Create an Outdoor Room with a Pergola

Considering expanding your entertaining space but uncertain what to do or how you’ll afford it? There’s a surprising solution that doesn’t involve sheet rock or drywall: an outdoor, open “room” made possible by a pergola.

If you’ve watched a DIY home improvement show in the last decade, you may have noticed a trend toward creating experiences rather than just rooms—particularly with regard to outdoor entertaining. From weatherproof TVs and furniture to top-of-the-line fire pits and outdoor bars, the modern world of home design is full of great spaces that center around the convenient cover and unique aesthetic of the pergola.

Outdoor Room with a Pergola

Planning for Your Pergola

Before you start your project, it’s important to make sure you have all the proper permits and are apprised of all local laws regarding how far back from the property line your pergola must be set (usually at least 4 feet).1 Always get your ducks in a row before starting any home addition.

If you’re the handy type, you may choose to design and build your own pergola. In this case, you have complete control over the size of your outdoor room and can build your pergola to fit your desires. For those who don’t fancy themselves carpenters, however, it may be better to find the right pergola before laying any sort of concrete or pavers.

Once you’ve found the style and size of pergola you’d like to install, you can really have fun with the planning! Consider where you’d like to place it, what kind of flooring (if any) you’d like to have, whether you’ll need any sources of electricity, etc.

Think about the kinds of things you’d like to place beneath your pergola, as well as how you might arrange them. The more planning you do at this stage, the happier you’re likely to be with the final result.

Fill Your Outdoor Room with Functional Décor

Once the pergola and any flooring are finally installed, it’s time to furnish your new space! Make it a backyard man-cave with an outdoor HDTV, gas grill, and mini-fridge. Or, keep it classy, with a wrought iron dining set, elegant outdoor rugs, and a cozy fire bowl.

Regardless of your new outdoor room’s theme, potted and hanging plants make for perfect accents, tying the modern comforts of your pergola space with the beauty of the nature around you. Plus, cleverly-designed rock speakers blend in perfectly with the natural decor to create a surround sound experience that leaves guests wondering how it’s done!

Starfire Direct Offers the Best in Outdoor Living

With gorgeous, expertly-crafted pergolas in a variety of styles, Starfire Direct has everything you need to create your ideal backyard getaway. Add to a rustic country home with a lodge-style Douglas Fir pergola, or take your home to Tuscany with a vineyard-inspired design in Ponderosa Pine. Then, fill your new space with a selection of Starfire Direct’s high-quality fire pits, lanterns, fire glass, BBQ accessories, outdoor furniture, and much more.

To learn more about our products or discuss the finer points of pergolas with one of our friendly, knowledgeable staff, call us today at (866) 578-8538!

 

Source

http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/how-to-plans/how-to/a4254/4314667/

Heat Things Up with a Romantic Backyard Dinner

Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, an anniversary, a birthday, or even just a Tuesday, everyone—male or female—enjoys a nice romantic gesture once in a while. Although it’s nice to go out for coffee or do the traditional dinner-and-a-movie date, there’s another more intimate option right at home: a romantic, starlit dinner in your own backyard. Not only is it unique and romantic, but it can also be more affordable than going out.

Stoke the Fires of Love

Even in the summer months, evenings outdoors can get a little chilly. To avoid shivering your way through the meal, make your romantic dinner a fireside event with a cozy fire pit. Whether you choose to cook over it or simply enjoy its warmth and beauty, a fire pit can provide a naturally romantic atmosphere as well as plenty of opportunities for fireside chatting, hand-holding,and snuggling.

In addition to keeping yourself and your loved one warm, the fire pit serves as the perfect opportunity to serve something unique. Opt for a fire bowl with a grill attachment and impress your date with grilled skewers of marinated steak and fire-roasted vegetables.

Or, for a more laid-back experience, go for the classic campfire experience and cook some hot dogs on skewers (bonus: the follow-up campfire s’mores are the perfect opportunity to kiss away any stray marshmallow!).

Romantic dinner

Mood Music and More

Give your backyard dinner date just the right atmosphere with a little romantic background music. Consider your significant other’s tastes, of course; if he or she dislikes country, a playlist of Johnny Cash probably won’t do the trick. If you’re aiming for a quiet, intimate experience, stick to tunes with a moderate or slow tempo to keep things relaxed.

Likewise, you might want to provide more comfortable seating than basic lawn chairs for your backyard date. Spring for a comfy outdoor loveseat with plush cushions and sit side-by-side with a nice bottle of wine (or, if you prefer, a pot of tea).

Finally, make sure your lighting sets the right mood without being impractical. Though your fire pit will provide a warm glow, it may not be enough to see what you’re doing. Add a few attractive lanterns around your seating area by hanging them from shepherd’s hooks. Or, light some tiki torches to provide extra firelight with a tropical feel. If you choose the latter, you can even make it a theme by grilling some pork and pineapple skewers!

Explore High-Quality Outdoor Living Products from Starfire Direct

Starfire Direct offers a quality selection of outdoor fire and décor products, including fire bowls, fire glass, tiki torches, lanterns, pizza ovens, throw pillows, hammocks, and much more. Entertain friends and loved ones in outdoor comfort and luxury with our beautiful outdoor furniture and backyard BBQ tools.

To learn more about our selection or inquire about available special deals, call one of our friendly staff today at (866) 578-8538!

Feng Shui Your Patio or Porch

Designers the world over tout the principles of Feng Shui as a method of increasing peace and harmony in your life. There are several philosophies of Feng Shui, including the free flow of energy and making your space free of clutter. Whether you want to use your patio to entertain guests or as a private sanctuary for meditation by a beautiful glass fire pit, you can use the principles of Feng Shui to make the most of your space.

Glass fire pit
Clean It Up

Clutter, whether in your bedroom or on the patio, can lead to mental disruption and stress. The first step to using Feng Shui on your patio is to get rid of any existing clutter. Garden tools should be put away. Sort and dispose of (or at least put away) any accumulated junk. Then, clean and fix fixtures like screens, doors, windows, and furnishings so they look comfortable and inviting. Cleaning up in preparation for Feng Shui means getting rid of everything that should not be in the space so that when you sit down, you can focus and be at peace.

Design Your Walkways

No one is relaxed and open when they are constantly navigating through random furnishings. The main principle of Feng Shui to use on your patio is to create unobstructed walkways. Depending on the size of your patio, you may have an eating area, a socializing area, or a cooking area; work to make transitions between these areas fluid. It’s important to make sure that you don’t have to dodge umbrellas, plants, sofas, books, and chairs along the way. Free-flowing paths are your goal, as is organizing furnishings to provide fluid access end-to-end.

Seating Matters

Semi-circular or L-shaped seating arrangements help promote conversation and provide everyone with a clear view of the patio area. It also prevents anyone from having to sit with their back to another person, fostering an inviting and friendly atmosphere. Avoid placing chairs with their backs to the entrance to the patio.

Although it’s wise to avoid putting plants, fans, and tables in or near the walkways, a central focal point such as a fire pit or chiminea near the seating area fosters warmth and makes an excellent conversation starter.

Healthy Life

No one wants to sit beside a dry and dying plant. It just doesn’t give a good vibe, and vibes are exactly what Feng Shui is all about. Dying plants drop leaves, mold, and may even spoil air quality in closed-in sunrooms and patios, so it’s best to remove them when they’ve reached their natural end. For existing plants and greenery, keep it healthy or use silk and bamboo to create beautiful center- and side-pieces instead.

Fire pits

Your deck or patio is an extension of your home as well as an extension of your life. It takes just a short period of time to reinvent a cluttered, messy deck from drab to fab sanctuary, especially if you follow Feng Shui basics like these. By doing so, you’ll promote the natural flow and relaxation of the area.

With your newly created Zen zone, the patio will call out to you, either for coffee in the morning or for a relaxing glass of wine in the evening – or maybe even for that special evening party you’ve been planning instead.

Starfire Direct has all the patio accessories you need to create the ideal outdoor living space for winter, summer, spring, or fall. Visit today to see how our pieces boost your home’s Feng Shui, making your patio more inviting, lovely to look at, and lovely to spend time on.

How to Throw the Ultimate Super Bowl Party

If you’ve been picked to be the host of the Super Bowl party in your social circle, you know how important it is that you make a touchdown with this party. Setting up a Super Bowl party means having a great, big screen TV as well as a comfortable setting.  Great food and drinks will round out the need for this to be the best football party of the year. Whether you wish to host the Super Bowl party outside around a fire pit or inside of your living room, here are some features to throw in to make the party the ultimate Super Bowl party.

Fire Up the Grill

One of the easiest ways to prepare all types of foods for everyone to enjoy is to throw them on the grill. Hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, and fish can all be thrown on the grill and easily made into a meal. Firing up the barbecue grill is one of the quickest ways to prepare a hearty Super Bowl meal for dozens of people at one time. Be sure to put a label on all of the food so that everyone can pick up the meat that they want, and those with allergies or food restrictions know what is on the table for them.

Super Bowl

Serve the Food on Stadium Trays

Some of the staple foods of any Super Bowl party are wings of different flavors, macaroni and cheese, chips and dip, sandwiches, and an assortment of desserts. If you want to keep your floors, furniture, and patio clean, purchase lunch trays similar to what the servers in football stadiums would use. Your guests can balance these trays on their laps or sit them anywhere—and without spills or creating rings on your tables from cup moisture. Bonus points for getting stickers printed out for each Super Bowl team and sticking them to the trays.

Bet on QBs with Drinks

Instead of monetary bets for your Super Bowl party, you should make the game a little more fun. Everyone should cast their vote for the team that they are cheering for once they enter your home. When the other team makes a touchdown or scores a field goal, have the other team take a shot. Be sure to have lots of liquor on deck so that there is plenty to choose from. Betting on each team’s quarterback and running back performance with drinks will make the game a lot more fun and less stressful.

Set Up an After Actions Review on the Patio

Ultimate Super Bowl Party

Hanging out after the Super Bowl to discuss the game is a time-honored tradition. Since the kitchen and living room will be in cleanup mode, it is best to move the party outside. Set up your patio area with patio chairs in a circle around the fire pit. To keep the beers and other refreshments cool, bring out a cooler and sit it behind the chairs. This will provide a relaxing scene to sit around and talk about the game highlights, lowlights, and any player trades that you expect to see in light of the Super Bowl.

 

How to Transform Your Home into an Unforgettable Winter Entertaining Space

Winter gatherings are the perfect way to warm up with family and friends over hearty dishes How to Transform Your Home into an Unforgettable Winter Entertaining Spaceand toasty drinks. While getting together to catch up with old acquaintances and embrace a new year can be delightful, traveling long distances on frosty roads is decidedly less so. Thankfully, there is a solution that allows you to save time, avoid the stress of winter travel, and have the opportunity to inject some creativity into your home: Bring the party to your house!

Hosting your own gathering does not have to be a lot of work, and any home can be turned into a welcoming party space with only a few simple tweaks. Indeed, small additions such as ambient lighting, electric fireplaces, and fun decor can turn your living area into the ultimate winter entertaining space. Whether you’re celebrating a new milestone, or simply finding any excuse to throw a bash, you can use the following tips to make your winter get-together an unforgettable one.

 

Seating

To foster a party with lots of great conversation, make sure you arrange your furniture in the optimal way. Create a feeling of intimacy by arranging small groups of comfortable seating facing each other, and several free-standing cocktail tables. You don’t need seating for everyone, and the rule of thumb is to have about half the amount of seating than guests. This way people can move freely while mingling, but still feel like the party is intimate! Be sure there are not any large pieces of furniture blocking off a section of the room, so everyone can see new partygoers entering and make them feel welcome.

An additional benefit of close, cozy seating and the right atmosphere is that it discourages guests from constantly checking their phones. Americans check their phones 8 billion times a day1, and you don’t want any of those to be during your party! It’s also recommended to rearrange furniture that was previously arranged towards the TV in order to to completely change the feel of your living room and discourage technological interaction over conversation.

 

Food and Drink

While parties are all about the guests, the other star is the food! You will want to have a lot of Food and Drinkdelicious food and drink readily available for your friends to ensure their comfort. Depending on the number of guests and your party aspirations, you can choose to host a complete sit down dinner, a cocktail and appetizer hour, or just have snacks out for your guests to graze over throughout the party!

Set up the buffet table, bar, or snacks in their own space separate from the main socializing area, so they do not dominate your entertaining space. If a signature cocktail is appropriate for your event, have some fun coming up with a creative, seasonally themed drink to make your hosting skills look off the charts and the designated food and drink area that much more appealing to pass through.

A unique and often overlooked option for party catering is having the guests provide their own food—by hosting a potluck! This is an opportunity for the guests to let their cooking and baking skills shine next to your terrific hosting skills, and frees up some of your prep time to focus on creating a welcoming space.

 

Décor

Your interior design choices can make or break an entertaining space, and while you want to Wine Dining Outsidestay true to your own style, there are a few general suggestions that can ensure your guests remember your gathering fondly. Choosing warm reds, oranges, and earth tones in your color scheme encourages a spirit of warmth and coziness and stimulates conversation. Decorative conversation pieces will also transform your living area into an unforgettable winter soiree environment. Some interesting additions that can liven up a space and ensure conversation never lags include:

  • Fine art pieces
  • Fireplace rocks
  • Eye-catching photography
  • An accent wall of contrasting paint color
  • Framed family photos

In addition to these strategic choices that will make your home feel like the go-to entertaining spot all year, you can make winter-specific selections that will add to the festivity at your annual gathering. You can always buy seasonal decorations like hanging snowflakes, “frosted” pine cones, table runners, and twinkling lights, but it’s also very easy to make décor that’s fun and polished looking. A little glitter and elbow grease can go a long way! If you have children attending the party, you can even set up a decorating station as part of the party activities, and have them create their own decorations and crafts.

 

Fireplaces

FireplacesFor many people, timeless memories include cozying up to a fireplace with the people they care about. A very effective way to add warmth, soothing lighting, and a welcoming tone to your space is to install electric or gas fireplaces throughout your home. Your guests will love the nostalgic feelings that come from having a fireplace roaring during your winter party, and small touches like gas logs add to the fun! Be sure to check the thermostat regularly so that guests are at a comfortable temperature throughout the evening.

During the winter season, your fireplace is sure to be getting a lot of attention already, and additions like fireplace glass and shapes also make the fireplace more of an interesting conversation starter as guests huddle around it. Starfire Direct offers a wide variety of options for grates, mantels, and fireplace doors that can really pull together the look of your fireplace and make it the beautiful focal point of your living space—and your winter party!

 

Outdoor Spaces

If you’re in a warmer part of the country, utilizing your patio space offers guests unique options Outdoor Patio Furnitureduring your party for seating and socializing and is a great way to encourage your friends to check out your impressive outdoor entertaining space! During winter months, your biggest concern about an outdoor entertaining space will be staying warm. Starfire Direct offers many products that allow the party to spread outside, like fire bowls and patio heaters. Ample patio furniture arranged around these sources of warmth will surely foster conversation and closeness at your party.

 

Wintertime Entertainment

Adding some seasonal activities or games to your space can take it from an ordinary living roomWintertime Entertainment to a memorable party. These can range from setting up karaoke, assembling a cookie decorating station, or a photo booth with silly props for your guests to pose with. Your guests will be delighted by the addition of an unexpected element to the party, especially if they get to take a memento like a photo or cookies home!

Activities like these are great for entertaining in large groups, because they encourage connection amongst your guests, and discourage them from being on their phones or glued to the television. A simple game, activity, or other interactive space in the party will allow your loved ones of all ages to interact and connect with each other and create strong memories—all thanks to your fantastic entertaining space!

You can host a memorable, stress-free, and impressive winter party with ease just by incorporating the above tips into your planning process! Many people can be turned off from the idea because they don’t think their homes are made for entertaining, but hosting an outstanding party is truly possible in any space.

Take this winter season to #ReigniteYourLife by turning your living area into a dynamite entertaining space that makes guests feel welcome, social, and full of happy memories and good cheer. Providing comfortable, accommodating seating, plenty of food and drinks, a cozy hearth, and lots of opportunities for your loved ones to make fond new memories will result in an amazing party that you and your guests will not soon forget.

Source
1. http://time.com/4147614/smartphone-usage-us-2015/

Keep Your Outdoor Living Area Warm This Winter

You may feel as if your outdoor living area is only useful part of the year. Sure, we all enjoy cookouts and lounging under the stars on a warm summer evening, but what happens when temperatures drop? Do you run inside and hibernate? No! Get ready to spend chilly winter evenings enjoying a lovely grilled steak, glass of wine, and the beauty of a glass fire pit on the patio without freezing!

Outdoor Living AreaEnclosures

Using your patio in the winter may sound ridiculous, but simple vinyl patio enclosures can be used to block cold wind while still letting you enjoy the view from the patio. These handy enclosures are inexpensive and also invaluable if you want to spend time outside without being cold. You don’t have to enclose every side of your patio, but having a vinyl shield between you and a chilly wind will be very nice.

Rearrange Seating

If you have a variety of seats in your outdoor living area, consider rearranging the furnishing around a central area. The closer everyone is, the warmer they will be.  This may not be a concern if you have a small outdoor living space, but large decks or patios may lead you all to want to huddle.

Fire Pit

A patio fire pit or fireplace with seating around it is ideal for keeping warm on a cold winter night. There are many options for design, style, and placement of these handy hand warmers.  An elegant chiminea or a fire bowl on a decorative base are just a few stylish warming options for the patio or deck area.

You can even purchase blowers that will direct the heat throughout your outdoor living area. This will help people spread out a bit and be able to enjoy the space without huddling around the fire with their backsides getting cold.

Heated Lighting

Heat lamps are another way to heat your outdoor living space. These nifty lamps not only give you a nicely lighted area but put off heat, as well. With a few of these around, you won’t need to worry about getting cold. With a simple off and on switch, all you have to do is flip the lights on, and you’ll immediately feel the warmth. If you have separate heat lamps, you can turn on or off various ones as you spend time in your outdoor living area to keep the heat balanced.

Heated Lighting

The idea of being able to use your outdoor living space year round does not mean giving up the outdoor aspect. There are heated tiles, solar powered swimming pool heaters, fire pits, and many other options to keep your space warm and usable even on the coldest of nights.

Sure, summer nights are great, but a snowy winter evening can provide comfort and pleasure too. So, don’t pack away the patio furniture or cover up the grill just yet. Check out all the great outdoor living area products at Starfire Direct and start enjoying your outdoor space winter, spring, summer, or fall!

Love the Great Outdoors? Seven Tips for Creating the Ultimate Backyard Getaway

Life can be stressful. Life can be hectic. Between the trials and tribulations of the workaday
world, the ups and downs of family life, and the frustrating moments on life’s highways and byways, the nervous tension can add up. Most evenings, we would give anything just to retreat to our backyards and relax in front of a flaming glass fire pit with a warm cup of cocoa and a close circle of friends.

 

Thank Heavens for Getaways

To unwind our bodies and our minds, most of us need a getaway—a place of comfort and repose far away from the hustle and bustle of the daily grind. Unfortunately, we don’t always Thank Heavens for A Backyard Getawayshave the time or the wherewithal to drive hundreds of miles to the nearest national park or mountain hideaway.

Even when we do manage to pack up the family and head out into the great beyond, our big getaway all too often becomes as stressful as our jobs. Between finding a pet hotel for Snookers, paying for a people hotel, putting gas in Bessy, and keeping track of Timmy and Tammy, we’re soon in need of a vacation from our vacation.

Thankfully, there are backyards—small havens of peace and tranquility in a world full of troubles. For many of us, the home is our sanctuary and the backyard is our refuge. For those who haven’t yet created an asylum out of their yards, we’ve gathered some useful pointers to get you started. Follow these simple tips and tricks to transform your backyard from a nondescript plot of land—a place to put the rusty bikes and discarded toys—into a little slice of outdoor heaven.

 

#1 Atmospheric Lighting Sets the Mood

Nothing sets the mood like atmospheric lighting. The right illumination can create the perfect ambiance and turn an average backyard into a spectacular retreat. If you do only one thing to spruce up your yard, upgrade the lighting. Whether you string bulbs across your patio, place portable lanterns on each tabletop, or line your yard with tiki torches, you should embrace your own individual style and add a personalized touch of luminescence to your patio.

 

#2 A Charming Structure Creates a Picture-Perfect Landscape

There are many ways to spice up your patio. A vine-covered pergola is one of the most tasteful.A Charming Structure Creates a Picture-Perfect Landscape Not only do the vines provide shade to sunbaked patios; the beautifully constructed pergolas also create a feeling of cozy tranquility while adding a splash of decorative appeal to the backyard.

Depending on the type of wood and the style of the structure, you can create an entirely different scene for your backyard getaway. You can transport your guests to a mountain retreat with the rustic charm of mocha-stained Douglas fir. You can bring the Tuscan hills to your home with a Ponderosa Pine arbor atop graceful columns. You can also try for a more comfortable and homey look with the simple elegance of an arched roof colored in redwood hues. Whatever look you choose, a pergola can help you bring paradise to Dreary Lane.

 

#3 A Spruced-Up Patio Brings the Comfort of Inside to the Wilds of Outside

Who says the comfort of your home should disappear as soon as you open your back door? Rather than a dull slab of concrete, why not think more creatively and aesthetically? Laying brick or stone down on your patio, for example, adds a touch of charm to an otherwise drab surface. If concrete is more your thing, try the textured and colored variety to boost the appeal.

Whatever material you use, turn the patio into an extension of your house. Bring the style of your home into the yard, and you’ll have a personalized retreat. Throw in some nice landscaping touches like flower beds or gardens—interesting varieties include anything from Japanese gardens to tropical-style gardens. You’d be amazed what a little patio touch-up can do; family and friends alike will be yearning to stretch their legs and pass the time in such a snug corner of the world.

 

#4 Separate Eating Areas Bring Gourmet Dining to the Backyard

Separate Eating Areas Bring Gourmet Dining to the BackyardWhen some of us think of getaways, we think of delicious food shared with good friends and close family. While indoor meals are delightful, there’s nothing quite like an outdoor repast. To savor mouthwatering dishes and enjoy pleasant conversation underneath the sun and the stars is to enjoy a little slice of outdoor heaven.

In order to realize such a vision of culinary nirvana, turn at least part of your backyard into a dedicated dining area. You can use screens, garden walls, landscaping, lattice, or even pergolas to separate the eating area from the rest of the yard and thereby create a sense of cozy privacy. You can also surround the dining area with tiki lights if you want to define the space without closing it off completely.

 

#5 Outdoor Kitchens Are a Foodie’s Delight

If you really want to enjoy the backyard eating experience, install a full-on outdoor kitchen. For Outdoor Kitchens Are a Foodie’s Delightthose dedicated foodies who head outside a few times a week to fire up the grill or the wood-fired oven, an outdoor kitchen is a must-have.

How elaborate you choose to make your kitchen setup is up to you, but these days the sky is the limit—stylish countertops, top-of-the-line sinks, convenient access doors, beautiful cabinets and storage drawers, outdoor refrigerators, icemakers, and side burners. A devoted BBQ grill is, of course, non-negotiable, but consider stepping it up a notch for a truly satisfying gastronomic experience.

 

#6 Outdoor Heating Warms the Body

Summer barbecues and picnics are lovely, but if you’re going to turn your backyard into a bona fide outdoor getaway, it should be season-proof. Placing patio heaters near seating areas is the easiest way to ensure you and your guests aren’t shivering the night away.

Of course, fitting a heating system into the existing space can sometimes prove difficult. The good news is that there are plenty of options. From freestanding and tabletop heaters to wall and ceiling mount heaters, you can choose a system that fits the style and layout of your backyard. Whichever models you select, reliable heaters will help you enjoy the pleasures of your backyard hideaway far into the chilly days of autumn, or even well into the bitter days of winter if you live in warmer climates.

 

#7 Outdoor Glass Fire Pits Warm the Soul

Outdoor Glass Fire Pits Warm the SoulWhen some people think retreat, they think isolation. For others, outdoor getaways are all about good cheer and good company. If you want to create the perfect outdoor gathering space, there’s no substitute for a glass fire pit. That’s because nothing in the world warms the soul and spurs friendly conversation like sitting around an open flame with a glass of wine, a stein of beer, or a cup of hot cocoa.

In many ways, fire bowls and fireglass pits are the ultimate additions to any backyard retreat.

Since the dawn of humanity (or thereabouts), people have gathered around a crackling fire to eat, drink, and make merry. Although technology may have evolved over the past few millennia—in addition to wood, outdoor fire pits now use everything from ash and fume-free fire glass to eco-friendly fire balls and fire stones—the principle remains the same: Light the flame and get the party started.

There’s one caveat: If you do install a fire glass pit, you’ll have to be careful lest the entire neighborhood invites itself over for impromptu get-togethers. While they say the more the merrier, there’s nothing to stop you from leaving it all behind and warming your own heart and soul over the snaps and cracks of a friendly flame in the quiet comfort of a solitary retreat. After all, this is your personal outdoor hideaway. Make of it what you will.

 

Creating the Ultimate Outdoor Experience

If you’re one of the many looking to escape from the maddening reality of daily grind, StarfireCreating the Ultimate Outdoor Experience Direct is happy to help. We specialize in outfitting backyards with all the comforts of home and hearth, so you can retire to the ultimate outdoor getaway when the going gets tough. The idea is simple: Upgrade your living space. Reignite your life.

 

Contact Us

Visit our site to browse through our catalog and get a glimpse of all our outdoor living amenities, from patio heaters and fire bowls to outdoor kitchen components and fireplaces. You can also call us at (866) 578-8538 or use the hashtag #ReIgniteYourLife to connect with Starfire Direct on social media.

Backyard Design Inspiration for Your Home This Season

It may feel a bit nippy outside, but, with these inspirational backyard design ideas for winter, you’ll have the month of May all season long. One of the most creative ways to make use of a backyard space during cold weather conditions is to create a fully customized outdoor living space centered around the fire. We’ll walk you through some of our favorite ideas to help you get started.

Backyard Design Inspiration

Outdoor Structures – It all starts with the pergola. With this open-air structure, you can turn any backyard deck or patio into its very own room. We recommend supplementing the structure with colorful curtains that match this year’s Pantone color trends to minimize the blowing of the winter winds in style:

  • Riverside Blue
  • Airy Blue
  • Sharkskin
  • Aurora Red
  • Warm Taupe
  • Dusty Cedar
  • Lush Meadow
  • Spicy Mustard
  • Potter’s Clay
  • Bodacious Pink

 Lighting – Next, it’s time to liven up the space with accent lighting. Consider stringing LED lighting around the roof and ceiling of the pergola. Tabletop lanterns and glow orbs are also another elegant way to set the mood. If it’s snowing outside, ice luminaries can be a fun project for you DIY mavens out there:

  1. Buy balloons and fill them up with water.
  2. Place the water-filled balloons in the freezer for several hours.
  3. Carefully remove the balloon rubber from the ice spheres.
  4. Put battery-operated tea lights into waterproof baggies and hold them underneath the ice spheres.
  5. Place the now illuminated ice balls in the snow (or use a thick cloth for support on solid surfaces).

Fire pit

Heating – Stay warm this season with a fire bowl or fire pit located in the center of the pergola. You can jazz it up with some beautiful fire glass to complement the centerpiece as well. Alternatively, an outdoor fireplace makes a great companion for relaxing and entertaining, too. Other items you can use to make your fire stand out include:

  • Lava Rocks
  • Fire Shapes
  • Fire Pit Logs
  • Fire Stones
  • Fire Balls

Don’t forget to use a vinyl or metal fire pit cover to protect your investment during harsher weather conditions.

If you’re still feeling chilly, think about throwing in a heater or heat lanterns around the pergola for extra warmth (and be sure to stay safe by making sure heaters and lanterns are kept at a reasonable distance from curtains and other flammable materials).

Furniture – Pull the space together with furniture around the fire. Depending on the size of your space, there are many sophisticated options to choose from, including sofas, love seats, chaise longues, ottomans, gliders, and more. Keep in mind that furniture made from strong materials like steel can get very cold during the winter, so it is best to opt for soft, cushioned pieces to place atop metal-made furniture. Not to mention, it’s way cozier!

For more backyard design inspiration, visit our exclusive image gallery.  There, you will find photos of everything from fire pits to outdoor patios, and much more. When you’re ready to get started, Starfire Direct is here to help! Call us today at (866) 578-8538.

Just a Backyard? Turn Your Yard into a Theme Park Like This

Love visiting theme parks? It isn’t always necessary to leave your backyard just to get that joyful, magical appeal. You can build your own – sure, it won’t be quite as dramatic as what you’ll find in an actual theme park, but it can be every bit as lovely with just a few simple tweaks. Just start with a fire glass pit and build around it following these simple rules.

visiting theme parks

Start with a Small Train

The central part of your theme park should contain a mini train and train track. The rest of your theme park will travel around the track or around the edge of your property – whichever you prefer. Depending on how much you want to invest, you can choose a train that’s large enough for children to ride or small enough to weave through a garden bed instead.

Work with your property and avoid reworking the landscape unless it’s needed – just go around rocks and other objects instead. Give yourself bonus points if you keep the fire pit in the center.

Add a Swimming Pool or Fountain for Added Flair

Most theme parks have swimming pools and maybe even a hot tub, too. If you have the space, consider installing one in your backyard. Be sure to space it away from your fireplace or outdoor kitchen, especially if it’s above-ground. Then, add a fountain that trickles water into it and enjoy the delightfully relaxing sounds of moving water. Be sure to follow the pool’s user manual during installation, always keeping safety in mind.

Swimming Pool or Fountain

Bounce House Bliss

Have kids that sometimes seem to bounce off the walls? Let them release that energy in a safe and fun way. Sturdy bouncy castles now come in semi-permanent inflatable installation options that allow you to erect them in the spring and take them down only when bad weather occurs.

The smaller size is best for smaller yards, while larger, full-size houses will fit only on the biggest expanses and fields. Be sure to anchor the house securely in place and check the ground hooks often to prevent it from accidentally blowing away. For an added twist, install two side-by-side.

Add Spinning Characters

Every great theme park needs a mascot or two. Create flavor and fun by purchasing and installing spinning character decorations. Whether flamingos or Disney characters, these look best if placed in groups in several locations throughout the yard. For Christmas, Halloween, and other holidays, switch your mascots out for holiday-centered characters that carry the joy of the season.

Go Karts or Bumper Cars Make the Grade

What kid (or young-at-heart) doesn’t love the thrill of sailing around a track on a bumper car? If you have plenty of space and a bit of money to invest, consider building your own enclosed raceway. This is an excellent project for parent and children to enjoy together, especially if both are mechanically-inclined. Don’t have a ton of space, or have a need for simplicity and speed? Take a page out of the 1950s and cobble together a soap box car for racing down the lawn instead.

Decorate and Done

You have rides. You have an outdoor barbecue for filling empty stomachs with delicious fair-style food when the day is done. You’ve even installed a beautiful fire pit – all that’s left now is decorating. Install stone walkways with solar lighting to mimic the look of a fair’s bright lights. Butterfly mini-lights and Chinese lanterns make a fun and whimsical addition, as do hanging pendant lamps.

Need help creating the perfect backyard theme park? There’s a world of options available to you. Visit Starfire Direct today and find fantastic items like gas fire pits, fire glass, and other backyard makeover items.

Re-Ignite Your Patio: 3 Ways to Winter-Proof Your Outdoor Living Room

A cold snap is no reason to abandon the fresh-air comforts of your outdoor living room. To the 3 Ways to Winter-Proof Your Outdoor Living Roomcontrary, winter gives you one more excuse to embrace the joys of backyard living, so as long as you’re prepared for frosty temperatures and inconvenient precipitation.

With the right equipment, you can turn your terrace or courtyard into a cozy wonderland no matter what season is upon you. Whether you line your seating area with patio heaters or place a flaming glass fire pit in the center of your living space, there’s an outdoor living tip out there to suit your entertaining style.

So, how do you reignite your life (and your patio) for the frigid days of winter? Here are three ways to create a killer ambiance while keeping guests warm and toasty.

 

#1: Thaw Out with Patio Heaters

When winter rolls around, staying warm is priority number one, which is why patio heaters should top your list of essential gear. If you’ve ever been to a restaurant or coffee shop during a chilly spell, you know what a difference a good outdoor heater can make. To make your backyard living room as warm and toasty as the neighborhood hangout, you’ll need to invest in a little heating equipment.

The Options – First things first, not all patio heaters are created equal. There are at least three different types, including:

  • Freestanding or commercial heaters
  • Tabletop heaters
  • Wall-mounted heaters

You’re probably most familiar with freestanding heaters, but the tabletop and wall-mounted varieties are also effective at thawing out an outdoor space. So, which model should you choose? That depends on the dimensions of your patio, as well as the size of your budget.

 

Freestanding Heaters – The floor-length models, which bear a slight resemblance to tall mushrooms, are the most common heaters in commercial settings. They certainly give off a lot of heat—their range can cover a nine-foot radius—but they can also take up a bit of space and set you back a pretty penny, depending on which model you choose.

Floor-Standing Heater Pros Freestanding Patio Heaters

  • Large heat radius (up to 9 ft.)
  • High heat output (up to 47,000 BTU)
  • Stable and sturdy

Floor-Standing Heater Cons

  • Price (up to $200-$1,000)
  • Size (up to 89” high)

 

Tabletop Heaters – Tabletop heaters are more compact and tend to be priced accordingly. If you only need warmth for a single table, then smaller is definitely better.

Tabletop Patio Heater Pros

  • Compact (up 34.65″ high and 13.4″ base)
  • Affordable (as little as $150)
  • Lightweight and portable

Tabletop Heater Cons

  • Less heat output (up to 10,000 BTU)
  • Requires table space

 

Wall-Mounted Heaters – Of course, wall-mounted units save the most space, as long as you have a wall or beam to which you can attach them. While floor-standing and tabletop heaters typically run on propane, the wall- and ceiling-mounted models rely on infrared heating technology. Since they plug into your home’s electrical supply and require no tank changes, they tend to be easier on your wallet in the long run.

Wall-Mounted Heater Pros

  • Energy efficient (approx. 1/10 the energy cost)
  • Large heat radius (up to 9 ft.)
  • High heat output (1,500-watt lamp)
  • Affordable (approx. $200)

Wall-Mounted Heater Cons

  • Require attachment
  • Slightly more expensive to buy than tabletop heaters

 

#2: Drive Away the Chill with Fire Pits or Fire Bowls

Fire pits are the ultimate outdoor living accessory, as their growing popularity attests. As a Fire Bowlscenterpiece for your outdoor living room, it livens up both the space and the conversation. If you want to keep your guests toasty while setting an intimate mood or creating a charming ambiance, then the open flame is your best friend.

The Options – Fire pits come in many different shapes, sizes, and materials. There are stainless steel pits that feature modernist designs, large bowl-shaped fire pits that feature traditional designs, fire dome pits that feature unique designs, square fire pits that feature minimalist designs, etc., etc. No matter what your style, there’s sure to be a fire pit to match any outdoor living room. Homeowners looking for an open flame can also choose between traditional wood-burning fire pits or more contemporary gas pits. Which style you choose depends almost entirely on preference.

 

Wood-Burning Fire Pits – Wood-burning pits possess an undeniable charm—the crackle of the flame, the smell of burning wood, the authentic experience of throwing another log on the fire. Of course, some residential areas prohibit burning wood near homes or buildings. If you’re thinking of purchasing a wood-burning pit, check with your local zoning laws to make sure it’s permitted.

Wood-Burning Fire Pit Pros Wood Burning Fire Pits

  • “Authentic” look and feel
  • Larger flame
  • Affordable installation

Wood-Burning Fire Pit Cons

  • More time-consuming
  • More cleanup required
  • More smoke

 

Gas Fire Pits – Gas pits have a more modern charm. The typical gas pit can burn either gas logs, which are typically made of ceramic, or fire pit glass, which comes in many colors and varieties. The latter possesses an unmistakable beauty: flames dancing above a bed of beautifully cut and colored glass. It’s no wonder many of the world’s top hotels and restaurants choose fire pit glass. Nowadays, fire glass is available to the average homeowner, and its increasing popularity is a testament to its alluring charm.

Gas Fire Pit Pros

  • Quick and easy to turn off and on
  • No smoke or odor
  • Zero to minimal cleanup

Gas Fire Pit Cons

  • Expensive installation
  • Smaller flames

 

#3: Shield Yourself from the Rain and Snow with Umbrellas

Some people prefer to close up their outdoor living rooms when autumn or winter rolls around. Patio Umbrellas Other, more hearty souls like to keep the festivities going all year round. If you are one of the latter, you’ll have to prepare your patio for the odd snowfall. Even in mild climates, rain can be a nuisance, shutting down the most vibrant outdoor gathering. Nothing can ruin a mood faster than snowflakes in your hot cocoa or rainwater underneath your collar.

While some patios are covered by awnings, most are exposed to the elements, and that means you’ll need something extra if you want to keep partying through the rainy season. Patio umbrellas offer a simple solution. You can place one above every table to keep your eating area dry, or you can place them around couches and seating areas.

Options – As with every outdoor living accessory, you have plenty of options to fit any style or budget, from traditional umbrellas that provide adequate coverage for a table or couch to cantilever umbrellas that provide wider coverage and 360-degree rotation. If you prefer something a bit more interesting, there are also lighted umbrellas.

 

Traditional Patio Umbrellas – Conventional 9” umbrellas are perfect for most situations. They provide enough coverage for the typical table or seating area at a decent price.

Traditional Patio Umbrella Pros

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Portable
  • Easy cleaning

Traditional Patio Umbrella Cons

  • Smaller coverage area
  • Limited tilt and rotation

 

Cantilever Umbrellas – Large, cantilever umbrellas are primarily meant for shade, but they can provide plenty of protection in the event of a sudden drizzle. If you want maximum coverage for all seasons (and if you don’t mind the price tag) then these sturdy umbrellas should be your cup of tea.

Cantilever Umbrella Pros Cantilever Umbrellas

  • Large coverage area (up to 13” diameter)
  • 360-degree rotation
  • Sturdy and durable

Cantilever Umbrella Cons

  • Requires more space
  • Expensive

 

#ReIgniteYourLife with Starfire Direct

They say the devil is in the details, and, if you want to impress your guests, you’ll need to provide them with some basic creature comforts. Protection against the elements should be at the top of your priority list, particularly if you want to enjoy the delights of your outdoor living room all year long. Visit Starfire Direct for more ideas that will help you kindle the flame of backyard living.