Outdoor Living Gift Guide for the Woman in Your Life

May 4, 2014 Outdoor Living

As our focus turns toward mothers this month, we want to stop and honor the women in our lives. Her job is never done and she does it with such love. She deserves a chance to take it outdoors and relax in a beautiful space. We chose this collection of gift ideas for her to give her even more enjoyment in her own back yard.

Outdoor Pouf

Price: $229

Why we love it: This gift says, “relax and put your feet up” all over it. It’s both stylish and durable for outdoor use. Sometimes she simply needs permission to take a break. You’ll give her permission to rest and a comfy spot to do so.

Sur La Table® Outdoor Stemless Wine Glasses, Set of 6

Price: $39.95

Why we love it: These wine glasses are shatter resistant, but they are designed to look like traditional glassware. Whether it’s a family dinner on the patio or a gathering with her girlfriends, these BPA-free stemless glasses are perfect for Outdoor Style entertaining.

Succulent Living Wall Planter Kit

Price: $100.00

Why we love it: It’s a green gift in more ways than one! The kit comes with plenty of succulents and instructions for planting. The frame is handmade from recycled wood and designed to either hang on a wall or fence or lay on a table as a living centerpiece. Succulents are easy to care for and ideal for busy people – like mom!

Cedar Wood Doormat

Price: $99.99

Why we love it: It’s made of cedar which happens to be one of our favorite materials for building custom patios. Cedar is weather resistant, so this mat will stand up to the elements. The doormat is well-crafted so it will also stand up to the foot traffic. You can customize the message for a unique and thoughtful gift.

Wine of the Month Club Membership

Price: Starts at $21.95 monthly

Why we love it: She’ll have two new bottles to enjoy on the patio each month hand selected by a connoisseur who tastes 400 varieties of wine each month. They take the guesswork out of choosing a good bottle of nice wine, freeing her up to enjoy the fruit of the vine with family or friends.

Big Blue Party™ Indoor-Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker

Price: $299.99

Why we love it: She loves to throw a good party and music is essential for setting the mood. This bluetooth speaker requires no wires, so it’s easy to set up in an instant. It pours out music 360º around for massive sound on all sides. It has a subwoofer built right inside. And bonus, it’s water-resistant. If she’s the coolest mom around, this is the Outdoor Style gift for her.

 

Cotton Hammock $109/$119

Cotton Hammock

Price: $109.00 large / $119.00 extra large

Why we love it: L.L. Bean says this hammock has been a customer favorite for over 30 years. No doubt! There is a certain type of relaxation that only happens in a hammock. It’s almost as if a nap is a requirement. She works hard. She deserves it!

Stylish Monogrammed Hat and Tank Set

Price: $38.00

Why we love it: She’ll look cute and be cool and comfortable on the patio in this personalized hat and tank set.

 

Drink Dispenser + Wood Stand

Price: $103.00

Why we love it: She’ll be able to serve up a cool and refreshing beverage all summer long right on the patio with this drink stand. Fewer trips to the kitchen = more outdoor style relaxing and talking.

 

Wood Slat Double Lounger

PRICE: $599.00

Why we love it: She’ll feel glamorous when she reclines on this double-lounger. She can’t help but nap, read or soak up some rays on this chaise lounge… which is exactly the kind of Outdoor Style living we were looking for!

 

Solar Light Garden Stake

Price: $42.00

Why we love it: Hand-blown from 100% recycled glass, these orbs each contain a solar-powered LED light that allow her to enjoy the enchanting swirls after dark. It’s a beautiful addition to the garden surrounding her patio.

Which item in this gift guide would the woman in your life most want? Tell us in the comments below!

50 Great Reasons to Add Outdoor Style to Your Backyard

April 4, 2014 Outdoor Living

Adding a stylish outdoor living space is undoubtably a significant investment. We get to see the return on that investment every day as homeowners increase the value of their lifestyle by creating a space to take time out for the important things in life. Here’s a list of 50 great reasons to add Outdoor Style to YOUR backyard:

  1. More space for those big gatherings!
  2. Outdoor dinner parties
  3. A nearby spot for star gazing
  4. To celebrate your son/daughter’s graduation party
  5. A quiet place to drink your morning coffee and read the news
  6. To keep the indoor kitchen cool by grilling out in the summer
  7. A place to tell stories around the campfire with the kids or grandkids
  8. A covered space in which to watch a good Texas thunderstorm roll in
  9. Family dinners on the patio
  10. A patio cover provides indoor shade, too
  11. WatchTheGameA place to let them watch the game outside while you commandeer the living room TV with your show
  12. Exhale the stress
  13. Ice cream cones melt slower in the shade
  14. That quaint little backyard wedding
  15. A shady spot to watch the kids while they play in the pool
  16. Girls night in
  17. Give your swimmers a place to snack, a place to rest and a place to use the bathroom… without soaking your floors
  18. A place to slow down
  19. Rover loves a shady spot to enjoy the dog days of summer
  20. To invite the neighbors over for that barbecue
  21. A place to put your feet up
  22. What better backdrop for family portraits, than your own home?
  23. A perfect spot to indulge a “no plans” Saturday
  24. To host a backyard brunch
  25. A place to drink cocoa on a cool evening
  26. A place to pop a cold bottle on a hot dayJustChill
  27. Serve up their favorite birthday dinner
  28. To sit a spell and have a long conversation
  29. To pass on the art of grilling
  30. A comfy spot to devour the latest novel
  31. Dine alfresco with a date night in
  32. To one up the Joneses
  33. All the barbecue holidays-Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day-are better served up in your stylish backyard
  34. Easy clean up for children’s birthday parties
  35. A place to hang your porch swing
  36. Practice your mixology
  37. A quiet space to watch the feathered visitors to your bird feeder
  38. Give your house guests a space of their own in a backyard guesthouse
  39. Turn on the patio string lights and have a glass of wine
  40. A perfect place to paint or draw
  41. Keep the drinks cold in your outdoor kitchen fridgeBeThatHouse
  42. Be the house where everyone gathers
  43. Take refuge from tuba practice
  44. Swing in a hammock
  45. Celebrate your retirement
  46. Sit down and talk about your day
  47. Get down a play trucks or have that tea party
  48. Raise a glass to the newly engaged couple
  49. Teach the art of a perfectly toasted marshmallow to the next generation
  50. Just breathe

If you think your backyard living could use an Outdoor Style upgrade, we’d love to talk with you. Contact us for a free consultation at (281) 265-1994 or send us a message via our website.

Stress-Free Ways to Slow Down When Life is Gearing Up

August 28, 2013 Outdoor Living

The back-to-school frenzy is in full swing. The holidays are just around the corner. Gone are summer vacations. Calendars are fully engaged. It’s enough to raise your blood pressure a bit, isn’t it?

Before hypertension sets in, I have a few suggestions for how you can take this new season in stride. Around here, we focus a lot on Outdoor Style.

Three Girlfriends Sitting Outside

Outdoor Style has a lot more to do with attitude, mindset and way of life than it does materials and designs. Don’t misunderstand, we love beautiful outdoor living spaces around here. We pour ourselves into creating them! But, what we really love is the living that can be done in an outdoor spaces.

Read on for six stress-free ways you can slow down when life is gearing up.

Set the patio table and enjoy a meal outdoors. There is something extraordinary about eating outside that causes us to take a deep breath and savor the moment.

Grab a few people and play a board game on the patio. Choose a game with heavier pieces or that won’t easily blow away in a gust of wind. Jenga, Dominoes or Pictionary are suitable choices for outdoor fun.

Put the kids to bed and have an informal outdoor party with other moms. Give the evening a catchy name, such as Moms and Merlot. There are many lighthearted choices that employ alliteration here: Moms and Margaritas, Mojitos, Mimosas, Martinis, even Mocktails or simply, Moms and Munchies. (Try these snack recipes: Caesar Dip, Rosemary Roasted Nuts and White Chocolate & Blackberry S’mores) With a couple of snacks, a signature beverage and a place to chat, the girls will all come away refreshed and recharged!

Some might say there are no seasons in Texas, I’d argue that the seasons are spring, summer and football. Whether you’re a fan of college football or the pros, take the viewing party outside.

Make a date. Pour a couple of coffees or iced teas and take a moment outside for a chat with someone who matters to you.

Put your down time on the calendar. Being intentional about planning time for pause is sometimes the only way to protect the hours or days from becoming over-scheduled.

Everybody needs some time to recharge.

How will you slow down this week? I’d love to hear your plans for taking this new season in stride Outdoor Style in the comments below!

Outdoor Living Gifts for the Man in your Life

June 12, 2013 Outdoor Living

As our focus turns toward fathers this month, we want to stop and honor the men in our lives. Whether he’s a grill master, a fire starter, the team’s biggest fan, a connoisseur of beers, a gadget guy or a just hard-working man, we all have one thing in common: a love for taking it outdoors and relaxing in a beautiful space. We chose this collection of gift ideas for him to give him even more enjoyment in his own back yard.

Stout Bottle Opener $35+

Stout Bottle Opener

Price: $35+

Why we love it: This is a bottle opener that knows it’s simply awesome. Its ingenious design allows you to pop bottle tops without bending the caps. And the built-in magnet holds the bottle cap, keeping it from bouncing and rolling on the patio. It’s designed to last. Take a look at their Kickstarter video and you’ll see a glimpse of their passion for slowing down and capturing the moments with family and friends, one popped bottle at a time.

S'more to Love STL-611 6-S'more Maker $19.99

S’more to Love STL-611 6-S’more Maker

Price: $19.99

Why we love it: If he’s a fire starter, this gadget will turn him into an outdoor confection superhero, serving up six perfectly toasted, ooey-gooey s’mores at once. It’s delicious and efficient!

Home Plate Doormat $22

Home Plate Doormat

Price: $22.00

Why we love it: If he’s a baseball-lover, he’ll feel like he hit a home run stepping out onto Home Plate on his patio. Warning: he may try to start the wave or slide into the back door.

Lifeproof LifeJacket Float for iPhone 4/4S and 5

Price: $39.99

Why we love it: Lifeproof makes a case that is water proof, dirt proof and shock proof, which eliminates most of the hazards of taking his iPhone out on the patio. The case is waterproof up to 6.5 feet for up to 30 minutes. When paired with the Lifeproof LifeJacket, it floats! Now he can play Candy Crush and Angry Birds while relaxing poolside. (Requires Lifeproof Case.)

Wooden 6-pack Beer Tote - $35

Wooden 6-pack Beer Tote

Price: $35.00

Why we love it:This handmade beer tote was made from reclaimed redwood beams. Since it’s water-proof and weather proof, it is a perfect candidate for taking out back. It’s nostalgic design reminds us of the slower pace of days gone by.

Custom printed M&M's featuring your favorite football team $10.99-$199.99

Custom-printed M&M’s

Price: $10.99-199.99

Why we love it: You can’t go wrong when you combine delicious chocolate with his favorite team. He can indulge while watching the big game on the patio. If collegiate ball is his thing, you can customize for his favorite University with the My M&M’s tool. Don’t worry, we checked! They have both maroon AND orange to keep you Aggies and Longhorns at peace.

Cotton Hammock $109/$119

Cotton Hammock

Price: $109.00 large / $119.00 extra large

Why we love it: L.L. Bean says this hammock has been a customer favorite for over 30 years. No doubt! There is a certain type of relaxation that only happens in a hammock. It’s almost as if a nap is a requirement. He works hard. He deserves it!

Custom-made Wall Badge $149.00

Custom-made Wall Badge

Price: $149.00

Why we love it: First of all, this 34″ wall sign is custom made right here in Texas. Personalize it with his family name, his favorite team, his hometown or anything he loves (up to 16 characters). It is designed to last for years outside, so it’s a great way for him to declare his outdoor space as his own.

Grill Charms $19.95

Grill Charms for Steak

Price: $19.95

Why we love it: These ingenious little charms will hold tight to steaks as he flips and moves them around the grill, making dinner a little less like a game of shells and more of a sure thing. It is important business when it comes to how you like your steaks prepared! On a serious note, this is a great tool for marking pieces prepared for special health or allergy needs.

Rockin’ Dad Branding Iron with Cedar Gift Box

PRICE: $39.95

Why we love it: He can add his signature style to the dishes he prepares with the satisfying sizzle of the rockin’ dad design. It’s almost like he’s signing your steak, “Prepared with love forever, Dad.”

Personalized Leather Apron & Gloves Set (Branded)

Price: $89.90

Why we love it: Not only is this soft suede set a perfect compliment to the Rockin’ Dad Branding Iron, it is protective against the hazards of grilling. Personalize it with a custom branded monogram with his initials or up to three letters. It’s an apron set fit for the King of the Grill!

Play it Safe: Keeping Outdoor Spaces Safe for Children

October 12, 2012 Outdoor Safety

For generations, there has been an energy surrounding swing sets, slides, see-saws and merry-go-rounds that attracts both the young and the young-at-heart. These things may not be considered traditional outdoor furniture, but these are the fixtures that your kids will enjoy the most.

So if you are thinking of revamping your outdoor space to install a play area for your children, here are some of the things you should consider:

1. Check the play area – The space where you will install or build your children’s play set will have to be canvassed and scanned thoroughly. This area should be clear of any hazardous items, loose rocks, nails, and other accident-prone debris. It also has to be a spot where you can see them from inside the house so you can keep a watchful eye when they are up and about.

A play area in the grass of this backyard would offer entertainment for the kids while the grown-ups lounge in the outdoor living area.

2. Choose kid-friendly materials – Kids can be very experimental with their surroundings, especially during the toddler stage. They will put anything in their mouths, and this can cause serious health issues. Never use or purchase materials that have lead in it. Check the labels just to be sure.

When purchasing play sets, check for any loose screws or bolts that easily come off. These are potential choking hazard for small children. Worse, kids can get cuts and bruises as a result of poorly-constructed sets.

3.  Double check the quality of the play set – Play sets are constructed with children’s safety in mind. However, being a parent, it is also your responsibility to set your own safety standards.

Check and re-check the whole set to see if there are any sharp edges. If there are, make sure that they can be covered with rubber to make it safer for children to use. Installing a rubber mat at the bottom of the slide will also help your child have a smooth and softer landing spot.

4.  Install safety railings – If the set you are purchasing includes a slide, your children will have to climb up to reach it. This is an accident waiting to happen, especially if you have small children running around and pushing each other to get to the top. Install safety railings to keep them from falling down.

5.  Schedule regular maintenance – Conduct weekly checks if the set needs repairs. Any loose part should be immediately repaired and attached. Dangling ropes should also be carefully attached.

Play areas help keep the kids entertained while you relax on the patio or bbq in your outdoor kitchen.  As long as these play areas are safe, they’ll make the backyard a fun place for the whole family.

Ashleigh Lynn is a writer for Open Brook, an excellent source of information and reviews about patio, garden and outdoor furniture .

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