(BPT) - Is your backyard ready for bliss this summer? You probably look forward to spending as much time outdoors as possible during warmer months. But do you really have everything you need to ensure you can enjoy your outdoor living space from dawn to dusk - and beyond?
Here are three must-have backyard features that can keep your outdoor time comfortable, enjoyable and luxurious, no matter the time of day or night:
You don't go to bed when the sun goes down, and your outdoor fun doesn't have to end when night arrives. Strategically placed lighting can help keep your outdoor living space safe and inviting well into the evening. When choosing lights for your backyard, deck or patio, choose options specifically designed for outdoor use. Indoor lights can't hold up to the weather outdoors, and could pose a safety risk.
The American Lighting Association recommends using low-voltage mini lights, concealed in trees, under steps, railings or benches to light decks, porches and patios. You can also install spotlights in nearby trees and point the illumination toward your outdoor living space. Solar lights are also a great option for outdoors, since they cost nothing to operate and create a softer light than traditional electric bulbs.
In many areas of the country, the arrival of warm weather also means it's mosquito season. The biting insects are more than just a nuisance; they're also a health risk since they can spread West Nile virus, an infection that can cause serious, life-altering disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Forty-eight states reported more than 5,000 cases of West Nile in 2012, the CDC reports.
If you live in an area with a significant mosquito problem, it may be a good idea to invest in a mosquito trap like the Mosquito Magnet Commander. Silent and odorless, the Mosquito Magnet converts propane into carbon dioxide, heat and moisture to mimic a human presence, luring, capturing and controlling mosquitoes. The first-ever wireless enabled trap allows you to receive a text message or email alerting you when the trap needs maintenance. The trap, which services an acre of ground, should be placed between living spaces and mosquito breeding spots like standing water or bushes, and at least 30 to 40 feet away from peopled areas. Learn more at www.mosquitomagnet.com.
Even on hot summer night's there's something enchanting about a fire pit in your outdoor environment. Whether you opt to have something built in to your patio or deck, or purchase something portable from your local garden or home improvement store, a fire pit or chiminea can add both ambiance and warmth to your outdoor environment. You can find a size and style to fit your outdoor design and needs, whether you choose a ceramic chiminea for roasting marshmallows or a large, CobraCo hand-hammered copper fire pit tub to create warmth and ambiance.
When choosing a fire element for your backyard, keep in mind the importance of scale. Your fire pit should be big enough to provide heat, light and ambiance, but not so large it overwhelms the space. Keep flames away from combustible surfaces, like furniture or stored wood, and never leave your fire unattended, especially when there are small children or animals around. Finally, make sure you always have a fire extinguisher on hand when using a fire pit, and follow the manufacturer's directions for use.
Your outdoor fun can go all day long - and well into the night - when you prep your backyard with the right tools and features to maximize comfort and enjoyment.