Category Archives: Holidays & Gift Ideas

Weighing the options of a Do-It-Yourself Wood Swing Set Kit!


Completed Do-It-Yourself Wood Swing Set Kit

If your kids have talked you into obtaining one of those backyard wooden swing sets, but you dread the thought of visiting a showroom and being talked into dropping thousands of dollars on mediocre equipment (and even more on the installation of that mediocre equipment), then consider the following three words: do it yourself. The good news is that even a novice do-it-yourself enthusiast can find superior quality, very affordable wooden swing set kits on the internet and put one together successfully once it arrives at the door. Even better news is that do-it-yourself wooden swing set kits are available for purchase without wood included or with wood included. The best choice depends only on how involved you wish the do-it-yourself aspect of the construction to be.

Do-it-yourself playset kits, whether they come with wood or without, should always include complete step-by-step instructions for construction; all necessary hardware; basic swing kit add on options, such as different swing types, monkey bars, rock walls, canopy top, etc. These accessories are usually available at extra cost, but can add much more excitement than just swinging.   At a minimum, should always include every nut, bolt, bracket, washer, screw and spring clip needed to complete the project.

Kits with Wood or Without?


Wood Drying Out for a week.

How does a do-it-yourself enthusiast make the choice between wooden swing sets that come without the wood versus swing sets that come with the wood? Consider the following. Kits that do not come with wood allow you the luxury of hand selecting the type of wood, and even each specific piece of wood, that will be used in the construction.


Fort is going up!   Its looking good.

More time and tools are needed for these kits, though, because each piece must be searched for, transported to the home, cut to exactly the right size, and sanded, and then holes must be drilled for each piece of hardware. Most Do-it-yourselfers are true enthusiasts about home construction projects, and prefer this approach.   These types of kits can take an entire weekend or two to construct, depending on how many you have to help you.

On the other hand, wooden swing set kits that come with the wood may be a better option for the do-it-yourself enthusiast who does not have enough time to devote to selecting and preparing the wood. Be warned, the wood that comes with these kits is not usually of high quality and strength and may not last as long as wood that you pick out. The biggest advantage to kits that include the wood is that all the wood is pre-cut, pre-sanded, and pre-drilled. With these major steps already completed, you can construct the wooden swing set in a fraction of the time.   Most of these kits can be constructed in a single day!

In either choice, the time savings is well worth it alone for the daunting task of tying to collect the hardware fasteners.   Counting the right number & size of wood screws,  lag bolts, carriage bolts with matching washers and nuts, etc., took me about 3 hours alone in Lowes and that was with a list.

Whether you choose a wooden swing set kit that includes wood or not, you can save hundreds, even thousands, of dollars simply by shopping wisely and constructing the equipment yourself. Either choice provides your kids with a fun and durable place to play and provides you with a feeling of pride and accomplishment. So, go ahead and do it yourself!

Buying a Fireplace or Fire Pit Online? – Here Are Some Tips

Cozy Oil Rubbed Bronzed Fire Pit

Cozy Oil Rubbed Bronzed Fire Pit

Fireplaces and fire pits for your outdoor living space are designed to give you everything that you need to increase your cool fall evening experiences. You can have so much fun with this type of investment, no matter what you might be looking for. When you’re buying a fire pit online, you have a lot of things to think about. From the fire pit to the online shopping process, there are a lot of things that you have to learn. By taking the time to get the facts and learn all about buying fireplaces and fire pits, it will be easy for you to get everything that you need.

The first thing to keep in mind is that you have a lot more options than ever before. You can find all kinds of styles and designs to choose from, including customized options that will give you everything that you’ve wanted to add to your backyard living space. Keep reading to learn more about what you can get from your investment in fire pits.

Fire Pit and Fireplace Styles and Designs

When you’re shopping for fire pits and fireplaces, you will be able to find all types of designs and styles. You can find fire pits and bowls that stand alone, fireplaces that are all enclosed and look like fireplaces inside your home, chimineas that are designed from Mexican tribal culture, and so much more. There is going to be a lot that you can look at and it’s going to be up to you to find what you need, no matter what you have in mind. Be sure to consider clay pits, aluminum fireplaces, and cast iron fire pits, as well as other materials that these pits might be made of.

Since the popularity of fireplaces and fire pits have increased over time, you will have dozens of different models to choose from. It might take you some time to narrow down your options and find the best style, but you have to think about the things that matter. Look at issues like:

  • Style    Wow…there are tons of them.    College Teams,  Sheek,  Duck Commander, NFL,  NBA, etc.  there are a ton of them.
  • Size    To me, this is paramount.   My first pit, I gave to a friend after 2 months.    The dish was shallow…..and with 2 standard sized logs, I couldn’t even put the screen on it.     I now have a wide and deep pit, with grill so I can use it for cooking.  M kids favorite thing….roasting marshmallows…..making smores….and safer by putting a screen over it while its burning.
  • Color/Finish    Definitely a subjective decision.
  • Price     Cheap is good to strive for, but having run through 3 “cheap” pits bought at local hardware stores in as many years, I’m on my 4th year with current pit and paid just a bit more.

If you have a budget, that’s going to be a big part of the purchase that you’re making. You really have to keep things in check before you end up falling in love with that beautiful $400 fire-pit or even $2,000 fireplace that you can’t afford, for example.

Tips for Shopping Online

When you’re shopping online for fire pits, there are a lot of different things that you have to think about. You have to look at reputable brands and suppliers, as well as the various styles and designs that you can find. There is so much more selection when you are shopping online, but when you aren’t able to see the fireplaces in person, it can be hard to make the best decision. Make sure that you take measurements of the outdoor space that you have to work with so that you can check the measurements of fireplaces and pits that you find so that you can buy the perfect one in the perfect size.

You also have to make sure that you know the companies that you are buying from and the manufacturers that are designing the pits that you are looking at. You want to make sure that you’re investing your money in something that is worth the money. It’s all about getting a quality fire pit so that you can enjoy outdoor entertaining, no matter what you have in mind. It will be easy to find plenty of great products online so that you can get the fire pit that you’ve been looking for.

The internet has so much to offer and you can easily get more than you might find locally. It’s going to be up to you to do the shopping around and looking at different styles to find what you want. As long as you take the time to figure out what you’re looking at and what your options are, it will be easy for you to get everything that you deserve.

Safety is Always Paramount

Deck Protect Fire Pit / Grill Matt

Deck Protect Fire Pit / Grill Matt

Whenever you are buying a fire pit, you will want to make sure that you’re thinking about safety. This is the most important part of getting what you need out of your investment. You have to choose the right style and size of fire pit for your home so that it looks good, fits your yard, and gives you a safe fireplace that isn’t too close to your house or other buildings on the property. You also have to learn proper safety techniques so that you can manage your fire pit or outdoor fireplace properly, including how to light it and maintain it, as well as how to put out fires and dispose of the ashes.

Buying a fire pit means learning the rules of safety and it’s going to be up to you to get the facts so that you can make the most of your outdoor living space and your enjoyment of it. Families and friends will love coming over to see your new fire pit, but you will have to protect it from children, pets, and keep it away from your home so that it doesn’t melt your siding or flame up your wooden decking.    For the latter there is only one awesome product that is unmatched for deck protection.  Deck Protect Grill Mats are the best for protecting your deck, dock, or whatever from the hazards of a fire-pit (or grill), bar none. As long as you’re careful, adding an outdoor fireplace or fire pit to your yard is going to make your home a great place to be on these cool fall nights.

Bottom-line, the Choice is Yours

There are so many styles to choose from and it’s really going to be up to you to get what you want. Remember to plan accordingly for space and size and to make sure that you learn how to properly use and install your fire pit or outdoor fireplace so that you can have the most fun without the worries or risks. As long as you take the time to do a little research, it will be easy for you to find a great fire pit online for less.

PS:   Call us, we can chit chat LIVE for hours about it if you want.


Outdoor Clocks

Dragonfly Outdoor Clock with Thermometer

Bring Beauty and High-Tech Function to Your Outdoor Living Spaces

Expanding your living space and increasing the value of your home can be as easy as making the most of the areas outside your door. Patios and decks, screened porches and sun rooms, and outdoor kitchens and dining rooms are the most desirable places to entertain friends or to enjoy some quality relaxation time when the weather is pleasant. Your outdoor spaces should be an extension of your indoor living areas in that they should feel comfortable and reflect your personal style. Furniture, rugs, lighting, and decor are some of the basic ingredients that allow you to create your perfect outdoor room.

Beauty and Style

An outdoor clock is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to bring the feel of the indoors outside. Today’s outdoor clocks are not only affordable and can withstand the elements, they are also beautiful. They come in a wide variety of sizes and colors, and the available materials range from weather resistant metals and natural woods, to glass and durable plastics.  In addition, you are sure to find a style of outdoor clock that satisfies your taste, whether traditional, antique, contemporary, whimsical, rustic, or retro.

High-Tech Function

Outdoor clocks bring more than beauty to your outdoor living spaces; they can also offer a variety of high-tech functions.  Many outdoor clocks come with thermometers to measure temperature, barometers to measure air pressure, and hygrometers to measure humidity. One of the most impressive features of some outdoor clocks today is their ability to automatically synchronize to U.S. official time.  The Time and Frequency Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder, Colorado, houses the NIST-F1 cesium fountain atomic clock, which is one of the most accurate clocks in the world and which sets the standard for the nation’s primary time and frequency.  The NIST broadcasts a low frequency signal from its own radio station near Fort Collins, Colorado (WWVB), and this signal is received by outdoor clocks, as well as other electronic devices, that contain a miniature radio receiver.  Once the radio controlled clock receives the signal from the WWVB station, it will synchronize, so the time is always accurate to the second.

Outdoor clocks differ in the number of times per day that they synchronize to the WWVB time signal; some synchronize every 4 or 6 hours, while some only synchronize once per day.  Clocks that synchronize only once per day usually do so at night when the signal from WWVB is at its strongest.  Outdoor clocks that synchronize once each day are just as accurate, though, as those that synchronize several times.  The NIST’s Time and Frequency Division explains that “in between synchronizations, the clocks keep time using their quartz crystal oscillators.  A typical quartz crystal found in a radio controlled clock can probably keep time to within 1 second for a few days or longer.” As a result, a clock that synchronizes more than once per day has no real advantage over one that synchronizes only one time.

The Value of an Outdoor Clock

Beauty, style, accuracy, high-tech functionality, and affordability — today’s outdoor clocks offer so much in a single package. As a whole, clocks have been an essential element in our lives for centuries; they remind us of occasions we don’t want to miss and allow us to mark the moments at which our greatest achievements occur. Bringing the beauty and practicality of a clock to your deck, screened porch, or outdoor kitchen is a natural way to bring an essential element of life and the comfort of the indoors to your outdoor living spaces.


“WWVB Radio Controlled Clocks.” Time and Frequency Division. National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Unique Gift Ideas for the Backyard Enthusiast

Dragon Fly Glass Lantern

Reduce the Environmental Impact of Gift Giving

If you or someone you love is conscious about environmental issues, then gift giving times can be less than joyful occasions. Wrapping paper, ribbons, packaging materials, and even the gift idea itself often demonstrate our wasteful tendencies when it comes to giving gifts. Being more environmentally considerate about what we give as gifts and how we present those gifts can go a long way to show our loved ones that we care about them as well as about the environment. Here are a few unique gift ideas that are, in themselves environmentally friendly, but that would also appeal to anyone who loves spending time outdoors.

Decorative Solar Lanterns

Affordable and practical, decorative solar lanterns make a beautiful addition to an outdoor dining table or sitting area. Powered by the sun’s rays during the day, most high quality solar lanterns can illuminate their surroundings with an energy-saving LED bulb for up to 8 hours after the sun goes down. No operating costs means no impact on the environment, and that is beautiful, indeed.

For small gifts such as solar lanterns, consider replacing traditional wrapping papers with cloth wrapping. Secure the cloth wrapping to the gift with a color-coordinated fabric ribbon. Whether you purchase a cloth bag, or use fabric you already have in your home, cloth wrapping is durable and can be re-used multiple times. Your friend will appreciate this additional gift.

Solar Fountains

Solar fountains for the patio or garden are other unique gift ideas for your environment-loving outdoor enthusiast. The gentle sound of running water is soothing to the mind and spirit, and it can help your friend unwind and relax at the end of hectic days. In addition, a solar fountain adds an attractive focal point to a garden or patio without requiring a nearby electrical outlet to power the water pump.

Depending on the size of the solar fountain you plan to give as a gift, you may wish to consider no wrapping whatsoever. Instead, add value to the gift by assembling it beforehand, choosing a location outdoors, and presenting it to your loved one so that it can be enjoyed right away. Because there are no electrical cords to worry about, the solar fountain can be relocated easily if desired.

Recycled Rope Hammock Swing

hammock swing is a gift idea that is rarely considered, but it’s one that many people would love to receive. Unlike a traditional hammock, a hammock swing allows you to sit up comfortably and enjoy reading a book, having a conversation, or just taking in the surroundings. Hammock swings can be constructed from weather-resistant outdoor fabrics or woven with rope materials, but the most environmentally-friendly hammock swing is one whose ropes are made from 100% recycled polyester fibers. These ropes are extremely durable and resistant to harsh weather, but they are also soft to the touch like cotton.

While you may not want to install a hammock swing gift before presenting it to your loved one, you can add value to the gift by installing it yourself once a location is chosen, or you can hire an installer to do the work. No wrapping is necessary for a hammock swing, but tying a decorative fabric bow around the gift before you present it can provide a festive touch.

Gift giving doesn’t have to continue to be as wasteful as it has always been. Creative and re-usable wrappings, or no wrappings, and gift choices that are sustainable as well as attractive and useful are some of the simple ways we can reduce our impact on the environment. By paying a little more attention to what we give and how we give it, we can make a big difference. Environmentally considerate gifts add value and joy to the giving, and to the receiving.

Wooden Swing Sets Provide Quality and Fun

Wooden Swing Set Kit
If you are looking for a wooden swing set, we have all of the options to ensure that you receive a quality swing set for less than you ever expected. Our four swing set kits, Settler, Trailblazer, Pathfinders, and Adventurer, all feature the highest quality hardware that is available. Our simple, easy to follow plans will help you work through step by step. You simply buy your wood (which is outlined on our wood list) and we supply all of the hardware, including swings, blots, and all other hardware.

You can also choose, in addition to how many swings are on your set, from our amazing selection of add on options. We have several varieties of gliders and swings. Our five slide choices will add excitement of varying levels. We also have rope ladders, monkey bars, sandboxes, and other accessories to add fun and excitement to your new wooden swing set. All of our sets and accessories feature great quality and loads of fun.