Outdoor Cooking: The Benefits of a Backyard Kitchen

Outdoor Belgard kitchen pizza oven

Summer is winding down, but that doesn’t mean that outdoor cooking season has to end.

For some people, this goes without saying. We all know someone who enjoys firing up the grill no matter what it’s like outside.

But maybe you’d like to take things a step further. What if instead of just firing up your grill, you had a whole kitchen at your disposal in your backyard? It’s easier to do than you might think and can transform the way you and your family eat and entertain.

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The Benefits of a Backyard Fire Pit

Belgard Firepit

When you think of a backyard fire pit, you might picture something sleek and modern, perhaps a gas-burning fire table that gives off colored flames.

But fire pits have been around for nearly as long as people have been building fires. The first fire pits offered a method for cooking food, a way to ward off wild animals, and a place for the community to come together.

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Cleaning Tips, Refilling or Exchanging Propane Gas. What’s Best For Your Weber Grill.

Ever since Weber invented the kettle grill in 1952 and popularized the idea of backyard covered cooking, debate has raged: charcoal, propane grill, or natural gas grill? Over the years, a high-quality grill has become the center piece of the backyard come barbecue season, but how do you know what to choose? Not only do you need to select the right fuel type – be it gas, propane or charcoal – but then you need to decide which brand of grill will best deliver your homemade mouthwatering summer delicacies.  And of course, which grill out there will give you the best value?

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WAC Lighting: Landscape Lighting’s Best Kept Secret

WAC walkway lighting

WAC Lighting has been in business for more than 30 years, but it’s been in the past three years that this New York company has expanded into the landscape lighting sector. In that time, WAC has established themselves as a shining light in this field. In this month’s blog post, we’re going to look at some of the benefits of WAC Lighting’s landscape line.

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Interlocking Pavers: How to Do It Right

Aqua Line Pavers

It’s hard to overstate the benefits of installing interlocking paving stones.

Interlocking pavers are durable. From foot traffic on a walkway to cars going over your driveway paving stones, these pavers are designed to last for decades. They don’t absorb much water, hold up against cold weather better than asphalt, and can meet the freeze-thaw standards of colder climates.

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What’s the Difference Between Aluminum and Steel Landscape Edging?

Edged garden in front of home

Writing in the blog Gardenista, Janet Roth calls metal landscape edging the “little black dress” of backyard landscapes.

“Elegant, strong yet understated, tailored and timeless,” she writes, “a long-time design secret of professional landscapers, metal has edged its way into the amateur home garden to offer a clean-cut and practical solution to keep plants and materials in place.”

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Pet-Safe Ice Melt. Does It Work? Is It Really Safe?

Dogs on ice

Ice melt is a must-have for homeowners this time of year. It’s vital to have a method of clearing your sidewalks and steps during wintry weather and keeping things safe for you and your family.

At the same time, you want to make sure things are safe for the four-legged members of your family by using pet-safe ice melt.

“Of course,” you think. “I can just make sure I look for something labeled ‘pet safe’ and call it a day.”

Think again.

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Ice Melt vs. Rock Salt – Which Should You Choose?

Sbow covered car and tree

On Facebook, on TV and at work, everyone’s saying the same thing: There’s a blizzard coming.

And then you realize: We don’t have any rock salt at home. You ran out after last year’s big storm, and never got to replenish your supply.

So you head to your local hardware store to stock up and find yourself looking at a vast collection of different products, some of it labeled “ice melt,” some of it labeled “rock salt.”

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Hung Up on Hanging Holiday Lights? Head to Your Hardware Supply Store For Help

Christmas lights on nice home

You’ve been putting it off for too long. Thanksgiving is over. Black Friday is over. Every house on your block is lit up, yet yours sits in the dark.

You want your house to look festive, but you’re also wondering how to do that without blowing fuses or tripping your circuit breaker.

To which we say: Don’t worry. With proper planning, a little research and a trip to your hardware supply store, you can have the brightest house on the block.

Getting started

An affluent home with a nice display of decorations.Have a plan for where you want to hang your lights. Pick a focal point. It could be along your eaves or roofline, on top of bushes, trees and hedges, around your porch railing, or framing your windows, doorframes and planters (or some combination of any of these).

Make sure you measure any spaces where you want to hang lights to tell you how many strands you need, while also measuring the distance to your power source. You’ll want to be sure you can actually plug the lights in.

From there, considering the following:

  • Man hanging holiday lights on a ladder using light clipsYour safety needs – Head to your hardware supply store to find a reliable ladder, extension cords with a UL-rating and lights approved for indoor and outdoor use. Make sure none of your cords or wires are torn.
  • Your light color – Even white lights aren’t precisely white. Classic incandescent bulbs have an orangish hue, while LED lights can appear sort of blue. If they’re hung side by side, they’ll seem mismatched. Avoid this problem by investing in new lights.
  • LED or incandescent – LED lights will help you cut down on your electric bill, and you won’t need to worry about them overheating.
  • Hanging the lights – This year, invest in light clips. It’s easier than struggling with staples or relying on clothespins to hold the lights in place.

Hanging the lights

Testing christmas light string before hanging

The first thing you should do is decide where you’ll be working and gather all the supplies you need. It will help to work with someone else, especially if you’ll be climbing a ladder.

Test your lights before you hang them by plugging them in. The last thing you need is to discover you have a burned out bulb or a non-working strand after you’ve hung your lights. Even if you’ve just brought them home from your hardware supply store, test the lights.

You may also want to invest in an outdoor timer that will automatically turn your lights on and off. That way you won’t wake up at 7 a.m. to find the lights still glowing or go to bed realizing that you never switched them on.

How will my lights affect my electric bill?

People joke about Christmas lights being visible from space, but according to NASA, it’s no joke. In 2014, the space agency reported that nighttime lights shine 20 to 50 percent brighter around many American cities during Christmas and New Year’s.

C9 christmas light bulbsHow does all that light impact the average residential electric bill? The Washington Post’s Wonkblog did the math last year on the rough cost of running different types of lights. They assumed a price of 12 cents per kilowatt hour, with the lights illuminated 12 hours a day for 45 days:

  • A straight of 25 C9 incandescent bulbs — $15.12
  • A string of 100 mini incandescent bulbs — $3.53
  • A string of 25 C9 LED bulbs – 21 cents
  • A string of 100 mini LED bulbs – 41 cents

How many lights can my house handle?

The number of holiday lights you can plug into one circuit depends on a few different factors:

  • The amperage of the circuit (most homes have 15 or 20 amp circuits)
  • The types of lights you’ll be using
  • Whether you have anything else running off that circuit such as appliances or indoor lights

String of multicolor Christmas lights with green wiring.To figure out the number of lights a circuit can handle, you’ll need to do some math, figuring out how many watts the circuit can take.

The equation works like this: volts X amps = watts.

Like we said, most homes are 15 or 20 amps, while household outlets are 120 volts. Therefore, a 20-amp circuit could handle 2,400 watts at most. Err on the side of safety and only load your circuits to about 80 percent of their capacity.

Do you still have questions about which lights will work best for your home? Turn to Yardville Supply, where you’ll find an array of holiday décor, extension cords and other hardware supply equipment to help your home look its best – and brightest – this season.

Stock Up on Winter Supplies: Calcium Chloride Ice Melt Products, Road Salt and More

Snow covered road.

Winter is almost upon us. Nighttime temperatures are in the 30s. There’s frost greeting us on our windshields in the morning. Any day now, the first snow will begin to fall.

And if there’s one thing we know about winter, it’s that the only thing worse than dealing with a snowstorm is being caught unprepared for a snowstorm.

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