Beetle bust: Beware of the Emerald Ash Borer

Main Image
Have an ash tree? Act fast to beat back the beetles who seek to destroy it. A little beetle is causing a big problem in North America where ash trees are prevalent. Government officials are working hard to fight off the the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) and the billions of dollars of damage the species is poised to unleash on the landscape. Identify your ash trees, watch for signs of infestation throughout the year, and treat the trees preventatively this spring.

Ambient, task and accent lighting ideas for your outdoor room

Main Image
Take these well-known interior lighting design tricks outside to make your patio a wonderfully warm and inviting nighttime retreat. Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the Milky Way, They stretched in never-ending line Along the margin of a bay: Ten thousand saw I at a glance, Tossing their heads in sprightly dance. From I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud - William Wordsworth

Herringbone: this classic paver pattern is trending

Main Image
Timeless features make a home distinctive. The brickwork pattern for your outdoor walkways or driveways is a place to express the home’s unique character. While there are many layouts and pavers to choose from, the classic herringbone pattern stands the test of time. It looks equally impressive in walkways, patios and driveways.

Sprout some spring: starting plants indoors

Main Image
This winter weather can give us a case of cabin fever. If going out isn’t in the cards, bust that boredom by bringing a bit of the outdoors in and starting some seeds inside. Starting up plants from seeds is the least expensive method for populating your garden. It’s also a fun longer-term project for kids that teaches patience and careful attention to detail. Watching seeds grow is fun, and for that you can choose any seed; put it in a pot of soil and see what comes up. However, plants for the garden may take more planning.

New snow removal tools and tricks

Main Image
Whether its manual labor or with a machine of some sort, snow removal is a winter necessity for many of us. The “why” is pretty obvious: Life and work must go on. The “how” tends to get highly personal. It’s the age-old problem with a severe-weather twist: how to clear the walkway, the cars, and the driveway of snow. Everyone seems to have one swear-by method to rely on.

3 hot bourbon recipes to warm your winter

Main Image
The recent subzero temperatures have kept us all inside. Why not make the best of it? Here are some warm, spiked drinks you may have yet to try. There’s an old tale that a shot of whiskey will warm you up. Indeed, a sip of straight bourbon or whiskey can feel like swallowing embers from your fire pit. Mixing the liquor with some special ingredients can bring the warm feeling without burning your throat.

Winter grilling: roasted tomato soup and crispy cheese sandwiches

Main Image
We often think of grilling out on the patio as a summertime activity, but cold weather grilling brings its own unique benefits. Try roasting some ingredients on the grill while a big sourdough loaf or a maple pecan pie warms in the oven inside. Roasted tomato soup paired with crunchy, warm sandwiches warms up the body and spirit in these cold winter months.

Wonderful wood storage: Dress up your stack

Main Image
The warmth and crackling goodness of a cozy fire doesn’t have to come with an eyesore of a log pile. Storing wood has never before been so fashionable. One amazing thing about having an outdoor room are the impromptu gatherings around the fire. A night spent out in the cold air is good for our health and our spirits. As that distinct, deep aroma of fall wafts from our fire pits, we cozy up fireside and share a toast with friends and family. Clear skies are perfect for gazing in those quiet moments. We stir only to throw another log on the fire. Don’t let a messy cord of wood break your mood. Many solutions exist for tidy, even chic, storage for the fuel for your fires.

Holiday traditions: Roasted Chestnuts

Main Image
We’ve all heard the lyrics but few of us have tried actually roasting chestnuts on an open fire. It’s easier than you may think. Each family has their own traditions with strong roots, some perhaps going back generations. Introducing new rituals into the holidays can seem a bit odd at first, but when friends and family ask for them again and again, you know it’s a tradition that will stick. Roasting chestnuts is one of those traditions that has faded but is experiencing a comeback. Whether in the oven or over an open fire outside or by a cozy fireplace, roasting chestnuts is an easy addition to your holiday fun.

Rumble under the patio: outside earthquake damage to look for

Main Image
On November 30, 2017, an earthquake shook the area of Dover, Delaware. Rumblings of the quake, which measured 4.1 on the Richter scale, were felt in a very large radius from the epicenter. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), even a “light” earthquake warrants a check of your home, landscape and patio for damages (check out FEMA’s website for vital information about post-earthquake actions). Here are some places around the patio to look for damage.

Bonfire leaf-burning things to know

Main Image
One of the best aromas of the fall season is an outdoor fire. The smell of burning leaves is so distinct and memorable, some people report sensing it in the crisp fall air even when no leaves or fires are burning nearby. As November comes to a close, now is the time for bonfires. Here are some common and not-so-common things to know about leaf burning.

Throw a Friendsgiving feast

Main Image
Friendsgiving is a usually casual Thanksgiving feast with those who you consider family. But it’s casual designation doesn’t mean no rules exist. Here’s a guide for the host and guest that will help your Friendsgiving be fabulous. Host A Friendsgiving is meant to be a fun gathering of your closest mates, but the term can apply to any Thanksgiving meal shared between friends, colleagues or even acquaintances. Friendsgiving can be held any time in November. Hosting your dinner on a night other than the 4th Thursday may allow more friends to attend. Thanksgiving Day can work for Friendsgiving too; be sure to coordinate everyone’s schedules well ahead of time.

Fall mantle decor - celebrate the harvest

Main Image
The winter holidays may be fast approaching, but we can give thanks for the harvest season with these fall decor ideas. Between the frightening fun of Halloween and the cozy, candied Christmas seasons, it’s easy to lose the best season of the year: Autumn. Thanksgiving is the culmination of the fall season where we celebrate all those small strokes of luck and big blessings that we’ve been fortunate to receive. All too often this decor gets lost between October holidays and the New Year’s Eve parties. Let’s bring back a bit of fall to the fireplace area and tabletops.

Thanksgiving desserts and decor

Main Image
Don’t let Christmas recipes or decorations take over your Thanksgiving. Keep the focus on fall with these treats and tricks. We’ve all noticed it - the Christmas Creep. September 21 rolls around and the stores start selling winter holiday decor. It’s as if we jump out of the pool and into our parkas! Don’t let the commercial trends take away your Autumn. Thanksgiving is the culmination of this wonderful time of year. Celebrate with the tastes and colors of fallen leaves and crisp blue skies.

Fall fondue fun on the patio

Main Image
From cheesy dips to mini s’mores, a ton of delicious fondue fun awaits. Fondue legend says the tradition started in the 1600s Switzerland. The practice grew in popularity in Switzerland in the 1800s, when the Swiss government promoted it as a nutrition strategy and a use for aged cheeses. A pot with its own heat source, usually a small flame under a rack, keeps the dipping sauce molten. Diners use skewers to dip small pieces of crusty bread into the sauce.