An outdoor living space can be modern, traditional, rustic, coastal or even country farmhouse – the possibilities are endless. The look and feel it exudes is important, so figuring out a design that reflects your own personal style is a top priority in the planning stages. Some homeowners discover that one of the best ways to use the space is with an outdoor kitchen. To get the most out of your outdoor kitchen, get started with these basics of outdoor kitchen functional zones.
Designing Stylish and Functional Outdoor Kitchens\
(Family Features) Just like the inside of a home, aesthetics are often the first thing you notice when stepping outside.
An outdoor living space can be modern, traditional, rustic, coastal or even country farmhouse – the possibilities are endless. The look and feel it exudes is important, so figuring out a design that reflects your own personal style is a top priority in the planning stages.
However, it’s not the only priority. You’ll also need to determine how to use the space. Some homeowners discover that one of the best ways to do so is with an outdoor kitchen.
“We have seen designers and homeowners taking a more thoughtful and sophisticated design approach over time,” said Russ Faulk, chief designer and head of product for Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet, producer of premium culinary products for residential outdoor kitchens. “The result is a fully realized space with all of the parts working together – much more than a collection of furniture and cooking equipment.”
To get the most out of your outdoor kitchen, these products should work harmoniously. Get started with the basics of outdoor kitchen functional zones from Faulk.
Hot zones include all cooking spaces, such as the grill, pizza oven and cooktops. Cold zones are made up of refrigeration and freezers. Wet zones are comprised of sinks and adjacent workspace. Dry zones are prep counters and storage.
A truly effective outdoor kitchen involves all four zones working together. Planning ahead can make prepping, cooking, serving and cleaning go more smoothly.
Ideally, you should have open countertop space to each side of a sink, grill, cooktop and every other workstation. These open spaces are called landing zones.
Outside the Lines
Many homeowners want a fully functional outdoor kitchen that operates independently from the indoor kitchen, which requires even more storage space to keep pots, pans, utensils and cutting boards outside.
Outdoor cabinetry needs to be ready to withstand the elements. To handle rain and keep items dry, weather-tight options are available.
In addition to high durability, outdoor cabinetry options have become increasingly design-focused with various finishes that make an aesthetic statement. For example, Kalamazoo’s Arcadia Cabinetry Series comes in oiled ipe wood or powder-coated stainless steel panels available in more than 200 colors.
Whether your space is big or small, the design principles of a well-functioning outdoor kitchen remain the same. Do it right and your kitchen will not only look stylish, but it’ll function smoothly and may become your new favorite part of your home for years to come. Find more information at KalamazooGourmet.com.SOURCE:
Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet
As the weather gets warmer, mosquitoes can prevent homeowners from reaping the benefits of living life outside. Depending on where you live, the mosquito biting season lasts 5-7 months. If spray isn’t adequate to combat the mosquitoes at your home, it may be necessary to take additional measures. These tips can help combat mosquitoes outside of the home.
Banish Biting Season
Tips for eliminating backyard pests
(Family Features) As the weather gets warmer, mosquitoes can prevent homeowners from reaping the benefits of living life outside.
According to a Harris Poll conducted on behalf of TruGreen, 85 percent of Americans say that mosquitoes limit their family’s outdoor activities during the months they’re most active. The same survey also found that nearly two-thirds of Americans are concerned about protecting themselves and their family from Zika or other mosquito-borne illnesses.
A majority of respondents reported using bug spray on themselves and their family members to combat mosquitoes outdoors at home. Although it’s the leading preventative measure, still only half say it is most effective at preventing mosquitoes from biting.
Depending on where you live, the mosquito biting season lasts 5-7 months. If spray isn’t adequate to combat the mosquitoes at your home, it may be necessary to take additional measures.
These tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the pest control experts at TruGreen can help combat mosquitoes outside of the home:
Remove standing water. Mosquitoes generally lay eggs near water, so once a week take time to dump anything that may hold water in the yard. This includes buckets, kiddie pools and birdbaths. Don’t overlook items like toys, planters and flowerpot saucers. For containers intended to hold water, like cisterns or rain barrels, regularly check that the lid is secure so mosquitoes can’t gain access. A finely woven mesh is a good alternative if there is no lid. If you can’t cover the container and won’t be drinking from it, use a larvicide to treat the water.
Be wary of unexpected reservoirs. Natural features such as shrubbery and tree stumps can also collect water, and they may be more difficult to remedy. Keep dense shrubs thinned and pruned. Increasing the air flow can make these areas less attractive. If removing a tree stump is impractical, a professional can guide you in proper treatment.
Apply a broad-application pest eliminator. Use an outdoor insect spray or professional service to kill mosquitoes in areas where they rest all over the yard. A professionally applied treatment such as TruGreen Mosquito Defense targets pests where they live, and the company’s professionally trained specialists use an innovative mosquito control formula to treat all areas of the yard where mosquitoes hide, including trees, shrubs, mulched areas and all types of ground cover.
“Mosquitoes are a nuisance for many of our customers, inhibiting the time they can spend enjoying outdoor activities,” said John Bell, board certified entomologist and TruGreen regional technical manager. “Most people protect against mosquitoes by using a repellant or citronella candles, but these methods do not target the places mosquitoes hide including low-hanging limbs, ornamental foliage, potted plants and ground cover. The TruGreen Mosquito Defense treatment program targets these places, eradicating the mosquito population in homeowners’ yards and allowing people to spend more time living life outside.”
Make regular rounds to spot trouble. Humans are creatures of habit, and that can mean certain areas of the yard receive much less traffic than other spots. Take time each week to tour the entire yard and keep an eye out for potential pest problems, including standing water in containers or low spots in the ground.
Mosquitoes’ favorite Habitats
Because mosquitoes typically lay their eggs near water, places in the yard where water can pool up are often desired breeding grounds. These areas of stagnating water allow the mosquitoes a favorite spot, but there are some other areas around the house to be wary of as potential habitats:
For more year-round lawn care tips, visit TruGreen.com/mosquito.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (family dining outdoors)
Illustration courtesy of Getty Images (infographic)SOURCE:
When temperatures peak and the summer sun shines for long hours throughout the day, it can put a burden on your garden and the plants growing in it. Of course, having the right tools and a personal commitment to gardening are a couple of the first and most important rules, but these tips can serve as simple, helpful ways to keep your garden growing strong.
7 Tips for Summer Gardening Success
(Family Features) When temperatures peak and the summer sun shines for long hours throughout the day, it can put a burden on your garden and the plants growing in it. Some steps may be easier to take than others, but there are ways to keep your greenery thriving even in relentlessly scorching heat.
Of course, having the right tools and a personal commitment to gardening are a couple of the first and most important rules, but these tips can serve as simple, helpful ways to keep your garden growing strong.
Know what to grow.
Mix nutrients with water.
Keep potted plants cool.
Protect against pests.
By staying committed and following these tips among others, you can keep your garden lush and growing even during the summer’s hottest days. Find more tips for a successful garden year-round at eLivingToday.com.
The Annual Monarch Butterfly Journey
Every year, monarch butterflies embark on a 3,000-mile migration across North America. This feat of endurance lasts eight months, spans three countries and captivates people worldwide.
When the weather starts to warm each year, monarchs make their way north from Mexico to begin breeding. Upon arriving in Texas, the butterflies begin to lay eggs on milkweed. Milkweed is the sole food source for monarch larvae, more commonly known as caterpillars. As milkweed plantings have diminished, so has the monarch population.
Environmentalists and butterfly lovers have taken notice of the monarchs’ dwindling numbers. BASF, a company that serves farmers and agricultural customers, launched Living Acres in 2015. Living Acres is a research initiative designed to help farmers establish milkweed beds in non-cropland areas.
Farmers and landowners can play an important role in helping increase monarch populations simply by starting a milkweed garden. With employee-tended monarch gardens, BASF is also sustaining butterflies at its manufacturing sites.
As summer approaches, caterpillars begin their metamorphoses, hatching and transforming into vivid orange and black butterflies.
Once mature, the monarchs continue their journey northward, passing over cool valleys and prairieland. Monarchs look for resting places in open plains, often settling in beds of milkweed alongside cornfields, gardens, playgrounds and rural roadsides.
Some of the most popular flight paths include the Corn Belt and Interstate 35, a corridor that runs from Texas to Minnesota. Legislators implemented a federal plan to create habitable space along highways for monarchs by planting milkweed in ditches. This initiative offers food and shelter for weary butterflies and provides nursery sites for monarch eggs.
Monarchs then begin winging their way south to the oyamel fir forests of Mexico. They spend their winters there, crowded together on the tree branches for warmth, which can appear to transform the trees into blazing orange clouds. When warm weather returns the following year, monarchs resume their migration northward and continue the cycle of breeding the next monarch generation.
Photos courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
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