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How to prepare your Patio for summer

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How to Prepare Your Patio for Summer

The birds are singing and the flowers are blooming, which can only mean one thing: summer's coming in fast. We all know that no summer is complete without a solid backyard party or two, but is your home ready? Whether you'll be sipping martinis or grilling massive steaks, prep your patio for summer with these tips.

First things first - prep your patio for summer.

Check for weather damage

Wood- look for splitting, twisting or rotting planks.

Concrete, stone, brick and tile - check for cracks and chips.

Keep it clean

Pull weeds, sweep away debris and pressure wash the muck.

Cut through the mildew with this solution:

3 quarts water

1 quart oxygen bleach

cup ammonia free liquid dish soap

Spray with a garden sprayer and let sit 15 minutes.

America's Favorite Food: our never-ending love for grilling

Each year Americans consume 40 billion hamburgers and 20 billion hot dogs.

818 hot dogs are consumed every second between Memorial and Labor Day.

144 million hot dogs are consumed on the 4th of July.

Grill Smart! Keeping your guests safe is always fun.

American fire departments respond to 8,200 grilling-related fires each year.

120 people are injured each year by fires.

$75 million in damage is caused by the fires.

Cook your meat to these safe temperatures:

Fish - 140

Beef, pork, lamb - 145

Ground beef, pork, lamb - 160

Poultry - 166

Light 'em Up! Set the mood with outdoor lighting.

When in doubt, go low voltage

Creates a softer, more relaxing light

Candles create an intimate atmosphere

Tiki torches complete the island theme and also ward off insects

Pro tip: go with solar lights to cut back on your bills and free up your extension cords. (Lighting accounts for 10% of Americans' electric bills!)

Take a Load Off. Choosing the right table and chair set.

Sizing up the situation.

Inviting the whole gang over for burgers?

Go big or go home.

Intimate Cocktail party!

Go small with a bistro-style table


Wrought iron - lasts pretty much forever, but is heavy

Aluminum - light weight but not durable

Wicker - completes the tiki theme but is fragile

Wood - nice, earthy look but susceptible to the elements

Cover Up. Keep your guests cool with these shade solutions.

Umbrellas - great aesthetics, often attached to matching table. Go neutral, bright colors will quickly fade.

Awnings - ultimate cover. Be sure you don't block out too much sun.

Outdoor Entertainment. A good firepit will draw everyone together.

Choose the right material.

Clay - old world, earthy feel, but high maintenance

Sheet metal - inexpensive, but prone to warping and rust

Copper - safe and durable but quickly tarnishes

The Great American Grilling Debate

Charcoal Grills

Last longer

Cook better

Give more "authentic" flavor

Gas Grills

Heat up faster

Easier to use

Better temperature control

American preferences by number of grills purchased

American preferences by number of grills purchases (in millions)


2007 = 6.86

2008 = 6.78

2009 = 6.16

2010 = 6.23

2011 = 6.05


2007 = 10.28

2008 = 9.61

2009 = 8.54

2010 = 8.55

2011 = 8.45

Best Gas Grills

Napoleon Mirage - $1,499

Webber Summit - $999

Broil King Sovereign 90 - $499

Best Charcoal Grills

Big Green Egg (Large) - $849

Weber 22 inch One-Touch-Gold - $149

Old Smokey #22 - $69

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