics.

#3) Installing Non-Water-Resistant Appliances

There’s nothing wrong with installing appliances in your home’s outdoor living space, but they need to be water resistant. Even if the area is covered with a roof or awning, your appliances will still be susceptible to moisture damage from humidity exposure. It may not happen immediately, but constant exposure to high humidity will eventually damage these outdoor appliances. A simple solution, however, is to choose water-resistant appliances that are specifically designed for outdoor use. Whether it’s a refrigerator, stove, grill or even a TV, it must be designed for outdoor use.

#4) Overlooking a Fire Pit

What’s the most important element for an outdoor living space? According to a survey cited by Kleber and Associates, that accolade goes to a fire pit. Unfortunately, many homeowners overlook this feature when designing their outdoor living space. Instead, they use a traditional charcoal or propane grill. Just because your outdoor living space features a grill, though, there’s no rule stating that it can’t have a fire pit. In fact, adding a fire pit will create a more attractive, entertaining area. You can use it to set a relaxing ambiance for nighttime parties, ward away mosquitoes, roast marshmallows and more. The bottom line is that all outdoor living spaces should feature a fire pit.

#5) Choosing Seating Based Solely on Aesthetics

When choosing seating for your outdoor living space, consider both aesthetics and function. Even if a chair or bench is attractive and flows cohesively with the rest of your space, it might be comfortable to use. And without comfortable seating, you probably won’t use your outdoor living space very often.

#6) Too Big or Small

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for an outdoor living space. Rather, you should design it according to your own needs. If you plan on hosting large outdoor parties with all your friends, family and neighbors, you should design it large to accommodate these people. But if you live by yourself, you should design it small. An appropriate size will help you get the most use out of your outdoor living space while minimizing maintenance and upkeep requirements.

#7) Inaccessibility

Your outdoor living space needs to be easily accessible. In other words, neither you nor anyone else should be forced to walk a long ways — or through difficult terrain — to reach it. This is why many homeowners create their outdoor living space on their patio or back deck. You can still create it farther away from your home, but it’s recommended that you use pavers or stones to form a walking path.

#8) Overlooking the Direction of the Sun

Don’t forget to consider the direction of the sun when designing your outdoor living space. If the sun beams directly down on your outdoor living space, you may find it unbearable to use during the “dog days” of summer. Of course, there are ways to overcome this challenge. You can build a roof or install an awning, for instance, to create shade. Another idea is to install a misting system that sprays a cool water mist over your outdoor living space.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

Posted on

10 Things to Consider When Building a Patio

A patio is an invaluable upgrade to your home that extends its living space to the outdoors. You can use it to host backyard barbecues, parties or just lounge under the sun. But if you’re thinking about building a patio, there are a several things you must consider.

#1) Location

Where exactly do you want the patio? Most homeowners choose to build a patio either on the front or rear of their home. When choosing between these two locations, consider privacy. Building a patio on the rear of your home will likely provide you and your family with greater privacy. The downside, however, is that it won’t have the same positive impact on your home’s curb appeal.

#2) Size

it’s also important that you consider the size of your patio. A larger patio will provide you and your family with more space, but it also requires more materials and resources to build. According to The Concrete Network, the average size of a patio in the United States is about 16 feet by 18 feet. This is an appropriate size that allows for a pleasant outdoor living space without requiring a substantial amount of materials and resources to build.

#3) Raised vs Ground Level

Building a raised patio requires more work than building a ground level patio. You must include the appropriate supporting structures, and ensure that the foundation is solid and not vulnerable to erosion. Otherwise, you may find yourself with a sinking patio in the near future. While optional, many homeowners also install stairs on their raised patio so that they can access their yard. A ground-level patio is undoubtedly easier to build for these reasons, but you may or may not have this option depending on your property’s layout.

#4) Materials

Of course, you should consider the materials used in your patio’s construction. Most patios are constructed with either wood or concrete (or both). Concrete is an excellent choice for ground-level patios because of its superior strength, longevity and ease of use. Wood, on the other hand, is preferred for raised patios, as it’s lighter and more structurally sound. You can also stone and brick for ground-level patios, both of which offer similar benefits as concrete.

#5) Roof

A can improve the functionality and aesthetics of your patio in several ways. First, it creates a more comfortable space for you and your family by casting shade. A roof will keep the sun out of your eyes, allowing you to enjoy your patio just a little more. Second, it will protect your patio furniture from sun and moisture damage. Without a roof, furniture will be exposed to the elements, resulting in faster degradation. Third, a roof enhances the appearance of your patio, and home, by adding a new design element. So, if you’re willing to make the investment, add a roof to your patio.

#6) Maintenance

How much maintenance will your patio require? It’s difficult, if not impossible, to determine exactly how much work is required to maintain a patio until it’s constructed. At minimum, you’ll need to clean your patio’s surface on a regular basis. This can be done by scrubbing it or by using a power washer. For wooden patios, you may also need to inspect the fasteners — nails, screws, anchors, etc. — to ensure they are secure. When fasteners begin to work their way out, you must drive them back in place to preserve the structural integrity of your patio.

#7) Utilities

Consider the location of utilities like underground electricity, water, plumbing and gas lines when building your patio. Never perform any construction that requires digging into the ground without first identifying the location of all underground utilities. If you aren’t sure where these lines are located, contact your utility providers. Alternatively, hire a contractor to build your patio.

#8) Lighting

You won’t be able to fully enjoy your patio at night unless there’s adequate lighting. Therefore, you should consider lighting when building your patio. Just a single high-lumen fixture should suffice for most average-sized patios. Of course, you can install other lighting solutions like string lights, solar lamps or tiki torches as well.

#9) Building Codes

It’s always a good idea to check your city or county building codes before constructing a new patio. Many municipalities have strict laws regarding residential construction, and failure to comply with these laws could result in a fine and forced removal of your patio.

#10) Furniture

Finally, consider the type of furniture that you want to use on your new patio. At minimum, you should include chairs or other forms of seating on your patio. Additionally, however, you may want to include a fire pit. With a fire pit, you can cook foods, roast marshmallows and create a warm, comfortable environment on your patio during the otherwise cold winter months.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

Posted on

How to Protect Your Patio Furniture From Rusting

It’s not uncommon for patio furniture to rust when left outdoors for long periods of time. Whether it’s a chair, table, bench, etc., any furniture that’s made of metal may rust when certain safeguards aren’t taken. And once a piece of furniture begins to rust, it can quickly eat through the metal, causing permanent damage that’s difficult or impossible to repair. So, how can you protect your patio furniture from rusting?

Why Patio Furniture Rusts

Rust is the result of the oxidation from oxygen and moisture exposure. Of course, not all objects are susceptible to this phenomenon. Rather, rust only occurs in objects and materials that contain iron. Unfortunately, iron is all around us; it’s even steel. If you have patio furniture that’s made of iron, steel or other iron-containing metals, it may rust when exposed to moisture.

Choose Non-Metal Furniture

Because rust involves the oxidation of iron, you can protect your patio furniture from this phenomenon by choosing non-metal furniture. As long as your furniture isn’t made of metal, it won’t rust. The downside to choosing an alternative material, however, is that it may lack the strength and durability of metal.

Some alternative, non-metal materials for patio furniture include the following:

  • Wicker
  • Rattan
  • Plastic
  • Teak
  • Resin
  • Polymer
  • Vinyl

Cover Your Furniture

Try to keep your patio furniture covered so that it isn’t exposed to the rain and elements. When you’re finished using your patio for the evening and ready to go inside, store your furniture under a covered area. Leaving it exposed to the rain and elements will only increase the risk of it rusting. After just a few days of exposure, patio furniture can develop rust.

If your patio doesn’t have a covered area under which you can store furniture, consider investing in furniture covers. Most home improvement stores sell covers for as little as $15 a piece, which is a small price to pay considering the protection they offer from rusting. The covers are usually made of a heavy-duty, waterproof material that keeps your furniture dry even when it rains. Just toss a cover over each piece of metal patio furniture to protect it from rusting.

Dry Your Furniture

Even if you cover your patio furniture, it may still rust. This is particularly true if you live in a region with a humid climate, such as the Southeast. Humidity is essentially nothing more than moisture vapor in the air. When there’s a high level of airborne moisture vapor, the air is humid. When there’s little or no airborne moisture vapor, the air is dry. Humidity can saturate the exterior of metal patio furniture with water droplets. And when left unchecked, these water droplets will serve as a catalyst for rust, causing your furniture to rust and corrode over time. This is why it’s important to hand-dry your furniture on a regular basis. If you discover your furniture is wet — regardless of whether it’s stored under a roof or furniture cover — wipe it dry with a clean towel.

Apply Rust-Protective Coating

There are dozens of anti-rust products that you can use on patio furniture. Most paints, for example, will create a waterproof barrier over your furniture’s metal exterior, preventing the intrusion of moisture and, subsequently, protecting it from rusting. There are also transparent products that, when applied to furniture, protect it from rusting. Rust-Oleum makes an entire line of rust-protective coatings, which are available for as little as $4 a bottle. Assuming you have just a half-dozen pieces of patio furniture, you should be able to cover them with two or three bottles.

Wash Your Furniture

Washing your patio furniture on a regular basis will help protect it from rusting. Using a small amount of mild dish soap with water, scrub down your furniture to remove any lingering mildew or grime. While mildew and grime may seem harmless enough, it holds a significant amount of moisture — and this moisture can lead to rusting. You can easily clean your patio furniture, however, using mild soap and water.

Clean Rust

Following these tips should protect your patio furniture from rusting. But what if your furniture has already rusted? Don’t haul it off to the local dump just yet. With a little work, you can often restore rusted patio furniture back to its original condition (or close to, at least).

To clean and remove rust from your patio furniture, scrub the affected area with a piece of steel wool or wire grill brush. The abrasive properties of steel wool and a grill brush will remove the rusted metal, thus exposing the underlying layers of the furniture’s metal, which aren’t rusted. After you’ve cleaned the rust from your furniture, add a fresh coat of paint for increased protection.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

Posted on

Common Patio Pests and How to Prevent Them

As the weather continues to warm, you’ll probably find yourself spending more time outside. A properly designed patio with comfortable seating and a fire pit is the perfect area to enjoy the warm and sunny summer weather — but only if it’s free of pests. Unfortunately, pests are a common occurrence on patios. From mosquitoes to termites and bees, these pests can wreak havoc by inflecting pain or causing structural damage. Here are a few of the most common patio pests and how to prevent them.

Mosquitoes

It’s difficult to enjoy your patio when you’re being constantly bombarded by blood-sucking mosquitoes. Normally, mosquitoes are only problem if there’s standing water on or near your patio. Female mosquitoes lay about 100 eggs in water every third night after they mate. By eliminating areas of standing water around your home, you’ll discourage mosquitoes from reproducing and create a more harmonious outdoor living space.

Adding the following plants to the landscape surrounding your patio may also help to deter mosquitoes:

  • Lavender
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Lamongrass
  • Basil
  • Thyme
  • Marigold
  • Rosemary
  • Mint

Fleas

If you own a cat, dog or both, you may notice fleas on your patio. Research shows that a single female flea can produce 600 eggs per month. Like mosquitoes, fleas feast on blood, though they generally prefer the blood of small animals rather than humans. Therefore, eliminating them from your patio requires treating your pets. Talk to your veterinarian about a flea treatment regimen for your cat or dog. He or she should be able to recommend an effective flea prevention and treatment product, such as Fipronil. Additionally, applying a layer of cedar mulch across your lawn can deter fleas and other common pests. Cedar contains a combination of unique oils that, for whenever reason, fleas hate. By adding it to your lawn, you’ll discourage fleas from taking refuge.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants (Camponotus spp.) aren’t your typical fire ants. While fire ants are bad enough, carpenter ants are particularly concerning because of their ability to destroy wood. They don’t necessary consume it for nutrition but, instead, for building nests. Using their long mandibles, carpenter ants can chew through a wooden patio, leaving behind holes and tunnels. Over time, the presence of these holes can create an unsafe environment for you and your family.,

Termites

If your patio is constructed of wood, you should inspect it for signs of termite damage on a regular basis. These wood-boring pests cause billions of dollars in property damage to houses each year in the United States. The most effective way to prevent termites on a patio is to use pressure-treated lumber. As you may know, pressure-treated lumber is sprayed and treated with chemicals to protect it from pests, rot and decay. You can expect to pay more pressure-treated lumber than non-pressure-treated lumber, but it’s a smart long-term investment because of the increased protection that it offers.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also offers some helpful tips to protect against termites, some of which include filling cracks in the foundation, storing firewood off the ground (don’t store it directly on your patio), finding and fixing water leaks and ensuring your lawn has proper drainage. And if you discover termite damage on your patio, have it repaired as soon as possible to mitigate the damage.

Yellow Jackets

Normally, bees and wasps will keep their distance from humans unless provoked, but there’s one common exception: the yellow jacket. Classified as a wasp, these aggressive pests may seek out and sting nearby people unprovoked. It’s important to note that yellow jackets feed on protein, so keeping them off your patio requires removal of protein sources. If you grill burgers or cook other food on your patio, be sure to bring it indoors when you are finished. Leaving protein sources on your patio will only attract yellow jackets and other pests.

Yellow jackets are also attracted sugar. Whether it’s a watermelon rind, cup of sweet tea or plate of leftover dessert, you should avoid leaving sugary foods or beverages on your patio.

Flies

And then there are flies. The good news about flies is that most species have an average lifespan of just one month. The bad news, however, is during that time a fly can lay up to 500 eggs, so you need to take action to keep them off your patio. A simple solution to keep flies, mosquitoes and other flying pests away from your patio is to build a fire. The smoke from a fire is a natural insect repellent and will deter most flying pests. You can also keep flies away from your patio by using a fan. Assuming your patio has an overhead fan built in, turning it on will literally blow away the flies so that they can take over patio.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

Posted on

Why Your Home Needs an Outdoor Living Space

Does your home have an outdoor living space? If not, you should consider creating one. Whether it’s a patio, porch, garden or even an area of your lawn, an outdoor living space will open the doors to new opportunities for you and your family. Of course, some homeowners believe they aren’t worth the time and energy to create. While setting up an outdoor living space certainly requires work, it can pay off in the following ways.

Host Parties

With an outdoor living space, you can host parties with friends, family members and neighbors. Just set up some chairs around a fire pit, and you’ve got the perfect space for a party. You can even host parties year-round by installing a patio heater. These outdoor heaters are designed to warm the surrounding space, typically using propane or gas. Even when the otherwise cold fall or winter weather arrives, you still host outdoor parties using a patio heater such as this.

Health and Wellness

An outdoor living space also promotes health and wellness. Statistics show that up to three-quarters of Americans suffer from vitamin D deficiency. Known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is essential because it allows our bodies to absorb calcium and build stronger bones (among other things). Although certain foods contain vitamin D — salmon, beef liver, cheese, eggs, etc. — the easiest way to get vitamin D is to lounge outdoors under the sun. Spending just 20 minutes under the midday sun will trigger your body to produce the recommended daily intake of vitamin D.

Increased Property Value

A lesser-known benefit of outdoor living spaces is increased property value. Prospective home buyers today pay close attention to a home’s exterior. If it’s poorly designed and lacks an outdoor living space, they may choose a different home to purchase. As a result, adding an outdoor living space can increase your home’s property value. The key thing to remember, however, is that you need to create an appealing, functional space that’s easy to maintain. Installing a swimming pool may sound like a good idea, but the labor and costs of maintaining a pool may deter some buyers. So, design your outdoor living space with aesthetically pleasing, functional elements while ensuring that it’s easy to maintain. Otherwise, it won’t have a positive impact on your home’s property value.

Improved Curb Appeal

You can increase your home’s curb appeal by creating an outdoor living space. Some homeowners assume that their lawn defines their home’s curb appeal, but this isn’t necessarily true. Although it plays a role in curb appeal, the overall design of your home’s exterior — including the presence of an outdoor living space — will ultimately define its curb appeal. To take advantage of this benefit, though, you should design your outdoor living space with a cohesive theme. In other words, don’t use colors or design elements that clash with one another and, instead, stick with a central design theme.

Saves Money

You have to think of an outdoor living space as a financial investment. You’ll have to pay for furniture and accessories, but it can save you money in the long run. Once your outdoor living space it set up, you and your family can use it instead of driving to the local park and performing other paid activities. Over the course of a year, or several years, the cost-savings benefits of an outdoor living space really add up.

Cooking Outdoors

Tired of cooking in the kitchen? With an outdoor living space, you can grill and smoke foods outside. There are several different outdoor cooking accessories that you can use for this purpose, including a grill (propane or charcoal), fire pit or even a complete outdoor kitchen. Of those options, however, a fire pit is arguably the most versatile. You can use a fire pit for grilling or smoking, and you can even experiment with different types of charcoal and/or wood chips.

Shade and Comfort

It’s hard to enjoy the outdoors when the midday sun is glaring down on you. Depending on the angle, it may create a glaring, blinding light. Thankfully, an outdoor living space with shade can protect you from this phenomenon. You can install an awning over your outdoor living space, for instance, to create shade. Alternatively, you can set up a table with a patio umbrella. These are just a few ways to turn your home’s outdoor living space into a shaded, comfortable oasis for you and your family to enjoy.

Easy to Set Up

Furthermore, an outdoor living space is relatively easy to set up. Even if you have little or no experience with do-it-yourself home renovation projects, you can still create an outdoor living space. All it takes is some chairs, a fire pit and a few decorative accessories.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

Posted on

How to Protect Concrete Your Driveway and Sidewalk From Cracking

If you have a concrete driveway or sidewalk, you should take a few basic precautions to protect it from cracking. When properly installed, concrete typically lasts for decades, offering you and your family countless years of use. There are times, however, when it may develop hairline fractures or cracks. And when left unchecked, these otherwise small cracks can develop into larger cracks that jeopardize the structure integrity of the driveway or sidewalk. So, if you have a concrete driveway or sidewalk, you should familiarize yourself with the following tips to protect it from cracking.

Mix Correctly

First, it’s important to understand what causes concrete driveways and sidewalks to crack. While cracking can occur from any number of issues, one of the most common causes is an improper ratio of water to concrete. When too much water is added, the moisture will evaporate as the concrete sits, causing to shrink and, eventually, crack. It’s not uncommon for concrete slabs to shrink by as much as 0.5 inches per 100 feet. Therefore, it’s important that homeowners, builders and general contractors alike use the proper mixture of concrete and water.

Grade and Compact the Soil

In addition to using an appropriate ratio of water to concrete, you should also grade and compact the soil when installing a concrete driveway or sidewalk. When concrete is poured on uneven or loose soil, it increases the risk of cracking. Over time, the soil will shift and place stress on the concrete. As this stress increases, it can literally pull apart the concrete, leaving large cracks or fractures behind. By properly grading and compacting the soil, however, you can prevent this from happening. Again, this is why it’s important that all homeowners, builders and general contractors invest the necessary time and energy to prepare for proper installation.

Use a Sealer

Once you’ve installed concrete, you should use a sealant product to protect it from moisture. Freeze-thaw damage often creates cracks in concrete sidewalks and driveways. This phenomenology occurs when water seeps into the porous holes of the concrete and turns into ice. This creates pressure that loosens the concrete, causing it to crack. A simple solution to protect concrete from freeze-thaw damage is to use a sealer. Available at most home improvement stores, a sealer will create an invisible waterproof barrier over your concrete, protecting it from the intrusion of moisture and subsequent cracks that may develop from the freeze-thaw cycle.

There are many different types of concrete sealant products available for sale. While they all serve the same basic purpose of sealing concrete, there are subtle nuances between them that shouldn’t be ignored. See below for a list of the three main types of concrete sealers and how they differ:

  1. Penetrating Sealer: As the name suggests, penetrating sealers are designed to penetrate deep into concrete to create a superior level of protection from moisture and debris. They are often preferred in harsh environments where there’s a high risk of damage. Penetrating sealers are an excellent choice for protecting your concrete driveway or sidewalk from freeze-thaw damage.
  2. Decorative Sealer: Available in a wide variety of sheens and tones, decorative sealers offer an exceptional level aesthetics when compared to other concrete sealant products. They also dry and set more quickly than other sealers. The downside to decorative sealers, however, is that the lack the protection offered by penetrating sealers. Therefore, they should only be used in applications where there’s low risk of cracking of structural damage to the concrete.
  3. Durable Sealer: The third type of concrete sealer, durable sealer, offers a longer lifespan the aforementioned types. It’s designed to create a strong, long-lasting barrier of protection over the concrete. Durable sealers are also available in a variety of sheens and tones, and they are usually resistant to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Ensure Proper Drainage

While there’s no substitution for a high-quality sealant, you can further protect your concrete driveway or sidewalk from cracking by ensuring the surrounding landscape has proper drainage. Poor drainage is a common cause of cracking in concrete. When water collects on or around a concrete driveway or sidewalk, the excess moisture will seep under the concrete, causing the land to shift, thus stressing the concrete. This usually doesn’t happen overnight, but rather it takes months or even years for cracks to develop.

You can reduce the risk of cracking in your concrete driveway or sidewalk by ensuring it has proper drainage. Check your downspouts to ensure they are directed away from your home and towards a nearby storm drain. And the next time it rains, pay attention to your landscape to see where the water flows. If it’s pooling up in certain areas, you need a new drainage solution to keep the moisture away from your driveway or sidewalk.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

Posted on

7 Tips to Prevent Your Lawn From Becoming Waterlogged

Water is usually good for lawns. Whether your lawn has fescue, bluegrass, ryegrass, bentgrass, St. Augustine, Scutch grass, crowngrass or any other common variety, it needs water to survive. Your lawn might be able to go a couple weeks without water, but it will gradually turn brown and die shortly thereafter. With that said, too much water — combined with poor drainage and runoff — may cause waterlogging. When this occurs, water collects at the top of the lawn rather than flowing away.

Aside from its unattractive appearance, a waterlogged lawn presents several challenges for homeowners. When the soil remains saturated over a long period of time, grass roots will literally rot. Known as “root rot,” for obvious reasons, it’s the beginning of a slow death for your lawn. Furthermore, a waterlogged lawn contributes to fungal disease, which is another key problem. And depending on where you live, you may find a higher number of pests like mosquitoes and gnats when your lawn is saturated with water. So, what can you do to prevent this from happening to your lawn?

#1) Check Downspouts

First, check the downspouts to ensure they are directed away from your house. If possible, connect the end of your downspouts with tubing that runs to a nearby creek or drainage ditch instead of the base of your home. If your lawn isn’t properly graded (e.g. angled away from your home), water will collect on the surface and contribute to waterlogging. By guiding downspouts away from your home, you’ll protect your lawn from excessive runoff.

#2) Check the Gutters

Of course, you should also use this opportunity to check the gutters attached to the downspouts. If there are trees growing next to your home, there’s a good chance your gutters will fill with leaves and debris. Over time, this debris will restrict the flow of water, causing it to pool up and flow off the sides instead of down through the gutters and downspouts. You can prevent this from happening by cleaning your gutters on a regular basis. Using a ladder, carefully climb and access to the top of your gutters, removing any leaves, limbs or other debris. When you are finished, flush them with a garden hose.

#3) Aerate the Soil

Aerating the soil can help protect your lawn from becoming waterlogged. Waterlogging often occurs when the soil is too compact for moisture to drain properly. Normally, water will soak into the soil. When the soil is compacted, however, it sits at the top and contributes to waterlogging. A simple solution is to aerate your soil, which involves scoring your landscape with many small holes. Not only will this prevent moisture problems, but it also encourages nutrient penetration, thus promoting a lush-green, healthy lawn.

#4) Reseed

Reseeding your lawn can reduce the risk of waterlogging. Grass acts as a natural barrier against erosion. When there are bare patches of missing grass on a lawn, rainwater may erode the soil and contribute to waterlogging. Thankfully, you can prevent this from happening by reseeding your lawn. Wait until you’ve aerated the soil, after which you can spread a mixture of grass seed and fertilizer. When the grass grows in, it should reduce or potentially eliminate drainage problems with your lawn.

#5) Dig a French Drain

If your lawn has severe drainage issues, consider digging a French drain. As explained by The Spruce, this otherwise simple drain consists of a buried pipe with gravel on top. When water lands on the gravel, it soaks through and into the pipe, at which point it’s carried away from the lawn. A French drain is a simple yet effective solution for waterlogging. Aside from a few bags of gravel, some plastic tubing and a shovel, it really doesn’t require anything else to build.

#6) Add a Top Dressing

Adding a top dressing to your lawn can protect it from drainage problems. Top dressing is essentially sand, leaves, mulch or soil that’s placed over the surface of the lawn. It offers a variety of benefits, including supplying your grass with additional nutrients, discouraging weed growth and preventing drainage problems. Simply add a 1/2-inch layer to the top, ensuring that the grass is still visible (the top dressing shouldn’t cover the grass completely).

#7) Don’t Walk on Your Waterlogged Lawn!

Finally, try to avoid walking on your lawn when it’s waterlogged. When grass is waterlogged, it’s susceptible to stress and damage. Even minor pressure like your foot pressing against the surface may damage or kill it. So, wait until your lawn has fully dried out before walking on it. If necessary, walk around the waterlogged portion of your lawn when entering and exiting your home. By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to healthier, drier lawn.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

Posted on

6 Springtime Landscape Maintenance Tips All Homeowners Should Follow

Spring is in the air, which means the temperatures will become warmer and the days longer. This seasonal transitional offers the perfect opportunity for homeowners to touch up their landscape and enhance their home’s curb appeal. Doing so will not only improve the appearance of your landscape but will also make it more functional, allowing you and your family members to enjoy this outdoor extension of your home. Here are a few tips to enhance your landscape this spring season.

#1) Aerate the Soil

There’s no better time than the beginning of spring to aerate your lawn. As you may already know, aeration involves perforating the top inch or so of soil with small holes so that nutrients and water can pass through more easily. When soil hardens during the winter, it prevents water and nutrients from flowing, thus restricting the growth and health of your grass. By aerating, you’ll promote a healthy, lush-green lawn.

#2) Knock Out Weeds

Whether it’s dandelions, crabgrass, bindweed, chickweed, bluegrass, etc., you should knock out any weeds attempting to grow on your lawn. During the transition from winter to spring, weeds — like grass and plants — will emerge from their state of dormancy. And if left unchecked, they can quickly take over your lawn while consuming valuable nutrients that could otherwise be used by your grass.

Rather than using a store-bought herbicide, though, consider making your own DIY weed killer. It’s actually pretty easy and highly effective when done right. Simply fill a spray bottle with distilled white vinegar and add 1 or 2 tablespoons of liquid dish soap. Shake thoroughly to ensure the ingredients are mixed together, after which you can spot treat any weeds you discover on your lawn.

#3) Mulch Flowerbeds

Add a layer of mulch to your flowerbeds to keep the area weed free. Mulch is designed to block out the sun so that weeds and grass can’t grow in areas where they shouldn’t (like flowerbeds). Additionally, some mulch contains valuable nutrients that will stimulate plant growth, allowing flowers to bloom more easily during spring.

Some of the most common types of mulch for flowerbeds and landscapes include the following:

  • Cocoa
  • Straw
  • Wood chips
  • Sawdust
  • Lava rocks
  • Bark
  • Grass clippings
  • Rubber pellets

Tip: even with mulch, you may discover weeds growing in your flowerbeds. This is particularly true when using nutrient-rich mulch as opposed to inorganic mulch. If weeds are still a problem, and you don’t want to constantly spot treat them, try placing landscape fabric around your flowerbed and then cover it with mulch. Landscape fabric is impenetrable, preventing weeds or other plants from growing through it.

#4) Reseed Bare Patches

Just a single bare patch will make your lawn look messy and unkempt. In some cases, though, bare patches will correct themselves. Healthy grass adjacent to the voided area will fill it in, creating a more complete appearance. In other cases, you’ll have to reseed the patch.

There are a few ways to reseed bare patches, one of which is to apply grass seed and fertilizer by hand. Sprinkle a generous amount over the patch, give it some water, and wait for it to grow in. Alternatively, you can use a lawn patch product that already has a combination of grass seed and fertilizer. Regardless of which one you prefer, go through your lawn and treat bare patches. Ignoring them may result in other patches appearing, which takes a toll on your home’s curb appeal.

#5) Tune Up Your Lawn Mower

When was the last time that you tuned up your lawn mower? If it’s been a while, you should perform some basic maintenance to ensure your mower is ready for the spring season. Depending on where you live, you’ll probably need to mow your lawn about once a week. If your mower isn’t properly maintained, you may struggle to keep it running.

To tune up your mower, replace the air filter, spark plug and oil. Additionally, you should check the blade to ensure it’s sharp. If the blade is cracked or otherwise dull, replace it with a new blade. You can buy mower blades at most improvement stores for about $10 to $20. A sharp new blade will make a world of difference in the appearance of your lawn.

#6) Prune Trees, Plants and Shrubs

Finally, use this opportunity to prune overgrown trees, plants and shrubs. When pruning, use a pair of sharp gardening shears to cut “rouge” branches and shoots. You don’t have to trim a lot. Rather, trim just enough so that you can reshape it according to your liking.

Not only does pruning improve the appearance of trees, plants and shrubs, but it also promotes healthy growth. By removing overgrown branches and shoots, you’ll reduce the nutritional needs of the respective tree, plant or shrub. Therefore, it will grow more easily through spring and into summer.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

Posted on

Choosing the Right Outdoor Rug for Your Patio

When designing your patio or outdoor living space, you should include a rug for aesthetic and functional purposes. Among other things, it helps to define the space while adding new color and style to the decor. Regardless of your patio’s size, chances are it will benefit from the use of a rug.

However, you must choose the right type of rug for your patio. Not all rugs are able to withstand the outdoor environment. When left outdoors for long periods of time, it’s not uncommon for rugs to develop mold and mildew — something that you don’t want to discover on your rug. So, consider the following tips when choosing an outdoor rug for your patio.

Waterproof Material

Any rug you intend to use on your patio needs to be made of a waterproof material. Traditional wool rugs are a poor choice due to their ability to attract and hold moisture. Instead, consider a synthetic material. There are four synthetic materials specifically that are great for use in outdoor rugs, including the following:

  1. Vinyl: Also known as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), vinyl rugs are strong, durable and waterproof. Because of these characteristics, they are also easier to maintain than many other rugs, making them an excellent choice for patios and other outdoor living spaces.
  2. Polyester: A second material to consider for your outdoor rug is polyester. This synthetic material is inexpensive and readily available. The downside, however, is that it’s not as durable as vinyl or nylon. Assuming your patio receives minimal foot traffic, this may not be a problem. If you use your patio daily, however, you should consider an alternative material for your rug.
  3. Nylon: Nylon rugs are an excellent option for outdoor environments. Nylon is a touch, durable and lightweight synthetic material that’s used to make a variety of products, including rugs. Nylon rugs are highly effective at resisting moisture and stains. Furthermore, they are less susceptible to fading when exposed to sunlight, which is one more reason why homeowners prefer using them outdoors.
  4. Polypropylene: Finally, polypropylene is a synthetic material that’s frequently used in the construction of outdoor rugs. It’s made of a plastic polymer that’s strong, durable and waterproof. With that said, polypropylene rugs can feel somewhat rough and rugged. Nonetheless, they are still a popular choice for patios and outdoor living spaces.

Size and Shape

In addition to choosing an outdoor rug made of a waterproof material, you should also consider its size and shape. Outdoor rugs are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes. You can find large 10-foot-by-10-foot rugs, as well as smaller “runner” rugs. So, which size and shape should you choose?

It really depends on how your patio is designed. Ideally, the rug should feature a similar size and shape that corresponds with your patio. If your patio has a large open area, perhaps a traditional square-shaped area rug will suffice. On the other hand, if your patio features a smaller rectangular-shaped are, you should consider using a runner rug. Just remember to choose an area rug in a size and shape that’s relative to the surrounding environment in which it’s used.

Color

Don’t underestimate the importance of choosing an area rug in the right color. Color can make or break your patio decor. An attractive patio design should feature a cohesive color scheme in which all of the decorative accessories and furnishings flow together in a natural, fluid manner. Outdoor rugs are available in just about every color under the rainbow. Some feature a single color, whereas others feature two or more colors. Ultimately, the color of your rug should flow — not necessarily match — with the rest of your patio decor.

Tips on Maintaining Your Outdoor Rug

Of course, you’ll also need to care for your outdoor rug to preserve its appearance and integrity. While outdoor rugs require less maintenance than most indoor rugs, you’ll still need to clean them on a regular basis; otherwise, they’ll accumulate dirt and debris.

Thankfully, cleaning an outdoor rug is relatively easy and straightforward. Assuming it’s made of a waterproof material like nylon or polyester, you can clean it using water, liquid laundry detergent and a scrub brush. First, create a soapy mixture of detergent and warm water. Next, pour a small amount of the rug, after which you can scrub it clean. Place the freshly cleaned rug in an area where it will dry fast, and you’re done!

For stubborn stains, you may want to use a fabric cleaner on your outdoor rug. However, it’s a good idea to test any new cleaning product on a discreet area. This way, if it causes additional staining or discoloration, you can stop using it.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

Posted on

Help! My Patio Deck is Turning Green!

Have you noticed your wooden patio deck turning green. Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common problem experienced by homeowners. It typically doesn’t happen overnight, but months or years of exposure to moisture can turn an otherwise clean patio deck to a yucky green-tinted mess.

Not only is a green patio an eye sore, but it can also cause structural damage if left unchecked. So, what causes this phenomenon and how to protect your patio from it?

What is the ‘Green Stuff?’

The green stuff that forms of patios is typically either mold, mildew or algae. Although you can’t see it — not without a microscope, at least — wood contains thousands upon thousands of small holes in its surface. These holes, also known as “pores,” are constantly absorbing and releasing moisture, depending on the surrounding environment. When the environment is humid and moist, they absorb moisture. When it’s dry, they release moisture.

A wooden patio may turn green when excess moisture is held inside the pores for a long period of time. Mild, mildew and algae thrive in moist conditions such as this. If the wooden patio doesn’t dry out, it may develop a slimy film while simultaneously turning green.

Increase Sun Exposure

There are steps you can take to protect your wooden patio from turning green, however, beginning with increasing the amount of sunlight it receives. Sunlight discourages mold, mildew and algae from growing in several ways. First and foremost, it dries up excess moisture. Secondly, the ultraviolet (UV) rays can destroy many forms of fungi on contact.

You can’t necessarily control the direction of the sun, but you can remove overhanging branches or brush that’s obstructing sunlight from reaching your patio. Even if only half of your patio is shaded, that half may turn green while the other doesn’t. The bottom line is that your patio needs direct sunlight to keep mold, mildew and algae at bay.

Ensure Proper Runoff

Does water collect and pool up in certain areas of your patio instead of draining off? If so, this could contribute to it turning green. Along with darkness, mold, mildew and algae thrive in moist environments. When water collects on a patio, it creates the ideal environment in which these microorganisms can thrive.

Normally, runoff isn’t a problem with traditional wood plank patios. Excess water will flow through the cracks and crevices between the wood planks. There are times, however, when this doesn’t happen. Maybe the wood planks are sealed, or perhaps they were constructed unevenly. Regardless, you need to ensure your patio has proper runoff; otherwise, it may develop mold, mildew and algae.

Remove Leaves and Debris

You should also get into the habit of removing any leaves, pine straw and other debris from your patio deck. When yard debris such as this accumulates, it increases the risk of mold, mildew and algae. Again, these microorganisms thrive in moist, dark environments. If there’s leaves covering your patio, the wood planks underneath will remain dark and moist.

Whether you use a push broom or leaf blower, clean your patio at least once a week to discourage it from turning green.

Restoring Your Patio’s Color

If your wooden patio deck has already turned green, you can typically restore its color by cleaning off the mold, mildew or algae. Start by pressure washing your patio, beginning with the lowest PSI setting and gradually increasing it until you find a PSI that works. You don’t want to use the highest PSI setting, as this may damage the wooden planks. Once you find a pressure setting that’s strong enough to remove the green slime without damaging the wooden planks, you should be able to clean your patio.

The Spruce also recommends cleaning green patios with a homemade solution of vinegar and Borax. After hosing down your patio — either with a pressure washer or garden hose — combine 1/2 cup part distilled white vinegar and 1/2 cup Borax in warm water and place the mixture into a spray bottle. While wearing protective rubber gloves, spray the solution onto your wooden patio, allowing it to sit for five or so minutes. Once soaked into your deck, scrub your deck by hand until it comes clean.

What About Concrete Slab Patios?

While wooden decks are most susceptible to this phenomenon, concrete slabs can also turn green. Like wood, concrete is also highly porous; thus, offering the perfect breeding grounds for mold, mildew and algae. Protecting a concrete slab patio from turning green requires a similar approach as wooden patios, however. This includes keeping it dry, well-lit with sunlight and ensuring proper runoff. And if your concrete slab patio has turned green, you can clean it by pressure washing it or using the vinegar and Borax solution as described above.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

Posted on

What Is an Arizona Room?

Arizona rooms have become a popular renovation project for countless homeowners. While originating in the Copper State from which it receives its namesake, they’ve since made their way throughout the country. So, what is an Arizona room exactly, and how do you create one?

Overview of Arizona Rooms

An Arizona room is a covered and screened-in outdoor extension of a home that’s typically used for recreational and leisure purposes. They are typically found in the back yard, attached to either the kitchen or living room. Arizona rooms generally follow the same decorative style as the rest of the home to create a cohesive appearance in which all of the colors and accessories flow together naturally.

It’s no secret that Arizona is one of the hottest states in which to live. Statistics show that during the summer, temperatures in the Copper State can reach up to 106 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, many homeowners prefer to relax in Arizona rooms to cool off. The Phoenix-based newspaper The Arizona Republic explains that residents here slept in Arizona rooms during the summer before air conditioning was invented to cool off. The open nature of Arizona rooms combined with the flow of air offers the perfect environment for cooling off.

Arizona Room vs Screen Room: What’s the Difference?

Some homeowners assume that Arizona rooms are the same screen rooms, but this isn’t necessarily true. While both typically feature a screened-in enclosure, there are some stark differences distinguishing them from each other.

Screened rooms usually begin as open patios and back decks that are later converted into screened-in enclosures. They are constructed with different materials than the rest of the home, and they feature a different design. In comparison, Arizona rooms are constructed as extension of the home, with an emphasis on maintaining a cohesive style and decor. Screen rooms are also smaller than their Arizona room counterparts, restricting their usability.

Perhaps the biggest difference between a screen room and Arizona room, however, lies in its purpose. As previously stated, Arizona rooms are designed for recreation and leisure. They often feature comfortable seating, stereo speakers, televisions, games and more.

Benefits of Creating an Arizona Room

Arizona rooms offer several benefits to homeowners and their family members, one of which is the ability to cool off without relying on the home’s central air conditioning unit. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), heating and cooling accounts for 47% energy usage in the average home. In Arizona, homeowners can expect to pay a premium to keep cool during the blistering-hot summer months. With an Arizona room, however, homeowners and their family members can cool off outdoors. With its covered top and screened-in design, it’s the perfect place to cool off.

Of course, an Arizona room is also an excellent place for outdoor living. According to a survey conducted by the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA), 71% of consumers with outdoor living spaces want to enhance these spaces. With an Arizona room, you can easily improve your outdoor living space by adding attractive furniture and furnishings. Since it’s enclosed, you don’t have to worry about weather damaging it.

Additionally, Arizona rooms are typically protected against insects. Whether it’s mosquitoes, gnats, bees or flies, insects can force homeowners and family members to seek shelter inside their home. This isn’t a problem with most Arizona rooms, however. Because they feature a fully enclosed environment with mesh screens, there’s a barrier of protection between family members and bugs. Therefore, family members can enjoy this versatile outdoor living space without being bombarded by pesky insects.

An Arizona room is also the perfect place to grow container plants. Although it’s typically covered, some sunlight will inevitably shine through. For homeowners looking to grow container plants, an Arizona room is an ideal growing location.

Tips on Designing an Arizona Room

If you’re planning to add an Arizona room to your home, you should use an attractive, functional design. Normally, Arizona rooms follow the same or similar design as the rest of the home. This is one of the ways in which Arizona rooms differ from screen rooms. With that said, it’s perfectly fine to use a different design.

Here are some tips to follow when designing an Arizona room:

  • Install overhead fans to increase airflow and comfort.
  • Choose relaxing furniture like chaise lounges and Adirondack chairs.
  • Use indoor-outdoor rugs to enhance the space’s decor.
  • Don’t clutter furniture near the walls.

In Conclusion

To recap, an Arizona room is an enclosed, covered extension of a home that’s used for recreational and leisure purposes. They originated more than a century ago in the state of Arizona, where homeowners and family members used them to cool off. Since then, Arizona rooms have become a popular home renovation, not just in Arizona but throughout the entire country.

Photo credit: John Coley

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

Posted on

How to Extend the Life of Your Patio Furniture

When properly maintained and cared for, patio furniture can last a lifetime. Unfortunately, many homeowners neglect their outdoor furniture, believing it will withstand the hands of time without any additional work. Granted, some furniture is stronger and more resilient than others. If you want your patio furniture to last, though, you should take some basic precautions by following the tips listed below.

Choose High-Quality, Durable Furniture

Choosing the right type of patio furniture is essential to making it last a lifetime. As explained in a previous blog post, wicker furniture is inexpensive and easy to care for. However, it’s also susceptible to damage. Typically made of either natural reed or synthetic PVC nylon, it’s easily damaged from falling tree limbs, weather and even regular use.

Instead of wicker, you should consider stronger and more durable furniture for your patio. Teak is arguably one of the best materials for patio furniture. This tropical hardwood is characterized by a pleasant leather-like smell and a rich mahogany finish. The greatest feature of teak, though, lies in its composition of natural oils. You see, these oils work to repel mold, mildew and bacteria; thus, protecting teak — and furniture made of teak — from rotting. You can expect to pay a premium price for genuine teak furniture, but most homeowners will agree it’s a smart investment.

Bring in Metal Furniture

Don’t leave metal furniture on your patio for long periods of time, especially during the winter. While teak furniture may hold up under the cold winter temperatures, metal furniture will not. This is because metal furniture contains iron, and when exposed to moisture, iron turns to rust. Some metal furniture is less susceptible to rusting than others, but the fact remains that all types can and will rust when left outdoors for long enough. The only way to completely safeguard your metal patio furniture from rusting is to bring it indoors when you aren’t using it.

Place Furniture in Shaded Area

If possible, try placing your patio furniture in a shaded area. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays will take a toll on uncovered furniture, causing it to fade. A chair that was once a pristine forest green color may not possess a lime green color. By placing your furniture in a shaded area, however, you’ll protect it from this phenomenon. Furniture, placing your furniture in the shade will protect it from bird droppings, falling limbs and debris, hail and more.

Alternatively, if there’s little-to-no shade on your patio, consider adding a UV-protective finish to your furniture. Many commercial varnishes are designed to protect against UV and moisture. Once applied, it creates a barrier of protection between your furniture and the outside elements.

Store Cushions

Assuming your patio furniture has cushions, consider storing the cushions in a storage container or box. Seat cushions don’t handle the heat and moisture of being outdoors. If not properly cared for, they’ll develop mold and mildew, which is nearly impossible to fully remove. Bringing your seat cushions indoors is one way to protect them from this type of damage, though you can also use a separate storage container. There are actually some containers designed specifically for storing patio seat cushions. They are large, heavy duty and waterproof, making them ideal for this purpose.

Wash and Clean Patio Furniture

There’s no other way around it: to make your patio furniture last, you must wash and clean it regularly. As long as it doesn’t have cushions, you can typically clean patio furniture by hosing it down with a garden hose. Some consumers go the extra mile by using a pressure washer, but this usually isn’t necessary. In fact, the high PSI of a pressure washer can damage certain types of furniture. Because of this, it’s recommended that you clean your patio furniture with a basis, low-pressure garden hose.

If a garden hose doesn’t suffice, use mild dish soap and a bucket of water to scrub your furniture by hand. With a little bit of elbow grease, it should come clean

Keep Patio Clean

In addition to cleaning your patio furniture, you should also clean your patio. Allowing your patio to accumulate leaves, pine straw and other debris can shorten the life of your furniture — not to mention the fact that it’s difficult to use a dirty patio. When debris such as this begins to accumulate, it encourages mold, mildew and insects, all of which can damage your furniture. So, if you want your furniture to last, try to get into the habit of cleaning your patio on a regular basis.

Patio Furniture Covers

Of course, you can also prolong the life of your patio furniture by covering it. Most home improvement stores sell vinyl covers for patio furniture. You can toss them over your furniture, protecting it from rain, insects, hail and more.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

Posted on

9 DIY Projects to Improve Your Home’s Exterior

If you want the best looking house in the neighborhood, you need to spend some time cleaning and improving the exterior. While there are plenty of professional service providers out there, there are also projects you can do yourself. Here are the top nine do-it-yourself projects to improve your home’s exterior.

#1) Create an Outdoor Living Space

Assuming you don’t already have one, create an outdoor living space on your property. According to the Spring Houzz Landscaping Survey, 56% of homeowners plan on improving their yards for entertainment. You can instantly improve the aesthetics and functionality of your home’s exterior by designing an outdoor living space. For instance, this may include a basic lounging area with chairs, benches and a fire pit.

#2) Clean Gutters

When was the last time that you cleaned your gutters? Experts recommend cleaning them between two and four times a year, depending on the surrounding trees. If you have lots of overhanging trees, you should clean them four times a year; otherwise, twice annually should suffice. Failure to clean your gutters will result in the accumulation of leaves and debris on your roof. While this may seem harmless enough, all of that debris can hold moisture can contribute to rot/decay.

#3) Clean Windows

Cleaning your home’s windows can instantly improve its curb appeal. Over time, windows will attract dirt, mildew and grime. Thankfully, this won’t harm the windows’ structural integrity, but it will leave your home looking dirty. Using a half-and-half combination of hot water and distilled vinegar, thoroughly coat your windows and wipe them down. For tall, hard-to-reach windows, use an squeegee with an extension handle. Don’t just clean the outside of the windows; be sure to clean the inside as well.

#4) Install a Ceiling Fan

If you really want to create a comfortable outdoor living space — and enhance your home’s exterior in the process — install a ceiling fan on the patio. Aside from any electrical wiring costs, you can buy a basic ceiling fan for about $50 bucks. Once installed, it will make your patio cooler and more comfortable. And since it’s placed near the front door, a ceiling fan will boost the aesthetics of your home’s exterior, possibly even raising its value.

#5) Finish the Deck

Finishing a wood deck offers several benefits. First, it reinvigorates old, sun-faded decks with new color. Secondly, it protects the deck from mold and decay. There are several different finishes from which to choose, however. If you prefer the current look of your deck but still want protection from mold and decay, you can use a clear finish. On the other hand, if you want to darken your deck with a new color, you can use a stain finish. When staining a deck, the most important thing is to keep it dry and dust-free. If it’s wet, the finish won’t stick. If it’s dusty, imperfections will show.

#6) Pressure-Wash

Pressure-washing the siding of your home can make a world of difference in its appearance. Whether the siding is vinyl, brick, stone, synthetic stone, fiber cement, etc., it’s a simple and effective way to improve your home’s exterior. Also known as “power-washing,” it involves the use of a pressurized water to remove stubborn dirt and debris.

#7) Paint Exterior Trim

Painting your home’s exterior may sound a bit too tedious and time consuming. However, you can still improve your home’s exterior by painting just the trim. It’s not uncommon for homes to feature white trim with an alternate color for the siding. Going over the trim with a fresh coat of paint is a simple and inexpensive way to make your home look cleaner and more attractive.

#8) Replaced Damaged Shingles

If you have damaged or missing shingles on your home’s roof, consider replacing them. Granted, a single missing shingle shouldn’t cause any serious problems. If your roof is missing several, however, water may seep through the roof and into your home. Of course, this can lead to a world of other problems, including mold and structural damage. This is why it’s recommended that you inspect your roof for damaged shingles on a regular basis. And if you discover any, replace them as soon as possible.

#9) Patio Furniture

Finally, updating your patio with new furniture can enhance your home’s exterior. You can check out some of our previous blog posts for outdoor furniture ideas, though some of the most popular choices include teak lounge chairs, Adirondack chairs, benches and wicker furniture. Just remember to stick with a cohesive theme when choosing patio furniture.

Following these tips will help you create a more attractive home. Best of all, you can do these projects yourself. So, the next time you’re sitting around the house with nothing to do, head outside to perform one of these projects.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

Posted on

Guide to Outdoor Teak Furniture

Outdoor furniture is available in a wide range of materials, including bamboo, wicker, cast iron, plastic, concrete, wood and more. However, one of the most versatile materials in which outdoor furniture is made is teak. Found throughout Southeast Asia, teak (Tectona grandis) offers some qualities and characteristics that simply aren’t found in other materials. To learn more about teak and why it’s the perfect material for outdoor furniture, keep reading.

About the Teak Tree

Teak is a deciduous tree that grows up to 131 feet tall. It has gray and brown branches with green leaves and white flowers. The flowers of the teak tree are believed to be pollinated by insects. A study conducted in 1996 found that Ceratina bees were the main pollinator of teak flowers in Thailand.

The wood harvested from the teak tree is brown and red, usually with various spots of darkness and lightness. It’s a hard, porous wood with a density of approximately 720 kg/m3.

Different Types of Teak Furniture

Teak is used to make a variety of outdoor furniture, some of which includes:

  • Tables
  • Dining chairs
  • Benches
  • Chaise lounges
  • Adirondack chairs
  • Stools
  • Umbrella frames
  • and more…

Teak is also commonly used to make boats. Its buoyant characteristics combined with a natural resistance to mold and rot make it a viable material for constructing boats.

Why Choose Outdoor Teak Furniture

So, why should you choose outdoor teak furniture over other types? First and foremost, it offers a premium, high-end style that’s guaranteed to enhance your patio or outdoor living space. As shown above, teak is a clean, structurally intact material that looks amazing. Regardless of your personal style, there’s no denying the innate beauty of genuine teak. It’s the perfect way to upgrade your patio and create a more vibrant, aesthetically pleasing environment. However, the stylish appearance of teak is just one of many reasons why it’s such an excellent choice of material for outdoor furniture.

Teak furniture is also long lasting. It’s not uncommon for teak benches, chairs and other furniture to last for 70 years when properly maintained. In comparison, a similar type of furniture made of wicker may only last five to 10 years. If you want furniture that’s going to withstand the hands of time for countless years to come, you can’t go wrong with teak. Granted, plastic and various synthetic materials will also last a long time, but they don’t offer the same stylish appearance as teak.

Perhaps the most notable benefit of teak furniture is its natural resistance of mold, mildew and decay. Usually, only synthetic materials are protected against fungi and subsequent rot. Teak, however, is unique because it’s a form of hardwood. Teak wood contains natural oils that allow it to survive in tropical, humid climates. In addition to helping it survive harsh climates, these natural oils protect it from mold, mildew, decay and even certain types of pests. As a result, you can leave teak furniture outside year-round without fear of it becoming damaged.

Sun Fading

If you plan on buying teak furniture for your patio or outdoor living area, you’ll need to decide whether or not to treat it with a finish. While teak doesn’t rot or otherwise sustain damage when left outdoors for long periods of time, it will fade when exposed to sunlight. Over time, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays will turn its rich brown color to a soft grayish silver. Again, this fading doesn’t affect its strength or structural integrity; it only affects its appearance.

Some people prefer the vintage look of naturally aged teak. Others, however, prefer the original color of teak. If you want to keep your teak furniture looking new and protect it from sun fading, you have one of two options from which to choose: you can either store your teak furniture under a covered/shaded area, or your can apply a finish to it. Visit your local home improvement store to find a finish or varnish for your teak furniture.

Caring for and Maintaining Teak Furniture

Teak furniture requires little maintenance, which of course is one of the reasons why it’s so popular. With that said, you should still perform some basic cleaning to preserve its pristine appearance. You can usually clean teak furniture by wiping it down with a damp washcloth and a small amount of dish soap. Avoid power washing

There’s also teak oil that’s designed specifically for teak furniture. Teak oil, however, is not the actual oils contained in teak wood. Instead, it usually consists of linseed oil. When applied to teak, it adds a barrier of protection over the wood, further protecting it from damage as well as sun fading. You can buy teak oil at most furniture stores and home improvement stores.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

Posted on

How to Winterize Your Patio

Is your patio prepared for the upcoming winter season? With winter comes cooler temperatures, drier air and the possibility of snowfall, all of which can affect your patio. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to stop using your patio for the season. Rather, you should take the necessary steps to “winterize” it beforehand. Doing so will allow you and your family to enjoy this outdoor extension of your home throughout the year.

Clean It

The first step in winterizing a patio is to clean it. Using a broom or leaf blower, remove any lingering leaves, pine straw or branches that have fallen on your patio. Neglecting this otherwise simple step can result in a stained patio deck. Moisture will accumulate in this debris, causing colored compounds to leave onto and into your deck.

Cover Grill and Fire Pit

If you have a grill or fire pit on your patio (or both), you should cover it with a protective tarp. Depending on where you live, you may not receive much rain during this time of year. However, you may still receive some snowfall — and that snow can cause metallic objects like a grill or fire pit to rust. Covering them with a vinyl tarp prevents the intrusion of water while protecting against rust and corrosion.

Alternatively, you may want to bring your grill or fire pit indoors for the winter. Bringing a large grill indoors isn’t always feasible, though. But if you own a small, portable fire pit, you can certainly bring it indoors. Just remember to wait a full 48 hours after lighting it to ensure it’s fully cooled before bringing it inside.

Stain with Water Repellent

You can further protect your patio from damage by staining it with a water repellent product. Most home improvement stores, including Lowe’s and Home Depot, sell a variety of water-repellent stains. You typically apply them just like paint, and once they are finished drying, it creates a waterproof barrier over your patio. Staining a full-sized patio is somewhat tedious and time-consuming, so be prepared to invest a full 1-2 days to this project.

Protect Patio Furniture

When winterizing your patio, you’ll need to take measures to protect your furniture from damage. Generally speaking, the material from which the furniture is made will determine the best method of winterizing it. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most common patio furniture materials and how to winterize them.

  • Plastic: the most “robust” material, plastic furniture requires little maintenance, nor does it need any protection from the winter elements.
  • Wicker: susceptible to damage when left outdoors for long periods of time; bring wicker furniture indoors for the winter.
  • Teak: whether it’s treated or not, furniture made of genuine teak wood is naturally protected against the winter elements thanks to its concentration of water and rot-repellent oils.
  • Aluminum: furniture made of aluminum should either be brought indoors or coated with a layer of automotive wax.
  • Fabrics: unfortunately, fabric furniture is highly susceptible to damage when left outdoors, so bring it indoors for the winter.

Take Down Umbrellas

Patio umbrellas offer an excellent source of shade. Whether they are secured to a table or to the patio deck, it’s a great way to enhance your patio. For the winter, however, you should take down any umbrellas overhanging your patio. If it happens to snow, excess snow may accumulate on the umbrella, causing it to buckle and sustain damage.

Bring Potted Plants Indoors

If you have potted plants on your patio, go ahead and bring them indoors. While different plants are more tolerant to cold weather than others, it’s usually best to err on the side of caution by bringing them all indoors. Placing them in a sunny location next to a large window will ensure they stay warm throughout the winter season.

Winterize Outdoor Plants

Of course, you may not be able to bring all of your plants indoors. Assuming you have plants growing in the ground near your patio, you should follow some basic precautions to help them survive winter. Adding a layer of mulch around the base of your flowers, plants and trees, for instance, is a simple and effective safeguard for the winter weather. Mulch acts as natural insulation, reducing the loss of heat while subsequently protecting against frost shock.

For evergreen plants, consider making a burlap shield. Evergreens are particularly susceptible to cold weather damage, as sub-freezing temperatures prevent the roots from absorbing water. And if they aren’t getting water, they will likely turn brown and die. To prevent this from happening, set up four stakes around your evergreens, securing a burlap screen to the stakes. In addition to keeping your evergreens warm, this also serves as a windbreak, protecting your plants from strong winds.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/