Patio & Hearth Blog

from Patio and Hearth Products Report


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Rugs Spruce Up Outdoor Spaces

Bengal from the Wildlife line from Capel Rugs

At first glance, having an outdoor rug may seem puzzling.  Yes, they can enhance patios and decks by adding color and design, but wouldn’t they be more trouble than they’re worth? The fact is that rugs specially designed for the outdoors offer practical benefits for those wanting to liven up their outdoor spaces.

Outdoor rugs can help protect wooden decks from heavy traffic areas and they can help protect bare feet from hot ceramic tile.  Durable outdoor rugs are made to handle the outdoor elements while also spicing up a patio.

“Consumers want rugs that reflect their personality and the latest trends, but they also want something that is flexible and easy to decorate with,” says Tami Watras, vice President-product and creative director of Capel, one of the many manufacturers dedicated to outdoor rugs.

There are several factors that customers need to be aware of when purchasing an outdoor rug. Quality and durability are the most important considerations, since they’re used outdoors. A rug that’s 100% polypropylene will hold up well for multiple seasons.  It’s also important to select a color that ties into one’s outdoor space and also complements the indoor space. This helps make the outdoor area an extension of one’s home.  The good news is that outdoor rugs do not have to be expensive, so customers should be able to choose a well-made rug that’s also affordable.

The interest in outdoor rugs is growing and now is the perfect time to capitalize on an expanding market.


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The Unseen Benefits of Hot Tubs

Beachcomber Hot Tubs’ affordable 321 model

For many people, hot tubs are luxury items that conjure up thoughts of comfort and good times.  But in recent years, studies have shown that the use of hot tubs can have surprising benefits for one’s health.

One of the more obvious benefits is for those who suffer from arthritis and other joint or muscle problems.  The use of hot tubs can relax and exercise these muscles, which can help ease the pain.  Hot tubs can also help people with type 2 diabetes as well.  Sitting 30 minutes per day in a hot tub can help reduce blood sugar levels.  Hot tubs have also been reported in helping those with insomnia.

Even if one is not suffering from any health problems, hot tubs can help people reduce their stress level, blood pressure and increase one’s overall well being.

Beachcomber Hot Tubs (Surrey, British Columbia) is one hot tub manufacturer that has promoted the immense benefits of hot tubs.  They even tapped into the massage therapy trend by developing a hydromassage system for their hot tubs.

“Hot tubs have proven to be an effective way to relieve stress and improve our health, and they give us a place to relax with family and friends in the comfort of our own backyards,” says Beachcomber Founder and CEO Keith Scott.

And with hot tubs becoming more efficient and easier to maintain, owning one makes sense—whether to improve your health or to enjoy time spent with family and friends.


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National Hammock Day: July 22

July 22 is National Hammock Day and for manufacturers like The HammockSource (Greenville, North Carolina), it’s a day to raise awareness for this simple luxury item that can help people relax and improve the quality of their lives. Reid Roney, VP Sales & Marketing of The HammockSource, says that National Hammock Day helps educate consumers about the benefits of hammocks and also lets them know that this is the ideal time to purchase these products. It’s the middle of summer so the weather is warmer and the days are longer, making a hammock the perfect way to catch some zzz’s in the middle of the afternoon.

Hatteras Hammocks Red Stripe Pillowtop Hammock and Roman Arc Cypress Hammock Stand from The HammockSouce

In fact, earlier this year, a study published in Current Biology (Click here for study) revealed that people sleep more soundly when they are being rocked. Perhaps one would get more out of their afternoon nap if it were in a hammock.

As part of this year’s National Hammock Day, The HammockSource formally recognized its longtime weaver, Lenwood Haddock, who weaves between
12-18 hammock beds a day, averaging roughly 90-120 per week. The HammockSource estimates that he has woven about 125,000 hammocks for the
company since he started nearly 25 years ago. And if that weren’t enough, Haddock is also completely blind. “The first hammock I wove, took me all day,” says Haddock.

Haddock will demonstrate his weaving techniques at The HammockSource booth at the 2011 International Casual Furniture and Accessories Market in
September.

Roney says that The HammockSource takes enormous pride in manufacturing products that are of high quality and appeal to consumers. Roney adds that while the economy has been slow, the hammock business has only increased as consumers look for stylish products that help them relax at home.

For more information on The HammockSource, visit their site: here


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Retro is Back

Outfitting one’s home with antiques and retro-inspired furniture and accessories has grown in popularity over the years.  But now this trend has even gone towards appliances. Consumers drawn to this nostalgic look may even want to consider a vintage robin’s egg blue refrigerator or flamingo pink stove and oven.

Northstar by Elmira Stove Works

Elmira Stove Works (Elmira, Ontario) is one company which has been capitalizing on vintage appliance designs and currently offers consumers retro-looking appliances with state-of-the-art technology. The appliances are redesigned with modern conveniences, such as convection and self-cleaning functions in the Elmira ranges and ice makers in the company’s refrigerators. One of its newest products is a 1950s’ retro-styled refrigerator with a draft beer keg system. The look of the retro appliances diverges from the sharp, sleek lines of modern stainless steel and commercial-grade appliances that are often hidden behind wood panels.

Tony Dowling, business development manager at Elmira, says that many people fall in love with Elmira Stove Works’ vintage designs almost immediately because the appliances remind them of a happier, simpler time.   Whatever the reason for wanting a retro-designed refrigerator or stove, these appliances will become conversation pieces in any kitchen. All one has to do is add a checkered floor to complete the look of that bygone era!

Elmira Stove Works: http://www.elmirastoveworks.com/

 


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The Outdoor Man Cave

Grand Pavilion GPV3100 Outdoor Kitchen from Cal Flame

Sports memorabilia, beer and big-screen TVs are all essential must-haves of the man cave–a room in the house (or sometimes in the garage) where the man of the house has complete rule.  But why not move the man cave outdoors, where men can enjoy their personalized space in the fresh air?

Outdoor-living retailers are starting to pay attention to the outdoor man cave concept and as a result are increasingly showcasing products that appeal to men. This is a great way to reach out to male consumers, who in the past tended to let their wives or girlfriends be the final decision-makers when selecting patio furniture.

Desert Patio in Palm Desert, California, is one retailer that uses the man cave idea in some of its vignettes to appeal to male shoppers. William Thomas, owner of Desert Patio, explains: “We try to match decorating the outdoor patio of a home with the latest trends in interior design, and one of those is the man cave or the man space. It’s an outdoor place where the gentlemen of the house can feel comfortable, watch sports on television, relax, and maybe have brandy and cigars.”  These vignettes have been a big hit with Desert Patio’s customers.

William Thomas, owner of Desert Patio

So what does one need to take the man cave outside?  No man cave would be complete without the following:

–       Big-screen TV

–       Top- notch grill

–       Refrigerator

–       Fire pit or outdoor fireplace

Along with these important products, men can personalize their outdoor spaces by adding sports memorabilia, comfy lounge chairs, chat tables, outdoor beer dispensers, and even ping pong tables.


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Don’t Forget the Accessories!

The Big Green Egg Pit Mitt® BBQ Glove is an aramid fiber soft glove that allows the user to handle hot items around and directly off of a very hot grill. The washable Pit Mitt is reversible for left or right hand and has silicone on the surface for a superior grip.

When selling a new grill to a customer, it’s a good idea to suggest accessories that can help ease the grilling process while also making it more fun.

  • Thermometer: There are a variety of grilling thermometers and having one that can gauge the temperature of the meat as well as the grill can be extremely helpful.
  • Skewers: Having a good set of skewers will ensure that your kebob gets cooked evenly on all sides.

Steven Raichlen Stainless Steel Skewers from The Companion Group

  • Grill Cleaning Brush: A good set of cleaning brushes can help make it easier to scrape off the excess fat, juices, sauce, etc. that builds up on the grates.
  • Long-handled Spatula, Tongs and Fork:  Being able to turn, flip and hold one’s food from a safe distance to the flames is essential to anyone grilling.
  • Gloves/Mitts:  Gloves might not be the first thing to come to mind when thinking of barbecue accessories, but they can be very helpful when handling hot skewers or pans.

Of course, these are only a few accessories that can help people get started.  The Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association (HPBA) is a great resource for retailers and consumers alike. Be sure to check out their barbecue accessory tips here.


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Outdoor Pizza Ovens On The Rise

Pizza has always been a favorite for adults and children, so it’s no surprise that pizza would find its way outdoors and on the grill.

Grilling pizza has grown in popularity over the years and many manufacturers, such as Bull Outdoor Products and Stone Age Manufacturing, now make outdoor pizza ovens.

Stone Age Manufacturing's MezzoT Wood-Fired Pizza Oven

Stone Age Manufacturing’s MezzoT Wood-Fired Pizza Oven features an arched-roof design (reminiscent of the traditional ovens of the old world) and offers plenty of thermal mass for optimum cooking performance. Constructed of reinforced refractory concrete, the MezzoT is simple to assemble and will provide years of trouble-free cooking enjoyment.

 

Bull Outdoor's Portable Pizza Oven

Pictured above is Bull Outdoor’s portable pizza oven. Made of heavy-duty stainless steel, it features a separate oven and firebox, smokestack, and cart shelves. The oven measures 19.5 inches wide by 14.25 inches deep by 55.5 inches tall.

Pizza has always been a food that brings friends and family together. With its limitless possibilities of toppings and the ability to serve many, it has become a staple for game days, birthday parties and family nights.  And now with pizza ovens, the fun can be moved outdoors into one’s patio space.

To help get things started with one’s pizza oven, here’s a recipe for homemade pizza dough: recipe here