Home, Outdoor and Patio Spaces: Tricks and Tips from DIY Specialists

Interviews with DIY Specialists for outdoor spaces for your home.

It’s the time of the year where we begin to take stock of our homes, the projects we completed and those that are moving to next year’s wish list. The internet has proven itself a great place to find inspiration for projects and home styling, especially as Do-It-Yourself has become a bigger part of our culture.  It’s a way for you to have a true hand in making changes to your home as well as giving your home the personalized look and style it deserves. There are a ton of great sources for projects that start with home improvement stores, Home Depot and Lowes have great sections on their websites that point to projects you can do with the materials they sell. That being said, there are ideas abound on Pinterest and Instagram, so many different ideas and projects that starting down this road can seem daunting.

A good way to toe into this pool is to start following the blog or social media account of people who are actively trying to improve their homes and share it with others. DIY specialists, with accounts of what worked and what didn’t, who are trying to fully align their home to a particular style. It’s a great process to see–even if the style is not quite your own, it gives a frame of reference for the variability in scale and detail DIY projects can take while providing an example of how to make sure that you’re looking at the entirety of your home for a seamless or purposefully diverse style.

We’ve had the pleasure this season of working with two DIY specialists, Natalie Kolter of My Vintage Porch, and Leslie Davis of Deeply Southern Home. Both women excel at creating curated journeys through their DIY and home styling projects that bring their personalities, aesthetic preferences, and families (including their photogenic pups) into account-along with working on a budget. I reached out to them to get answers to questions about their projects, with the intent of giving a taste of the DIY life to you.

Jump to Leslie Davis

Jump to Natalie Kolter

 

Leslie Davis – Deeply Southern Home

Blog: https://deeplysouthernhome.com/ 
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/deeplysouthernhome/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/deeplysouthernhome/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/deeplysouthernhome/

Image © Deeply Southern Home. Click to see original.

Passionate about design and her southern heritage, Leslie works to create a style that stems from tradition but does not tie itself to a specific time period. Leslie lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her family. Leslie’s expertise spans from room makeovers requiring construction to flipping furniture and crafts. For you patio lovers, she has a fun section of her blog dedicated to outdoor projects.

This July Leslie took a look at our Montlake FadeSafe covers, as a measure against pollen, leaves and other minor outdoor debris.  We were so excited to see Montlake in action and loved her time-lapse of the covering process, since that is one of the most daunting aspects of covering your furniture.

Interview

Do you have a favorite area of your home? Is your favorite area to renovate different from your favorite area to decorate or lounge in?


My favorite room in our house has to be the kitchen!  After our budget friendly renovation, it is the perfect place to cook and gather. I love styling the open shelves in the kitchen area so I would have to say it is my favorite place to decorate as well.  As for lounging, our favorite chill space is our basement media room.  It’s light and bright during the day but cozy at night, perfect for movies or Netflix!

What has been your favorite project to date?


Favorite project to date would probably be our master bathroom.  Through many hours of hard work and planning it is an oasis, a perfect retreat for an evening bath or a calming place to start the day.

Do you have a go-to tool or resource when working on projects, if so can you share it with us?

I don’t have one go-to tool in the tool box. I use them all depending on the project. Having a solid base of tools like a drill, miter saw and a  nail gun opens the possibilities for so many projects. As far as resources, I don’t like to use just one source for DIY project help. I want to find an expert in the field and learn from them.  I often check several sources before I head into a project I have no prior experience with.  Obviously, that includes searches on Pinterest, Google and YouTube.

Design or functionality: how do you find balance if there needs to be a balance for you, or do you eschew one in favor of the other?

I am a firm believer that function must come first but I never want a completed project to look like I chose function over design. The esthetic component must look like it was the most important part of a room. I also place a great deal of value on the comfort and inviting nature of a space. Those are really important characteristics of design to me.

Do you have something that, having done it yourself once, you would never do again (aka least rewarding project)? Also what was the most rewarding project—if that one isn’t your favorite?

What well-timed question! I recently tried to reupholster a settee for our daughter’s first apartment. Even though I’ve handled small upholstery projects before, this was bigger project than what I had time for given her impending move-in date.  I eventually set it aside and will likely hire it out.  We all are fond of this antique and it is worth having it done right.


The most rewarding projects are complete room makeovers, like my husband’s library/office space. We built an entire library wall complete with a fireplace where nothing but a blank wall previously existed. That’s completely satisfying.

What is you main source of inspiration?

I gain inspiration from everywhere! I am always inspired by the colors found in a variety of different landscapes. Creating a color palettes for a room around nature is always a good choice.  Of course, I love taking cues from beautiful spaces I see on Instagram, Pinterest and magazines.

Do you have a dream project you haven’t gotten to work on?

It’s always been a dream of mine to flip houses or renovate rental properties.  I feel confident I could balance budget and my design goals to create beautiful places for people to thrive. Also, to see a home completely transformed and then passed onto a new homeowner has got to be the best reward!

Do have a favorite picture of Tucker?


Our golden-doodle Tucker, he is such a great model!!  Probably a photo of him on the screen porch will always be a favorite. He really finds great joy in relaxing on the huge sofa out there. He’s a smart dog!

What is your best piece of advice for DIY beginners or enthusiasts?

My best advice is to not be afraid to try something you’ve never done before! I always say, you never know what you are capable of until you try!  That being said, my best advice would be to do your research, start with small projects where you can develop skills that can take you onto bigger and better projects.

How have your DIY projects been most affected by your location?

Living in the south, there are definitely outdoor projects that we put on hold during the summer months. It’s just smarter, more enjoyable to do those kinds of projects when it’s cooler.

Do you have any suggestions for small touchups or décor projects for fall/winter?

The easiest, most effective way to transform a space is paint! The right paint color is the most important design element in a room. I would also add that an updated backsplash can have a dramatic impact on the style of a kitchen.  It can be a great, low-cost beginner project.

How do you think Classic is fitting in with your home?

Montlake Covers on Leslie’s porch. Image © Leslie Davis, Deeply Southern Home. Click to see original.

I love that I was able to select from a wide variety of Classic Accessories covers that matched my outdoor space.  I was able to choose a fabric that blended well with our stone patio.

 

 

Natalie Kolter – My Vintage Porch

Blog: https://www.myvintageporch.com/ 
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vintageporch/?hl=en
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/myvintageporch/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/myvintageporch/

IMG_5357
Image © My Vintage Porch. Click to see original.

Natalie Kolter is a mother of three living in Tucson, Arizona. Her blog is a celebration of the successes and joy of renovation and decoration. Natalie’s style is a unique combination of modern and rustic influences that centralizes on a highly curated color palette focusing on white with splashes of natural brown, green and navy accents. Her blog looks at her home renovation projects and has sections for DIY fun-furniture, signs, crafts and more.

Natalie also took interest in Montlake, settling on a Grey Striped Hammock with Wood Stand and our Bamboo Umbrellas as accepts to her pool patio space to beautiful effect.

Interview

Do you have a favorite area of your home? Is your favorite area to renovate different from your favorite area to decorate or lounge in?

I like to make every space in the house feel inviting and cozy. I think that one of my favorite spaces is probably our bedroom since we most recently renovated it and added beams. I have always loved the extra character in a space.

What has been your favorite project to date?

I have so many favorites. It’s tough to choose just one but a couple of my favorites would definitely be the beams in our bedroom and the nightstands that we upcycled in there from our old nightstands.

Do you have a go-to tool or resource when working on projects, if so can you share it with us?

I mostly just “fly by the seat of my pants”. lol. When I come up with an idea, I just run with it and do what I need to do to get it accomplished.

Design or functionality: how do you find balance if there needs to be a balance for you, or do you eschew one in favor of the other?

I like to include both as I desire my home to be “liveable and comfortable” while being visually appealing at the same time.

Do you have something that, having done it yourself once, you would never do again (aka least rewarding project)? Also what was the most rewarding project—if that one isn’t your favorite?

I would have to say [my least rewarding project was] painting my kitchen cabinets!

Adding shiplap and wood to our walls has probably been the most rewarding in regards to the character it gives to our home. I’m not sure that I have a project that I would say is the least rewarding. Even project fails help us to learn from our mistakes.

What is you main source of inspiration?

Pinterest is something that helps me see what I’m dreaming up in a real life setting. It helps me to see if I will really like the idea that I have before I even start a project.

Do you have a dream project you haven’t gotten to work on?

My Dream Project would be to find, purchase, gut and completely restore and/or renovate an old farmhouse or barn. I love old homes with character.

Do have a favorite picture of Chester?

I would have to say that every picture of Chester. He’s just the superstar of all of the photos.

What is your best piece of advice for DIY beginners or enthusiasts?

Don’t be afraid to try something new. Start with small projects to build your confidence level in tackling that larger project! And, remember, home improvement and hardware stores will cut wood for you if you don’t have the right saws to make the cuts yourself…and that doesn’t make your DIY less DIY!

How have your DIY projects been most affected by your location?

I love to go thrifting, antiquing and to junk yards…this is where all my DIY projects begin. Tucson doesn’t have the same quality or quantity of the kinds of treasures I love, which means I get to go hunting for them all the more! I refuse to overpay for items I’m interested in, especially when I know what they are (or aren’t) worth.

Do you have any suggestions for small touchups or décor projects for fall/winter?

A great budget friendly option for both Fall and Winter would be to use outdoor free items, like wood. I brought home some wood logs one time and cut them to the size I desired and then painted them white. I also distressed them so that they would look like birch logs. You could to the same with sticks and other outdoor items. I have often used pressed leaves in frames for decor as well.

How do you think Classic is fitting in with your home?

I love the hammock and umbrellas from Classic! They are seriously the most durable, beautiful pieces I’ve ever had as part of our pool/patio living space!

Home, Outdoor and Patio Spaces: Tricks and Tips from DIY Specialists

Top 5 Reasons to Cover

Covers are SMART,

So much
More than a tarp,
Aesthetically-pleasing,
Ready-to-protect,
Textile-time-saver (long run)

Covers Protect

This week, we’re throwing down some reasons for you to be as excited about covers as we are, our top 5 reasons to cover your outdoor products. Next week, we’ll be releasing a longer post that goes into more depth about the reasons to cover, as well as some graphics to help you find the perfect size cover for your products.

Top 5 Reasons to Cover Your Gear

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Cleaning Speed - Overall, covers help limit the exposure your gear has to the more annoying elements, so you can spend less time cleaning and more time making memories you want to hold on to.
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But covers take time to put on…

One of the biggest downsides to covering is having to put the covers on. Covers are not as hard as you would think to put on, although the process can be time consuming. While we recommend a slow and steady pace for putting on covers as well as using the buddy system for larger covers, we’ve developed some techniques to speed up product photoshoots here.

 

Note that while you putting on the cover takes 45 seconds to 30 minutes (RVs and Boats are trickier),  it only takes a few minutes to take it off when you actually want to use your vehicle, grill or golf cart and you don’t have to spend an additional 30-120 minutes cleaning/drying said item.
Also, we may be biased but we think that a covered yard looks great!
Check out all of our covers and keep your outdoor gear covered with a SMART cover.
Top 5 Reasons to Cover

All About Patio Furniture

It’s August, and while it may seem like summer is winding down, it’s really just getting started. There is still plenty of time left for patio lounging and cookouts, making it the perfect time to take a look at your patio and make some choices regarding your style and furniture. We’re doing a deep dive into everything you need to know about patio furniture materials and tips on what you can do to protect your patio furniture, Classic Accessories’ guide to “all-things patio furniture,” if you will.

Know The Material

In the patio furniture world, seven main types of material exist for your patio furniture, each one differing from the others in aesthetics, movability, durability, ease of maintenance, and comfort, as well as what climates/regions they’re best suited for:

  • Aluminum
  • Steel
  • Resin Wicker
  • Wood
  • Wrought Iron
  • PVC (Poly-vinyl chloride)
  • Plastic

Note: Mosaic is sometimes included in common patio furniture materials lists. It is not a material, but rather a construction pattern. Mosaic surfaces are common on tables and chairs, and often combine elements of other materials in its creation. If you are interested in mosaic patio furniture you can check out Patio, Home, and Garden’s product page for mosaic furniture.

For this post we decided to use a scoring system for each one of the factors listed above to give each material a total score. At the end of the day, though, it’s up to you to decide what material you like best, but keep in mind the climate of where you live, as some materials are better suited for some climates than others.

Grilling Climates

 

Aluminum

Image by Didricks, Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dinnerseries/17347384434


Aesthetics

Aluminum patio furniture comes in a variety of styles and can be as basic or as elegant as you would like. With aluminum patio furniture, you have the option of selecting from three different builds: tubular, cast, or wrought. Tubular aluminum furniture is made from hollow pieces of aluminum bent into shape, according to Better Homes & Gardens. Wrought and cast aluminum differ in their construction processes, as wrought material is welded by hand, whereas cast material is made from a cast without manual welding or handling.

Cast aluminum furniture is growing in popularity, according to this HGTV article, due to its contemporary style. Unlike cast iron patio furniture, which traditionally has more classic and elegant aesthetics, cast aluminum furniture can take on any style you desire. You can also purchase aluminum furniture in in a variety color schemes, whereas wrought iron and wood, for instance, generally do not have this option. Check out these products for great cast aluminum outdoor furniture.

Score: 18/20


Movability

The second major selling point for cast aluminum furniture, or really any aluminum outdoor furniture, is its movability. Aluminum is both lightweight and strong. Thus, it can easily be rearranged and fit into small spaces, as opposed to its bulky cast iron and steel counterparts. Full sets including tables are also easy to rearrange to your liking. Here are some great sets of cast aluminum patio furniture.

Score: 19/20


Durability

Durability is another fantastic feature of aluminum patio furniture. Since aluminum naturally does not rust, it is perfect for hot and humid regions and climates. Aluminum can corrode. Corrosion is a form of oxidation similar to rusting that leaves a light coating on the aluminum that protects the material from future corrosion, according to theruststore.com. To limit corrosion, though, as it fades the material’s color over time, most aluminum patio furniture comes with a powder coating that adds extra protection.

One downside to aluminum patio furniture is that it less likely to be durable enough to withstand heavy winds, especially because of its light weight, making aluminum patio furniture not the best selection for very windy environments or regions.

Score: 18/20


Maintenance

Aluminum patio furniture maintenance is quick, easy, and less frequent (compared to other types of patio furniture). The Home Depot recommends using car wax or mineral oil on the surface for added protection, as well as regularly cleaning with mild soap and water. When your aluminum patio furniture has corroded, though, here’s an article for caring for the furniture, as well as a more patio-specific article.

Score: 18/20


Comfort

Tubular aluminum patio furniture will most likely not need cushions for comfort and extra support, as they are already built to be comfortable and ready to use. Some cast aluminum sets have built-in mesh seating, like these options. Other sets of aluminum patio furniture, like these Crosley sets, will need cushions (which can add a fun, creative element to your patio furnishing process).

For this type of furniture, our Mushroom or Spice Ravenna cushions, pictured above, are  great color options.

Score: 20/20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Weigh-In: Aluminum

Steel


Aesthetics

Steel has a sleek and modern look, but but less variety in build, style, and color than aluminum. Steel patio furniture works well with residential apartments and more modern spaces (cafes and restaurant patios often use steel furniture). Steel is also widely used as the foundation and/or frame for patio furniture with other materials making up the surface and seats. I give steel then a 16 for aesthetics since it doesn’t have much variety or capacity for build, style, or color on its own, but does look nice when paired with other materials. Here are some examples of steel patio furniture, or furniture using steel as a foundational component.

Score: 16/20


Movability

Movability is a concern when it comes to steel patio furniture. Because steel furniture is built for added strength and reinforcement, transporting it or rearranging it can quickly become a hassle. Fortunately, most steel patio furniture comes assembled, at least according to The Home Depot, so the main hassle is getting it to where it needs to be.

Score: 14.5/20


Durability

Steel’s strong suit comes in the form of durability. While steel is a rustable metal, it often comes with a powder coating similar to aluminum, according to Better Homes & Gardens, which can resist rusting. Steel, given its weight and sturdiness, is great for windy environments, and is especially well-suited for a cold and snowy climate, like the northern United States.

Score: 19/20


Maintenance

Caring for steel patio furniture requires a little bit more time than aluminum patio furniture because of steel’s potential to rust. Some companies, such as Target, confirm their steel patio furniture is rust-resistant, but Lowes suggests applying a protective coat of paste wax or naval jelly if the product is not rust-free or rust-resistant. Also, washing occasionally with water and mild soap is good practice for steel patio furniture.

Score: 16.5/20


Comfort

Steel furniture can be constructed in a way to be comfortable alone. For those pieces that are more aesthetic than functional however, cushions can come in handy. For steel furniture, try Empire Blue Ravenna cushions, shown to the right.

Score: 16/20

The Weigh-In: steel

Resin Wicker


Aesthetics

Wicker furniture has a variety of designs and colors, both in cushions and in the actual material. A trending material, resin wicker has been a popular choice in patio furniture since the 2000’s.

Score: 19.5/20


Movability

While it appears large and cumbersome, resin wicker patio furniture is surprisingly movable because of how lightweight it is, which makes for easy arrangement and/or rearrangement on the patio.

Score: 19/20


Durability

Durability is an aspect of wicker that is often underestimated and misunderstood. There is a difference between natural wicker and synthetic wicker, natural wicker being made from rattan, a reed-like material, and synthetic wicker being made from resin (liquids extracted from plant matter) according to patioproductions.com. The term “wicker” is also a term used in reference to a type of weave and the actual material is rattan or resin.

Natural wicker should not be used as outdoor patio furniture due to its susceptibility to most any weather condition, such as rain, sleet, or snow. Any form of moisture can damage it. However, synthetic wicker, or resin wicker, is the perfect material for all weather conditions. There are several types of synthetic resin wicker: PVC wicker, nylon, polyethylene, and High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Wicker. According to Patio Productions, HDPE resin wicker is the most commonly recommended type as it is infused with UV inhibitors and made with a high density compound to protect its surface.

Score: 19.5/20


Maintenance

To maintain your resin wicker furniture, simply dust it occasionally and, if looking to do a deep clean of the wicker, use mild detergent and water. Here’s a helpful article that looks into more cleaning specifics for resin wicker furniture.

Our Ravenna collection for your patio chairs, tables, umbrellas, grills, and more.

Even though resin wicker furniture is all-weather, it’s still a good idea to invest in a patio furniture cover (something we recommend). While covers really protect rustable steel and iron, covering your patio furniture regardless of furniture material is an investment that will increase the longevity of your furniture and patio greatly. Adding a cover to your resin wicker furniture will keep harsh weather and storms from weathering and doing incremental damage to the material, which is bound to happen–no material is indestructible. Furthermore, our covers provide protection from UV rays to avoid fading and also have built-in vents so condensation on your chairs and tables is ventilated.

Pro-tip: Never leave your cushions out on your furniture while it’s covered, even if your cushions are all-weather. Having cushions underneath your furniture can lead to mildew and mold, even with vents in the cover.

Score: 20/20


Comfort

Most popular Resin Wicker styles typically come with cushions of some kind, making them comfortable. Others don’t necessarily come with cushions but make use of the curvature of the furniture form and the natural give in the materials for comfort. If you’re looking to up the comfort on up your resin wicker furniture, we recommend Mallard Green Ravenna cushions, shown below.

Score: 20/20 with cushions

The Weigh-In: Resin Wicker

 

 

Wood


Aesthetics

Wood patio furniture is aesthetically pleasing, particularly teak hardwood. Other types of wood for patio furniture include cedar, cypress, pine, oak, acacia, and eucalyptus. According to Better Homes & Gardens, teak, cedar, and ipe are a few of the strongest, most weather-resistant types. Teak is particularly commended for its beauty, and is one of the most popular patio furniture materials out there.

While wood does not give the owner/buyer as much freedom to personalize their patio furniture without cushions, wood can be painted and stained, which gives some room for custom flare and refinishing.

Score: 19/20


Movability

Wood patio furniture is a split between aluminum and steel in terms of movability. Some pieces of wood furniture will, of course, be easier to move than others (a chair can be light while a dining table will require at least two people). The material itself, though, is significantly heavier than aluminum or plastic.

Score: 16/20


Durability

Wood furniture, especially teak, is sturdy and durable against most weather. Teak produces a natural oil that prevents water and moisture from seeping into the wood and causing dry rot, a wood-destroying fungus. Here’s an article on how to treat dry rot, if that’s a current problem for your patio furniture.

During the winter months, it’s advised for most wood furniture to be stored indoors to avoid damage. Teak is an exception mainly because of its natural oil that prevents water seepage, but keep in mind that a silvery patina fading will occur on your wooden patio furniture, even teak, if you keep any type of wooden patio furniture outside. Some like this accent on their wood furniture, but if you want to retain the original, honey color, consider using a cover.

UV rays also deal damage to wood patio furniture, causing fading, and humidity is known to cause warping in the wood, which makes one of our covers perfect to help keep UV rays at bay and excess moisture out.

Score: 16/20


Maintenance

As mentioned above, one of the best things you can do if you own or are looking to invest in wood patio furniture is purchase a cover or a cover set. Since teak is one of the few types of wood that you could leave outside year-round (and that is a stretch considering the silvery patina fading that can occur), wood patio furniture should definitely be covered.

Other useful tips to caring for your wood furniture are:

  • Scrub with a brush and mild soap
  • Dust off occasionally
  • Use teak sealer to preserve color and reduce greying

Score: 16/20


Comfort

Wood patio furniture alone can be less than comfortable given its solid nature and rigidity, but can be improved with the addition of cushions. Cushions can be a way to add a personal touch to the great, rustic look of your wood furniture on your patio.

We recommend a soft accent of color for your cushion assortment on wood furniture. Check out the Mushroom color way in the Ravenna cushion collection for your wood patio furniture.

 

Score: 18/20

The Weigh-In: Wood

 

 

Wrought Iron


Aesthetics

Wrought iron is probably one of the best patio furniture selections for a classic aesthetic look, since it can come in a wide variety of designs and has historically been a very elegant and beautiful choice for an outdoor patio and/or garden. Wrought iron patio furniture is normally seen in bistro sets, benches, chairs, and tables. One setback to the aesthetic appeal of wrought iron patio furniture is that it normally only comes in black or grey and therefore does not have much variety in color. Here are some wrought iron pieces if you’re interested in purchasing or upgrading your patio furniture.

Score: 17.5/20


Movability

Wrought iron is far heavier than aluminum, and is probably on or below par with the movability of wood furniture. Since wrought iron is commonly seen in bistro sets and not full dining sets, movability is more manageable, but moving a bulky bench or table can be a hassle.

Score: 14/20


Durability

Wrought iron is durable because of its strength and weight, which makes it perfect for windy regions. However, iron can rust and while, according to Lowes, “many modern metal frames are rust-resistant and rust-free,” it’s probably a good idea to apply paste wax or naval jelly, as referenced for steel furniture, to prevent rusting if you’re furniture is not rust-free or rust-resistant.

Score: 15.5/20


Maintenance

To maintain wrought iron furniture, use the aforementioned rust-preventative measures, and also try sanding over rust spots that appear. Basic cleaning can be done with mild soap and water, but one caveat is that wrought iron furniture has a tendency to develop cracks after some time of use. To deal with these cracks, it’s recommended to apply a paint coat, which may not resolve the issue totally.

Score: 15.5/20


Comfort

Wrought iron chairs, while aesthetically pleasing, are somewhat uncomfortable without the addition of cushions. For wrought iron, dark taupe cushions make for a subtle color accent.

Score: 15.5/20

The Weigh-In: Wrought Iron

Plastic


Aesthetics

While plastic furniture comes in a variety of colors, one of its main drawbacks is that its less aesthetically pleasing. It does not look as upscale or great as some of the other options we’ve looked at so far. Plastic furniture does, though, give the owner some flexibility location-wise. Since plastic is waterproof, putting plastic furniture poolside is a common spot, and because of its low price, restaurants and businesses tend to use plastic furniture outdoors. Some outdoor plastic furniture is also made of recyclable material, an added bonus if you’re conscientious about the environment.

Score: 12/20


Movability

Plastic chairs and tables are lightweight and easy to move to suit the owner’s needs. They are also normally constructed so that you can stack them easily.

Score: 20/20


Durability

Another setback for plastic furniture is its (lack of) durability against wind. While waterproof, the odds of your plastic furniture staying in place (or intact, for that matter) are low when dealing with serious weather.

Score: 10/20


Maintenance

Maintenance is a breeze if your plastic furniture is intact. Simply wash with a mild soap and rinse with water to clean these pieces.

Score: 20/20


Comfort

Plastic does not make for the most comfortable chairs out there, and while we reference cushions as a great way to add some comfort to your seating, cushions aren’t normally used on plastic chairs. Plastic furniture can be great if you’re using it for short periods or need to be able to sit relatively comfortably and relocate placement often.

Score: 12/20

The Weigh-In: Plastic

 

PVC (Poly-vinyl chloride)


Aesthetics

PVC patio furniture, like plastic, is not as aesthetically pleasing or of comparable quality to some of the other materials we’ve looked at. That said, PVC patio furniture is great for poolside lounging since it’s waterproof. Common PVC furniture uses rubber, mesh, or cushioned seating between the PVC foundation, but there is not often a wide variety of colors to be explored as far as the furniture goes.

Score: 10.5/20


Movability

PVC is pretty movable since it’s lightweight, but not as movable or lightweight as plastic furniture.

Score: 19.5/20


Durability

PVC won’t rust, but UV exposure will begin to cause browning on its surface. While it’s more durable than plastic when it comes to wind resistance, PVC patio furniture should still be stored indoors during the off-season or covered.

Score: 11/20


Maintenance

Easy to maintain by washing with soap and rinsing with water. May need additional maintenance with UV discoloration.

Score: 19/20


Comfort

On par with plastic furniture.

Score: 12/20

The Weigh-In: PVC

Final Standings

Overall


Aesthetics

  1. Resin Wicker – 19.5
  2. Wood – 19
  3. Aluminum – 18
  4. Wrought Iron – 17.5
  5. Steel – 16
  6. Plastic – 12
  7. PVC – 10.5


Movability

  1. Plastic – 20
  2. PVC – 19.5
  3. Resin Wicker (tie) – 19
  4. Aluminum (tie) – 19
  5. Wood – 16
  6. Steel – 14.5
  7. Wrought Iron – 14


Durability

  1. Resin Wicker – 19.5
  2. Steel – 19
  3. Aluminum – 18
  4. Wood – 16
  5. Wrought Iron – 15.5
  6. PVC – 11
  7. Plastic – 10


Maintenance

  1. Resin Wicker (tie) – 20
  2. Plastic (tie) – 20
  3. PVC – 19
  4. Aluminum – 18
  5. Steel – 16.5
  6. Wood – 16
  7. Wrought Iron – 15.5


Comfort

  1. Resin Wicker (tie) – 20
  2. Aluminum (tie) – 20
  3. Wood – 18
  4. Steel – 16
  5. Wrought Iron – 15.5
  6. Plastic – 12
  7. PVC – 12

 

Most First Place Appearances:

 

 

 

 

Resin Wicker (98)

 

Most Last Place Appearances:

 

 

 

 

Wrought Iron and PVC

Median pick:

 

 

 

 

Steel

Solid Investments:

 

 

 

 

Aluminum, Wood

All About Patio Furniture

Patio Perfection – Ravenna Cushions, Covers, and More

Introducing: Ravenna cushions

It’s nearly August, and the patio season is in full swing. There are barbecues, pool parties, family gatherings and long evenings galore. The patio is getting more use and you may have the desire to refresh, renew, or redecorate. Add a few notes of color or a new element to spice things up. Nothing is more satisfying than making the area you’re spending more and more time in a haven. However, your patio furniture may be well-loved (or expensive) and not quite in need of replacement. To enliven your patio without a full redesign and achieve a level of patio perfection and satisfaction, we recommend taking a look at replacing your cushions, switching out your umbrella or adding a hammock or frameless bean bag chair.

Ravenna cushions

Our Ravenna cushions offer a wide variety of colors and features, perfect for any patio furniture material or style, including benches/loveseats, chaises, and dining or lounge chairs. An addition to the Ravenna cover collection, which includes covers for patio furniture and other outdoor gear, our new Ravenna cushions use a color palette based on the original colors of the Ravenna line. Delina Wells, our Designer and Market Trend Analyst notes that:

“With the decision to add cushions under our existing Ravenna line, I wanted to make sure the new colors felt right moving forward with our existing Ravenna color palette: Dark Taupe, Espresso and Mushroom.”

The result was the creation of an inviting color palette that pulls it colors from familiar and naturally found hues. Here are all the great color options for Ravenna cushions:

Dark Taupe
Empire Blue
Espresso
Mallard Green
Mushroom
Spice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jake Sornsin, our Product Development Merchandiser (and the fantastic spokesman featured in the video above), reinforces that the goal of the Ravenna cushions is to “stay true to the Ravenna aesthetic,” while also being an affordable option for cushions.

One great feature that came from the nod to the Ravenna aesthetic is the introduction of waterfall seams, which increases comfortability and durability.

“Sitting on a cushion without piped seams at the front helps prevent any annoying scratches or lumps under your legs as you sit. Since there’s no seam at the front of the Ravenna cushions, there’s also a lower chance of water sitting on the cushion and seeping into the foam.”

-Delina Wells

We mention that Ravenna cushions are feature-rich in our introductory video, and we believe that. Some of the other thoughtful features included in the cushion design are shown below:

 

  • Gardelle One Fabric System: Gardelle One is a solution-dyed durable woven polyester fabric with a protective water repellent coating and water-resistant laminated backing
  • Water-Repellent Coating: Resists stains and helps keep rain out and your cushion foam protected
  • Patented Attachment System: Adjustable belted hem with click-close straps provides a tight, customizable fit to keep your cushion where you want it
  • Durable Stitching: Bound interior seams are engineered to provide strength and durability at the most demanding joints
  • Locking Zippers: Zippers lock to keep a tight closure and make stuffing the cushion easier
  • 3-Layered Seat Foam and Solid-Core Back Foam: Foam is designed for comfort and support, with outer layers of open-cell foam enclosing a high-density core that is resilient but conforms to your shape
  • Warranty: One-year limited warranty

Delina is a particular fan of the click-close straps, one feature from the covers we thought would have a great impact on the functionality and usability of the cushions. Jake agrees that the click-close straps “steal the show,” but points out that one underrated feature of the cushion is the locking zipper, which “makes switching out covers much easier as the zipper helps keep your place as you stuff the cushion.”

For more information on our Ravenna cushions, check out the collection on our site.

covers

Our Ravenna collection for your patio chairs, tables, umbrellas, grills, and more.

Our Ravenna cushions were developed as an extension of the Ravenna cover collection and adhere to a warm, inviting color palatte that while gorgeous,, may not quite suit everyone’s taste. For someone looking for a more intense and modern pop of color, we recommend our Montlake FadeSafe Collection.

Our Montlake patio furniture collection.

The Montlake FadeSafe collection adds a classic look to your patio and ensures a strong resistance to fading. It is also water-repellent and utilizes hooded air vents to ventilate condensation out from underneath the cover.

Click-close straps to secure your Montlake cover on windy days.
Air vent to keep weather out while providing maximum ventilation and minimum condensation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information and product details, see our Montlake and Ravenna collection pages on our patio furniture covers page on our website.

Hammocks

Hammocks can make a great addition to any patio. A comfortable, durable, and beautiful option, adding a hammock to your patio will create a more homey, relaxing environment. Our hammocks come in two different styles: Brazilian and quilted. Note the difference in style and build below!

Montlake FadeSafe Quilted Hammock – Heather Indigo Blue
Montlake FadeSafe Brazilian Hammock – Heather Indigo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We offer a variety of color options in two stripe pattern, a 2-tone Stripe (right) and a Mutli-Color stripe pattern (left). Check out the full selection on our site.

Happy hammocking!

Umbrellas

Montlake FadeSafe Umbrella in Heather Indigo.

Finally, adding an umbrella to your patio will complete your patio perfection process by giving your backyard shading for those exceptionally sunny days, as well as by providing an additional aesthetic element to your setup.

We offer both aluminum and natural bamboo umbrellas. Learn more about each material, as well as color options on our Montlake FadeSafe Patio Umbrellas main page.


We hope you consider these options to perfecting your patio and enjoy the rest of the summer!

Patio Perfection – Ravenna Cushions, Covers, and More

Favorite BBQ + Grill Recipes

This week we asked our employees for their favorite grill recipes. Our submissions ranged from grilled salmon kebabs and spicy Tunisian grilled chicken to smoked potato salad and Tandoori Paneer Tikka, a traditional Indian dish. We also received plenty more tasty, easy-to-make options! Try putting one or two of these recipes to use this grill season. Enjoy!

Grilled Salmon Kebabs 

This recipe was submitted by Stacy Laurent, our Accounting Supervisor. Stacy is hoping to try this recipe this summer because her family “loves salmon and [she] thought this would be a different way to serve it up.” See the link below for the full recipe:

Grilled Salmon Kebabs

Grilled Asparagus

This next recipe was submitted by Laura Engstrom, a Production Artist on the Creative Solutions team. She originally “didn’t think asparagus was all that good…until [she] had it grilled.” The instructions for preparing grilled asparagus are simple:

Ingredients:

  • Fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat the grill to high heat
  • Coat the asparagus spears with the olive oil lightly. Season with salt and pepper
  • Grill over heat for 2-3 minutes, or to desired tenderness

Recipe from allrecipes.com, “Grilled Asparagus.”

Spicy tunisian grilled chicken

Heather Thomas, our eCommerce Marketing Specialist, submitted this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (depending on your preferred spice density, I use 1 breast)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Tunisian Style Spice Mix

Spice Mix:

  • 1 tablespoon Coriander
  • 1 tablespoon Caraway Seeds
  • 1 tablespoon Crushed Red Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Cayenne Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste

Instructions:

“I usually make the spice mix and coat the chicken in the spices, drizzling a tablespoon of olive oil over it once the rub is slightly set in. I let this marinate overnight in the refrigerator and grill to taste. Served with corn that’s been spiced with salt, cumin and coriander.”

Brad’s Mac & Cheese

Brad Dorcik, one of our Online Merchandisers, recommends this unique Mac & Cheese recipe. “I’ve always loved Macaroni & Cheese, but it wasn’t until I started using the grill that our relationship grew,” he said. See below for Brad’s recipe:

Prep Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 30 min

Total Time: 45 min

4 to 6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 salted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup grated Asiago cheese
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup white Cheddar
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 1/2 cup cups yellow sharp Cheddar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs (optional)

Instructions:

  • Preheat grill to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Quarter red and green peppers, place them on the grill, cooking until tender
  • Once grill marks are formed, remove peppers from grill and set aside
  • Cook elbow macaroni in boiling water (salt optional) until al dente – drain and set aside
  • In a large saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter and whisk in flour to thicken, about 1 minute
  • Add 1 cup of milk and whisk in – begin adding cheeses, 1 at a time, thoroughly whisking each cheese
  • If sauce becomes too thick, add remaining cup of milk
  • Once all blended – stir in salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, grilled peppers, jalapeño peppers
  • Add elbows to the mixture and stir to combine again
  • With everything combined, add mixture to a cast iron 9” x 13” rectangular casserole dish
  • Sprinkle top with bread crumbs (optional) and an additional ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • Place on grill for 12 minutes – let stand a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Amanda’s steak marinade

Amanda Perry, our Marketing Specialist, recommends this steak marinade for your favorite cuts of meat. She recommends applying the marinade 4-8 hours before cooking.

Ingredients:

 

 

 

 

 

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons dried basil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (optional)
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • Couple splashes of good red wine

 

Instructions:

“Mix all ingredients in a blender and pour over steaks. Refrigerate from 4 to 8 hours.
If desired, add big cuts of raw onion rings to the marinade and throw on the grill with the steaks to get a nice char. Top the steaks with the onions and enjoy!”

D’s Turkey Rollbars

Dorik, our Art Director, has a fun and original grill recipe he came up with and tried on the grill last week. He likes to call them, “D’s Turkey RollBars.” Here’s how to make one:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of ground turkey
  • 3/4 cup of roasted cauliflower (roughly chopped)
  • 1/2 cup frozen kale (thawed and squeezed)
  • 1/2 cup roasted beets (roughly chopped)
  • 3 TB cilantro dressing (cilantro, red wine vinegar, olive oil, jalapenos, salt and pepper)

Instructions:

  • Mix all together and form a candy bar shape (like a 3 musketeers)
  • Place on hot grill. Grill all 4 sides until golden (about 2 min per side)
  • Remove from grill and get ready. Next few steps need to go quickly
  • Get that flat top grill heated up and place a large tortilla of choice on the hot grill
  • Once both side are slightly golden put a spoonful of the cilantro dressing, swirl it around the tortilla before placing a cheese blend of your choice on top
  • Next, place the turkey bar in the middle, top it with cottage cheese and a shake of hot sauce before rolling the whole thing up (be careful, its hot)
  • Continue to cook the Turkey RollBar until the sides are to your liking. A good golden brown with a few char marks is what I like
  • (Optional) You can also make a dipping sauce with more cottage cheese and hot sauce if you like (I do)

Dorik was featured last August in our grill vlog where he cooked up his own burger recipe, perfect for National Grilling Month. Recipe included in the video and in this blog post.

Smoked potato salad

Submitted by our V.P. of Business Development, Shuyler Mowe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. small (about 1” x 1”) Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • ½ Cup Green Onion
  • 1 Cup diced Red Onion
  • 2 Cups Arugula

Dressing:

  • ¼ Cup Olive Oil
  • 3 TBSP Dijon Mustard
  • 1 TBSP Red wine vinegar
  • 2 Cloves minced garlic
  • 1 TBSP chopped dill
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper

Instructions:

  • Prepare dressing, combine all ingredients in mixing bowl.  Let stand for at least one hour
  • Slice potatoes in half, lengthwise.  Parboil potatoes in salted water until just pierceable with a fork, but not past this.  You want potatoes to be firm.  Undercooking potatoes is not a huge deal as you can make up for it in the smoker, but do not overcook
  • Using wood chips of choice (I prefer Mesquite for this), get smoker up to 250 degrees.  If using a rack smoker, wrap racks in foil to prevent potatoes from falling through.  If using a barrel or other smoker type, use a sheet pan to prevent falling through
  • Smoke potatoes for 35-45 minutes.  When potatoes have absorbed smoke, they will have a browned appearance on the fleshy side and will not be crispy, but somewhat firm.  It is important that potatoes do not fall apart.  They should be distinct pieces when they go into the salad

Make the salad:

“Put potatoes in bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Then combine with vegetable ingredients and add dressing.  Mix and enjoy or refrigerate until serving.  This salad has a very unique, savory flavor that is great for a unique twist on a potato salad side and is relatively healthy as it avoids mayo.”

Tandoori Paneer tikka

Image: By Namitakhaire [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
Shruthi Desai, our eCommerce Marketing Manager, suggests Tandoori Paneer Tikka with grilled vegetables. An Indian dish, Tandoori Paneer Tikka is described by Padma Veeranki, a blogger on Masalakorb.com as:

“Hearty morsels of soft and crumbly Paneer marinated in a delicious mix of Yoghurt and spices, skewered and then grilled till golden brown in a tandoor, thus giving it a wonderful and distinctive smoky flavour. Of course most of us home-cooks have no access to a tandoor, but this dish tastes equally good grilled over charcoal, in an oven or even on a skillet. The recipe is pretty simple and straight forward [even] though you see a long list of ingredients.”

Paneer is a fresh cheese and is often known as Indian cottage cheese, according to Masalakorb.com. The term “tandoor” refers to a “variety of ovens, the most commonly known [being] a cylindrical clay or metal oven used in cooking or baking.” Tandoors are commonly used in Southern, Central, and Western Asia.

Tandoors in Turkmenistan. Image: By David Stanley [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Fried Paneer. Image: By Biswarup Ganguly [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See the blog post below for the recipe and instructions:

Tandoori Paneer Tikka With Grilled Veggies

Grilled lamb with rosemary, garlic, and cardamom

Kathryn Pinkney, our Creative Solutions Manager, recommends her grilled lamb with rosemary, garlic, and cardamom.

Serves: 10 to 15, depending on everyone’s appetite!

Prep: 20 minutes or less

Marinate: at least 8 hours or overnight. Note – The lamb can marinate up to 48 hours.

———————————

Purchase:

  • Boneless and Butterflied Leg of Lamb (about 5 lbs)
  • Trim as much silver skin from the meat.

Marinade:

  • Cardamom – powdered, 1-2 teaspoon
  • Dry mustard – 1 Tablespoon
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – 1 Tablespoon
  • Rosemary –  3-4 6 inch twigs fresh (pull leaves off the stems) or 3 Tablespoon of dried
  • Fresh Garlic – one whole – minced or pressed
  • Spicy Brown Mustard – 1/2 cup
  • Olive Oil – 2 teaspoons
  • Frozen Apple Juice – 1/4 cup
  • Black Pepper, freshly ground
  • Salt (Kosher preferable)
  • Optional: Feta Cheese, crumbled

Instructions:

  • Combine the first 2 ingredients in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in the vinegar and let stand for 15 minutes or so
  • Whisk in the rosemary, garlic, spicy mustard, olive oil, frozen apple juice. Season the marinade to taste with the salt and pepper
  • To marinate the meat you will need either an extra large ziplock bag or a 15 x 10 x 2 inch glass baking dish. (I prefer the zip lock baggie)
  • Glass dish Method  – pour 1/2 of the marinade in the bottom of the dish. Place the meat on top then pour the balance of the marinade over the meat. Using clean hands, massage the marinade into the meat until thoroughly coated. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and chill. It is best to turn the meat at least once to incorporate the marinade
  • Zip Lock Baggie Method – pour the whole marinade into the bag followed by the meat. Zip the bag shut taking care to move as much air out of the bag as you can. Now the fun part…. Massage the marinade into the meat for 2-3 minutes. Then place the baggie in a large bowl or dish (this is your safety in case your bag zipping skills aren’t perfect).  Place in the fridge to chill. I like to pull the meat out every 2-3 hours to turn over and massage

Grill:

  • Prepare your BBQ (medium heat)
  • Place the lamb on the grill. Reserve the marinade in a dish to use during the cooking)
  • Grill 15 minutes, brushing with the marinade frequently
  • Turn the lamb over, brush again with the marinade and grill until an instant read thermometer* registers 130ºF at the thickest part of the meat – this is medium-rare (BTW – check the temp of the lamb often – nothing worse than overcooked lamb)
  • Grill for about 5 more minutes per side.

*NOTE – if you don’t own an instant read thermometer, buy one. You can get one for under $15 bucks and it is well worth it. Once you use one, you’ll never go back to one of those old-fashioned dial versions – they are not accurate at all.

Additional Notes:

  • Transfer the lamb to a cutting board, cover with foil and let rest 15 minutes (don’t omit or rush this step or the meat will be dried out)
  • With a very sharp knife, slice the lamb thinly across the grain (1/8” or less). Arrange on a serving platter and sprinkle the feta over the lamb
  • If you prefer thicker slices, do so! I find that if I have leftovers and want to reheat, a thicker slice won’t over cook/dry out
  • I recommend an accompaniment of rice and a grilled vegetable (zucchini, carrots, corn – actually any type of vegetable that won’t fall apart on the grill works too)
  • I also recommend  a side of sliced cucumbers with yogurt or sour cream with just some salt and pepper

“This is one of my favorite meals – I’ve grilled this lamb several times for large groups of friends. Most recently I prepared this BBQ Lamb while offsite on Bainbridge Island, WA. Not only is it a “show stopper”, but it’s easy to assemble, marinate, and then cook after a long day of shooting Classic Accessories covers. My way to grill!”

 

We hope you enjoy these recipes and put some to use during National Grilling Month!

Favorite BBQ + Grill Recipes

All About Grills

Image: Salimfadhley at Wikipedia

Since it’s National Grilling Month, we decided to focus on everything you need to know to care for your grill, and what you need to know if you’re in the market for a new grill or are curious as to the advantages and disadvantages to other types of grills (combo, wood-pellet, electric, and portable grills, as well as smokers). Without further ado, let the grilling commence!

Knowing/Choosing Your Grill

A prominent debate among grill enthusiasts is whether charcoal grills or gas grills are superior. Check out this blog post for more information about the debate. We did some research and came up with some concrete advantages and disadvantages to both charcoal and gas grills to help provide some transparency as to which one is best for you as well as profiles on a variety of gas and charcoal grill types you may be interested in this grill season. If you already own either a charcoal or gas grill, there are some notes on how to optimize it and achieve the best end result to your grilling.

Charcoal Grills

Charcoal grills are all about flavor. Owners commend the smoky, chargrilled flavor from the grill in the food they cook. Charcoal grills are the most common type of outdoor grill, according to The Home Depot. This stat includes both backyards, parks, and other areas, whereas, gas grills are the most popular backyard grill exclusively. Here are the different types of charcoal grills out there:

Image: lightfusegetaway at en.wikipedia
Damper on top of a kettle grill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kettle Charcoal Grills

The kettle is one of the most common types of charcoal grill, created in 1951 by George Stephen Sr., who founded Weber-Stephen Products Co. (you may know the brand today simply as Weber). Kettle grills are portable, easy to use, and simple in their anatomy with a bowl and lid, cooking grate, charcoal grate, damper to control the heat, and a cleaning system (for Weber it’s a one-touch cleaning system).

Furthermore, the cleaning system acts as ventilation; if you open the vents, more oxygen will enter your grill, causing the coals to heat faster, which will speed up the grilling process. By closing them you’re cutting off the oxygen for slower cooking time. Check out Weber’s article on the anatomy of a common Weber kettle grill for more information.

 

Offset Charcoal Grills AKA Offset Smoker

The offset grill is a versatile charcoal grill that allows you to grill or smoke your food. These grills tend to be for people who are willing to tend to and monitor their cooking (and pay into a higher price point for a good model). There is a chamber dedicated to producing heat and smoke which holds your choice of charcoal and smoke wood off to the side that feeds into the main cooking chamber which holds shelves that can hold a variety of foods. You can control the flow between the firebox and the cooking chamber using the intake and exhaust vents on the grill. You can modify these to cook directly by adding a grill grate in the chamber holding the charcoal/wood chips. A good offset smoker will be made of thick materials for heat stability (ideally some form of steel)  and will likely be heavier than your typical grill. Learn more about these grills on the Barbecue Bible Site.

Big Green Egg Grill
Our Senior Graphic Designer, Dorik Downing, on his Kamado Joe grill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kamado Charcoal Grills

The kamado grill is a ceramic charcoal grill designed to trap heat and smoke for maximum absorption into the food. While not as portable as a kettle, the kamado still maintains temperature and air flow like a kettle through vents in the top and bottom. Some common brands of kamado grills are Kamado Joe and Big Green Egg. This article outlines the differences between the brands, including prices. Dorik Downing, our senior graphic designer, uses a Kamado Joe grill and recommends 100% Natural Lump Charcoal. Check out our vlog from last August featuring Dorik on the grill whipping up one of his tasty and healthy burgers (recipe included and perfect for national grilling month).

Our Ravenna Kamado Ceramic Grill Cover.

We recommend investing in one of our kamado grill covers to keep your Big Green Egg or Kamado Joe grill clean and ready for use during grill season, as well as safely secured during the offseason.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Park Style Charcoal Grills

The park style charcoal grill is a common charcoal grill often found in parks and campgrounds. You can also buy them for use in your own yard, as a simple grill option. These grills are fairly durable, easy to maintain and allow for quick cooking and experimentation with charcoal and wood chip types. Here’s a helpful article on tips for using this grill if you’re taking your cookout to a public venue or have one set up in your backyard.

If you’re interested further in charcoal grills, here’s a Home Depot guide on how to use them.

_______________________________

Charcoal Grill Advantages:

  • Rich, smoky chargrilled flavor
  • Inexpensive grill
  • Can reach higher heat levels than a gas grill – 700 degrees Fahrenheit

Disadvantages:

  • Added expense to buy new charcoal after each grill
  • Slower heat-up time – makes for longer grill process
  • More cleanup than other grills to get rid of charcoal ash

Gas (Natural gas or Propane) Grills

Gas grills, as mentioned earlier, are the most popular type of backyard grill. Gas grills can either use natural gas or propane (propane typically involves a tank, as shown peeking out at the lower right of the image of the grill above). Both are cost-effective; although, if you’re using a natural gas line running from your house, you’ll be restricted as to where you can put your grill, whereas with propane grills (and charcoal grills) you can typically pick any safe spot on or off your patio. There aren’t many variations in style for gas grills, but there is capacity for added accessories, such as side burners, lights, and integrated food thermometers.

Advantages:

  • Gas grills heat up faster than charcoal grills
  • Wider variety of accessory options such as side burners, lights, and food thermometers built in to the grill
  • Natural gas or propane can be used for fuel
    • Propane tanks are easy to find, don’t cost much, and are refillable
  • Easier to regulate heat with built-in control knobs
    • Different heat zones can be created for searing, cooking, or warming food on the grill
  • Easier cleanup than a charcoal grill

Disadvantages:

  • Smoky, charcoal flavor is lost since propane burns cleaner than charcoal
  • Does not reach the same levels of heat that a charcoal grill does, but still reaches up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Not as portable as a kettle grill, for instance
  • A bit pricier than a kettle

If you’re interested in gas grills, here’s Home Depot’s guide on how to use one.

Combo Grills

Another type of grill is the combo grill, which is essentially a grill with one side dedicated to charcoal grilling and the other to gas grilling. Some combo grills even have a smoker integrated. Be careful, though: not all combo grills allow you to simultaneously use the charcoal and gas grills, so make sure the combo grill you’re investing in has this feature if you want it.

Main Advantage:

  • Has the ability to function as a gas or charcoal grill

Main Disadvantage:

  • May not be able to use these functions simultaneously

Wood pellet Grills

Similar to the offset charcoal grill, this type of grill generally has multiple chambers, although the fire chamber tends to be smaller. A wood pellet grill gives you the opportunity to grill your food over a real wood fire. To use such a grill, you’ll have to invest in wood pellets, which come in different types such as hickory or cherry, and then feed them into a hopper attached to the side of the grill. As you continue grilling, you’ll have to add more pellets in. Here’s an article on how to properly care and maintain your pellet grill.

 

Main Advantage:

  • Natural grilling taste reminiscent of a campfire

Main Disadvantage:

  • You have to tend to and keep up the supply of wood chips more regularly than a gas or charcoal grill

Smokers

 

Smoking is the act of slowly cooking food at low temperatures over a longer period of time. The result is rich, smoky, flavor-filled food that a grill simply could not replicate. Smokers can be fueled by propane, charcoal, or electricity. Here’s The Home Depot’s in-depth guide into the world of smoking and how it’s done.

Main Advantage:

  • Deep, rich flavors

Main Disadvantage:

  • Long cooking process

Electric Grills

Electric grills are perfect for situations in apartments or condominiums as these places sometimes do not allow charcoal or gas grills. All you need is to be near an electrical outlet to begin grilling. Electric grills cook food evenly and require very little set up or cleanup afterwards, however they do miss out on capturing any kind of flavor during the cooking process. Perhaps their strongest trait, though, is their portability, as tabletop electric grills can be taken anywhere with an outlet.

Main Advantage:

  • Great for apartments and places where you can’t have a gas or charcoal grill

Main Disadvantage:

  • Aren’t typically able to add the same flavor nuances as charcoal, wood, or even gas grills

Portable Grills

Portable grills come in charcoal, gas, and electric types and can be used essentially anywhere, predominately at tailgates and camping trips, but could certainly be used for backyard grilling. Unfortunately, though, its portability results in less square footage to grill for a big group of people or a large family gathering. On the same token, however, if you’re dealing with a patient bunch, who says you can’t take a little bit extra time to cook everyone’s food?

Main Advantage:

  • Very portable

Main Disadvantage:

  • Size restrictive as well as a long cooking process

Grill Cleaning and Maintenance

Charcoal grill

For cleaning charcoal grills, it’s important to clean the grill grate with a brush and then clean the charcoal grate. Make sure to clean out the ash in the grill as well. According to amazingribs.com, “ash holds moisture and can chemically attack steel.” They also add that ashes should always go in a metal can since “embers can glow far longer than you think.” For kettle grills, as mentioned in our 12 grill tips/tricks blog post, line the basin of the kettle below the charcoal grate with aluminum foil so that you can easily dispose of the ash once you’re done grilling without much of a hassle.

Gas Grill

This video has instructions on how to maintain and clean your gas grill.

General Maintenance

For all grills, it’s important to have cleanings and to check that all of the connections and pathways are clean, clear and functioning correctly for safety. Regular maintenance and cleaning can help your grill work better and last longer.

We recommend taking the following steps minimally:

  1.  If you haven’t used your grill for a while, or plan to not use it for a while, make sure to double check your hoses and connections to ensure that everything is whole and stable. If you have a gas grill, double check the propane connection and tank. Please.
  2. Clean your grates of excessive debris at least twice a season and right before you winterize (go for every time you cook if you can).
  3. Do check your grease trap seasonally if you have one and clean it out so it can continue doing its job next season.
  4. Clean the whole grill at the end of the season if you’re going to store it or not use it for a season

One additional tip we have for you to maintain your grill, no matter the type, is to throw a grill cover on. Why cover your grill, you may ask? First and foremost, a cover is a way limit your grill’s exposure to natural elements, such as rainfall, dust, leaves, etc. It can help prevent dirt and debris from getting stuck in catch pans where fires could start. While some worry that covers mean that your grill is at risk of rusting from condensation, our grill and BBQ covers are designed to combat that particular issue with air vents, as pictured below. Check out one of our earlier blog posts for more detailed information about why you should cover your grill.

Ravenna BBQ grill cover. Link below.

 

A vent on the side of a Ravenna cover.

Ravenna BBQ Grill Cover

Happy grilling for the rest of this summer!

Sources:
The Home Depot
Living Direct
Wikipedia: Weber-Stephen Products

All About Grills

Father’s Day 2018

We’re celebrating Father’s Day! Father’s Day truly is a special day we get to spend with our family and friends. It gives us time to relax, unwind, and enjoy the company of our loved ones. Out here in Washington, with the weather looking to be sunny and 75 for the weekend, Father’s Day will be particularly great, as we get to spend time outside on our patios and in our backyards, enjoying the great weather and some Mariner’s baseball. Since Father’s Day is all about the time we get to spend with our family and friends, we asked some of our employees to write about their experiences with their fathers, as well as with their kids on this special day.

Dorik Downing is our Senior Graphic Designer and has some fun plans for this Father’s Day. “My parents and in-laws are coming over and we’ll be cooking fried chicken, as well as skewered jumbo prawns, and my daughter is making an aioli,” he said. His mother is also baking a cake using the recipe for the wedding cake from the recent royal wedding.

Paul is our Vice President of Finance, and his submission was particularly moving, because Father’s Day is also a time to remember our passed loved ones, especially our fathers or grandfathers. Carrying on the experiences that our fathers have given us, like Paul has, to others is a powerful thing.

Sue Forberg is an EDI Supervisor and Analyst. What inspiring, lovely words from her dad! “My favorite memories were the lazy Sundays when we would make a day and go to a used bookstore together. We are both avid readers so this was a great bonding time. It was just great father-daughter time,” she said, when asked about her favorite moments with her father in the past.

Wendy Pfeifer is a Sales Assistant, and her picture perfectly shows off one of our very own Colorado XT pontoon boats, which can be found below in our list for recommendations for Father’s Day 2018 gifts. If your dad enjoys fishing or outdoor experiences, check out our top 4 fishing picks from one of our earlier blog posts.

Such heartfelt experiences and memories we’ve shared with our fathers and families are truly priceless, and certainly make Father’s Day all the more special. Check out more of our employees’ Father’s Day memories and stories on our Facebook page, or watch them in slideshow format.

Here are some recommendations for great experiences with your father:

  1. Hickory BBQ Cover
  2. Veranda Smoker Cover
  3. StormPro Kayak Cover
  4. Colorado XT Pontoon Boat
  5. DryGuard Boat Cover 
  6. SkyShield Travel Trailer Cover 
  7. UTV Deluxe Storage Cover, Mid Size
  8. Fairway Diamond Mesh Seat Cover

Items 2, 4, and 7 may require a set for optimum fun.

Have a fun, joy-filled Father’s Day!

Father’s Day 2018

4 Fishing Picks for the Weekend

May is a month for flowers, sunshine and fishing. Most states have had their openers or are having one this weekend. We know that Sunday is a special day (if you’ve yet to pick out a gift for your mom, we do have a sale going on the website for Montlake) and we’re not suggesting that you avoid being with mom or your kids on Mother’s Day, but perhaps spending some time away from home is just what mom needs–especially since in Minnesota this weekend, mom’s can fish for free.

To give you some ideas of where to head out whenever you do decide to fish, we’ve made a list of 4 reccomendations, 2 selected out of responses to our followup question on Facebook to our March blog post regarding the opening of the fishing season and 2 from our employees.

#1 Whiteswan Lake, British Columbia


Whiteswan Lake is in a beautiful location with opportunities for the whole family to enjoy a day trip. It has a large fish population (including rainbow trout), and is located within a larger Provincial Park. The fishing crowd gets to cast into gorgeous scenery (with a second lake in the park) and there are opportunities for swimming and hiking for anyone who is less interested in fishing in the party.

Our first suggestion came from Tim Snow

#2 Snake and Salmon Rivers, Washington

The second pick is a favorite for our Marketing Specialist, Amanda Perry:

If you ask me about my favorite river, it would be a tie between the Snake River and the Salmon River.

Both of these rivers hold a special place in my heart. I have experienced days and nights through their canyons on the river and on the sandy shores of both.

Days were spent in white water and ended with calm afternoons fishing with our feet in water catching dinner. Although trips were about the float, the fishing was GREAT as well. And trout caught after a day of paddling just tastes better if you ask me. The South Fork of the Snake River below Palisades Dam features world-class blue-ribbon trout fishing in a gorgeous, road-less canyon.

The Snake River begins as a high mountain stream in Yellowstone National Park before it turns west and follows the ancient scar of the Yellowstone super volcano through southern Idaho.

Just before it reaches Oregon, the river makes an abrupt turn north, into Hells Canyon, the deepest river canyon in the nation. Six-hundred miles from its alpine headwaters, it meets the Salmon.

The Salmon River originates in Idaho’s Saw tooth Mountains and flows 425 miles through some of the most remote land in the lower 48. Unlike the dozens of dams and impoundments found on the Snake River, the Salmon flows free for its entire length until it is absorbed by the Snake in Hells Canyon.

It’s a bucket list of ours to take the kids on someday when they are old enough. Trips like these are where memories are made. Do a quick search on Idaho’s white water trips and you’ll be in for a trip of a lifetime!

#3 Bitterroot River, Montana

The Bitterroot river flows through beautiful scenery in the lush Bitterroot Valley with the Sapphire Mountains to the east and the Bitterroot Mountains to the west. Known as one of the premiere trout rivers in western Montana the river forks to offer a quality fly fishing setting. With pools, runs, gravel bars, riffles and channels the river provides outstanding diversity.

This suggestion came from Michael Campbell:

#4 McKenzi River, Oregon

Last but not least is the choice fishing on the McKenzie River, selected by our Art Director, Dorik Downing:

My pick is the McKenzie River in Oregon

The McKenzie River is an eighty-six mile long tributary of the Willamette in the state of Oregon.

Famous for its native redside rainbow trout that locals call “redsides”.

There is a very good population of wild rainbows, and a small population of bull trout.

This is one of Oregon’s best trout streams.

4 Fishing Picks for the Weekend

Adding Duck

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Kent, WA, April 25, 2018 — Classic Accessories is excited to announce that it is adding Duck Covers to its collection of brands. Two of the nation’s leading cover manufacturers will be combining to form the world’s largest outdoor cover company.
Classic Accessories and Duck Covers
“Duck Covers’ approach to product development, the customer experience and their focus on the E-Commerce channel has made bringing Duck Covers into Classic Accessories an easy decision,” said Classic Accessories CEO Brian Bozlinski. He continued, “Duck Covers will now be able to leverage Classic Accessories’ robust infrastructure to offer incredible products and services to its customers. Classic Accessories and Duck Covers share similar values, with a deep focus on the customer experience, unique design and features that go above and beyond customer expectations.”

Duck Covers - Patio and Grill

The Duck Covers brand will remain distinct and continue to offer excellent, waterproof protection under the Duck Covers name. Current Duck Covers customers can reach out to the customer service staff at Classic Accessories beginning May 7th for any warranty or product questions. The customer service team is open from 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM PST and available by phone at 1-800-854-2315 or via email at [email protected].

Duck Covers was founded in Benicia, CA in 2010 by Olaf Elze and Shawn Sterling who will continue to work with Classic Accessories after the acquisition. “We are really excited about joining the Classic Accessories team and getting access to all of their expertise in the cover business,” said Sterling. “We think this will allow us to better serve our customers and put us in a great position to lead the industry in all cover applications.”

If you have any questions, please reach out to our customer service department listed above, or leave a comment below. Find out more about the Quacktastic Duck Covers here. We are very excited to bring Duck Covers into the Classic Accessories family. More fun to come!

Adding Duck