Outdoors & Backyard Tips

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Do I need a storage shed?

Storage Sheds

If you don't have a garage or a sizeable and accessible basement, you need to think about getting a storage shed for your back yard. This can hold your lawn mower, weed whacker, bikes, gardening tools and everything else that doesn't need a climate controlled area.

By creating an organized space for all of these items you are going to maintain them in better repair and it will be easier to find whatever you need. Good storage sheds will also come with extra shelving for smaller items and tools. Keep all of your utility items in one place and you are more likely to use them - and you can use your valuable basement storage space for other items.

What kind of creative ideas can I use for my backyard?

Get Creative With Outdoor Spaces

Get creative. There are so many options to consider when you are setting up your outdoor living space. Keep things in mind like water gardens and other aquatic features, outdoor stereo equipment, outdoor televisions and more to add to your outdoor furniture collection.

All of these creative ways to entertain outside make your outdoor living space an unforgettable experience for guests, family and friends and encourage you to spend more time outdoors.

Other creative ideas include: the addition of a hot tub, hammock, privacy panels around the area of your backyard or a gazebo, which adds a sense of warmth and quaintness to your outdoor living space.

What should I do if I don't like how my deck looks at the start of summer?

Deck Care Tip

Take care of your deck. An outdoor deck can be the source of outdoor enjoyment with family and friends. They are the perfect spots for a sunny umbrella and patio furniture with a matching table for family barbecues. However, decks do require care and there are steps you should take to be sure to properly maintain it.
You should regularly clean your deck with a special deck cleaner to remove dirt and mildew that has become embedded in the wood. You should also be sure to strip any deteriorating finish that you might find from your deck area. You'll also want to invest in durable patio furniture covers to keep your furniture cared for during harsh weather conditions. Once you have cleaned it thoroughly, refinish it with a water-protectant finish that will make your deck look better and last even longer. Options for a finisher include a semitransparent stain or a deep, rich oil finish. Both will make your deck area look brand new.

How can I protect my outdoor furniture?

Furniture Covers Help Preserve Outdoor Furniture

Furniture covers are another great way to preserve your outdoor furniture from damage by means of rain, wind, cold, heat, etc. Outdoor furniture covers make it easy to keep your outdoor furniture clean and assist in making your outdoor furniture last longer. Specifically, if you can find plastic furniture covers, they are easier to clean and disinfect and they better protect your outdoor furniture from water damage.

Why do I need an outdoor rug?

Outdoor Rugs

Outdoor rugs are a great way to stop a lot of dirt from being tracked into your home. However, depending on the type of outdoor rug you choose, they also require a certain amount of care.

Most people opt for an outdoor rug with the least amount of maintenance. While these rugs are not always as pretty as the more delicate ones, they are usually sturdier and can stand up to wind, rain, cold and hot weather and will help more with tracking dirt, soil, mud, etc. into your home. The more durable outdoor rugs are made of a fiber-enhanced polypropylene. This enables them to withstand more than rugs that are made of products similar to indoor rugs and carpets. This is an essential part of a patio furniture setup.

How can I keep my garden tools organized and still use them in the garden whenever I want?

Garden Carts

If you are a gardener, chances are you begin a project and end up running into your garden shed or garage for supplies at least five times. In fact, unless you are extremely tidy and organized, the chances are that you can't even find all the supplies that you need whether its trimming shears, your favorite trowel or a kneeling pad to preserve your joints and your favorite gardening pants.

This is where garden carts can come in handy. They are specifically designed to hold everything from rakes and shovels to potting soil and seeds and everything in between. The best garden carts are designed to carry heavy weight (say up to 150 lbs) and can help you lug around fertilizer and other heavier items. Coupled with a refuse bag to hold cuttings, weeds and other garden "trash" how can you lose?

These carts are also designed to take up very little storage space in your garage or shed. Keep all of your gardening tools in one place like a garden cart and you'll make your hobby that much more fun (focus on the task, not the tools) and you'll save your back from undue stress from hefting heavy soil and fertilizer.

What is the best storage method for pool accessories?

Pool Furniture and Pool Toys

Purchase a large, plastic bin with a top to store pool toys and accessories. Keeping them in a cool, dry place will keep bacteria from building up. Also, the more organized these items are around your pool area, the more room you have for additional pool furniture and the more organized and aesthetically-pleasing your pool area will look. Storage in a plastic bin also keeps them from being damaged by the elements during the various seasons.

How do I keep my patio looking organized?

Keep Patio Furniture to a Minimum

Keep your outdoor furniture looking neat and your patio looking organized by choosing a few key pieces for your patio, such as a furniture set, foliage, an accent piece or two and that's all. People often try to add too many pieces to their patio and the result is usually messy and cluttered.

Keep patio furniture to a minimum and be sure to choose pieces that are functional, able to withstand the elements as well as aesthetically pleasing. Patio covers are also a good idea, whether you go large-scale with awnings or a large umbrella or small-scale with furniture covers or outdoor cushions.

Is it important to clean my outdoor grill regularly?

Keep Outdoor Grill Clean

Keeping your outdoor grill clean is directly related to how long it will last. If you do not keep your grill clean, you cannot expect it to last as long as it would if you properly cleaned it.

Food will not taste as good if you do not clean if often either. It is important to clean your outdoor grill with a specialized grill cleaner after each time you use it.

Spray it down with water and wipe off excess food to avoid the buildup of bacteria. You should also use a special brush to scrub your grill to make sure you got everything off it and it is truly clean.

What is a good way to plan my outdoor space?

Plan Outdoor Spaces With Family in Mind

Plan your outdoor space to meet your family's needs. For example, while most people have tables, chairs and patio umbrella sets, tables at bar-height with matching chairs are perfect in areas around the pool, reclining lounge chairs are perfect for relaxation areas and chat chairs and tables are good for areas set aside for intimate conversation. A sunny hammock is another great relaxation tool for your outdoor furniture setup.

Your outdoor space should be able to be used for entertaining, hanging out with friends and family, eating, working and simply relaxing.

What is the best way to maintain my birdbath?


Birdbaths can be a welcome addition to your outdoor design. However, they should be cleaned out regularly to avoid bacteria build-up from the animals feeding from it.

Try to wash it out once a week, being sure to thoroughly rinse it off before refilling it with fresh water. This is also true of bird feeders. Replace the feed inside every few weeks or so to stem the buildup of bacteria and to root out any unnecessary insects from making a home inside of the feeder.

How can I keep small outdoor items from getting lost during the winter months?

Hanging Planters

Don't throw out all of those plastic or wire hanging garden planters when flowers die out in the fall. Instead, give them a good washing and use them to hold smaller items that might otherwise become misplaced during the winter months. Hang the planters in your shed, garage or even the basement for inexpensive, out of the way storage. Use your hanging planters for:

• Small outdoor toys

• Pool supplies

• Lawn mower parts and other small bits of machinery

• Garden Tools

• Barbecue Tools

• Hose Nozzles

• Seeds, plant food & fertilizer

How do I choose the best hammock for me?

Choosing a Hammock

A hammock is the perfect addition to your spread of outdoor furniture — particularly when you are trying to create a relaxing living space. There are many different hammock options and it can be a tricky process trying to find the right one for you.

There are three basic factors to consider before purchasing a hammock: construction quality, general styling and accessories, and care. You want to take the strength of the rope into consideration as well as how and where you can set it up. Make sure it is durable and can last through rain and heat. Take note of what kind of accessories you need to have the ultimate experience in relaxation with your hammock.

What can I use to spruce up my outdoor space?

Planters Add Zest to Outdoor Decor

Utilize flowerpots and plants to enhance your outdoor living space. Flowerpots in stone, terra cotta and other materials add elegance to your outdoor space. Plastic resin products, which resemble those materials, are the cheaper alternative.

Dot your outdoor landscape with brightly colored flowerpots to add natural beauty to your space. However, do not overload on different designs and colors. This will only end up making your outdoor space look cluttered. Instead, focus on one theme or set of colors and stick with that for your outdoor decor.

Bright colors are a nice accent to outdoor furniture pieces. Plants are a perfect way to spruce up patio furniture and add life to your outdoor living space.

What's an attractive outdoor storage alternative?

Attractive Outdoor Storage

Kid's toys and gardening paraphernalia can lead to an unsightly backyard if not properly managed. Rather than lug everything in and out of the garage or shed as they're needed, why not get a decorative backyard bench with storage under the seat?

In addition to being more attractive than rubber containers, storage benches and personal workbenches have enough room inside to store toys, pool gear, garden implements and almost anything else used in the backyard on a frequent basis. One more benefit, of course, is additional outdoor seating. Many storage benches come with cushions to allow one to relax comfortably and enjoy the day.

These benches come in a variety of finishes, including wood and rubber, all treated to withstand the elements. Even though they can be left outside in the rain, it's probably a good idea to store them in a workshop or outdoor shed before the first winter snow.

How can I keep my pool supplies neatly organized?

Keep Pool Supplies Neat and Organized

The average pool owner pays hundreds of dollars for supplies each season. Storing chemicals, inflatable rafts, tarps and solar covers can be a bit of a challenge, however. A separate pool area storage shed is ideal for housing all of the necessary paraphernalia. The shed should have several shelves for storing chemicals and toys, with those used most often within easy reach. Plastic storage bins are perfect for holding life vests, rafts and other inflatables. String a line across the shed to hang tarps or solar covers to dry when not in use. During the winter months, fold these covers and place neatly on shelves or in a storage bin.

What is a good method for storing items outside?

Outdoor Storage Racks

A storage rack can be particularly helpful for outdoor items, such as firewood or other things that need to be stacked. Outdoor racks and outdoor sheds come in various designs and sizes and can help to keep your patio and backyard area looking neat and organized.

Be sure to get a rack size that will accommodate your personal needs. For example, if you like frequent fires in your fireplace, you would need large storage rack for cut firewood. Take note of what you need in an outdoor storage rack and plan accordingly.

Another option is a wood bench with a built-in storage unit. This serves a dual purpose as your guests have another place to sit, but you can also store outdoor accessories inside. A wood bench for storage purposes can also be nice addition to a set of wood patio furniture.

How can I organize my firewood

Firewood Storage

There's nothing like a roaring fire on a cold winter's day. Many people shy away from this pleasure because they don't want to have to deal with the hassle of storing firewood. Firewood storage doesn't have to be an issue, however. There are many ways in which on can organize firewood:

• An outdoor storage shed can be erected for the sole purpose of storing firewood. This is ideal because the wood stays dry as it's protected from the elements.

• A firewood rack will keep logs neatly stacked. They come in different sizes and styles. Some are more decorative than others, all are functional.

• A large bin will keep logs stacked and hidden from view. A bin with a lid will help to keep the wood dry.

• A firewood cart not only keeps wood stacked and neat, but it can be conveniently wheeled to its destination.

• Firewood baskets help stack small bundles of wood such as those needed for chimineas and small, portable deck and patio fireplaces.

How can I keep my garden hose from becoming tangled?

Organized Garden Hose

If your garden hose isn't coiled properly it can become tangled and accumulate kinks. Hose carts will keep your garden hose clean, organized and tangle free. It will also prolong the life expectancy of your hose.

Your house cart can either stay in an out of the way spot in your back yard, or it can be stored in the shed. When it's time to wash the car or water the lawn, the cart can be wheeled to the appropriate spot. When the weather turns cooler, store it in your outdoor storage shed or garage until it's warm once again.

By using a hose cart to store your hose, you don't have to find a spot to hang or coil your garden hose, because it's already done. It's a space saver inside and out!

What is the best lighting option for outdoor decor?

Outdoor Lighting Choices Are Important

Choose proper lighting techniques for your outdoor setting. Many people choose halogen lights because they product large amounts of light. However, they often hot and can sometimes change the appearance of the colors of your outdoor decor.

A better choice might be incandescent lights as they properly light your outdoor decor and do not pose the safety hazard that halogen lights do.

What is the best way to store small outdoor items?

Outdoor Storage Shed

An outdoor storage shed is an important accessory for anyone owning property with a backyard. Although sheds come in all shapes and sizes, most have enough room to accommodate toys, pool equipment, garden tools and barbecue grills. There are sheds large enough to store deck furniture and even ride on lawn mowers.

Most sheds come with shelves and cubbies so smaller items can be stowed in an organized manner. If you'll be storing many smaller items and toys, bins and baskets can be purchased to keep everything from becoming strewn about or lost. If your shed is large enough, you might consider installing cabinets with doors to further protect and organize your belongings.

I have a huge lawn, how can I bring my hose, weed killer and other necessities with me when I am maintaining it?

Rolling Hose Carts

Caring for your lawn can be a chore, especially if you have a lot of acreage. Not everyone can afford a sprinkler system and let's be honest, it can be a royal pain to get your hose out to whichever part of the lawn needs your attention. If your hose is large enough to cover the whole area, the liklihood is that it is very large, heavy and cumbersome, so unless you have a gardner, you are going to need an organized and smart solution.

Hose carts are a simple and innovative solution, especially when they are well designed. You want a cart that has large enough wheels to handle bumpy terrain, has the weight capacity to handle a sufficiently heavy hose and that has the storage capacity to hold any small items, like weed killer that you'll need to handle a large lawn.

How should I organize my barbecue accessories?

Organize Barbecue Accessories

Keep barbecue accessories organized into one place in your outdoor cooking space. Most often, people keep their barbecue accessories in a covered area, be it an outdoor cabinet or storage space, in the garage or in the house. Wherever you choose to store your barbecue accessories, keep them away from the elements so that they will not be damaged by wind or rain.

Keep them in an area where you are able to find everything in one space. Utensils should go in a holder or a large container where they can stand upright. Cleaning supplies should be on a shelf in the garage or around the grill area, out of the reach of small children.

Is it safe to purchase outdoor furniture with cushioning?

Cushions a Viable Option for Outdoor Furniture

Cushions are a viable option for your outdoor furniture. These days, manufacturers make cushions that retain their fullness and provide continued support.

Most outdoor cushions are water resistant with new fillings that add softness. Outdoor cushions are way to add class and elegance to your outdoor furniture, while still maintaining comfort and stability.

Of course, outdoor furniture covers will help your cushioned furniture to endure even longer than usual and will result in less cleaning for you later. Outdoor cushions are meant to resemble interior living room furniture but are designed to withstand the elements and dry quickly.

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Guru Spotlight
Sheri Ann Richerson