Backyard Living Spaces

Everyone wants something unique and unusual in their back yard. In the desert landscaping scenario its a bit easier to get that kind of thing since the back yard is in use all year around. When it comes to something different for your back yard outdoor kitchen and barbecue centers another innovative product that a great landscaper can offer you is a wood fired pizza oven.

Whats more fun than Pizza and the parties that it can engender? The answer to that has to be a pizza oven, outdoors, wood fired and providing the best of the pizza that the world has to offer.

Typically the Italians offer wood fired ovens to create the best of the gourmet pizza that can be found in the United States and around the world.

One of the items that is quite often found as an addition to desert landscaping is the outdoor wood burning pizza ovens. These are not just for business or for Italian restaurants, they are also for the discerning or the fun loving home owner. Your outdoor kitchen or barbecue area will benefit from the addition of a wood burning pizza oven on your property.

A good landscaping company can offer you an amazing and attractive new element to your next back yard party–a pizza oven that will be the hit of your neighborhood. Wood burning pizza ovens are of course the state of the art, but there are also some easier solutions such as gas pizza ovens as well as much more.

One of the first things you’re going to need to determine when it comes to ordering your outdoor wood burning pizza oven will be to figure out precisely what you need. Some of the smaller or more standard size of ovens will be about three feet wide. The measurement is the dimension of the interior. This permits it to heat up very rapidly in under an hours time. An oven of this size is capable of cooking between two and ten pizzas at one time and doing them to absolute perfection.

In addition to the wood fired ovens you might also elect one of the authentic brick outdoor ovens for your backyard. Forno Bravo Pizza ovens are among the best in the world and are one that you might consider as something that could easily be fitted out in your desert landscaping project.

For your next barbecue or party, offer something unique and intriguing in your back yard. Make it a cut above the rest for what you can offer to your guests. Get your wood fired pizza oven installed and find out why the Italian chefs won’t do it any other way.

Christopher D. Griffin is an author and recognized expert in the field of Scottsdale AZ Landscaping and Landscaping Scottsdale. He specializes in all aspects of outdoor construction. Combined with his NFL experience (1996-1997) and civil engineering degree (B.S. University of New Mexico), Chris is an innovative genius in creating backyard environments and portrays his work at

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Backyard Tilapia Farming

Fish farming has become an alternative solution to the rising market demand for fresh fish. It can also be a profitable business for homeowners and can give additional income to your family if you learn how to start, operate and grow your own fish farm at home.

If you want to venture into home fish farming, you have to start by having a viable business plan. In the planning process, you have to take into account the economic, financial, and legal aspects of starting the business. You can start your home fish farming venture with a backyard pond. A good farm pond is one that is connected to any source of free-flowing water like lake or river. In home fish farming, fishes can also be raised in fish tanks and can be put indoors or outdoors.

Another important factor to consider in starting a home fish farming business is your budget. If you don’t have enough personal money for it, you may try availing financial support from government agencies. You should also plan how to market your fishes after growing them. You can sell them to restaurants or supermarkets or breed them. Experts say that you can get more profits if you hatch your own fish instead of paying a hatchery to supply you with young fish.

Aside from the moneymaking benefit of your home fish farm, it can also be a good source of fresh fish for your personal consumption. If you aren’t sure of making it a sole business, you can consider it as a hobby type part-time business instead.

The most popular fish that you can use in home fish farming is tilapia. However, you may also consider other species like carp, catfish or milkfish. Your decision on what type of fish to raise in your home fish farm should depend on the water quality, temperature and salt content of your farm.

In tilapia farming, your grow-out strategy should focus on controlling water quality in the farm and the food supply of your fish. To maintain the right environmental conditions in the pond culture for tilapia, you have to balance the inputs of feed with the pond’s assimilative capacity. The algae, bacteria and zooplankton in the pond will convert the waste through the natural biological processes.

The additional benefit offered by home fish farming to low-income farmers is the ability to invest in fish cultivation to give them additional income and food source.

For those with limited commercial inputs and resources needed for intensive fish production methods, you can try an alternative approach that is guaranteed to be low-cost. This is by relying on household waste supplemented with protein from snails and other homemade supplements to serve as food for the fish.

To ensure the success and profitability of your fish farm, you have to consider how to manage the potential problems that may arise to prevent them before they pose damage to your business like irregular supply of water, building up of organic matter, leakage or breakage in the pond wall, the predators, and fish diseases.

Carolyn Anderson is an advocate of organic gardening. For new techniques of organic gardening at home, check out this Ultimate Aquaponics Home System. Also check out The Cinder Block Gardening, where you can find great techniques that the busiest professionals can use to enjoy their free time in home gardening.

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Backyard Grill Cover

When you’re out shopping for an outdoor grill, be sure to look at the ones with a BBQ grill cover.  Some BBQ recipes require you to cover certain food while grilling.  A grill cover will also come in handy to protect the grill from the weather when you aren’t using it.  Taking good care of your grill will make it last longer.

Some states and regions experience snow, rain, extreme heat, frost, hail, moisture and humid conditions at different times of the year.  A BBQ grill cover can prevent damage during such circumstances and keep your grill in perfect working order longer.  The quality of the covers also varies, so buy a grill with a durable cover if possible.

The quality of grill covers varies in thickness, material, etc.  Consider the area where you live and the seasons and type of weather you have throughout the year.  For places with moderate climates, you can buy a grill with a thin cover.  But if you live in states or countries that have very harsh conditions and extreme changes in climate, a heavy-duty, thick and sturdy cover is advisable.

Another factor to consider is the location of the grill itself.  If your grill is portable and you have the option to store it indoors or in your garage when not in use, a lightweight and thin cover will do because it won’t be exposed to the elements for too long.  If your area has harsh weather and your outdoor grill is permanently installed in your backyard, you would definitely need a tougher cover.

Aside from temperature and climate, other things can affect your outdoor BBQ grill such as dry leaves, bird droppings, insects and so forth.  Aside from damaging your grill, these are also unsanitary and can stain the surface of your expensive grill.  Some stains, if left for months won’t come off that easily.  You can avoid these from happening by using a BBQ grill cover. 

Most BBQ grills today automatically come with grill covers.  The sizes and style differ though.  Consider the shape and size of the cover when buying a grill.  Some food that requires covering won’t cook well if the cover is too small or too large.  If you are buying the BBQ grill cover separately, then you have to pay attention to the size of the cover too.  Measure your grill and consider weather conditions and how you will store the grill before you decide on which cover to buy.

Elija has been writing articles for nearly 2 years. His newest interest is in barbeques.

So come visit his latest website that discusses home barbeque products such as bbq gas grills [] and a bbq grill cover [] that every home needs for that extra touch during their next barbeque.

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Backyard Japanese Garden

If done well, a Japanese garden will have beauty, and reflect a balance often found in nature. These are not like English gardens or Italian gardens. There typically is not a lot of color or plant variety. Rather, the sense of serenity you get when in a Japanese garden offers an opportunity for quiet contemplation and meditation. The 4 basic components of a Japanese garden are rocks, water, a bridge (typical, but not mandatory), and shrubbery (plus other foliage) which reflect the traditional Japanese concepts.

Depending on where you live, folks (your local suppliers, landscape designers, and other pros) can advise you about local plants that will work in Japanese gardens. I also suggest using landscape design software (usually available through a supplier) to see how your garden will look BEFORE you buy anything. This is a great planning tool.

There’s a lot of work and expense involved in the initial construction of these gardens, but once done, the upkeep is minimal. One important rule of thumb is to keep the water circulating. To have standing water anywhere near your house is a bad idea. It will breed mosquitoes. Use a lot of mulch around the shrubs to give the garden a clean, well maintained look. You’ll probably get a few weeds, but much less than if you didn’t use the mulch.

I believe a Japanese garden is a great thing for retired people because it offers opportunities for several hobbies. You can get into bonsai plants; you can raise Koi fish; you can grow orchids; or you could simply sit and enjoy the peace and tranquility that backyard Japanese gardens can provide.

If you’re seriously considering doing this, I recommend you visit They know this subject frontwards & backwards, and will assist with information about plants, designs, rocks and stones. They even offer a line of make-believe rocks that actually look like the real thing.

While creating any backyard project, take your time and let it be fun. Don’t put pressure on yourself to finish. The process should be as enjoyable as admiring the result. Best of Luck.

Charles Gueli invites you to ask questions about Japanese gardens and take advantage of the resources on [], where guidance, information and support are always available – helping homeowners make better decisions.

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Backyard Burger Prices

Arthur Bryant’s, the famed Kansas City BBQ joint, has had one man handling the wood and smoke for over five decades. The slow-cooking rib pit at BB’s Lawnside BBQ is made from the very stones that used to form the streets of the city’s once-thriving jazz district. It’s hard to imagine doing anything to rival the BBQ greats on your own patio. However, today’s top-notch backyard smokers do an amazing job of replicating the delicate smoky flavors that create one of America’s favorite cuisines.

Backyard BBQ smokers are far removed from the simple hot dog grills and Weber kettle charcoal grills your dad used for weekend cookouts. They’re a radical departure from the high-dollar stainless steel propane grills that seem to dot every suburban back porch.

These units are simple. Their makers recognize what BBQ is really all about. They allow weekend BBQers to cook their meat at relatively low temperatures generated from wood burning. The smoke from the wood permeates the meat and the output is tender with that salty-sweet flavor everyone loves. They’re built for one thing and one thing only–BBQ. And it shows!

The simplicity of these backyard BBQ smokers does more than create meaty masterpieces. It also keeps prices far lower than what one might expect. Even the smallest, least feature-rich models do a wonderful job of slow-cooking meat. If you have the meat, the rub and the wood, you can become a backyard pitmaster without spending a small fortune. It’s also surprisingly easy to use these wonderful cookers. BBQ experts might consider it an insult, but it really is possible for even novices to create unforgettable meals with these simple smokers.

You can try to produce a great brisket or ribs with a kettle BBQ grill and indirect heat, but you won’t get the kind of results you can from backyard BBQ smokers. Your meat will be a little tougher and the smoke rings a lot less visible if you aren’t using the right tools for the job.

Backyard BBQ smokers will fill your yard with one of the world’s greatest aromas and you may very well become the host of choice for weekend outdoor events once you get one. We can’t guarantee that people will line up at your back porch the way they do for ribs at Arthur Bryant’s, but you will get attention.

Forget the burger-burning cheap grills. Don’t try to make real BBQ with a generic propane grill. Stock up on your rub, sauce and brisket. Pick out your favorite smoking wood. Then, choose one of the many high-quality backyard smokers on the market! Today’s backyard BBQ smokers can make you the neighborhood pitmaster!

To find great deals on backyard BBQ smokers [] or any other BBQ smoker grill [], be sure to visit our website at

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Backyard Office Pod

An Indoor Garden might be a good fit for you, it is for me.

Are you like me, a casual indoor gardener who likes to see plants grow? Fresh vegetables and Flower taste and smell great!

But I do not have the time or space in my backyard for a garden. Plus there is the work involved in digging the dirt, planting the seed, watering, weeding, fertilizing, watering, etc. Why not have an indoor garden in the kitchen, family room or office or, you can, with the AeroGarden system, fresh herbs, vegetables and flowers all year long? Plus the system is a clean, no mess, low maintenance system that really Works!

How do the plants grow in the AeroGarden? The system grows plants without dirt using a method of hydroponic gardening called aeroponics where the plant roots are suspended partially in air and partially in oxygen infused nutrient solutions. Because the roots are bathed with the ideal levels of nutrients, water and oxygen, plants grow significantly faster, are healthier and have a higher nutrient content than plants grown in soil. Note: see below for a full description of Hydroponic Gardening.

Depending on the kit you choose it will have either 3 -6 -7 pods in each units. Just drop in a pre-seeded grow pod, dirt free, pre seeded pods act as mini greenhouse for fast germination – some within 24 hrs, just add water to the grow chamber add nutrients as per directed and turn the system on That’s It!

It will take you only a few minutes to set up the kit – basically there are three parts, the base, the extender arm and top unit that holds the built-in grow lights – they all snap together, with instructions that even I could understand – then drop in the seed pods, water, nutrients then push the on button.

You will start to see the sprouts in 4-7 days – sit back and watch them grow, you will see some growth every day. The plants will sprout twice as fast, grow twice as fast and last twice as long as the same plants that have been planted in dirt. Maintenance time – you add nutrients and check the water levels every Two week plus as the plants grow a little pruning will help the plants grow.

I go to my kitchen every morning and look at my indoor garden – and the grandkids love to see how much the plant have grown since their last visit.

Last week we started a new garden -I’m growing full sized Heirloom Tomatoes, the sprouts came up in about 6-7 days, they are now about and 1 ½” tall!

I will have tomatoes in a couple months – right in the middle of winter in Denver, Colorado

Hydroponic Gardening: “Hydroponics (from the Greek words hydro water and ponos labor) is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrients solutions, in water, without soil. Terrestrial plants may be grown with their roots in the mineral nutrient solution only or in an inert medium, such as perlite, gravel or mineral wool.” From: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

, my name is James Rash, I live in Denver, Colorado. I am 69 year old retired businessman who enjoys gardening but does not have the time or space for an outdoor garden, plus living in Colorado your gardening time is shorter than in other locations. I have discovered indoor gardening with a system called AeroGarden – a hydroponic growing system that grows herbs, vegetables and beautiful flowers indoors with very little mess. The plants grow twice as fast, last twice as long and taste great. Please visit my site at: [].

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Sloped Backyard Solutions

While a house in a hilly area comes with a promise of stunning panoramic views of the surroundings, to their utter chagrin, homeowners quickly realize that working on a sloping backyard can be a harrowing task. However, the old adage, “More work equals to better results” certainly holds true in case of landscaping a sloping yard which presents innumerable opportunities for aesthetically pleasing inclusions that would otherwise look mundane.

When planning a landscape for a hilly yard, it is quintessential to include this topographical feature as a crucial consideration when deciding on every aspect of the landscape, from the type of plants that you intend to use to the design of the garden. Preplanning will help you to tackle the more cumbersome aspects of landscaping a slope while yielding astounding results. So, here are some tips on how you can landscape your sloping backyard to create a stunning medley of colors and textures.

Get to know the terrain

Grading the terrain: Before you draw up plans for landscaping your sloping backyard, it is imperative to study the terrain and the slope to ensure that your landscape will be able to efficaciously handle the drawback of gardening on a slope, while making the most of the natural features of the terrain.

A simple thumb rule to understand how the extent of slope will impact your gardening efforts is that the steepness of the slope will be directly proportional to the water you will need for your plants. Because steeper slopes tend to funnel moisture away from the plants, forcing the water and soil to flow downhill, it is vital to get the slope graded. As a matter of fact, most experts suggest that getting a sloping yard professionally graded can help you to save a significant amount of money on watering the steep terrain in the future.

Visual analysis: Alternatively, you could also do a visual analysis of the area. Gauge the severity of the slope and create a quick diagram labeling the steepest portions of the yard; make a note of the amount of sunlight that the different portions of the yard receive. You may also want to include comments on any drainage problems that may be encountered in specific areas.

List the various elements of the landscape: With the diagram in hand, you will be in a better position to place the various landscaping elements in the drawing such as tress, flower beds, fountains, walkways, boulders etc. It is crucial to accurately anticipate the area that the plants and shrubs will cover at maturity so that the landscape does not look too crammed.

Mark the areas for planting: Ideally the trees should be planted at the bottom half of the slope so that they can add stability to the landscape and prevent soil erosion. The steepest sections should have shrubs with deep reaching fibrous roots that will hold on to the soil while the wider plants that will cover large areas at maturity should be planted at the bottom of the slope so that they can create a neat hedge while affording you all the privacy that you need to enjoy your garden.

Preventing soil erosion

Stability and accessibility: Soil erosion is a huge concern when gardening on a slope; however, depending on the steepness of the area, you will also need to give a thought to accessibility requirements such as a ladder or other forms of assistance for climbing. The type of soil and the steepness gradient will also impact the stability of the yard.

Drainage and soil erosion: The direction in which the water drains from a slope will have a bearing on the extent of soil erosion; for instance, if the water runs down straight to the lower ground, there will be massive erosion. Using non porous material for landscaping on a steep terrain will further augment the soil erosion problem.

Solving the soil erosion problem: There are several anti erosion measures that can yield remarkable results such as:

  • Terracing
  • Laying garden paths across the slope
  • Using boulders and logs to reduce drainage
  • Building retaining walls with small rocks
  • Planting specific types of grass
  • Interlocking walls etc

Using the right types of plants can not only add to the aesthetic appeal of your garden but also help to reduce soil erosion. As a matter of fact, mixing different types of greenery is the ideal way to reduce the water from draining away too quickly. Plants such as deep rooted shrubs combined with trees like manzanita and juniper will hold the soil tight for the shallow rooted perennial shrubs and flowering plants like clematis and day lilies.

Preparing the ground

With a list of plants that you intend to use to reduce soil erosion, you are all set to prepare the ground for your landscape

The compass points need due diligence: Knowing the direction in which your yard faces will prove immensely useful when choosing plants for the landscape. Slopes that face to the south or west tend to drain faster and will have to be watered more than yards facing the east or north. So, if you are handling a western or southern slope, pick drought resistant shrubs or your water bills may go through the roof.

Ground cover will help: Although for regular areas, bare soil will be adequate to grow a bountiful flowerbed; the story will be different with sloping surfaces where the soil will dry up and erode quickly due to the slant. Use ground cover plants such as Vinca, Sedum and Liriope muscari for best results.

Use good ol mulch: This is a natural and affordable way to deal with soil erosion; also it helps to fertilize the soil. However, it is certainly not a permanent solution as the soil will drag the mulch away slowly, leaving bald spots in your landscape. Another issue is the fact that dry and dead leaves, twigs and branches are not exactly a visually pleasing sight.

Choosing plants for your sloping yard

Ornamental grasses: Local, ornamental grass varieties with their deep reaching root system that spreads horizontally is ideal for controlling erosion. Since grass is low maintenance, you will not have to worry about fertilizing the ground. Some attractive ornamental grass species include:

  • Little bluestem
  • Inland sea oats
  • Plains lovegrass
  • Texas beargrass
  • Estern woodland sedge

All of these grass varieties thrive when planted on hilly terrain.

Ground cover plants: For a slope that receives a fair mount of sunlight; prostrate juniper should work just fine while for a shady area, you might want to use creeping boxwood, also known as pachysandra. Other ground cover plants include wintercreeper and periwinkle which also flourish on hilly grounds.

The decorative varieties: Plants that can be used in different areas of the landscape include: 
California Privet: This is a tall shrub that can grow to a height of 10 feet and has a foliage width of almost 4 feet; the shrub grows in part sun and part shade producing cream colored flowers. The plant is hardy and drought tolerant so it’s an ideal choice for steep slopes.

Japanese Spirea: This is another plant that is a fabulous choice for a sloping yard; the deciduous shrub grows almost 6 feet tall with a foliage width to match. The leaves grow in a riot of colors from rich burgundy to bright green and every hue in between. The flowers are equally beautiful, an eclectic mix of purple and pink. However, the plant does need full sun and flourishes in warmer weather

Verbena: With its airy stems, the shrub can be coupled with plants that sport dense foliage. The plant is a superb choice for a sunny slope and works well as a foreground shrub. It grows about 6 feet tall with a foliage width of 3 feet. Its drought tolerant and the purples flowers can add a touch of color to your landscape.

Oleander: A favorite with homeowners all over, few plants can create a Mediterranean ambience like Oleanders in white and pink. The plant can grow tall to almost 20 feet with a foliage width of 12 feet. The flowers bloom in bunches almost continuously and are available in a myriad of colors such as yellow, white, pink, red and apricot. It’s extremely drought tolerant and easy to grow. 
You could also try growing hibiscus and roses on a terrace. Remember to water a slope; a drip hose will be more appropriate than overhead sprinklers.

Innovative planting ideas

Bordered Tiers: Use boulders or landscape timber to create the appearance of tiers. When using timber, you will need to stick the pieces together and drive a rebar through them to hold the wood in place. Use glue to stick pavers on the timber and your tiers will be all ready. Use plants such as day lilies, lavender or other flowering perennial shrubs. You can use decorative stone or mulch to hold the moisture in.

Planted slope: You could also use a combination of flowering shrubs, evergreens and perennial flowers scattered all over the yard. Alternatively, create neat rows of greens and flowers for a formal look.

A flowing deck: You could also build a series of decks, each falling successively with the slope of the yard. Try building a series of walkways and steps connecting the decks. Use flowering shrubs and solar lighting to create an enthralling ambience.

Plant in basins: Another innovative approach is to chuck the traditional rows of shrubs in favor of basin like formations. Each basin will serve as an exclusive spot for certain types of plants.

Completing the landscape

To add the finishing touches to your landscape: Remove the grass and other growth from the areas designated for the walkway. Use gravel, stone or any other type of hardscape material to cover the surface and pack pea gravel or sand in between.

Use large boulders placed across the yard to create a natural and earthy appeal; the large stones should be placed at the bottom of the slope away from the steep areas for safety. Once all the stones have been placed as desired; bury them one fourth of the way into the ground, so that you get stability along with a natural look.

Finally add the finishing touches with a fountain placed in a central location, you could also use ornamental lights or antique wooden benches or wrought iron furniture to complete the landscape.

Ella Schwartz is a writer for Hunterstruct Construction, a Vancouver based construction company offering design, building, structural repair and renovation services throughout Southwest British Columbia, including the BC interior and Sunshine Coast. Best known for its functional and great looking sundecks, Hunterstruct showcases its best sun decks on the website. We love building, and it shows!

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Backyard Remodel Ideas

Backyard landscaping ideas can be really helpful if you want to remodel your back yard and do not have a glue where to start. In this article I will give you some great ideas you might find useful.

There are really so much you can do to remodel or make your back yard or garden more attractive to you and your family and friends. I will just name a few but please let your imagination and creativity flow.

Think of ways you want your back yard to be. Drive around in the neighborhood and see if you can find anything you like. Use their ideas but do not be a copy cat. Add your own style and taste. You can do anything you like and I am sure your garden will look really amazing and gorgeous.

Here are 2 great backyard landscaping ideas you might find useful:

Rocks and Boulders: Rocks really give a garden a unique and attractive look. They blend in so well with your current decor, they are almost part of the furniture. There are a lot of ways you can decorate these boulders to turn your backyard into a very nice relaxing place for the whole family.

You can add small stones to a walk way or a path. Then add bigger stones or rocks to give it a final touch of elegance. Add a few wood sticks on both sides of the path. This really looks amazing if done right.


Fountains are a really great idea if you like to take walks in your garden and smell the flowers. These fountains are very relaxing to look at and the water flowing from the top layer to the bottom layer is just so gorgeous and peaceful.

There are many different types and designs of fountains to choose from such as lighted fountains, which will give you a very attractive look in night times. Another great fountain I personally like very much is wall fountains. They go on any outdoor wall and really give your patio or backyard a unique and stylish touch.

Click here for an article on backyard landscaping ideas you might find interesting. These are just a few backyard landscaping ideas you can try but as I mentioned above, use your creativity to your advantage. Before you start, please just make sure you plan everything carefully.

Home Improvement Leader offers a wide range of interior and exterior designer tips, techniques and ideas that you might find useful if you are planning on remodeling or improving your home. Here are a few backyard landscaping ideas [] you might find interesting and consider to use.

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Backyard Firepit Ideas

Depending on how the weather turns, you may find that you enjoy sitting in the backyard at specific times of the year. It is not uncommon to consider different ways to improve your back patio or deck – maybe you’ve considered a gazebo or garden, or even a firepit to keep yourself warm on cooler evenings. Do you need a firepit to enhance your backyard entertaining, however? It can be a solid investment or a folly, but if you consider the pros and cons you will find you’ve made the right decision for home improvement.

Here are a few points to consider if you have thought about installing a fire shoppe in your backyard:

1) How often do you sit out in the backyard? Do you think the addition of a firepit will inspire you to spend more time outside? The good thing about firepits is that you can use them year round – for cozy conversations during the fall and winter and marshmallow toasting and hot dog roasting in the summer. If spending time outside is a favorite activity, you may want to improve the experience with a comfortable firepit setting.

2) What is your budget? Firepits come in a variety of styles and sizes. Some are merely portable iron bowls you can find in a home improvement shop, while others are brick structures that require professional construction and installation. Some will burn wood, others work with gas. The type of firepit you want may not correspond with the money you are able to invest, so make sure you go over your finances before you make a firm decision.

3) Are there any obstacles to installing a fire shoppe? Having a place where you will have an open flame may affect your home insurance. Also, if you live in a condo or other planned community there may be restrictions to what you can have installed in your yard area. Check with your insurance company and HOA or board to see if any regulations prevent you from setting up something.

If nothing stands in the way of your plan to enhance your backyard relaxation, you next want to research what kind of pit you want. Do you have an existing deck or patio? You may be able to build onto it and install a gas line for it. If not, you may wish to landscape the backyard altogether with the firepit as the focus. A local contractor or backyard leisure store can offer you many ideas.

Enjoy your nights before the fire, no matter the time of year. A backyard fire shoppe will keep you warm.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Virginia Beach firepits and Norfolk firepit installation services.

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Backyard Bridges

Small garden bridges have become a popular way to ornament your backyard. They add a fanciful touch to any garden, and instantly change an average yard into a spectacular one.

Bridges have been used for thousands of year for crossing rugged terrain and bodies of water, dating to ancient times.  There are many different names by which bridges are known, including foot bridges, landscape bridges, ornamental bridges, oriental bridges, Japanese bridges, timber bridges, and garden bridges, to name a few.

Small garden bridges are usually slightly arched and most range between 5 and 20 feet long. A standard width is about 3 feet.

The most basic type of garden bridge is an arched or flat plank structure that does not have hand rails or side rails. Many ornamental bridges also have guard rails which are both decorative and functional. Some of these rails are made to prevent children from falling off the bridge, while others are purely for decoration.

Choosing the right bridge for your garden does not have to be a difficult task. First, think about the space you have in your yard and pick out where you think a bridge could best fit. Be sure to choose several areas, and then decide on which one is your favorite.

Next, you need to measure the distance you want your bridge to span. While measuring, be sure to measure the distance you want the bridge to traverse, not the arch length. It is much simpler to take an accurate measure of this length, and most companies will sell bridges based off the span, not the arch.

When picking out a bridge, it is important to choose one that is made of weather and water-resistant wood that is also sealed or stained wood. According to Robert Crosse, most small garden bridges are made of cedar, pressure-treated pine, redwood, teak, spruce or birch.

Some bridges have a steel frame with wooden planks. If you purchase a bridge like this, make sure that it only uses galvanized hardware and stainless steel.

If you are inexperienced at building, you should look for a bridge kit that is easily assembled and does not need many tools. Pick a set where the manufacturer numbers and labels each board, post and rail. Then, all you need to do to assemble it is match up the numbers and tighten the screws.

However, if you are a master Do-It-Yourselfer, you can always build the entire bridge by yourself. Most home improvement stores will sell garden bridge plans as well as bridge kits. Simply buy the materials you need according to the plan and follow the directions. This is a great way to add an attractive bridge to your backyard while enjoying a hobby at the same time.

 A small garden bridge can make your backyard infinitely more quaint and lovely. It also is functional for crossing rough terrain, streams, and small ponds. By following these few simple steps, you can ensure that you purchase the right bridge for your backyard.

Amy Martin is an active author who regular writes about garden bridges [] and Adirondack chairs [].

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