Cooking Outdoors, But Not With Your Grill

Written by  | Friday, 02 May 2014 20:26

Before you do anything else, spend some time thinking what you really want from your outdoor cooking experience. Don’t let outside influences affect your choice, as this is a decision that will require a lot of planning, time, and consideration. There are plenty of ways that you can use to cook outdoors, such as barbeque grills and inductions. However, having your own small, extended outdoor kitchen is a totally different experience and people who own it, know it well.

Once you've chosen the site for your outdoor kitchen, it's time to plan for the fun part. You need to prepare a layout to create the kind of outdoor kitchen that you've always wanted. Before you start to shop for the most expensive handmade tiles, a new grill, and other kitchen essentials, you need to sit and draft a plan for your kitchen. After all, this will be more than just a showplace; it will definitely be a hard-working kitchen.

When designing an outdoor kitchen layout, there are a lot of important considerations. If you aren’t comfortable doing this yourself, consult with a landscaping and outdoor design expert, like Outdoor-FX in  Columbus ,  Ohio.

Kitchen triangle should be the first consideration to keep in mind when planning your outdoor kitchen layout. It might sound pretty simple, but it may not be, especially if you have never thought about it before. In an efficient outdoor kitchen layout, the cooking range, sink, and refrigerator should form three points of a triangle. Also, no leg of the triangle should measure more than 10 ft in length. It can be a difficult task to accomplish in a large kitchen, but when we talk about outdoor kitchen, we don’t really have to bother about the space issues.

Keep the triangle in mind as you finalize the layout. If you're going with a fully-equipped outdoor kitchen, you might need to adjust the placement of the island to ensure unimpeded access to the food storage, cooking, and cleanup zones. Keep all these essential factors in mind and you should be able to have a well-organized outdoor kitchen where you can cook and party with your friends every weekend without even going inside the home. 

Outdoor Kitchens-Design Factors to Consider

Written by  | Friday, 18 April 2014 22:36

When you plan to remodel your backyard, one of the first ideas to crop up is making the space functionally useful for entertaining your guests outdoors. Installing an outdoor kitchen gives you the advantage of using this space conveniently and frequently. This is just not about functionality and innovative ideas; it adds a significant value to your home as well. Let’s see what we actually have to take into account before installing an outdoor kitchen. 

Outdoor Kitchens-Design Factors to Consider

CLIMATE-Your outdoor kitchen has to face the elements all the time. So, covering your kitchen space overhead is a good idea but this increases your cost factor. A better idea is to plan a site near to the house. The walls provide a natural shelter and you can go fora roof overhang or other overhead structure which can provide effective protection from the elements. For a more budget friendly option, you can go for an outdoor umbrella.

PROXIMITY TO HOUSE-The factor helps you bank upon running lines from the house to your kitchen outdoors. The easy access to utilities and plumbing, electrical or gas lines helps in deciding the location of things like grills, appliances and a rinsing sink. It also makes a considerable difference to your design and budget.

CHOOSING MATERIAL- Deciding the location of your site becomes way easier if you already have an area with brick/concrete footing. If not, choose those materials for paving and counter tops which are weather resistant such as stacked stone, tile, granite or stucco. These resist stain and allow easy cleaning. Ensure enough counter space for food prep and the landing zones for food and utensils. The inclusions like bar and dining space should also be pondered upon taking in account the number of guests you expect to entertain. 

LIST OF MUST HAVES- This is going to be a temporary kitchen but being handy makes for ease of use. So, make a list of must-have items including a grill, sink, cooktop, oven and refrigerator. Do make storage arrangements with attractive weather-proof cabinets for organizational necessities such as baskets to hold napkins, glasses, and cleaning supplies. 

BUDGET-Last but not the least the ultimate deciding factor for any project. Select affordable appliances that are energy and space efficient. Lighting and ventilation should also be considered.

So, with these factors in place, make the most of your back yard space and entertain your guests in innovative outdoors.

Advantages of Composite Decking

Written by  | Friday, 11 April 2014 22:27

When you think about installing and enjoying a deck, you should think about the work of maintaining the beauty of it for years to come. You can choose to go with a traditional wood deck, but you might not like what kind of up-keep comes along with it. If that is the case, you could go a different route and enjoy the advantages of composite decking all while enjoying the look of a wood deck. 

The advantages of composite decking over traditional wood are very large. Composite decking is made from a mix of wood flour, plastic and stabilizing additives. This mixture leaves the owner of the deck with a low maintenance master piece that will last decades longer than what a wood deck would. Composite decking does not fade due to sun damage, it does not have to be painted, sealed or stained. It can be washed throughout the years very easily with soap and water and is slip and splinter free.

More advantages of composite decking is it will not absorb or give off moisture, and that perk alone will help your deck from becoming subjected to insect infestation. Also since you don't have to worry about the absorption of moisture you will not have to worry about the material cracking, warping or separating like you would if you had a wood deck.

You may have concerns about installation of a composite deck, but there is no need. One of the biggest advantages of composite decking is the installation process is the exact same as if you were installing a wood deck. Screws, nails, saws, drills and hammers are the common tools you use for wood deck assembly, and installing composite material is no different. The one down-side to using composite decking is it will probably be a little more expensive, but most likely throughout the years of maintenance and up-keep on a wood deck, the extra money you will spend will be well worth it in the long-run and will pay off in the end, not only in cash but also in manual labor. And if you choose to go with composite material, shopping for it is as easy as shopping for wood material. In most cases, you will be able to find what you need at your local home improvement store.

Floor Covering Ideas for Concrete Patio Floor Design

Written by  | Friday, 04 April 2014 22:20

Concrete designs are among the hottest trends in the market for patios, entryways, countertops, concrete floors, pool decks among other places. When you are selecting the best flooring for your area, you need to take some factors into considerations. In this article, I will describe flooring designs, finishes and options to assist you in making the right flooring decision. 

Concrete on concrete

It is also known as overlay or concrete resurfacing and provides the best solution for repair, cover or level old concrete floors and slabs. It is good for both exterior and interior surfaces and can be used at a depth of 1mm to 50mm. This concrete floor is stronger than the normal concrete floor, its super adhesive and can be colored to fit any area like paths, floors, driveways, patios and anywhere that long lasting concrete is required.

Polished concrete flooring

This is a recent kind of flooring which is super strong, easy to clean and looks very nice. Polished concrete is cheaper than tiling and thus cost effective. It is suitable businesses and home interiors where a modern look is needed. There are 2 types of polished concrete;

  • True polished concrete – this is when a surface has many grinds which are applied polish. It is achievable when concrete is put in for this work because old slabs may look patchy and have no aggregate.
  • The other type of polished concrete is where color and special trowel mechanism are applied to cement topping thus turning an area into polished concrete. 

Kitchen and cool room floors

Kitchen and cool room floors are always under constant traffic and therefore, will need a quality flooring system so as to be safe as well as long lasting. Depending on your current floor surface, there are different cost effective flooring alternatives which you can choose from. 

Resurfacing Your Concrete Patios

Written by  | Friday, 28 March 2014 22:14

If covered with an attractive surface material a patio can become one of the most useful exterior areas in your home. In most cases patios are usually covered with concrete which in most instances appear dull, dreary, ugly cracks and sometimes stained with grease and oil over time. If this is the case, then it is time you considered resurfacing your concrete patio. If it has cracks, you may have to employ professionals to rip it off and then relay it. However, if it is the general dullness or wearing out, then a resurface will do. 

Resurfacing concrete is just a simple way of improving the appearance of your patio when the exact structure of the concrete is indeed sound. Although you can hire someone to handle your resurfacing project, you may also consider doing it yourself.

Start by cleaning the entire patio or the area you wish to resurface. You can use a firm bristled brush to remove any dirt and loose concrete while ensuring to remove any visible mold. After cleaning the resurfacing area, dig a trench surrounding the concrete measuring around 4"x4". The trench is dug to allow you to place some basic formwork around the resurfacing area. This will make it easier for you to insert a thick layer of the new concrete. You may want to seek help with the preparation of formwork to ensure that it is level. Alternatively, find some useful information on how to prepare formwork.

At times, the new layer might have difficulties bonding with the old one. It is for this reason that a bonding adhesive for concrete should be applied. After preparing the concrete mix according to the instructions of the manufacturer, apply it to the resurfacing area using a shovel. Using a board that rests on top of the two opposite pieces of formwork, smooth the top of the poured concrete. Try to spot low areas and fill with more concrete and then embark on smoothing. After the concrete mix has filled the formwork, use a float to smooth the surface. Work fast to complete the floating task as fast as possible. After you are done floating you just have to cut the control joints using your trowel and your resurfacing task is complete. Finally clean all your tools to prevent the concrete from hardening on them.

5 Tips for Outdoor Dining in Summer

Written by  | Friday, 14 March 2014 22:04

In summer we all like to have ice creams, juices, etc. We like to have outdoor gatherings with our friends and have some awesome food, but the danger of food poisoning and other infections is high. To help you with this problem we have laid some tips which you should follow while having outdoor dinner in summer and I bet you'll have a better dinner.

# 1 – Your hands should be clean.

When you are going don’t forget to take on some moist towels or paper soap and water. It’s a very simple thing but many people just don’t remember it.

# 2 – Don’t forget the Awning or Gazebo

Many times in summer it rains, which can literally spoil your picnic or gathering. Before heading out for your outdoor dining make sure you have equipped your awning or gazebo. It will not only help you from rain but you are also protected from the excessive sun rays, which sometimes becomes unbearable. The gazebo will make your ambience quite sunny and I bet you'll enjoy your food.

# 3 – The lighting

If you want to make this your best outdoor dinner of your life than have lots of lightings around your table as soon as the sun goes down. The lighting will give a new vibe to your ambience and you'll have a much better experience than without lighting.

# 4 – Food must be simple

Many people think that if we go with best meal we will have the best picnic, which is absolutely wrong. If you want to have the best experience than go with the simplest food possible like cold drinks, fruits, salads, ice creams, etc. Simple food is more emphasized because light and simple food is more preferred in summer times. 

Conclusion

Hence these were some of the tips which you can apply and have a better outdoor dinner in summer. 

Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese philosophy which combines art and science to balance the energies of a space in order to bring in good health and fortune for the people who reside there. We all wish success, health and harmony for our loved ones and adopting Feng Shui for patio is an extension of our innumerable efforts to strengthen this belief.

For an unrestricted flow of chi or positive energy, our space has to be clutter free. Creating a lay out plan with regard to differentiating various areas according to their utility is your next move. Free flowing unobstructed pathways between these areas provide for an unobstructed flow of energy. 

The right side emphasizes love, so red, pink and white are the colors for enhancing the emotion in your life. Pairing is important for love so it is for the furniture in this area, two chairs, two plants, and no lonely singles! Warmth can be created with candles and a BBQ grill. The elements to use in this area are water and wood.

The left corner is for enhancing your financial harmony. What could be better than metals to symbolize wealth? Rich and vibrant color like red, violet and gold are the colors to enrich this zone. Do not place a trash can or grill in this area. Healthy tall and green plants symbolize an overflowing income, so go for it. 

The center of your patio is the center for distributing energy. It creates you reputation. The colors to go for are green, red and orange. Use wooden furniture here. 

Next in line is your furniture. Bring in comfortable seats in mellow earthy tones, straight lines define sharpness, go for curves and rounded lines. Everything should be functional, don’t place anything that has minimal or no use at all. Remember, Feng Shui is for being in harmony with nature; you are bringing in the outdoors so make the area livelier with overflowing green tendrils, Twirling vines, water fountain and wind chimes. Light up the patio with Chinese lanterns, tiny fairy lights or consider stringing your perimeter. Surround your patio with furniture and objects that make you feel happy and comfortable. 

Now your patio is all set for a relaxing outdoor experience. When you adopted Feng Shui for patio, your aim was to transfer the energy of Feng Shui for improving the health, harmony and wealth prospects of your family, so use the space regularly and revel in positivity of chi.

Backyard Improvement Ideas and Tips

Written by  | Friday, 28 February 2014 21:46

Working and improving your backyard is one activity that is not only productive but fun as well. With a great looking back yard, you are increasing the aesthetic value of your house and lot, as well as its selling price. Many backyard improvements usually require the expertise of a landscape artist, but there are some things that you can do on your own or with the help of family and friends that really improves the quality of your home. This includes the following:

Pave a Path

Paving a path across your back yard gives it the illusion of width, making it appear wider than it actually is. You can use a variety of materials like flat slabs of concrete or stones, arrange in neat lines of straight and turns. Alternatively, you can use pebbles and small stones, giving your backyard a more rugged and outlandish look. To keep the pebbles and small stones from spreading out, you can edge the path with bricks or stones, or even by planting shrubs or flowers on the edges.

Hang Lanterns

If you are lucky enough to have a tree with well-spread branches in your backyard, then you may want to consider hanging some lanterns on them. You can use those Japanese lanterns with candles or LED lights in them. It may not look much during day time, but it will certainly look great when you light it up at night. Now you can have the nice and romantic dinner with family or friends. 

Add a Fountain

If you have the money and the time, head over to the nearest furniture or marble shop and get yourself one of those portable fountains. Fountains are great additions to a rather lifeless backyard. The running water makes the backyard look and feel more alive, whether you set it up against the wall surrounded by plants and shrubs, or set it up in the middle of the yard as a centerpiece. Alternatively, you can get a bird bath to attract birds to your backyard.

Plant a Vegetable Garden

Planting a vegetable garden in your backyard has many benefits. For one, it can help you to create a self-sustaining house as you don’t have to rely on groceries and supermarkets for many of your vegetable needs. Also, a well-kept garden can add beauty and color to your backyard. 

An Outdoor Retreat

If you have an old chair or couch stashed away in the shed, why not bring them out and use them in the backyard. It is just like building your own backyard living room where you can sit and relax while reading a book and having coffee. The lush green and cool breezes make it great for a calming retreat.

Why Men Love Backyard BBQing

Written by  | Friday, 21 February 2014 21:39

The Cro-Magnon husband ambled towards the mouth of the cave, paused briefly to scratch vigorously under his animal pelt robe, and, for possibly the tenth time that week, stared fixedly out across the valley at the distant glacier.

"You're obsessed. That's what you are," shouted his Cro-Magnon wife from the smokey darkness behind him. The Cro-Magnon husband didn't answer. He just continued to stare. It hadn't snowed for at least a month, and here and there patches of green were beginning to show through the tundra.

"Receded," he muttered. "Definitely receded." He looked up at the morning sky. Despite the thin cloud cover, a pale hint of sun could just be seen shining wanly overhead. 

"It's receded!" He shouted over his shoulder to his wife. "The glacier, maybe only a few feet, but definitely receded. Do you know what that means? It means it's finished. The Ice Age is over!"

"That's nice, dear," his wife called back uninterestedly. "But you know we've got the Neanderthals coming for lunch today, and you promised you'd finish painting the cave before they arrive. What are they going to think of us with your bison mural only half-done?"

The Cro-Magnon husband, however, had other plans. "No time for cave-painting today," he called. "Besides, if you really want to impress those Neanderthal friends of yours, I've a much better idea."

The Cro-Magnon wife may have said something in reply, but the Cro-Magnon husband was no longer listening. His mind was made up, and already he was gathering up a bundle of firewood. A few minutes later he emerged from the cave and, the firewood tucked under one muscled arm and a huge hunk of raw mammoth steak clutched in his enormous fist, began striding purposefully towards the small rock pile that had been carefully built a few yards beyond the cave entrance.

"Lunch?!" he muttered to himself. "I'll show those Neanderthal's how we do lunch...the new-fashioned way!"

And so began, as any paleontologist could tell you, men's love of backyard BBQing. And why, despite the passage of thousands of years, does it continue? You could say it's in their DNA.

Add Some Style to Your Outdoor Area with a Gas Firepit

Written by  | Friday, 17 January 2014 21:22

When looking to add style and warmth to your home’s deck and other outside areas, gas fire pits are a worthwhile and useful investment. Fire pits in general have become a popular feature of many outdoor designs. You’ll find them just about everywhere in the outdoors, including homes, clubs, etc. You and your guests can gather around gas fire pits and enjoy both the warmth and the relaxing ambiance they provide.

Firepot Materials

Gas fire pits can come in a number of designs and can be made out of several different materials. Stone and metal are popular choices, as they both work well when exposed to heat. Modern looking gas fire pits tend to favor stone, since it is a sleek and modern design that blends in well with current landscaping like stone walkways. Metal, while it is a cheaper material, it does come with some flaws. Metal may save you money now, but they tend to rust over time and may also degrade or fall apart. When looking to make a long term investment, stone and concrete will last longer than metal.

Purpose 

When looking at fire pits, think in terms of what it is you are trying to do. While a flame may add a beautiful aesthetic view, it may not be very warm if the flame is too small or not enough fuel is used. So always consider what you value more: keeping warm or adding effect. No matter what you desire, there are fire pits you can buy to fit your needs and your purpose. 

Keeping Safe

Always keep yourself safe by making sure your fire pit is well positioned. It should be at least ten feet from your home. It should also be away from anything that may catch fire. Therefore, avoid placing it near flammable surfaces or near any low hanging trees.

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Outdoor-FX specializes in high end outdoor living remodeling. See the following services we offer.

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