Pool & Spa Outdoor Blog

Category: Backyard/Outdoor Products

Backyard/Outdoor Products

5 Haute Patio Heaters

Stylish Outdoor Heaters to Warm Up Your Patio

Stylish Patio Heaters
Patio heaters are becoming a popular outdoor heating choice thanks to their large heat output—most models can heat from six to 20 feet in diameter—and ability to extend your outdoor entertaining season a few extra months or even year-round.

Along with their growing popularity, patio heaters have expanded in design and now come in an array of placement, style, and fuel options, including decorative gas heaters that look like interior lamps and sleek wall-mounted electric heaters that keep your patio warm and open.

Whether you want to entertain family and friends on a chilly summer night, host a backyard tailgate party in the fall, or expand your holiday festivities to the patio or terrace, here are some stylish patio heater options to keep your outdoor room cozy and chic in cool weather.

Photo courtesy of B. Gordon Builders Inc.

Freestanding Gas Patio Heaters

Gas patio heaters, which use propane or natural gas, are easy and convenient options to heat your outdoor area. These chic patio heaters from Kindle Living provide an attractive alternative to the typical stainless steel standby. Plus, they’re made from eco-friendly materials!

Stylish Patio Heater with Lamp DesignResembling an oversize table lamp, this patio heater from Kindle Living adds whimsical warmth and mood lighting to outdoor gatherings.

Available in both natural gas and propane operation, this freestanding heater features a battery-powered light base that can be used independent of the heater and illuminated in any of seven colors. Its classic silhouette makes it a beautiful complement to any style setting, be it traditional or modern.

Natural Gas Patio Heater with Lamp ShadeThough slim in design, this natural gas-powered patio heater supplies powerful heat performance. As heat radiates from the burner flame, it is enclosed in the fireproof shade and directed downward, wrapping bystanders in a soft and pleasant warmth.

Paired with a smooth shade (pictured), this sleek and sophisticated patio heater harmonizes well with contemporary venues.

Combo Patio Heater Lamp
Featuring a gently curved base with vertical ribbing (and hidden propane tank), this posh combo patio heater/lamp exudes style and personality. Its graceful design meshes perfectly with the casual charm of a coastal cottage, yet works equally well in formal or modern environments.

It’s versatile in function too: along with providing heat and light, an optional cocktail table accessory (not shown) can be placed over the base of the heater to hold drinks or snack plates when entertaining or lounging by the pool.

(Editor's Note: Natural gas and propane heaters are safe for outdoor use only. NEVER place or use a gas or propane heater indoors or in an enclosed area.)

Photos courtesy of Kindle Living

Wall/Ceiling-Mounted Electric Patio Heaters

Pergola with Electric Patio Heaters
If you’re looking for a more subtle way to heat your patio, then an electric patio heater may be your best option. The quartz infrared electric patio heaters from Infratech can be mounted to a wall or ceiling—and custom colored to match—to warm up your outdoor space without interfering with its décor.

The electric heaters contain quartz heating elements that emit a medium wavelength of light that transfers heat directly to nearby objects—such as a person, table, or floor—rather than heating the air, providing a comfortable and quick warmth.

An electric heater was bracket mounted to the wooden beams of a pavilion to keep this veranda cozy in cool weather without detracting from the pleasant setting.

Photo courtesy of B. Gordon Builders Inc.

Outdoor Room with Electric Heaters Mounted in CeilingBecause electric heaters do not produce heat by combustion, they require less clearance than gas heaters and can be used in enclosed patio areas.

To complement its contemporary design, six Infratech heaters were flush mounted into the ceiling of this outdoor room, making it usable year-round. The heaters are configured to a solid-state control system which allows the homeowners to vary their output with the current climate.

Photo courtesy of Infratech

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4 Ways to Enjoy Your Backyard This Fall

Enjoy Your Outdoor Living Space During the Fall

Just because your pool may be closed and the weather's a little chilly doesn’t mean you have to retreat indoors until spring. In fact, your outdoor living space is the ideal place to spend your time during the fall—and even winter—months. Here are just a few ways to enjoy your backyard this fall.

Enjoy your outdoor living space during fall

1. Fall is one of the best times to enjoy your hot tub. Spend a relaxing fall afternoon basking in the warm, bubbling water as you watch the colorful leaves fall around you. Check out the range of hot tub models available from Maax Spas.

2. Nothing says fall quite like gathering around a fire pit with family and friends, sipping warm apple cider and roasting marshmallows. Take a look at these stylish fire pit options.

3. Fall means football for many households across the country. Instead of huddling up indoors to watch the game, take a cue from Amy's Party Ideas and host a backyard tailgate party.

4. There’s no need to close up the outdoor kitchen just yet. Plenty of fall vegetables and fruits taste even better grilled, and are a great accompaniment to grilled pork and steak. Find delicious grilling recipes for vegetables, pizza, and ribs here.

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Stylish Gazebos, Canopies, and Pergolas

Made for Shade: Stylish Gazebos, Canopies, and Pergolas

Summer means spending a lot more time outdoors and having a little fun in the sun. But if you’re spending any length of time outdoors during steamy summer days, you’ll probably want some shade to get a break from the heat.

Deck, patio, and table umbrellas are a simple option, but if you’re looking for something more permanent to add both shade and style to your backyard, consider a gazebo or pergola. Check out these stylish structures for ideas.

Custom Gazebos

Geremia Pools gazebo bridge boulders rock Gazebos come in all different sizes and materials and are the perfect structure to add beauty, shade, and seating to your backyard. Many come with built-in benches for seating, although many homeowners will furnish with outdoor furniture. Since they can stay up year-round, they become a permanent fixture in your backyard.

Left: Set in the middle of a private grove, this large gazebo features a red tiled roof and has an ornate architectural style. Boulder accents and beautiful landscaping give this pool a natural look, while the bridge adds charm to the entire poolscape.

Photo courtesy of Geremia Pools, Inc.; photography by Dick Hinkley

Portable Gazebos with Canopies
Hayneedle gazebo canopy shade

Portable gazebos with canopies are a great way to provide shade and create an outdoor room. These can be set up and taken down seasonally or left up year-round. They can be anchored to your lawn or bolted to your deck or concrete slab, making them a versatile option for any backyard.

Add an outdoor area rug, a weatherproof living room set, and a few planters, and the entire space becomes its own relaxation spot.

Hayneedle gazebo canopy shade SunbrellaLeft: This gazebo's Sunbrella canopy offers shelter from the summer sun and rain protection. It also features a vent for wind escapement. The gazebo is easily assembled and spans 130 square feet creating the ultimate space for an outdoor living room set.

Photos courtesy of Hayneedle.com

Pergolas and Awnings
Walnut Hill Landscape Company curved pergola outdoor fireplace

Pergolas provide partial shade and add a lot of style to your backyard. Pergolas can also be ideal to provide shade over an outdoor kitchen or to define the space for an outdoor family room. Many homeowners will mount a weatherproof TV in the corner.

Above: To complement the Pennsylvania flagstone patio, a custom blend of stone was used for the fireplace and sitting walls. The curved pergola, made of laminated mohagony, offers just the right amount of shade. The plants include cryptomeria, sweetbay magnolia, and pale pink, kooper king hibiscus, as well as heavy metal switch grass and dwarf fountain grass.

Photo courtesy of Walnut Hill Landscape Company; photography by Michael Prokopchak

YShade FX pergola with retractable awningou can increase the amount of shade provided by a pergola in a few ways. You may wish to have ivy growing across the wooden beams of the roof, creating a natural plant canopy. This also makes the pergola feel more like it’s a part of the garden.

Another option is a retractable awning. Available in many different colors and patterns, retractable awnings add to both the function and décor of your pergola and the outdoor room your are creating.

Shade FX pergola with retractable awningAbove: The lattice panels add a bit of privacy and a whole lot of style to this pergola set on a beautifully landscaped property with a pool. The retractable awning provides homeowners with the option of full or partial shade. The awning’s striped pattern matches the cushioned outdoor couch and throw pillows creating a unified outdoor room.

Photos courtesy of ShadeFX Canopies

Walnut Hill Landscape Company outdoor kitchen pergolaThis pergola adds elegance and definition to this outdoor kitchen, surrounded by colorful landscaping. The roof provides partial shade, but heat and smoke from the grill can still escape through the beams.

Photographed by LandMarksPhotography.com for Walnut Hill Landscape Company, Annapolis, Md.

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Ideas for Father's Day

Gift Ideas for Dads

Having a hard time finding a gift for dad this Father’s Day? No need to panic. We’ve put together these 7 great gift ideas for dads who enjoy spending time outdoors.

1. Hammock

Backyard Hammock
Photo courtesy of Hatteras Hammocks/The Hammock Source

From raking leaves to mowing the lawn to cleaning the pool, dads put in a lot of hard work around the yard. That’s why a hammock makes a great gift idea for Father’s Day: What better way is there for him to enjoy the fruits of his labor than kicking back in a nice relaxing hammock?

2. Grill

Stainless Stell Grill

Photo courtesy of RH Peterson Co.; Photograph by Steve Pollock Studios

Turn dad into the barbecue king this summer with a new stainless steel grill. Stainless steel grills are extremely durable, will last for years, and offer countless al fresco meals during summer cookouts.

Got dad a grill last year? Consider putting together a “Grilling Gift Basket” filled with all the cooking tools and accessories he needs for a successful barbecue, including tongs, basting brushes, a digital meat thermometer, spatulas, and a marinating guide.

3. Outdoor TV

Outdoor TV

Photo courtesy of SunBriteTV

Give dad the gift of entertainment with a weatherproof outdoor television. He’ll enjoy being able to watch the big game while he’s firing up some burgers and steaks on the grill.

Outdoor TVs are available in screen sizes of 23 to 55 inches and can be connected to your cable box, computer, DVD/Blu-ray player, or gaming system.

4. Outdoor Speaker System

If your dad is a guy who likes to lounge around the pool or entertain outdoors during the summer, then consider giving him the gift of music for Father’s Day.  An indoor/outdoor waterproof wireless speaker will let him rock out to his favorite bands while relaxing poolside or catching up with his buddies.

Though not weatherproof, this portable system includes a splash-proof plastic covering to protect your dad’s iPod or MP3 player when placed outdoors.
Eton Soulra Outdoor Sound System

Photo courtesy of Etón Corporation

5. Pool Lounger

How about letting dad enjoy a lazy day in the pool this Father’s Day? With a large pillow headrest, cup holder, and infinite adjustability, this is the ultimate pool lounger for dad. The fully adjustable back rest lets him recline to the angle of his choice for total comfort. He may never get out of the pool!

Adjustable Reclining Pool Lounger


You can also support dad’s love of all things sports-related with a giant pool mattress plastered with the name and logo of his favorite NBA® team. Each officially licensed NBA® Giant Mattress measures 6’9” tall, holds up to 300 lbs and features a comfortable raised pillow and cup holder.

Giant NBA Pool Mattress - Miami Heat

Photos courtesy of In the Swim

6. Firepit

A firepit is a great gift idea for any dad—and a great addition to the backyard. Imagine spending summer nights with dad around the firepit, listening to his stories while roasting marshmallows and watching the flames.

Portable firepits are made of copper or cast iron and come in a variety of styles to match any outdoor décor. You can choose from wood or gas burning models.

Portable Cast Iron Fire Pit
Photo courtesy of In the Swim

7. Floating Pool Games

Floating Golf Game for Pool
Photo courtesy of In the Swim

Does your dad love to golf? Instead of the typical golf balls and clubs, give him this fun floating golf game so he can enjoy his favorite pastime right at home. The floating green makes a challenging target for even the best golfers.

For card lovers, a swim-up blackjack table is a great gift idea. Your dad will enjoy having his buddies over for a round of blackjack in the pool. Waterproof non-stick playing cards and 320 chips are included. 

Floating Swim-up Blackjack Table

Photo courtesy of In the Swim

What are you giving your dad for Father's Day? Tell us in the comments below.

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Sunroom Ideas - 6 Ways to Use Your Sunroom

Archadeck Sunroom Furnished with Wicker Outdoor Patio Furniture Set

A sunroom is a wonderful addition to any home. These versatile rooms offer plenty of natural sunlight and bring the feeling of the outdoors inside. A great space for a variety of activities, a sunroom also gives your home added value.

Take a look at some of the great ways you can use your sunroom.

Photo courtesy of Archadeck of Charlotte

Relaxing Rooms - Sunrooms

Couple using sunroom for reading and relaxation
This is probably the most common use for a sunroom. When you lead a stressful life, it’s nice to have a physical “happy place” where you can go to help you unwind at the end of a long day. Paint the walls/framework a light, soothing color or install a light floor color. Include a fireplace. For sunroom furniture ideas, it is recommended to bring in your most comfortable chair or sofa. A small indoor fountain, houseplants, or candles can all help you create a more relaxing sunroom. This is the ideal room to kick back and read a book without being disturbed, or the place to just go and think.

Photo courtesy of Temo Inc.


Entertainment Rooms - Sunrooms

Sunroom with dining table and chairs
Sunrooms are ideal for entertaining, especially in the summer months when the sun is shining, but it’s just too hot for outside entertaining. These rooms give you the best of both worlds.

To create the perfect party space, start with a dining table large enough to accommodate your guests. Or, if a dinner party isn’t your thing, at least be sure to mix in small tables for your guests to rest their food and drinks on.

Sunroom with multiple seating areas

Sunrooms make a great place for entertaining if you have a scenic view. Create an inviting atmosphere by setting up multiple seating areas for guests to sit and socialize. Installing a wet bar in the sunroom will ensure that your guests will never go thirsty, and it will keep everyone from running to and from the kitchen.

Photos courtesy of SunPorch Sunrooms

Home Offices - Sunrooms

Sunroom used as home officeA home office is a necessity if you work from home. But if you don’t, it’s nice to have a space where you can go to manage your bills and keep important documents organized. Using your sunroom as a home office is a great alternative to holing up in a spare bedroom. It’s like having the best corner office with a big window right at home. The most important thing to bring into your sunroom office is a desk large enough to accommodate your work. A comfortable desk chair is also important, especially if you spend a lot of time at your desk. As for storage, it’s a good idea to keep cabinets and shelves against a non-window wall so you can let in as much sunlight as possible. Another solution is to use storage that sits low to the ground, like filing cabinets or short shelves. Although the sunroom will get a lot of sunlight during the day, task lighting will be needed when the sun sets.

Photo courtesy of Acanthus Architecture & Design

Play Rooms - Sunrooms

Sunroom used for kids playroomTransforming a sunroom into a children’s play room is quick, easy, and will bring so much joy to the kids! A play room gives your children a designated space to play with their toys, and lets you keep the rest of your home neat and tidy. Be sure to childproof the sunroom for younger children by installing outlet covers. Depending on the flooring in your sunroom, you may want to consider play tiles. These tiles snap in place and are soft and easy to clean. They’re a great option if you have hardwood floors or a light carpet color in your sunroom. Bring in some child-size furniture and their favorite toys, books, and games. This is also a nice use for the sunroom if you have older kids that are traipsing in and out of the house all day in the summertime. It gives them a place to cool off.

Photo courtesy of Temo, Inc.

Hobby or Craft Rooms - Sunrooms

Use your sunroom as a craft or hobby room

Another option is to use your sunroom as a hobby or craft room. This is the perfect solution to those who have projects or hobbies that wind up taking over other rooms of the house. It’s also a great idea to use the sunroom as your hobby room if you have an artistic hobby or activity that requires a lot of natural light. Bring in whatever supplies you need to get started.

Photo courtesy of Parish Conservatories

Exercise or Spa Rooms - Sunrooms

Tired of being bound to the cold, dark basement to work out? A sunroom lets you enjoy the benefits of an outdoor workout—the natural sunlight and beautiful scenery—in the comfort of your home. Plus, you’ll never have to miss a workout because of inclement weather. A sunroom is also great for housing a hot tub. It gives you a private place to enjoy a calming soak whenever you please.

Sunroom with exercise equipment and spa
Photo courtesy of Temo Inc.

This article was written by Erie Construction. Follow Erie Construction on Twitter for updates on home improvement.

Loop-Loc Introduces New Safety Pool Enclosure – Idealcover

Idealcover Safety Swimming Pool Enclosure

LOOP-LOC, manufacturer of safety swimming pool covers, pool liners, and removable pool fencing, is proud to introduce Idealcover Enclosures to the U.S. marketplace. These beautiful pool enclosures are designed to provide an elegant look and maximum comfort while prolonging the swim season.

A leader in the European market, The Idealcover Enclosure offers homeowners all the benefits of a traditional swimming pool enclosure, including reduced evaporation and heat loss, reduced chemical usage, and lower maintenance costs, as well as the security of a safety cover.  The panels on the enclosure contain self-locking pins that must be manually lifted on either side of the enclosure before sliding the panels back. The enclosure’s doors can also be locked using a safety lock with a key.

Six standard models are available and range in design from low-profile structures that lie 2 ½ feet above the surface of the pool to taller, full-sized enclosures that accommodate movement and use of space under the entire enclosure. All models can be fully customized to fit exact specifications. In addition, a selection of decorative exterior finishes can be applied to the enclosure’s profiles and barrel segments to perfectly blend with any backyard and landscape.

For a full-color catalog and additional information on Idealcover Enclosures, email maryellen@looploc.com, or call 800-562-5667.

Photo courtesy of LOOP-LOC, LTD.

DIY: Homeowners Extend Patio with Eco-Friendly Pavers

Homeowners: David and Elisa
Location: Castro Valley, Calif.
: Extend outdoor living space by adding a deck to existing concrete patio and resurfacing entire area with VAST® Composite Resurfacing Pavers
: $2,000

  New Backyard Patio and Deck with Vast Composite Resurfacing Pavers

Before                                                                                       After


How they did it:

David first planned and built the framework for the new deck. He designed it so that the deck brings the home’s outdoor living area beyond the existing concrete patio and out to the hot tub. To create a cohesive look between the concrete patio and new deck, the couple decided to refinish the area (360 square feet) with the VAST® Composite Resurfacing Paver System they had seen at a home and garden show. “These pavers are low-profile so they could go on top of the old patio(no clearance problems). We could use them on the deck, too, for the unified look we wanted,” says Elisa. The pavers, which are made from 95 percent recycled materials, offer the look of brick pavers and are designed to cover old patios and decks for an easy renovation project.

Homeowner Installing Vast Composite Resurfacing Pavers in herringbone pattern

To install the composite paver system, David first laid down the installation grids over the patio and deck frame. He started from the edge of the concrete patio and worked his way out to the new deck. He used glue to secure the grid sections to the concrete patio. On the new deck, David fastened rows of the grids to the decking boards with 1 1/2- inch decking screws.” He then laid pavers (4 x 8 x 1.75 inches) in a herringbone pattern, alternating among three different colors of pavers for a stylish effect. David did not have to rent a concrete saw. To cut grid sections and pavers to shape and size for the edges and corners of the installation, he used just a regular 10-inch miter saw.  

“I liked that VAST’s installation grids make it easier to get good results,” says David. “You lay out the grid, insert the pavers, and the grid does the work of spacing and aligning them.” To finish the design, he used pavers of the same color in a basketweave pattern to create an attractive border.

“We could not have afforded to tear out the concrete part and build [an] all new [patio],” says Elisa.  “In the end, we got a beautiful patio with a green product that’s easy to install and maintain.”

Backyard Hot Tub Deck with Vast Composite Resurfacing Pavers

About VAST®

VAST® Composite Resurfacing Pavers are manufactured by VAST Enterprises, LLC (www.vastpavers.com), a materials science research and manufacturing company in Minneapolis, Minn. VAST composite masonry products are a patented blend of post-consumer recycled automobile tires and plastic containers. Since its founding in 2006, VAST has used more than five million pounds of recycled rubber and plastics to create their array of top quality products.

Photos courtesy of Vast Enterprises, LLC

Top 10 Outdoor Living Trends

Every year the American Society of Landscape Architects surveys residential landscape professionals to rank the relative popularity of a wide variety of design features to be included in outdoor living spaces. This year, lighting, firepits, and areas for sitting and dining were expected to be the most sought-after enhancements for outdoor spaces.

Check out the list below to find out what else topped the list for 2011, and get ideas for your backyard for 2012.

Kichler Outdoor Landscape Lighting

Outdoor lighting (rated as popular for 2011 by 96.2% of the respondents) allows you to enjoy your backyard both day and night and creates an inviting atmosphere.

Landscape lights along pathways and walkways make it easy for you and your guest to reach sitting areas safely.

Outdoor lighting fixtures provide ambiance and adequate lighting for entertaining on your patio or deck at night.

Photo courtesy of Kichler Lighting

Fire pits/Fireplaces (94.2%)
Lexington Firepit from Brookstone

Outdoor firepits and fireplaces create the perfect nighttime gathering spot to relax, eat and drink, and share stories. They also let you enjoy your outdoor living space throughout fall and early winter.

Portable firepits come in a range of styles and materials, including wrought-iron, stainless steel, and copper to match any backyard.

Built-in firepits and fireplaces can be finished in stone or brick and add a custom look to your outdoor space.

      Photo courtesy of Brookstone

      Seating/Dining Areas (94.1%)
      Pride Family Brands Electra Cushioned Outdoor Dining Set

      Having various places for people to sit and socialize extends your living space to the outdoors.

      Outdoor dining options range from small Bistro sets for two people to large patio dining tables that seat up to 12.

      A simple wooden bench offers the perfect place to catch up with an old friend.

      Cushioned chairs and a few side tables encourage group conversation.

          Photo courtesy of Pride Family Brands

          Grills (93.8%)
          Performer Grill by Weber

          The grill is a backyard staple. There’s nothing like a summer barbecue with family and friends.

          From freestanding carts to complete grilling islands, there’s a grill to fit every lifestyle and budget.

          Fuel options include propane, natural gas, electric, and charcoal.

              2011 Weber-Stephen Products LLC. Used with Permission.

              Installed seating (89.5%)
              Master Pools Builder Gib-San Pools

              You can never have enough places to sit when entertaining outdoors.

              Incorporating retaining walls, ledges, benches, and steps in your backyard design adds both style and function.

                  Photo courtesy of Master Pools Builder: Gib-San Pools, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

                  Weatherized Outdoor Furniture (83.6%)
                  Palm Springs Rattan Kokomo Sectional

                  The latest outdoor furniture designs bring the comfort of your indoor living room to your backyard patio.

                  Durable materials, including wood, wicker, aluminum, wrought-iron, and plastic, ensure your outdoor furniture lasts for years.

                  Weatherproof fabrics add color and comfort.

                      Photo courtesy of Palm Springs Rattan & Garden Classics.
                      Photography by Chris Baber.

                      Space for Cooking & Entertaining
                      Weber Black Grill Station

                      Just like your indoor kitchen, having ample counter space (74.2%) and utility storage (61.3%) makes entertaining so much easier.

                      Stow cooking gear in cabinets and add a few bar stools around a counter top so that you can prep food and spend time with your guests.

                          2011 Weber-Stephen Products LLC.
                          Used with Permission.

                          Outdoor Entertainment
                          SunBrite Weatherproof Outdoor TV

                          With an outdoor stereo system (58.3%), wireless internet connection (46.35), and weatherproof TV (45.4%), no one will be thinking of going back indoors.

                              Photo courtesy of SunBriteTV.

                              Kitchen Conveniences
                              Photo courtesy of Cimarron Circle Construction Co.; Outdoor Kitchen Designed by Prideux Design; Photography by Balfour Walker

                              Having everything, including the kitchen sink (54.7%), eliminates the hassle of running in and out of the house.

                              Plus, an outdoor refrigerator (50.2%) not only keeps drinks cold but ensures proper handling of food.

                                  Aquatech, a National Society of Pool-Building & Retailing Professionals;
                                   Photo courtesy of Cimarron Circle Construction Co.; Designed by Prideux Design; Photography by Balfour Walker.

                                  Outdoor Heaters (44.4%)

                                  Outdoor Pergola Foegley Landscape, Inc.

                                  Outdoor heaters keep your patio or deck warm and toasty long after the summer has ended.

                                  Table top heaters take up minimal space and can be moved from one area to another. Freestanding units provide heat to large areas.

Holiday Gift Ideas for Pool, Spa & Backyard Lovers

Wave Hammock by Outback Chair Company

The holidays are right around the corner and if you’re like most people, you probably have a few friends or family members left to buy presents for. To help ease the stress of last-minute holiday shopping, we’ve put together this holiday gift guide full of great gift ideas for the pool, spa, and backyard lover on your list.

Photo courtesy of Outback Company

Gifts for Hot Tub Lovers

Spazazz RX Therapy Spa Scents

    • Spa Fragrances – Enhance their hot tub experience with an aromatherapy gift basket filled with an assortment of liquid or crystal spa fragrances such as calming Lavender, refreshing Eucalyptus, and soothing Chamomile.

Photo courtesy of Spazazz Global LLC

Brookstone Towel Warmer

    • Towel Warmer – Any hot tub user will be thankful for the cozy embrace of a warm towel when stepping out of the hot tub on chilly nights or during the winter months. They can also use it to heat mittens, hats, and blankets.

Photo courtesy of Brookstone

Gifts for Pool Lovers

AquaFit Pro Bells from AquaJogger

    • Aquatic Fitness Equipment – A pair of water dumbbells lets fitness fanatics get a great workout right in their pool.

    Photo courtesy of AquaJogger®

        Audio Unlimited Pool Pod by Cables Unlimited

          • Floating Pool Speakers – Swimmers will have a rockin’ good time listening to their favorite tunes while lounging in the pool or relaxing in a hot tub. These waterproof wireless speakers use a base station to transmit tunes from an iPod, iPhone, MP3 player, or other audio source right to the pool.

        Photo courtesy of Audio Unlimited by Cables Unlimited.
        Photography by Brian Esterlin.

          • Pool Party Gift Basket – Beach towels, sunblock, flip-flops, and pool floats—a pool owner can never have enough of these items on hand when entertaining family and friends. Put together a gift basket filled with these items, plus a few bottles of shampoo and conditioner, a beach ball, and a gift card for the local pizza or sub shop for a thoughtful gift they’ll surely appreciate.

Gifts for Backyard Lovers

Hatteras All-Weather Wicker Roman Arch Hammock

    • Hammock – This present is sure to please. According to the Journal of The American Medical Association, woven cotton and nylon hammocks provide excellent back support and are an excellent tool for relieving stress. (You may want to keep this one for yourself!)
Photo courtesy of Hatteras Hammocks/The Hammock Source

Lexington Firepit from Brookstone

    • Firepit - An outdoor firepit is an excellent purchase for outdoor entertainers. It gives them a great spot to relax and gather with family and friends and can also extend their outdoor living season.

Photo courtesy of Brookstone

Vienna Wind Chime by Gooserocksdesigns.com

    • Wind Chimes – With a range of musical tones and eye-catching designs to choose from, you’ll be sure to find the perfect wind chime for that special someone on your holiday gift list. You can even get them engraved for a truly unique and personalized gift.

Photo courtesy of gooserocksdesigns.com.
Photo by Heath Paley.

Wireless iPod MP3 player_Eton

    • Wireless Sound System –  A wireless unit makes it easy for music lovers to enjoy their favorite tunes while lounging by the pool or entertaining friends. Though not weatherproof, these sound systems typically include a plastic covering to protect your iPod or MP3 player while in use.

Photo courtesy of OSD Audio, Stereostone, Inc and Etón Corporation

4 Ways to Extend Your Outdoor Living Season

Four Products That Extend Outdoor Living

The Outdoor GreatRoom Company

The arrival of fall means the days are getting shorter, the nights are growing longer, and the weather is beginning to cool down in many areas of the country. But your time spent outdoors doesn’t have to end. Enjoy your backyard well into the fall season by adding one or several of these items to your outdoor space:

1. Fire Features –
Outdoor fireplaces and firepits bring the warmth and ambiance of your living room to your backyard, creating a cozy place for your family and friends to gather on a chilly fall night. An outdoor fireplace is permanently installed as either a stand-alone structure or built into an existing wall. It can be surrounded with brick, stucco, stone, or concrete to complement the architectural style of your home and can use wood, natural gas, or propane for fuel.

range from a permanent pit in the ground enclosed by brick or concrete to a portable bowl-shaped structure made of metal. Firepits can use wood or natural gas to create a controlled bonfire in your backyard.

(Note: Be sure to check with your local municipality office before adding a fireplace or firepit to your backyard. There may be regulations regarding the type of fireplace you can have or the type of fuel that can be used.)

For a list of firepit companies and resources, visit our Outdoor Heaters & Firepits Buyers' Guide.

2. Outdoor Heaters
– Outdoor heaters radiate a pleasant circle of heat so you can relax or dine al fresco amid the vivid fall foliage. Tall, freestanding patio heaters with an umbrella-style top are the most common type of outdoor heater. They’re often used at restaurants with outdoor seating, but these are also available for at-home use. They operate on natural gas, propane, or electricity and can heat an area of up to 20 feet in diameter. Though made of stainless steel, these heaters are available in several different finishes—including bronze, copper, black powder coat, and custom paint—to fit the style of any deck or patio.

Tabletop heaters
are a smaller version of the traditional freestanding units and come in a variety of finishes and designs including decorative styles that look like lamps. Available as gas or electric units, tabletop heaters provide a heat radius of up to 8 feet and work well for patios with small outdoor seating/dining areas. 

Wall-mounted patio heaters are typically powered by electricity and concentrate heat in a small area using infrared technology. Though limited in style, a wall-mounted heater works well for small decks and patios because it doesn’t occupy floor space. Most patio heaters feature manual heat adjusters and an automatic shut-off that turns off the heater when it reaches a set temperature.

(Note: Outside heaters are not designed for indoor use. Installation of an outdoor heater must confirm to your local codes and ordinances.)

3. Gazebos
– Another way to extend the season is with a gazebo. Gazebos create a beautiful focal point in your backyard and provide an inviting place to relax with your coffee on a crisp autumn morning or host a tailgate party with your closest friends. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials, including wood, vinyl, and metal. Though gazebos are traditionally open-sided structures, newer models allow for removable vinyl or plexiglass windows that extend their use in cooler weather by offering protection from chilly winds. Window options range from simple roll-down  vinyl panels that are fastened to the gazebo’s wall posts with Velcro to track-style vinyl or plexiglass window panels in an aluminum frame that mount to the wall sections of the gazebo.

4. Lighting
– As the days get shorter, proper lighting will keep you and your guests out of the dark on lovely fall evenings. Place path lights along walkways, driveways, and other small areas of your backyard to provide an illuminated route to your patio or deck. Add both beauty and function by lighting up the perimeter of you deck with lantern-style solar LED post lights. If you have a covered patio or gazebo, try hanging a wrought-iron chandelier or string lights for sparkle and ambiance.

Photo courtesy of The Outdoor GreatRoom® Company

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