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5 Must-Haves for the Backyard Grilling Season

Categories: Blog | Posted: April 23, 2020

The weather is getting warmer, the grass is getting greener, and cool breezes are blowing across backyards across the country. All of this can only mean one thing: It’s grilling season! For most people, that means spending tons of time enjoying your patio or porch accompanied by the sweet smells of barbequed meats and vegetables. To help you make the most of this year’s grilling season, here are our top five must-haves.

Find a Reliable Grill

We’re not going to weigh in on the age-old debate of charcoal versus propane or wood pellet. Instead, here’s a quick rundown of the main benefits of each type of grill:

  • Gas Grill – Ready to go fast with easy cleanup.
  • Charcoal Grill – Great for a strong smoky flavor.
  • Wood Pellet Grill – Combines the flavor benefits of charcoal and the precision of electric heat.
  • Electric Grill – Perfect for portable grilling.

Whichever option you choose, make sure you have a reliable grill that can handle whatever you throw at it. That means picking the right size grill. If you often find yourself acting as the grill master for a group of neighbors, you’ll want a grill big enough to handle it. Whereas if you’re a weeknight griller for the family, you might not need such a large grill.

Get the Right Tools for the Job

Grilling outside can be a pain when you don’t have the right tools. You can’t use a plastic kitchen spatula to flip burgers on the grill, and you can’t use small tongs to pick up steaks or vegetables. You need to have the best tools for outdoor grilling use. Here are a few of our top picks:

  • Spring-loaded grill tongs
  • Stiff wire grill brush
  • An instant-read infrared meat thermometer
  • Stainless-steel kabob skewers
  • Long-handled metal spatula

Here’s a pro tip: Keep all your grilling accessories in a small Rubbermaid container. If you keep it outside, make sure it has a tight-fitting lid. In the same container, stash some aluminum foil, salt, and pepper. This handy grill box makes for an easy spur-of-the-moment cookout.

Weather-Proof, Comfortable Patio Furniture

We’ve been focusing on the grilling itself, but what about after? Make sure you have a comfortable place outside to eat that meal! We recommend a sturdy table with enough chairs for the whole family – plus one or two extra for dinner guests. Keep in mind that any fabric – like seat cushions – should be kept indoors whenever possible. The last thing you want is for your furniture to get moldy after a summer rainstorm.

Make a Shady Spot

Speaking of creating a comfortable space to enjoy your grilling, don’t forget about the sun and heat! Make sure to build in some shade around your patio furniture to avoid melting in the hot sun during the summer. There are plenty of options, both permanent and temporary. Here are a few ways you can bring shade to your backyard:

  • Patio umbrella
  • Free-standing or home-attached pergola
  • Gazebo (with or without netting)
  • Canopy (perfect for large gatherings)
  • Retractable awning

For the more permanent options, you can also dress them up with lighting or speaker systems to completely transform your outdoor space.

Outdoor Firepit or Fireplace

Grilling goes hand-in-hand with summer entertaining. Take your backyard parties up a notch with an outdoor firepit or fireplace. They’re beautiful, affordable, and can be used nearly year-round to create a cozy atmosphere. You can opt for a classic wood-burning fire pit or go for a smokeless propane firepit.

Building an outdoor fire pit is a great way to bring creativity and design to your backyard. You can construct a modern fire pit with clean-cut stones or vibrant mosaic patterns, or you can opt for brick and stone. There are endless options here, as well.

Gathering these must-haves before the season hits is sure to bring you months of backyard grilling enjoyment! Have fun entertaining friends and neighbors, or get cozy with your family around a firepit, and create happy memories outdoors.

The 5 Reasons People Love Open-Concept Homes

Categories: Blog | Posted: April 13, 2020

You’ve undoubtedly heard of this type of floor plan. Spacious, open rooms sprawling from one side of the house to the other unencumbered by walls or doors. It’s an open-concept home, and homeowners love the way it opens up even small-sized homes. People buying new homes are asking builders to create open-concept homes that bring light and air to the entire house. Here are the top five reasons to love this type of floorplan.

More Living Space

Fewer walls mean more space to move around – and less wasted space. Instead of confining hallways and separation between each room (which can take up precious area), open-concept homes flow from one place to the next without division. There are more options to add in and move around furniture or statement pieces. And you can easily connect your indoor living space to your outdoor space.

Better Lighting, Better Air Flow

Open-concept homes often seem lighter and airier than floor plans with separated rooms. That makes sense, of course: Light can travel from one side of the home to the next without obstruction! This also impacts airflow – and temperature. Breezes can move from one side of the house to the next, improving the flow of air across your entire home.

Easier to Entertain Large Groups

Is there anything worse than being stuck in the kitchen away from the action during a lively party? Or having a group of people crowd around one room to keep the conversation going? Open-concept homes create interconnected spaces without barriers, so people can flow from one room to the next without feeling disconnected. Plus, hosts can quickly move from one area to the next, making entertaining enjoyable rather than a hassle.

Makes Smaller Spaces Feel Bigger

Open-concept floor plans make your home seem bigger. With the amount of time you and your family will spend in your living room, kitchen, and dining room, it’s important to feel relaxed. Being able to move freely from one of these spaces to the next will make that even easier. Your home (and family members) feel connected and whole rather than separated and distant.

Improved Energy Efficiency

This benefit goes beyond aesthetics. Wide-open spaces are easier to heat and cool, which cuts down on energy bills and utilities during hot or cold months. The abundance of natural lighting also cuts down on energy bills, because you won’t need to turn on your lights quite as much.

You can see now why the open-concept floorplan has become so popular. It’s excellent for brand-new builds, especially for people who enjoy entertaining. You can make your home brighter, livelier, and more spacious by doing away with walls and barriers.

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