Archive for November, 2006

Inflatable Swimming Pool Slide

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

swimming pool slideIf your kids are bugging you for a slide for the backyard swimming pool, but you think they’re too expensive to install (permanent structures do tend to be costly), maybe this inflatable pool slide could be a suitable compromise. Granted, it’s not going to entertain big kids (although the product description says it can hold up to 150 pounds), but if your youngsters are still toddler-sized, they may have a blast zipping down this.

It’s designed to be hooked up to a hose (there’s a built-in “spray strip”), so it becomes a water slide. Made of heavy-duty PVC, the slide should stand up to some wear and tear. Since it’s inflatable, you can simply let out the air at the end of the summer for easy storage.

The price is $120 from Plow & Hearth.

Backyard Tiki Hut Bar, Let the Parties Begin

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

backyard tiki hutIf you live in a warm climate (or just wish you did) and do a lot of outdoor entertaining, you might get a kick out of this bamboo tiki hut bar. Definitely reminiscent of some tropical island, the covered bar has plenty of storage for drinks, glasses, and snacks. You could hook up outdoor plumbing and electricity if you wanted to have a full service bar. Imagine the relaxation potential: string up a few hammocks around the yard, put on the Hawaiian music, and have your personal man servants (i.e. the kids) bring you drinks from your tiki bar.

The tiki hut comes in two sizes 6′ x 6′ and 8′ x 8′ with counter widths of 18″ and 24″ respectively. You can have your choice of tropical grass or Asian bamboo tiles for the roof. More details over at the retailer’s site:

Create Backyard Serenity with Your Own Gong

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

emperor gongIf you want to create an outdoor living space that looks and feels like something out of a zen garden, this gong from VivaTerra could be a fun addition. The work of music- and instrument-designer, Garry Kvistad, the Emperor Gong is handcrafted and made from materials that allow it to endure the weather and last for years. The gong “captures the romance and splendor of the Far East with a beautifully rich, deep shimmering sound.” I just think it looks cool. Can’t you see it next to one of those sand and rock meditation gardens?

The gong costs $75: VivaTerra

Smudge Pots Offer Deck Lighting While Keeping Insects Away

Monday, November 27th, 2006

smudge potsSmudge pots were first used in the 1920s as warnings that road construction was ahead. Today they’re making an appearance in decks and patios across the country. They provide outdoor lighting (well, flame actually) and burning the oil keeps mosquitoes and other pesky insects away naturally. One of the perks of smudge pots is that you can use them even on windy days: the all-metal, powder-coated torches right themselves if they are tipped over by the wind (or rambunctious kids bumping them). Also, the flame is designed to be nearly windproof.

These particular pots are available from Plow & Hearth at 2 for $18.

Smudge Pots

Rubber Duckies for the Pool

Sunday, November 26th, 2006

rubber duckieHey, who says rubber duckies are just for the bathtub? There’s no reason they couldn’t make fun pool toys, especially if they’re a little more interesting than the usual yellow ones. For example, this camouflaged “luxury duck” is one of several available from Elsewares, each with unique prints.

Made in Melbourne, Australia, each duck comes in its own custom-designed box that highlights the personality of each unique duckie. Constructed from non-phthalate plastic, they’re completely non-toxic (so if your kids, or the family pet, take a nibble on the tail, it’s no worries). Each duck is $8.99.


Expandable Outdoor Table with Industrial Flair

Saturday, November 25th, 2006

metal table that folds and expandsThough I like wooden tables for outdoor entertaining, metal can be easier to maintain, especially when it’s a high quality steel such as this Inox expandable table offers. The tabletop is all steel, and the legs are galvanized, powder-coated steel. Available from Design Within Reach, the Swiss-made Inox Collection features “highly polished steel café tables with a distinctive engine-turned scallop pattern on the warp-resistant, weather-resistant, solid steel tabletop.” I just like the industrial metal kind of feel.

Since outdoor furniture usually does best if it’s stored indoors during the winter, it’s especially nice to find pieces that fold or can otherwise be broken down. The Inox table tilts vertically and locks into place to take up less room in your garage/shed/basement when entertaining season is over. The price is a little more than your local K-mart special though: you’ll pay just under $1,500.


Slate Outdoor Wall Clock Lets You Keep Time in the Backyard

Friday, November 24th, 2006

slate outdoor wall clockJust because you have a cool outdoor living area and you’re big on entertaining (or maybe just spending time out there with family) doesn’t mean you can totally forget about the hour of the day. Appointments must be kept, kids must be picked up from soccer practices, favorite television shows must be watched… Sure, you can always wear a watch, but if you’re in and out of the swimming pool and working on your tan, you might not want to be so burdened. Here’s where an outdoor clock comes in handy.

Specifically designed to withstand the elements, this handsome slate mosaic wall clock from Bed Bath & Beyond has large, easy-to-read numbers so you can tell what time it is from anywhere in the backyard. You don’t need to run a cord to an electrical outlet in order to get it working; all the clock requires is a AA battery. In addition to keeping the time, the clock has a handy thermometer, so you can check the temperature easily. The price is $130.

Bed Bath & Beyond