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A nice hot tub soak staves off the winter blues

Luxuriating in an outdoor hot tub as snow falls on the landscape is a lovely winter dream, but it has its practical side too. It’s good for our health as hot tub soaks are known to relieve pain, calm itchy skin and reduce stress. Using your hot tub (or spa – the terms are interchangeable)

Here they come! Getting the pool ready for kids

When the schools close their doors for the summer, our backyard gates open up. Take these last few days to prepare your patio for the fun-seeking, towel-snapping, sticky-faced (but loveable!) throngs. Summer is a celebration of all things outdoors. Picnics and parties, pools and patios are at the center of the activities. A little planning

Pets on the patio: Summer tips for dogs and cats

We love our pets. We want them to participate in our summer fun on the patio, but sometimes we forget our pets have special needs. For example, did you know that some dogs need sunscreen? Read on for more tips to keep your furry kids happy this summer. Pools Swimming in pools is one of

How to do an authentic spa day party on the patio

Bring in professionals for an evening of pampering right on the patio.   Summer is here and it’s time to relax. Work loads, family obligations and volunteer work, although rewarding, can usurp our down time. Why not pave the way to relaxation with a private occasion meant to renew and rejuvenate? We asked licensed massage

Dip into different types of in-ground pools

When we think of pools, we picture large, blue swimming holes in the backyard. But like everything in outdoor living, pools are evolving and now come in all shapes and sizes. New pool designs on the market allow homeowners to tailor their pool for specific uses. Diving, dipping, soaking, exercising or relaxing, each activity has

Lazy days make for a slow cooker summer

Think your slow cooker is just for the cold months? Think again. Summer’s hot days have us searching for meals that don’t require a lot of oven time. Dust off the your slow cooker, because it may just be the answer you’re looking for. Slow cookers don’t emit a lot of heat into the kitchen

Spa and pool designs: the basics

The placement of a backyard spa is more controversial than you may think. When homeowners are beginning to consider buying a home with a pool or installing a pool, the many discussions and articles written about design options may overwhelm them. Spa and pool owners can have strong opinions on which set-up is best. For

How to eke out more summer

Don’t say goodbye to the season just yet. Late summer can be the best time to get outside. American culture seems to treat Labor Day as the official end of summer. It isn’t, really, as the Summer season ends at sunset on Sept. 20. While it’s common to treat the beginning of the school semester

Swim to Gold in your own backyard pool

As the Olympic Summer Games 2016 continue, we’ve seen some exciting finishes and more gold medals for aquatic phenom Michael Phelps and the rest of the amazing US swimming team. We’ve also seen a strange, but natural occurrence: an Olympic diving pool turned green! The green color was caused by a proliferation of tiny but

Running water

Leonardo DaVinci said “Water is the driving force in nature.” Because our bodies are mostly water, it’s in our nature to live near bodies of water. Most of the Earth’s population lives within a few kilometers of a lake, river or sea. According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 39% (123.3 million people)