Having a pool in your backyard can feel luxurious and relaxing. It allows you to enjoy time with your family and friends while making unforgettable memories. However, you need to focus more than just on the pool itself. The area around your pool gives you the opportunity to design an oasis, giving you a place where you can relax and make the most out of your summer. In-ground pools can also age gracefully and may begin to look outdated, but that does not mean you have to replace the entire setup. Whether you have a brand-new pool or one that you have been enjoying for years, there are landscape features that you can add to your backyard to make the most out of your pool area.
Cabana or Pool House
Having pool items spread out on your lawn can look displeasing and messy. It can be a sight for sore eyes, and no one appreciates that. You need a space to store your pool toys, chemicals, and other items. Building a pool house or cabana can provide you with the perfect storage to keep it close by. A pool house or cabana could also be used as a guest house or include a kitchen to keep snacks and drinks by the poolside.
Spending time by the pool can be relaxing, but sometimes you need a break from the hot sun. Adding a shade structure can provide you with a cool place to relax while you still enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. Examples of shade structures include a covered patio area, strategically placed umbrellas, or pergolas, which can also be used to introduce some greenery to your backyard.
Adding water features can add fun and variety to your pool area. If you are wanting to go grandiose and add a luxury experience, installing a spa would be the way to go. If you are wanting something more low-key, consider installing a fountain that will add gentle sounds and make your summer evenings more relaxing.
Hosting pool parties is a great way to get to know your children’s friends and parents, along with making great memories with family. Installing an outdoor kitchen would be the ideal complement to your pool. It has most of the same features that the kitchen inside your house has, allowing you to do all of your meal prep and cooking, all while engaging with your guests.
Most people enjoy their privacy, especially when they are at home and enjoying their pool. There are a few ways of making sure you get the privacy you want. One of those ways is to add a fence, but you can also create a natural barrier that will enrich the oasis feel you want for your pool. Natural barriers, such as bushes and dense plants, add greenery to the area and gives you the privacy you are looking for. Make sure you hire a landscaper to guarantee that plants are positioned far enough away from the pool to decrease dead leaves and other debris from landing in the pool.
A pool in your backyard is the perfect way to relax and cool off during hot summer days. Adding landscape features can also allow you to enjoy your pool, as well as enhance the environment around it. At Fritz Stonework and Retaining Walls, we can help create that special oasis that you will want to enjoy all summer long. Call us today at (636) 861-1530 so we can start making your vision come to life.
Whether you enjoy entertaining friends and family during the summer or winter months, or both, having an outdoor kitchen is a great feature to have. It provides a relaxing space to read a book, have conversations with the ones you love, or to just enjoy Mother Nature. However, as winter approaches, you need to make sure your outdoor kitchen is prepared for the colder temperatures. If you do not winterize your outdoor kitchen, expensive repairs might be in your future. The following guidelines will help make sure your outdoor kitchen and appliances will be ready to use when warmer temperatures return.
Take Care of Your Plumbing
Make sure you remove any water that is in the pipes and plumbing system. This can result in major problems, for when it begins to freeze outside, the water can also freeze which can cause the pipes to burst. If the pipes burst, you could end up with huge plumbing bills and flooding, making it unable for you to use your outdoor kitchen.
In order to clear your pipes, you will need to shut off all water supply lines going to the kitchen from the indoor plumbing system. Be sure to shut it off using a valve that is inside your house. This way the water does not rest in outdoor pipes.
When you have shut off the water, start draining the lines. Be sure you do not forget about water supply lines that are connected to refrigerators, ice makers, and sinks. The best way to clear water from lines is by using compressed carbon dioxide.
The last step is to make sure all of the drain valves are left open during winter. This will ensure that water does not remain in the pipes, which will also save you from expensive repairs.
Prepare Your Grill
Even if you plan on using your grill during the winter, it is a good idea to do a deep cleaning to make sure it is in good working condition for the summer. The following steps are a good guideline to follow when cleaning your grill.
- Use a degreaser to get rid of the grease that has built up
- Use a stainless steel polish to polish the grill
- Scrub areas that are still dirty with a metal grill brush
- Remove the grates and clean underneath the grill
- Season the cooking surfaces using vegetable oil to the grates. Heat the grill to 500F for 20 minutes
- If you are not using your grill during the winter, be sure to turn off the gas line
Depending on the quality of your grill and the materials it is made out of, you may not have to use a cover. However, if you do use a cover, make sure you use one that is made for your type of grill that allows moisture to get out.
Cover or Seal if Needed
If you want to prevent wear, cracks, and stains due to cold temperatures and wet weather, then you might want to think about covering your appliances. However, keep in mind that covering surfaces and appliances allows for moisture to get confined under the cover and can cause more damage than if they were not covered. One tip is to call the manufacturer of the appliances to see how to best protect them.
Another way to protect surfaces from wear is to apply sealers and finishers. Make sure you have also taken everything out of cabinets and they are clear of dirt and debris. Use oil on wood cabinets and surfaces and a coat of stainless steel finish on stainless steel appliances. If you have stone countertops, be aware that weather can wear them down over time. You should buy sealers that are made specifically for stone to prevent any damage.
Winterize the Refrigerator and Ice Maker
The first thing you should do is turn the power off to both the refrigerator and ice maker. The water should already be shut off and the water lines running to the machines should be drained. Once you have done these, either unplug the refrigerator and ice maker or turn off their circuits in your home’s electrical panel. Afterwards, clean each one by following these steps:
- Clean out the ice maker’s storage bin and close the drain valve
- Take everything out of the refrigerator and clean it with soap and water
- Remove the front grill of each one and vacuum them out. When done, put the grills back on each one
- Do not cover either one, as this can contribute to a buildup of moisture which can damage the unit
Prepare Your Fire Pit
The first step to get your fire pit ready is to get rid of any debris, ash, and wood that may have gathered in the fire pit during the summer months. If your fire pit is ran by gas, be sure to turn off the supply. You may want to consider covering it with a cover that is weather resistant to keep out snow, leaves, and animals.
By taking the right precautions, you can be sure that your outdoor kitchen will be ready to go when summer comes back around. If you are in the beginning stages of thinking about designing an outdoor kitchen and have questions, please contact Fritz Stonework and Retaining Walls so we can help answer those questions and discuss the many options you can choose from.
Outdoor kitchens are more popular than they have ever been. Not too many years ago an outdoor kitchen consisted of a grill, possibly a sink and countertop, and a table to serve the food at. Then people began to realize that they liked cooking and entertaining outdoors. They liked the freedom of being out of the house, and the no-fuss of cooking and dining outside when friends and family came to visit.
Once the benefits of outdoor cooking became apparent to more people then outdoor kitchens started to take on a new look and purpose. Today there are elements you can add to your outdoor cooking space that make the food preparation, cooking and cleaning up easier than ever before.
Cabinetry with stone, or stainless steel, countertops is being added to outdoor cooking spaces. The cabinetry allows you to have cooking vessels and utensils already close at hand so you do not have to bring them from inside the house and put them back after the entertaining is over.
These cabinets are complete with drawers and storage space. They are designed to withstand the heat and humidity that exterior positioning creates. They also give you the counter space you need to cook fabulous meals from beginning to end without going back inside the house.
Sinks and Appliances
You know that you need to run water in order to prepare food. The latest outdoor kitchen additions are sinks, dishwashers, wine coolers, and refrigerators. You can have a sink with hot and cold running water so you can wash and prepare your food.
You can have mini-fridges under the countertops or you can install full-size refrigeration units in upright cabinets that are built to protect the appliance from water exposure or exposure to any of the outdoor elements.
You can also install a dishwasher so you can stop using the throwaway plates and glasses when you eat outside. You save money by not having to buy the disposable dinnerware and you save the environment by not adding more waste to the landfills. Your dishes are kept outdoors, cleaned outdoors, and ready to use whenever you are ready to entertain.
The addition of a wine cooler under the countertop will allow you to have chilled adult beverages at the perfect sipping temperature. You will not have to bring the wine out with you when you come or go back inside to retrieve the wine when you are ready to serve.
I am not talking about simple gas or charcoal grills. I am talking about stoves that have working ovens, four or more burners, griddles, and grills. I am talking about some of the finest cooking appliances available today.
Outdoor spaces with this many amenities need the perfect outdoor lighting so you can see to entertain no matter what time of day or night it is. You can have soft lighting around the perimeter and brighter lights over your work area so you can always see to do what you want to do.
If you would like to know more about creating an outdoor kitchen that takes the work out of entertaining contact the professionals at Fritz Stoneworks at 636-861-1530. They can help you learn about all of the options available in your area. They can help you with every phase of your outdoor kitchen construction or renovation.