Outdoor Entertaining Tip of the Month: Outdoor Inspiration for the Holidays

We love the holiday season – friends and family coming together to celebrate, a coat of white snow covering the ground and a contagious holiday cheer that you can’t quite explain.

We love our outdoor spaces but in many climates this time of year isn’t quite right for sitting outside. That doesn’t mean that you can’t deck the halls outdoors and bring a little holiday cheer to your porch or patio.

Adding a beautiful walkway path to your door welcomes guests and adds curb appeal. If you prefer a grander entrance, consider a paver driveway, steps or front porch. Adding pathway lights accents your décor plus helps guests navigate at nighttime.

Lights, garland and wreaths bring warmth to your outdoor space and often can be enjoyed from the inside, too. If the weather isn’t too frightful, enjoy a night outside warming up next to the glowing fire from a Belgard fireplace or fire pit. Grab some throw blankets and marshmallows and keep the fun going into the night.

Winter is the best time for planning your landscape and getting started now ensures you’ll be ready for spring. Visit www.Belgard.com to request a complimentary Idea Book.

Tips for Planning Your Outdoor Space

 

Winter’s colder temperatures drive homeowners indoors, providing the ideal time to plan outdoor spaces that will be ready for spring when outdoor living begs and burgeons. The planning process doesn’t have to be long and laborious; however, it should follow careful steps to ensure the resulting space is suited to its environment and entertainment needs.

The journey to designing the ideal outdoor space begins by using an architect’s eye and ends by incorporating personal preferences. Here are four perspectives to consider when first considering the design of an outdoor living space:

Let Architecture Be Your Guide
Outdoor living spaces should be a continuation of the home, so in the designing phase work with, not against, the architecture of the house and its relationship to the property. Accents and angles should be thoughtfully incorporated into the design.

Begin at Focal Points
Extend visual lines from the home’s corners, doors and windows to create shapes that integrate the landscape design into the architecture.

Allow for Breathing Room
When deciding on a size for an outdoor room, consider how much space you’ll need around your furniture – pulled out chairs and mingling during cocktail parties require different space needs than a table set for dinner for four.

Consider The Axis
Design areas of major interest off your major axis points. When standing at the back door or window, imagine the outdoor space like a wheel, with the spokes as your sight lines. These lines should guide the eye to a beautiful flowering area, a water or fire feature, or an intimate seating area.

With the architectural design elements firmly in grasp, the design team can begin to consider the paver colors, patterns and textures that best complement the home and suit the homeowner’s style preferences.

Visit Belgard.com/inspiration for step-by-step guides or to request a complimentary Idea Book.

Outdoor Entertaining Tip of the Month: Thanksgiving Classics

Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away and if you’re still planning the day’s menu, we’ve got you covered. We’re serving up some of our favorite, mouthwatering Thanksgiving classics from Sunset magazine.

To Drink

Crimson Spice Champagne Cocktail
This is the perfect bubbly drink with a hint of spice for fall. For a nonalcoholic alternative, substitute lemon-lime or club soda for the cognac and champagne.

The Main Event

Dry-Cured Rosemary Turkey
Letting this turkey dry-cure in a home-ground mixture of spices gives it incredible, earthy flavor once it’s roasted.

Sides

Sage-infused Mashed Potatoes and Parsnips
Sage adds an earthy flavor to these mashed potatoes, parsnips lend sweetness, and sour cream brings a bit of tang.

 

Glazed Carrots with Pecans
These sweet veggies are so delectable that even the pickiest of eaters can’t turn these down.

 

Cranberry Port Sauce
The combination of cranberries, orange, and port in this easy sauce makes a wonderful accompaniment for the turkey.

Dessert

Pumpkin-Orange Cheesecake with Chocolate Crust and Salted Caramel
Pumpkin and chocolate are surprisingly delicious together, and paired with sweet salted caramel – yum!

 

 

Outdoor Entertaining Tip of the Month: Tailgating Outdoors

With fall comes falling temperatures, changing leaves and football season. Whether you’re a sports enthusiast or just a casual fan who enjoys hosting friends, fall is the perfect time of year to enjoy your outdoor space and tailgating at home.

Here are a few tips for enjoying your outdoor space this tailgate season:

  • Design an outdoor sports cave. Outdoor spaces become outdoor rooms when adding a television, comfortable seating, and outdoor kitchen conveniences like a mini fridge, cooking space and sink. You’ll love how a fresh beverage is within easy reach. Plus, if you accidently spill your drink while cheering on a touchdown, a paver patio will handle the mess much better than indoor carpet.
  • Fire up the grill. Spending the day cheering on your favorite team can really work up an appetite. Be sure to keep your guests happy and full by providing lots of tasty, hot-off-the-grill treats. An added bonus, cooking outside on the grill will give off extra heat on cooler days and into the evening.
  • Create comfortable surroundings. The cool temperatures of fall can be refreshing, but unwelcome if you aren’t prepared. Create comfortable surroundings for you and your guests by adding a Belgard fire feature. Fire pits make for a social center piece or mount your big screen above a fireplace. Show pride for your favorite team with color-themed throws and pillows adorning your outdoor furniture.

Outdoor Entertaining Tip of the Month: Ancho-Marinated Skirt Steak with Warm Black Bean Salad

This ancho-marinated skirt steak with warm bean salad is the perfect meal to transition to cooler weather. The deep beefy flavor of skirt steak paired with red wine and the texture of black beans makes your taste buds dance. Enjoy cooking this meal in your outdoor kitchen and savor the last warm nights of summer.


Ingredients
1/2 cup Syrah or other dry red wine
1/2 cup red wine vinegar, divided
About 6 tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons minced garlic, divided
1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 tablespoon ground dried ancho chiles or chili powder
1 skirt steak (about 1 1/2 lbs.)
2 fresh poblano chiles (sometimes labeled pasilla)
1 large sweet onion, chopped
3 cans black beans (15 oz. each), drained and rinsed
1 large red pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/2-in. chunks
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
About 3 green onions, sliced (including green tops)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preparation
1. Combine wine, 1/4 cup each vinegar and oil, 1 tbsp. each garlic and pepper, 1 tsp. each salt and cumin, the oregano, and ground chiles in a large, resealable plastic food bag. If steak is in 1 long piece, cut in half crosswise; rinse, add to bag, seal, and turn to coat. Chill at least 4 hours or up to 1 day.

2. Preheat broiler. Halve, stem, and seed the poblanos. Lay skin side up on a baking sheet and broil 4 inches from heat until well charred, 6 to 7 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes, then peel and coarsely chop.

3. Heat grill to high (450° to 550°). In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, sauté onion and remaining 1 tbsp. garlic in 2 tbsp. oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in beans and remaining 1/4 cup vinegar and 1 tsp. each pepper, salt, and cumin; turn heat to low.

4. Oil cooking grate well. Lift steak from marinade (discard marinade) and grill, turning once, until browned on both sides but still pink in the center (cut to test), 7 to 10 minutes total. Transfer to a board and let rest at least 5 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, add poblanos, red pepper, tomatoes, 3 green onions, and cilantro to bean mixture, and stir occasionally until warm. Slice steak on the diagonal across the grain and serve on warm bean salad. Garnish with more green onions if you like.

From Sunset October 2011

Outdoor Entertaining Tip of the Month: Poolside Favorites

It’s the height of the summer season and August’s sweltering temperatures have homeowners diving headfirst into their pools to cool off. This week, we’ve gathered a few of our poolside favorites for enjoying the dog days of summer:


This NEWave Arctic Chill Floating Cooler (1) from Bed, Bath and Beyond is the perfect way to keep refreshing drinks cold and within reach.

We love these Vertical Rugby Stripe Beach Towels (2) from Land’s End. They come in five colors and monogramming is available so you always know whose towel is whose.

Set up a table under this TUUCI Manta Shade (3) from Design Within Reach and enjoy a shady lunchtime retreat.

These Floating White Blossom Lights (4) from Target light up the night for evening swimming.

The Villano Double Chaise (5) from Summer Classics is great for soaking in the sun next to your loved one while still being able to control your personal lounging angle.

Lastly, the perfect pool isn’t complete without a beautiful, smooth paver deck. We love Catalina Stone (6) which offers the eco-advantages of permeability, reducing run-off and pollution.

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