Cold beer, or chilled wine? A summer snooze, or prime-time TV? Choosing outdoor living accessories is a matter of preference, need and budget restraints.
An under-counter refrigerator will appeal to serious cooks and those who detest trudging back and forth, from inside to outside, to fetch ingredients and condiments. If you enjoy reading and napping, a hammock might be ideal.
Grills, counters and storage space are standard equipment, but here are 10 popular outdoor living accessories to consider.
Sink into comfort on weather-resistant furniture. The deep-seated, outdoor lounge furniture by Gloster (pictured) can remain outside in all seasons. Wrap it around a fire pit or table and let the chit-chat roll.
Swing into summer on a hammock, available in multiple styles and price ranges. This one is a soft-weave hammock with an inch of cushiony batting from Hatteras Hammocks. Most people buy a backyard hammock for somebody else, according to Brian Lawrence of Emigh’s Outdoor Living in Sacramento. Nice present! Hammock stands are sold separately.
Ice is nice
Ice is a necessity for cold drinks and having a supply outdoors is a convenience family and guests will appreciate. Units can be purchased as built-ins or stand alone. You’ll need a water line, either from a tap under the sink or a dedicated line from another water source.
Suds and sun
Beer’s popularity translates well to outdoor living areas. Kegerators are standard equipment in many outdoor kitchens. The 24-inch, two faucet, Signature Series kegerator (pictured) from Perlick maintains beer at the proper temperature and allows two types of beer in one dispenser. Bottoms up.
Modern mood lighting
Luminara “candles” are flameless, using electromagnetic and LED technology for dancing, evening candlelight. They’re real wax, scented, available in a variety of sizes and designs, yet produce no smoke and pose no threat of fire. Luminara candles use batteries and can be operated with a remote control.
Warm and cozy
Crisp autumn nights and cool spring evenings are more comfortable outdoors with a heater. Restaurants use these heaters for cool-season outdoor dining. The Deluxe Patio Heater from Frontgate puts out 40,000 BTUs and warms a 15-foot radius. It has push-button ignition, can be rolled around and uses propane fuel (tank not included).
Condiments, ingredients and cold drinks are within arm’s reach rather than another trip into the house. Outdoor refrigerators are handy for snack storage, too. Some models are dual-zone refrigeration units that store food in one zone, wine in another.
TV for all seasons
Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor hail shall drive you indoors to watch the ballgame. All-weather, flat screen outdoor TVs also allow for improved viewing in direct sunlight, although a shadier spot under an awning or patio cover is preferred. SunBrite TV (pictured) makes models that can survive temperatures of 120 degrees to minus-20 degrees. Remote controls also are weatherproof.
More affordable than built-in fire pits, portables are extremely popular. Gatherings of friends and family around a backyard fire pit generates urban camping ambiance. Portables are smaller than built-in fire pits, are available in various configurations and styles and burn either gas or wood. The Viento rectangular fire pit (pictured) burns propane, but can be converted to natural gas.
Sniff and sip
Sipping wine reflects the California lifestyle. This outdoor wine storage unit, Perlick’s 24-inch, Signature Series Outdoor Dual-Zone Wine Reserve, stores both reds and whites at the proper temperatures. Wine storage units can be purchased as built-in or stand alone models.