Pool & Spa Outdoor Blog

8 Scary Sweet Halloween Treats

These spooky and fun Halloween dessert recipes will make everyone scream…when there's no more left. Serve them at your Halloween party for a tasty treat or have a ghoulishly good time making them with the kids.



Chocolate Gremlins RecipeChocolate Gremlins

Prep time: 15 min
Total time: 15 min
Makes: 24 cookies


1 cup butterscotch chips

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

2 cups Fiber One® original bran cereal

48 miniature candy-coated chocolate baking bits


1. In 2-quart saucepan, heat butterscotch chips and chocolate chips over low heat, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth.

2. Gently stir in cereal until well coated. Onto waxed paper, drop mixture by teaspoonfuls to form 24 "gremlins." Press 2 baking bits onto each to resemble eyes. Refrigerate until set.

To create werewolf gremlins, add 2 slivered almonds to each cookie for fangs. Chow mein noodles can be substituted for the cereal.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Pillsbury.com

Frightfully Easy Ghosts & Cute Bugs Halloween RecipeFrightfully Easy Ghosts & Cute Bugs

Prep time: 40 min
Total time: 40 min
Makes: 32 cookies


8 oz vanilla-flavored candy coating, cut into pieces

8 oz chocolate-flavored candy coating, cut into pieces

1 package (1 lb) peanut-shaped peanut butter-filled sandwich cookies

32 miniature semisweet chocolate chips (about 2 teaspoons)

16 regular-size semisweet chocolate chips

32 small pretzel twists

32 miniature candy-coated chocolate baking bits


1. Line cookie sheets with waxed paper. In 2 (1-quart) saucepans, separately melt vanilla candy coating and chocolate candy coating over low heat, stirring each constantly, until smooth.

2. Ghost cookies will be dipped in vanilla coating; bug cookies will be dipped in chocolate coating. Coat and decorate a few cookies at a time as coating sets up quickly. For each ghost or bug, place cookie in coating; lift out with fork, letting excess drip off. Place cookies, coated side up, on cookie sheets.

3. For each ghost, place 2 miniature chocolate chips on each coated cookie to resemble eyes and 1 regular chocolate chip for mouth. Let stand 10 minutes until set.

4. For bugs, cut pretzels into curved pieces for legs. Dip one end of each curved piece in chocolate coating; place 3 legs on each side of each cookie. Cut 2 short pieces for antennae. Dip one end of each pretzel piece in coating; place 2 antennae on top of each cookie. Place 2 candy-coated baking bits near antennae for eyes. Let stand 10 minutes until set.

Substitute colored candy coating wafers for multicolored cutie bugs. Brands of candy coating vary in degree of thickness when melted. If the mixture is too thick for dipping, stir in melted shortening, a teaspoon at a time, to thin the mixture.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Pillsbury.com

Frankenstein's Monster's Toes Cookie Halloween RecipeFrankenstein's Monster's Toes

Prep time: 1 Hr 10 Min
Total time: 2 Hr 10 Min
Makes: 36 cookies


1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) sugar cookie mix

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

7 drops green food color

36 whole blanched almonds

1/2 teaspoon red food color


1. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, flour, melted butter, egg, almond extract and green food color until soft dough forms. Cover; refrigerate 1 hour.

2. Meanwhile, place almonds and red food color in resealable food-storage plastic bag; shake bag until almonds are evenly coated with food color. Place on paper plate or waxed paper to dry. Set aside.

3. Heat oven to 375°F. For each cookie, roll heaping teaspoonful of dough into 2 1/2-inch finger shape. On ungreased cookie sheets, place shapes 2 inches apart.

4. Press almond, colored side up, into one end of each “toe” to look like toenail. About 1 inch from each end of each “toe,” squeeze dough slightly; with knife, gently make lines in dough to look like knuckles.

5. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until set. (Cookies should not brown along edges.) Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.

Blanched almonds are almonds that have the skin removed. They are widely available in grocery stores. For more vibrantly colored fingers, use paste food color instead of liquid food color.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Pillsbury.com

Witches' Brooms Halloween RecipeWitches’ Brooms

Prep time: 35 Min
Total time: 1 Hr 20 Min
Servings: 20


1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

10 pretzel rods, about 8 1/2 inches long, cut crosswise in half

2 teaspoons shortening

2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Butterscotch-flavored chips, melted


1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Mix brown sugar, butter, water and vanilla in medium bowl. Stir in flour and salt. Shape dough into twenty 1 1/4-inch balls.

2. Place pretzel rod halves on ungreased cookie sheet. Press ball of dough onto cut end of each pretzel rod. Press dough with fork to resemble "bristles" of broom.

3. Bake about 12 minutes or until set but not brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool completely on wire rack, about 30 minutes.

4. Cover cookie sheet with waxed paper. Place brooms on waxed paper. Heat shortening and chocolate chips over low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth; remove from heat. Spoon melted chocolate over brooms, leaving about 1 inch at top of pretzel handle and bottom halves of cookie bristles uncovered. Drizzle with melted butterscotch chips. Let stand until chocolate is set.

Recipe and photo courtesy of BettyCrocker.com

Halloween Chex Mix RecipeHalloween Chex Mix

Prep time: 10 Min
Total time: 40 Min
Servings: 18


8 oz white chocolate baking bars, coarsely chopped

4 cups Corn Chex® or Rice Chex® cereal

2 cups bite-size pretzel twists

1/2 cup raisins

1 cup candy corn

1/4 cup Betty Crocker® orange and black candy decors


1. In large microwavable bowl, microwave chopped baking bars uncovered on High 1 minute 30 seconds to 2 minutes 30 seconds, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth.

2. Gently stir in cereal, pretzels and raisins until evenly coated. Stir in candy corn and decors.

3. Spread on waxed paper or foil until cool and chocolate is set, about 30 minutes. Break into chunks. Store loosely covered.

Recipe and photo courtesy of BettyCrocker.com

Boo Brownie Cupcakes Halloween RecipeBoo Brownie Cupcakes

Prep time: 20 Min
Total time: 1 Hr 25 Min
Servings: 16


1 box (1 lb 6.5 oz) supreme brownie mix with pouch of chocolate flavor syrup

Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on brownie box

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

1/4 cup white vanilla baking chips


1. Heat oven to 350°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 16 regular-size muffin cups; spray paper cups with baking spray with flour. Make brownie batter as directed; stir in dark chocolate chips. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

2. In small resealable freezer plastic bag, place vanilla chips; seal bag. Microwave on High about 20 seconds or until softened. Gently squeeze bag until chips are smooth. If necessary, continue to microwave at 10-second intervals. Cut off tiny corner of bag. Squeeze bag on top of unbaked cupcakes to draw ghost shapes.

3. Bake 24 to 26 minutes or until tops appear cracked and dry. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Recipe and photo courtesy of BettyCrocker.com

Cookie Bones Halloween RecipeCookie Bones

Prep time: 2 hr 45 min
Total time: 3 hr 15 min
Servings: 48


1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® sugar cookie mix

1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 tablespoons Gold Medal® all-purpose flour

1 egg

24 pretzel rods, broken in half

3 cups white vanilla baking chips (18 oz)


1. Heat oven to 350°F. In medium bowl, stir cookie mix, butter, flour and egg until soft dough forms. Place dough in refrigerator to chill slightly, about 30 minutes.

2. Roll dough into 96 half-tablespoon-size balls. Press and roll 1 dough ball around both ends of each pretzel to from bone shape; repeat with remaining dough and pretzels. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until edges of cookie are light golden brown. Cool completely on cooling rack, about 15 minutes.

3. In small microwavable bowl, microwave baking chips uncovered on High in 30-second increments until melted when stirred. Dip each cookie into coating. Place on cooling rack until set, about 15 minutes.

Recipe and photo courtesy of BettyCrocker.com

Bats & Bones Brownie Pizza Halloween RecipeBats & Bones Brownie Pizza

Prep time: 10 min
Total time: 55 min
Servings: 16

What You Need

1 pkg. (16 oz.) brownie mix

Yellow and red food coloring (15 drops yellow, 3 drops red)

2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping

12 fun-size candy bars (1/2 oz. each), chopped (about 1 cup)

2 Tbsp. Halloween sprinkles

Make It

2. Prepare brownie batter as directed on package; spread onto bottom of 12-inch pizza pan sprayed with cooking spray. Bake 15 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake.) Cool 30 min.

3. Add food colorings to COOL WHIP; stir gently until well blended. Spread over brownie; top with remaining ingredients.

4. Cut into wedges.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Kraft Foods

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4 Easy Recipes for Fall

Delicious Fall Recipes

From dinner to dessert, savor the flavors of the season with these four tasty and easy-to-prepare recipes.

Easy Fall Ratatouille Recipe Easy Fall Ratatouille

Total Time: 58 min
Prep: 20 min
Servings: 8 servings, about 1 cup each

What You Need:

1 eggplant, cut into bite-size pieces
1 onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 red pepper, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1/4 cup KRAFT Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette Dressing
1 can  (14.5 oz.) no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
2 Tbsp. KRAFT Reduced Fat Parmesan Style Grated Topping
1/2 cup  KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Make It:

HEAT oven to 350°F. COOK and stir first 5 ingredients in large skillet on medium-high heat 6 to 8 min. or until vegetables are crisp-tender and lightly browned. ADD tomatoes; cook 15 min., stirring occasionally. Spoon into casserole; top with grated topping and mozzarella. BAKE 15 min. or until mozzarella is melted and vegetable mixture is heated through.

Seriously Simple Beef Stew Recipe
Seriously Simple Beef Stew

Total Time: 2 hr 25 min
Prep: 15 min
Servings: 8 servings, 1 cup each

What You Need:

1 boneless beef chuck eye roast (2 lb.), cut into 1-inch chunks
2 cups water
3/4 cup KRAFT Original Barbecue Sauce
1-1/2 lb. baking potatoes (about 3), cut into 1-inch chunks
6 carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch-thick slices
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup A.1. Thick & Hearty Steak Sauce

Make It:

BRING meat, water and barbecue sauce to boil in Dutch oven or deep large skillet; cover. Simmer on medium-low heat 1 hour. ADD vegetables; stir. Cook, covered, 1 hour or until meat and vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. STIR in steak sauce; cook 2 min.

One-Pan Baked Chicken & Sweet Potatoes Recipe
One-Pan Baked Chicken & Sweet Potatoes

Total Time: 1 hr 15 min

Prep: 15 min
Servings: 4 servings

What You Need:

1/2 cup KRAFT Zesty Italian Dressing
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
1-1/2 lb. sweet potatoes (about 3), cut into 3/4-inch-wide wedges
1 broiler-fryer chicken (3 lb.), cut into 8 pieces

Make It:

HEAT oven to 375ºF. MIX dressing, sugar and thyme in large bowl. Add potatoes; toss to coat. Transfer potatoes to 15x10x1-inch pan, reserving dressing mixture in bowl. ADD chicken to reserved dressing mixture; toss to coat. Place in pan with potatoes. BAKE 1 hour or until potatoes are tender and chicken is done (165ºF). Transfer chicken and potatoes to platter. Strain drippings from pan; pour strained sauce over chicken.

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting Recipe
Pumpkin Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting

Total Time: 1 hr 50 min

Prep: 20 min
Servings: 16 servings

What You Need:

1 pkg. (2-layer size) spice cake mix
1 cup water
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup oil
3 eggs
3/4 cup chopped PLANTERS Walnuts
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese, softened
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup thawed COOL WHIP LITE Whipped Topping

Make It:

HEAT oven to 350ºF. BEAT first 5 ingredients in large bowl with mixer 2 min. or until well blended. Stir in nuts. Pour into 13x9-inch pan sprayed with cooking spray. BAKE 30 to 32 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely. BEAT Neufchatel and sugar in small bowl with mixer until well blended. Add COOL WHIP; mix well. Spread over cake.

Recipes and photos courtesy of Kraft Foods

Easy Ways to Decorate Your Yard for Fall

Southern Living Magazine

Decorating your yard for fall is a great way to celebrate the natural beauty of the season and welcome the upcoming holidays. It can also be a fun family activity where you spend a crisp autumn afternoon sipping hot apple cider, playing in the leaves, and decorating the yard together.

Pumpkins, hay bales, and corn stalks are all you’ll need to turn your backyard into a delightful fall scene—and create the perfect background for taking pictures of the kids. Find inspiration below for ways to add these festive items to your yard.

Photo copyright Southern Living

- Nothing symbolizes the fall season more than pumpkins. These versatile veggies can be added to your fall landscape in a variety of ways.

    • - Place pumpkins of varying shapes and sizes in a series of rows in a designated area of your yard to create your own pumpkin patch.
    • - Paint or carve out letters on individual pumpkins and arrange them on steps or walkways to display messages such as “Welcome” or “Happy Fall.”
    • - Create charming pumpkin planters for your fall flowers by cutting a large opening on the top of the pumpkin and hollowing it out; then drill a drainage hole in the bottom of the pumpkin, fill it with potting soil, and add your favorite fall blossoms.

    • Scarecrows - Scarecrows are a fun addition to any fall setting. You can buy one from a local craft store or nursery, or make your own with a few simple items:

      1. 1. Grab an old pair of jeans and a plaid shirt and secure the ends of the legs and sleeves with rubber bands.
      2. 2. Attach the shirt to the jeans with safety pins and then stuff the clothing with newspaper or straw to form the body.
      3. 3. Stuff garden gloves and a pair of shoes with hay to make the hands and feet; use a pumpkin or pillow case filled with straw for the scarecrow’s head.
      4. 4. Finally, use markers or paint to create a face.

      5. Be as creative as you want. You can make your scarecrow resemble a family member, friendly neighbor, or even a famous celebrity for an amusing showpiece!

        Corn Stalks - Use dried cornstalks to add a rustic touch to your fall landscape.

          • - Tie a few tall corn stalks together with twine, raffia, or a decorative fall-colored ribbon and attach bundles around trees and gazebo posts or along your fence.
          • - Dress up an arbor or trellis by covering the structure in corn stalks and adding seasonal accents like Indian corn, acorns, and small gourds.
          Hay Bales – Available at home improvement stores or your local nursery, hay bales provide the perfect base for an attractive fall arrangement.

            • - Stack a couple hay bales in the corner of your patio, deck, or yard and set pumpkins, potted flowers, and other festive items on the different levels to make a charming display—and a great spot for pictures.
            • - You can also use hay bales as seating for outdoor fall gatherings or Halloween parties. Set a couple large, square hay bales in a row to make a simple bench or use several hay bales to form a couch:
              1. 1. Create the base of the couch by making two rows of three to four hay bales (the more hay bales, the wider the couch).
              2. 2. Stack another three to four hay bales on top of the back row to form the back of the couch.
              3. 3. Stack two additional hay bales on either side of the couch to form armrests.
              4. 4. Then cover the couch with burlap, canvas, or old sheets for a casual, yet chic spot to relax with family and friends.

              5. (Note: Keep hay bales away from your fireplace, firepit, or heater. Make sure you use dry hay as wet hay generates heat and can start a fire.)

Sweet & Savory Apple Recipes

October is National Apple Month, so whether you prefer red or green, sweet or tart, grab your favorite type of apple and try one (or all) of these delicious apple recipes.



Apple Cranberry Granola Bars RecipeApple Cran Granola Bars


Nonstick cooking spray

1 ¼ cups coarsely chopped dried apples

1/4 -1/3 cup apple juice or cider

1/3 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped

2 cups quick-cooking oats

1 cup slightly chopped walnuts

1/2 cup toasted wheat germ

1/3 cup steel-ground oats

1/2 cup Agave Nectar *

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

*Light Corn Syrup may be substituted for Agave Nectar, using same measurement


1.     Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the inside of a 9-inch-square baking pan or dish with heavy foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Generously coat foil with cooking spray. Set pan aside.

2.     Combine apples, juice, and cranberries in small saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat about 4 minutes or until juice has evaporated and fruit is softened. Remove from heat; set aside.

3.     Place quick-cooking oats, walnuts, wheat germ, and steel-cut oats in a single layer in a large, shallow baking pan. Bake in preheated oven about 15 minutes or until lightly brown, stirring once halfway through baking. Remove from oven; cool slightly.

4.     Meanwhile, stir together *agave nectar, brown sugar, and oil in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Gently simmer over medium heat for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla.

5.     Immediately, stir in salt and baking soda until mixture just begins to foam. Then stir in oat mixture until evenly coated. Then stir in the apple mixture. Transfer to the prepared baking pan. Press mixture down firmly with the back of a spatula or metal spoon lightly sprayed with nonstick coating.

6.     Bake about 20 minutes or until top begins to lightly brown. Cool completely in baking pan. Use foil to lift granola out of pan. Cut into bars; remove from foil. Store in a single layer in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Makes 16 bars.

Apple Cheddar Pizza with Roasted Pecans RecipeApple Cheddar Pizza with Roasted Pecans


1 (12 oz. can) refrigerated, ready-made pizza dough

Vegetable oil cooking spray

3 large apples, thinly sliced

1 cup apple juice

1 Tbsp. cornstarch

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

2 Tbsp. honey

1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans

1 cup grated white cheddar cheese


Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly coat 14-inch pizza pan with cooking spray. Press dough into pizza pan. Cook apples in apple juice until tender. Drain off juice and reserve. Place apple slices on dough. Dissolve cornstarch in apple juice, cinnamon, and honey. Cook over medium heat until clear. Spread sauce over apples. Sprinkle pecans on top. Top with cheese. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.

Servings: 8

Apple Almond Tart RecipeApple Almond Tart


1 sheet frozen pie crust

1/2 cup almond paste (5 ounces)

1 large egg

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

5 cups apples, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons apricot preserves, heated



Preheat oven to 425 F. Coat a baking sheet with non-stick spray. Press dough out on to rectangle on baking sheet. Prick dough all over with fork tines to prevent bubbling. Bake until it begins to brown, about 10 minutes; remove from oven. Meanwhile, in food processor, combine almond paste, egg and sugar. Process until smooth, fold in 2 cups apples. Spread mixture over dough. Layer top with remaining sliced apples. Brush with apricot preserves; broil on high until apples begin to wilt, about 1 minute. Cut into squares and serve.

Servings: 8

Smokey Apple & Butternut Squash Soup RecipeSmokey Apple & Butternut Squash Soup


1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 large onions, finely chopped (about 4-1/2 cups)

1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder

2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks (about 6 cups)

1 pound sweet apples, peeled and cut into chunks (about 3-1/2 cups)

1 cup apple juice (more if necessary)

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


Heat oil and butter in large saucepan; add onions and chili powder; cook and stir until onions are tender, about 10 minutes. Add squash, apples, apple juice, chicken broth, salt and pepper; bring to boil. Cover and cook on low heat until apples and squash are very soft, about 30 minutes. Cool. Puree with an immersion blender or a food processor; return to saucepan. Add additional apple juice or broth, if needed. Garnish with toasted pecans, sour cream swirls and thin apple slices, if desired.

Yield: 7 cups

Recipes and photos courtesy of the U.S. Apple Association

Viking Pools Acquires Trilogy Pools

Viking Pools, LLC, a division of Latham International, announced today that it has acquired Trilogy Pools, a leading manufacturer of fiberglass swimming pools.

Ted Baudendistel, President of Trilogy Pools, said: “I am pleased to be joining forces with the leader in the industry. I am particularly pleased that the Trilogy product line will continue to exist as a separate brand with its unique merits and characteristics.” Trilogy operates a single manufacturing plant in Fayetteville, TN.

Viking’s President, Tom Straub, added that: “Trilogy is a strong competitor, with many quality builders located principally throughout the eastern half of the U.S. Together we can better serve customers with cutting edge marketing programs, and the broadest and most innovative product lines in the industry. By adding a sixth US manufacturing location, we improve our ability to service our customers in these markets. We are raising the bar in terms of service for the one piece fiberglass pool industry.”

In addition to Viking, Latham International produces several well known swimming pool brands including: Pacific Pools, Ft. Wayne Pools, Kafko Pools, and Coverstar Autocovers. Mark Laven, Latham’s President & CEO, said that he was “very pleased to add Trilogy to the Company’s family of brands. Trilogy owners, Ted Baudendistel and Rick Black, have built a good business with quality products, and have a great reputation in the industry. We’re delighted they will continue on and be part of our fiberglass pools division.”

Latham International is the leading manufacturer of inground residential swimming pools and components in North America. It employs more than 900 people in 20 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Festive Fall Landscape Ideas

Southern Living Magazine

The brightly colored leaves, crisp weather, and festive atmosphere mean fall has arrived. The changing of the season marks the perfect time to update the look of your outdoor living space.

Whether you live in a region that experiences the lovely transition between summer and winter or an area that boasts summer-like weather practically year-round, you can easily transform your backyard into a dazzling autumn display using the warm colors and natural beauty of the season. Try some of these simple and inexpensive ideas to decorate your backyard landscape for the fall.

Photo copyright Southern Living

Seasonal Flowers
- An array of autumnal blooms can bring the rich, vibrant colors of the season to your yard.

    • - Chrysanthemums, or “mums,” are the classic fall flower, but Montbretia, Hypericum, Helenium, Aster, Roses, and even Sunflowers are ready available in the fall. All of these blooms boast the stunning warm hues of season, from golden yellows and fiery oranges to deep lavenders and crimson reds. (Check with your local horticultural extension about the best fall plants for your area.)
    • - Plant fall flowers directly in your garden or display them in pretty planters for an easy update. Container gardening makes it easy to move the plants in and out of the sun, depending on how they hold up in your climate. They are also great for adding color and interest to decks, patios, and walkways.

    • Autumn Wreaths - Take advantage of the natural beauty in your yard by using the colorful leaves to create decorative wreaths and swags to hang on your fence, deck, arbor, or outdoor fireplace. To make a wreath:

      • - Purchase a basic wreath form from your local craft store.
      • - Attach a group of leaves with ends facing clockwise to the base with hot glue or a U-shaped floral pin (available at craft stores).
      • - Keep adding the leaves in the same direction, slightly overlapping each grouping to conceal the pins/glue. Once you’ve made it around the base, repeat the process working counterclockwise to cover the entire base.
      • - For a decorative touch, you can embellish the wreath with pine cones, dried corn, berries, or other seasonal items.

      • (Note: If using the wreath inside your home, bake the leaves in an oven for 45 minutes at 200 degree F to kill any insects or eggs.)

        Fall-Themed Accessories - You can completely change the look of your patio or deck for fall simply by updating your outdoor furniture and accessories:

        • - Use outdoor cushions and pillows in the season’s warm tones, such as burgundy, gold, chocolate, orange, and red.
        • - Add a welcome mat or outdoor rug with the colors and images of fall such as leaves, pumpkins, trees, or acorns.
        • - Arrange twigs, small gourds, berries, pine cones, and other fall materials on your outdoor table to create a festive centerpiece. 
        Festive Lighting – The right outdoor light fixtures can create the perfect autumn ambience around your landscape.

        • - Establish the rustic feel of the harvest season with wrought-iron lantern-style light fixtures, such as wall sconces, deck posts, and chandeliers.
        • - Suspend several round, orange-colored paper lanterns from pergola beams or tree branches for an elegant accent that resembles to quintessential symbol of the season: pumpkins!
        • - Adorn deck rails, gazebo posts, or trees with strings of orange and yellow lights for seasonal sparkle.
        • - You can also strewn party lights with fall-themed covers, such as pumpkins, leaves, or acorns, along your fence for simple decoration.

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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