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3 Ways to Add Privacy to Your Outdoor Space

From ShadeFX

Creating privacy can be a tricky challenge, whether you have an urban "fishbowl" or a sprawling estate.  The challenge of creating traffic patterns, rhythm, and a design that make an efficient use of the space intellgently takes the eye of a trained designer.  When not properlly considered, these spaces can turn into a problem for the homeowner, and can defeat the purpose of the outdoor space, which is to relax!  This post from ShadeFX gives three great ways to create privacy, while also providing some other ancillary benefits as well.  Using structures, plantings, and other landscape features can seamlessly outfit an outdoor living space properly, and create the best experience for your outdoor rooms.

Here is an excerpt from the post:

Whether you live in suburbia or an urban environment, space and privacy are at a premium, especially when it comes to your outdoor space. As you begin to explore options in creating a getaway in your backyard or on your patio, you can leverage some creative ideas that give you the ambiance and beauty you need while optimizing your privacy in a public or semi-public setting.

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Backyard Kitchen Designs Are An Extension Of Your Home

From Dream Retreats Landscape Design and Construction

The "staycation" is a quintessential American phenomenon, and has been gaining popularity for decades.  The American homeowner wants to invest in their home, and bring the vacation to their own backyard.  What better way to enjoy one's own outdoor living space than to outfit the space with a phenomenal outdoor kitchen?  Whether entertaining guests, throwing parties, or just barbequing for the kids in the neighborhood, an outdoor kitchen makes the most efficient use of space, and is the ultimate conveniece.  This post from Dream Retreats gives some great ideas for outdoor kitchen designs.

Here is an excerpt from the post:

Along with many others in the landscape architecture and construction industry, we have designed and built many outdoor living spaces which become extensions to the home. An outdoor kitchen is an extension of the home which is constantly growing in demand and design. Depending on our client's vision, we have designed and built simple outdoor BBQ's to complete backyard kitchens which include refrigerators, prepping stations, and bar/seating areas. Our landscape architecture and design team strive for each client to have their backyard be a place of retreat and peace of mind.

We are hearing over and over again from our clients that they want to spend more time at home and make their home as nice as possible. Many of our clients are looking for ways to extend their ability to stay outdoors along with preparing their meals. Extending patios, outdoor fireplaces or firepits, water features and putting greens are ways they are accomplishing this. Essentially the backyard becomes a social gathering place for family and friends.

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Marvelous Fireplace Designs by Elena Colombo

From StylishEve

There is nothing quite like fire to attract the eye.  How many great memories have been formed around the bonfire, roasting marshmallows and making s'mores?  Fire has a way of becoming a focal point, and a place where people tend to gather, especially when temperatures drop slightly below the norm on a summer's eve.  Consider adding a fireplace or firepit to your outdoor living design to attract the eye, as well as a crowd.  In this post from StylishEve, some of the most forward-thinking designs on fireplaces are showcased to help inspire your own outdoor living design.

Here is an excerpt from the post:

Fire places might not be seen in all houses, but when you find them, they really make a huge decorative and unique style in the room they are added to. Fire places give you amazing warmth, and when they have a chic design, the whole room becomes amazing. This is a collection of marvelous fire place designs offered by Elena Colombo. These fire places are really innovative and have unique designs that will turn any place into a really decorated area. A lot of ideas are available; some of them are modern, while others are simply made of raw materials like wood for a totally natural style that can be perfect when this fire place is added outdoors. If you will add your fireplace outdoors, then try to get one that's totally made of natural materials to complement the feeling of nature, like this design using wooden sticks and stones; this one is very natural and feels like the traditional, known old style of fire places. Metal is also used to make amazing fireplaces with different designs. The designs are really a lot come in different sizes to choose what suits you and the ambiance of the place in which the fireplace will be added.

Click here to read the entire post and to see the amazing fire features

4 Pool Exercises for the Perfect Summer Body

From Solar Pool Technologies Blog

You've heard that working out in your inground swimming pool is good for you.  You know that the buyoancy helps your joints and muscles, that the water cools you and allows you to work harder, and that you get the best total body workout possible.  What you don't know is how to get started working out in the water, beyond swimming laps.  Enter this post from Solar Pool Technologies.  This post gives you 4 easy and fun exercises that you can do right in your own inground swimming pool that will propel you on your way to swimming pool fitness!

Here is an excerpt from the post:

The summer heat can discourage outdoor workouts like running and biking, so jump in the pool and get moving! The pool is a great space to stay cool, and the water resistance will engage more muscles in a larger range to help you burn more calories in less time.

Here are some tips on pool exercises to give you that beautiful summer body. For a full water workout plan, including target areas and timed exercises, read Fitness Magazine's Slim Down in a Splash: Pool Workout.

1. Treading Water

Seems simple enough, but don't be fooled. Treading water will burn about 11 calories per minute. Tread for fifteen minutes and burn 165 calories.

2. With a Beach Ball

Working with a beach ball creates extra resistance to tone your muscles. To work your arms, float face down in the pool and use your hands to push the ball underwater. Return the ball to the surface of the pool, moving slowing with full control.

To work your legs, sit up in the pool and hold the ball between your feet. Starting from the surface, press your legs down until you are in a standing position. Return the ball to the surface of the pool, moving slowly with full control.

To work your core, hug the ball to your body with legs extended behind you. Roll 360 degrees, keeping your legs fully extended. Some people call this the Otter Roll.

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BioGuard's Five Keys to Basic Pool Care

From BioGuard's Youtube Channel

As any inground swimming pool owner knows, there are few pleasures like taking a plunge into a crystal clear, refreshing, safe and clean swimming pool on a hot summer's day.  By the same token, these people also understand that taking the care to put the pool in that state can be alot of work, and quite inefficient; if one doesn't know what one is doing.  Dumping loads of chemicals into the pool day after day is not what gets the swimming pool to that sweet spot of crystal clear refreshment, and this video from BioGuard gives you the 5 keys to Basic Pool Care that can help the swimming pool owner get that pool ready for the plunge!

The 5 Keys to Basic Pool Care are:

1.  Circulation

2.  Filtration

3.  Cleaning

4.  Testing

5.  Chemistry

Click here to watch the video on the 5 keys to basic pool care

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