Believe it or not, just about anything you love to grill, can be smoked. Even Ice Cream. Smoking is the hottest trend in outdoor cooking. It’s easier than you think and tastier that you would ever imagine.
If you’re new to smoking, there are just a few things you need, to get started. Imagination is at the top of the list.
Your new smoker will cook food with less heat and more time. It uses heat generated from the smoke it creates, instead of from a fuel source. Depending on what is on the menu, your food can take between three and 12 hours to cook. Getting your hands on a smoker will likely be your first step in this new endevour. While a cedar smokehouse built in the backyard may be your best bet, most of us aren’t in the market for this commitment. Smokers can cost anywhere from $100 – $10,000. So depending on your budget, there is a smoker out there for everyone. Talk to the pros before making that purchase. They will line up your needs with the perfect smoker.
Naturally, smokers primarily use wood that ignites and adds flavour to your food. Wood can be divided into three different categories:
- Exotic wood such as olive, and pimento
- Orchard wood like cherry and apple
- Forest wood such as cedar,maple and pecan
There are also non-wood materials that can be used to smoke. Materials such as berries, spices and charcoal. A good smoking cookbook will help you get started.
Technique is important in a good smoke. When to add the wood, how much and what kind will all create a variety of smoke. It will depend on what you are smoking. Remember that the possibilities are unlimited. While everything can’t be grilled, virtually everything can be smoked.
This brings us to our final tip. Once you’ve made your smoker purchase, start experimenting. Start by picking your favourite foods. Pair them with the right smoke and stir your taste buds into a frenzy. A great smoke will enhance your food, bring out new flavours and reinvent the foods that you already love. Don’t forget to try your favourite ice cream in that new smoker. We’re not kidding. Your smoking experience is only limited to your imagination. Think outside the box, (or grill).
Your outdoor space should reflect your personality. It should also reflect your budget. While decks and pools are on the higher end when it comes to outdoor living expenses, there are loads of design elements that will have you to keep up with the trends Let your personality shine through with some deck bling.
Bedazzling your deck might be taking it too far. Consider some of these elements to add character and functionality to your outdoor living space.
Cool down Bling
Found mainly in the south, misters can certainly turn a very hot and sticky deck environment into an oasis of comfort. Misting systems and misting fans are designed to increase your enjoyment of the outdoors. Misting systems are typically made of stainless steel and are low, mid or high pressure.
Warm up Bling
On the flip side, summer evenings in southern Ontario can drop substantially at night. If your facial hair takes on the consistency of shredded wheat due to drastically fluctuating temperatures outside, it might be time for a patio heater. Outdoor heaters can be found at just about any home improvement and hardware store. Knowing how much heat you’ll need will be the bigger question. Coverage is measured in square footage. A bigger deck may need more than one heater. Patio heaters can be propane fueled or natural gas and how many BTU’s will determine how much heat it will create? The patio heater should indicate what square footage it will cover. Simply choose which design best suits your taste and you and your loved ones will soon be toasty again.
Deck bling may mean adding some colour. Most decks are constructed with materials that are very neutral in colour. Add that to the neutral tone of your house, and a little colour is likely needed. How you add that colour can be as simple as a few plants. Pots come is a variety of sizes, colours and shapes. These are easily planted and then stored for the winter. Depending what your pots are made of, they are likely very easy to clean and can be moved around. If planters are your preference, you’ll find many varieties to choose from. Many will hang from railings and face in or out. Be sure that your railings are strong enough to hold the weight of a planter.
There are so many ways to incorporate fabric into your outside space. Your deck may play host to cushions that can spruce up some dated patio furniture. Outdoor fabrics have come a long way in both visual appeal and durability. There are literally thousands of outdoor fabrics out there. Choose a colour scheme and stick with it. Outdoor fabrics tend to have more colour and bigger patterns that their indoor counterpart. Be sure not to create a circus of colour in a space that is supposed to be calming and relaxing. Fabrics can be displayed in umbrellas, sails, rugs, tableware and awnings.
Beverages with appeal
If reaching for a cold one means lifting the lid of that unsightly red cooler that has seen better days, your deck is likely crying out for something a little more civilized. Coolers can reflect beauty and functionality. Consider having that cooler built right into your new deck. Your standard cooler can be covered in similar or complementary materials as that of your deck. These covered coolers can double as additional seating while looking attractive instead of being an eyesore.
Bring on the game
Why be stuck inside for the big game? Outdoor tv’s are the ultimate in deck bling. Why not bring the game outdoors with a tv on the deck. If you choose to use a regular indoor tv outside, it will need to be sealed off from the elements while still allowing it to release heat. If you are in the market for the investment, an outdoor tv can be purchased. These can be pricey but perhaps not as pricey as having to replace the tv from your living room because you’ve subjected it to a typical Canadian snow storm.
Deck bling can make you outdoor space come alive. Personalized deck bling will increase enjoyment of your deck and bring a smile to your face each time you venture outdoors. Deck bling is the icing on the cake.
If you’re interested in getting a deck for your home to add deck bling to Contact Hickory Dickory Decks today!
Join Hickory Dickory Decks at their 9th annual Charity Golf Classic. Every year Hickory Dickory Decks raises money for three awesome charities. The ALS Society, Sleeping Children Around the World and Youth Unlimited Youth Centre in Waterdown have been benefiting from your generosity since the tournament’s inaugural year in 2008. The 2015 tournament raised more than $36,000 and they look forward to having even more fun, raising even more money this year.
On June 23, Sleeping Children Around the World will once again be one of the three beneficiaries of the HDD golf classic. SCAW has made it possible for 1.4 million children in developing countries to get a good night’s sleep. SCAW is 100 percent nonprofit. They provide bed kits that cost $35 and include a mattress, pillow, sheet, blanket, mosquito net and school supplies. These kits are distributed throughout the world to children in need because getting a good night’s sleep shouldn’t be out of reach.
Close to the hearts of those at HDD is the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) society. This disease is a progressive motor neuron disease and is fatal. In Canada 2500-3000 people are presently living with ALS. 80 percent will die within 5 five years. Monies raised help to fund both research and assist the living in managing the disease. There is currently no treatment options available to prolong life and there is no cure for ALS. With your help, this can all change.
They knew if they built it, they would come. And they did, and they do and YFC/Youth Unlimited in Waterdown couldn’t be happier to finally have a youth centre right in the heart of Waterdown. The community did this. The community built this centre so that many teenagers from Flamborough could come daily to feel accepted and loved and safe. For over 60 years, beginning with Billy Graham in mid-’40′s, Youth for Christ has delivered programs focused on positive youth development. As a faith-based charity, YFC/Youth Unlimited exists to help young people strive to reach their full life potential. Running a facility like the one on Parkside Drive and Hamilton Street in Waterdown, costs money. Without any public funding, it is through the generous donations of the community and fundraisers like the HDD charity golf classic that enable the centre to keep it’s doors open.
This year’s HDD Charity Golf Classic takes place on Thursday, June 23rd. Check in is at 10am and tee-off is 11am at Flamborough Hills Golf Club located at Hwy#52, Copetown. The cost for entry, which includes green fees, cart rental and a steak dinner is $175 per person or $650 per full foursome.
There are so many ways you can help with his years’ tournament. Just to name a few:
- Donate a door prize
- Donate a silent auction item
- Buy a foursome
- Be a tournament sponsor
- Sponsor a hole
- Make a donation to the tournament
- Make a donation to one of the three charities
- Hole in one Sponsorship
- Learn about Breakfast, lunch and dinner sponsorship
- Purchase just the dinner option
There’s nothing like a new deck to get us excited for the season. Quality in workmanship and product is a must, but the design should not be overlooked when deciding on the deck that’s right for you. Multi-level decks give versatility and design quality that cannot be beaten and will have the whole neighbourhood worked up.
Choosing to build a multi-level deck, even if it’s out of necessity, will open up many design options that wouldn’t otherwise be available to you if you chose a flat deck. One of the misconceptions out there about multi-level decks is that they are always more expensive. This is untrue. Sometimes deciding on a multi-level design for your new deck, can save you money.
If you are considering other design effects such as lighting or curved stairs, a multi-level design will highlight these elements, getting you, your money’s worth. A multi-level deck will allow you to incorporate that hot tub, pool or outdoor kitchen. A multi-level deck will set up separate designated areas on your deck, creating a home for each. Your eating area can replicate the feel of an indoor dining room. Having the pool on a different level than your seating area keeps water and all the mess that can come with a pool, removed from the rest of your deck. Multi-level decks will also open up the design choices for colour and shape.
Visually, a multi-level deck can’t be beaten. Different levels can be created specifically for the customer and often the outcome is a one of a kind deck design. Trying to hide from the neighbours? Privacy screens are great but if you design your multi-level deck with sight lines in mind, the neighbours won’t be privy of your seasonal skinny dipping polo club.
A multi-level deck can reduce or eliminate stairs. If your property is sloped like so many are, you many need to build many steps to have you off your deck and onto the grass. With more than one level, the height of your deck can be reduced before the stairs come into play. This scenario can visually be more appealing and fewer stairs can increase safety especially around water. Lighting will also greatly increase safety and accessibility when building a multi-level deck.
You likely will only go through the design process for a new deck once or twice in your lifetime. Take the time needed to consider all the options. A little imagination will take your standard square deck into a whole new world. A multi-level deck will become the conversation piece of your outdoor space.
Spring cleaning is bound to spill into your outdoor space. While cleaning away the cobwebs, don’t forget about your deck. Once you’ve decided your deck needs a good cleaning, avoid making these common mistakes. Mistakes can have your deck looking worse than when you started.
Too much elbow grease
Throughout the process of cleaning a deck, a power washer will no doubt be utilized. Regardless of whether you have a pressure treated wood deck or low maintenance deck, a power washer can be your best friend or your worst enemy if you don’t handle it with care. Too much pressure can create an uneven result. For a low maintenance deck, this can create variations in colour. For wood decks, too much pressure can actually ruin the surface of your deck. Too much force will splinter wood, leaving your clean deck with bigger problems.
Using the wrong products
Don’t be fooled by natural cleaners and their ability be harsh on your deck. While vinegar and baking soda are great choices for a light deck cleaning, many household items you find in your cupboard can actually be damaging to your deck’s surface. If you aren’t entirely sure if that box of borax is indeed harmless, it’s important to consult with the manufacturer of your deck boards. Consider the environment when choosing your deck cleaner. While bleach, for instance, is affordable and is very effective in killing mould, it also happens to one of the worst options for the environment. Commercial cleaners are generally stronger and provide a deeper clean. Be careful while handling these as they are often toxic. Without the proper precautions, these cleaners can even cause you or your loved ones harm. Everything from eye irritation to chemical burns has been reported.
Not cleaning often enough
Your deck should really be giving a good cleaning twice a year. Fall and spring are great times to get this done. If you’ve cleaned your deck properly, and often, it doesn’t have to be as arduous job. Regular cleaning will prevent mould from taking hold on your deck surface and dirt from setting in. If you own a wood deck and are considering a stain for the first time, it is important that you first clean your deck thoroughly. Both the deep clean and the stain will prolong the life of your deck.
Not knowing when to call in the professionals
Deck cleaning takes time, patience and considerable effort. If you aren’t in the market to make the investment it takes to get the job done right, leave it to the professionals. A botched deck cleaning is worse than a dirty deck. Bringing in the professionals not only ensures the job gets done right and in a timely manner, but that it gets done with a warranty. Ensure your deck cleaning specialist offers a warranty and a guarantee of satisfaction. Often a professional deck cleaner will cost you more, but a professional deck cleaning will also be better quality and last longer.
Why do our decks need to be cleaned? Besides wanting to preserve or return the pristine look that your deck had when we built it. a good cleaning can actually increase the life of your deck. A deck sits horizontally, exposing it to the elements at all times. The only washing your deck gets throughout the four seasons, is precipitation. Rain is acidic and isn’t doing your deck any favours. Giving your deck the TLC it deserves with a good cleaning will.
It was with a lot of regrets and quite possibly a few tears, that you put the closed sign on your deck when fall arrived last year. Last call on the decking season and the upcoming cold snowy months that follow can leave you in mourning. The good news is, with a little investment of time, money and imagination your deck season can be expanded, testing the seasonal limits that weather throughout South Western Ontario throws at us.
Put a log on!
Though the temperatures aren’t sub-zero anymore, they are still less than ideal. Many hours, both day and night can still be enjoyed on the deck in the early spring with just a little heat. Patio heaters have been a big hit in Southern Ontario. Propane heaters come in many different sizes, covering various square feet of space. Price points also vary. Depending on the size of your deck, more than one might be needed.
April showers bring May flowers but also make it a little difficult to enjoy dinner on the patio. When rain threatens to dampen your deck and your spirits, find shelter. Awnings, sails, and umbrellas all provide protection from the frequent rains of spring and open up the decking season.
Stage that Deck
Longing to use a deck that still has covered patio furniture, debris and dead plants? This just isn’t an inviting outdoor space. Stage your deck space early to ensure you are able to start enjoying your deck early in the season. If you have leftover annuals that have long since died in their perspective pots, get rid of them. Or better yet, plant a silk variation to add colour where there is none. Uncover and clean that patio furniture once the snow makes it exit. There is no reason to keep it in hiding.
Think outside of the box. The pool isn’t open yet and nude sunbathing is still out of the question. Find ways to enjoy your deck that will delight you and your loved ones. Board games on the deck will undoubtedly create great memories. A rousing game of twister will certainly get the heart pumping, helping you forget that it’s not summer yet. Grab a blanket and book. Nothing pairs better with a good read than fresh air. If night time is your pleasure, take it to the deck for a little star gazing. All these options will extend your deck season.
Clean and Repair
Now is the time to put in a little maintenance. While working away on your deck may not necessarily constitute enjoyment, you will ultimately be increasing the time you spend on your deck. When temperatures do finally rise, you and your bbq and lounge chair and sunglasses will be able to hit the ground running. Don’t spend those perfect sunny, summer days scrubbing the deck. Get your work done now to expand your deck loving season.
To extend your decking season, you simply have to get creative. Here in Southern Ontario, we are not blessed every day with sunshine and moderate temperatures. Make the best of what you’re given and use your imagination. Turn a four month deck season into a six-month season with just a few changes and additions to your outdoor space.
Building your own deck can be a daunting task. Demolishing one, even more so. Demolishing your old deck will exceed your expectations of workload, expertise and elbow grease. If after doing your research, you still decide to take on this project yourself, there are many things to consider to ensure your deck remains the only thing that ends up demolished. First, consider the cost.
- Renting or buying tools such as a chainsaw
- Renting a dumpster
- The cost of delivering old materials to the landfill
If your existing deck is at ground level, haul out the chainsaw and hack away any which way. Be careful, though, not to cut into the dirt. This will damage the blade. Cut wood pieces between four to six feet for easier disposal.
If your deck is elevated, a ladder will likely be needed and now you have yourself a two person job. After the deck boards are removed, cut out the beams and joists separately, one at a time and carefully. They are heavy and can cause considerable damage to you and your home. Any old ledger that is attached to your house will need to be removed and this will require a considerable amount of elbow grease. Remove old posts holders. A sledgehammer will be required to break up any cement. Some materials are recyclable, some dump worthy.
Do not exceed your level of expertise. Lumber is unforgiving. If you did not build your deck, you may not know the location of gas, electrical, phone and cable lines. Call your local utilities before you dig.
If, after all your research on the subject of deck demolition, you have decided to leave it to the professionals, choose wisely. Like any home renovation job, get several quotes, check references and ensure that any company you hire is properly insured.
The sooner demolition gets under way, the sooner you’ll find yourself enjoying your new deck.
All customers of Hickory Dickory Decks are impressed with the quality and workmanship of their products. Some are so impressed, they buy into the business. Welcome to Peter and Trish Gibson who have opened the doors of their very own Hickory Dickory Decks Franchise.
Hickory Dickory Decks is a locally owned and operated business specializing in designing and building low maintenance decks. If you live in the Calgary southwest area you too have quality deck building at your fingertips.
After having their deck built by HDD, the Gibson’s were so impressed with the process and the product that they bought a franchise and are now well on their way to fulfilling the decking dreams of many homeowners throughout Calgary. Peter and Trish Gibson have lived in their Calgary community for more than 15 years and have chosen to raise their own family here. The Gibson’s now live and work in Calgary. The doors to HDD Calgary Southwest opened in January 2016.
The Gibson’s describe their experience in the decking business so far as “awesome. “All our customers need to do is tell us your ideas and we will help you visualize your dream outdoor space.” Although the Gibsons are new to the decking business, HDD is not. Founded in 1987, HDD boasts 60 locations.
If you’re more interested in spending your time enjoying your deck and want to leave the work to the professionals, give the Gibson’s a call.
The Jetson’s probably had one. Other than that, you’ll have to see it, to believe it. Picture an outdoor roof for your patio that has more versatility than can be imagined. American louvered roofs bring exciting back to your patio with this cutting edge, revolutionary shelter.
American louvered roofs provide the meaning of luxurious living. Consider a roof over your patio, hot tub or barbecue area that behaves like a blind, providing just the right amount of protection when you need it most. A louvered roof can let in full sunshine when desired. It can also give partial protection when the sun is just too hot to keep your patio a comfortable place to be. Your louvered roof has the ability to completely close, giving you protection against rain. A louvered roof keeps you outside, enjoying the outdoors through rain and harsh sun. A louvered roof will also increase your property value, and have your neighbours talking.
There are different styles to match any taste and budget. Consider incorporating lighting into your American louvered roof. American louvered roofs believe in the principles that make an honest company with loads of integrity. They have built their business one roof at a time. Speak with your contractor or decking specialist to find the right louvered roof for you. Visit the website of American louvered roofs and try out their interactive app that allows you see how a louvered roof will look in your outdoor space.
Outdoor spaces are continually evolving when it comes to design and comfort. American louvered roofs can play a big part in adding to your outdoor experience. In Canada, we are always looking for elements that will increase the season and have us enjoying the outdoors more. The comfort that American louvered roofs bring, does just that.
If you’re in the market for a gazebo, you might consider Country Lane Gazebos. They specialize in one area of expertise and will bring their best to the table, ensuring your new gazebo will meet or exceed your expectations.
Country Lane Gazebos is a family-owned business founded in 1994 by Samuel Stoltzfus. They offer quality shelter for you and your loved ones. Gazebos are only a small part of what Country Lane Gazebos has to offer. Pergolas, pavilions, cabanas, and shades are all part of their excellent lineup.
Which ever you’ve decided on, you will no doubt be taking on this project out of necessity or a desire to improve the look of your outdoor space. If you’re having a gazebo or any other shade structure built on your property, you are looking for shade. If you are also trying to incorporate design elements into your existing outdoor space, the professionals at Country Lane can help you decide on the structure that will best suit you, your needs and your budget.
Need shade but can’t decide on which shade structure to go with. Country Lane Gazebos can help you to make the right decision. Consider your space and the ambiance you want to create. If your outdoor space is limited, a smaller structure will surely meet your needs. If your property is larger, then preference will. be more of a determining factor. Look at loads of pictures and talk with your design expert at Country Lane Gazebos to discover all your options for shade. Having a custom designed and build shade structure will certainly bring more value than a kit or indeed, a do it yourself project.
Any addition to your outdoor living space is an investment and deserves the best. This is precisely what Country Lane Gazebos has to offer.