Tag Archives: outdoor living

Is your back yard pet friendly?

With the Charleston weather predicted to turn much warmer this weekend, we’ll want to venture out to enjoy some Spring temperatures with our pets.  It is a common assumption, that our yard poses no danger to our fur kids however their are some precautions to take to ensure that your animals can roam without the fear of being hurt.

photo by Boudewijn Huysmans

Escape Routes

Gaps in the fencing or the ability to tunnel should be addressed.  Besides actually escaping, animals can become trapped or pinned in causing serious harm or suffocation.  Make sure fences are too tall for your dog to jump over and do periodic perimeter checks to make sure that fencing is intact.

Wild Animals

Small dogs and cats have been known to be carried away by eagles, hawks and owls so it is important to never leave them unattended.  Other predators that could attack when provoked include, raccoons, snakes and even wolves.   Keep these creatures at bay by not leaving out food, including bird feeders, overnight and securing other food sources, like garbage cans.

photo by Zdeněk Macháček

Vegetation

The prettiest parts of your yard could be the most dangerous to your pet.  Many common types of flowers are toxic to animals, leading to vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, or even death.

Certain vegetables like onions, garlic, wild mushrooms, avocado, and grapes are lethal as well and should be cultivated away from your pet’s play area.

Chemicals

Pesticides and fertilizers keep our outdoor spaces free of pests and creates lush grass and vegetation.  These are poisons and should be stored in proper containers and out of reach to your pet.  Learn about ways to organically fertilize and get rid of pests naturally.  Same goes for the toxic cocoa bean mulch.  Pet owners will find pine and cedar mulches are good alternatives.

 

The Elements

Heat stroke can occur in all animals so be sure your yard has shady places for your pet to rest and has access to plenty of water in the summer.  Alternatively, in winter months animals should have access to a dog/cat house, garage or shed with blankets and a bed to avoid a chill.

Mr H says: Dogs laugh with their tails-Enjoy!

Outdoor Spring Entertaining

With the weather finally turning to Spring, it’s time to move the party outside.  In the South, elegant entertaining is a way life and outdoor entertaining should be just as luxurious.

Ditch the paper and plastic for a colorful array of assorted table top.  Hillsborough, NC company, VIETRI is the largest importer of handcrafted Italian tableware and home decor products and we all know the Italians are master sat la dolce vita!

Vietri dinnerware

Think Spring produce, like asparagus and carrots, when creating centerpieces for a Spring party.

Create a dedicated area for the bar.  Provide plenty of backyard friendly glasses and napkins.

Williams Sonoma

Be sure to plan for lighting at nightfall with solar lights strung high enough to walk under.

Pottery Barn

Gather in the backyard with family and friends to enjoy a few games of classic lawn bowling.

Williams Sonoma Lawn Bowling Game

Host a gracious picnic out of this English willow basket from Williams-Sonoma.  Filled with fine tableware, linens and serving essentials for food and beverages, it has everything for a grand outdoor dining adventure.

Williams Sonoma Wicker Picnic Basket

The cocktail hour is an entertaining must in the South.  Feature the refreshingly light British Pimm’s Cup at your next outdoor affair.  This drink pairs lemon and ginger with the spicy fruit flavors of a gin-based liqueur called Pimm’s No. 1 cup.

Pimms Cup photo Becky Luigart-Stayner  Lydia DeGaris-Pursell

Becky Luigart-Stayner; Lydia DeGaris-Pursell

  • 3/4 cup Pimm’s No. 1
  • 2 cups ginger ale, chilled
  • 1 1/3 cups sparkling water, chilled
  • 4 lemon slices
  • 1 medium cucumber, halved lengthwise and cut into 4 spears

Fill 4 tall (12-ounce) glasses with ice cubes.  Pour 3 tablespoons Pimm’s into each glass. Pour 1/2 cup ginger ale and 1/3 cup sparkling water into each glass; stir to combine. Garnish each serving with 1 lemon slice and 1 cucumber spear. Serve immediately.

Mr. H says: Spring is God’s way of saying, ‘One more time!’-Enjoy!

Wondrous Water Features

It’s been a long cold winter and we are all craving some out door time.  There is nothing more relaxing than the sound of trickling water and humans naturally delight in this calming element.  If you’re looking to add interest to an outdoor area or to mask unwanted sounds, such as street traffic, a decorative water feature is a great approach.

Landscape Connection

One item to consider in your planning is to match the size of your water feature design to the size of your available space.  A ceramic bubbler is an easy way to introduce the sight and sound of water in a small back yard.

Campania International

Use different materials to create a water feature that blends with the style of your house and yard.  An old horse trough was used on this rustic property.

Ballard

Surround the water feature with rocks and plants to soften the edges and create a more seamless transition from water to land.

Chachula Design

This water wall composes a “foyer” into this back yard

Water wall tile fountain

Mr. H says:  We never know the worth of water until the well is dry-Enjoy!

Outdoor Spaces

With daytime temperatures in the high 60s we were treated to some lovely weather at Wine Camp on Long Island.  What better way to enjoy some of New York’s finest wines then in a vineyard’s lovely outdoor space.

At the Lenz Winery, the grapevine covered shelter is a shady spot to sip on some Blanc de Noir

Lenz Winery

Lenz winery

On cool nights the fire pits among the vines at Peconic Bay Winery is best for an earthy Cabernet Sauvignon.

Peconic Bay Winery

Peconic Bay Cabernet Sauvignon

The lounge feel at Sparkling Pointe Winery is the perfect place to sample all their delightful sparklers.

Sparkling Pointe Vineyard

Sparkling Pointe Brut

The view of the grapes from Paumanok Vineyard’s deck is a great place to enjoy their Chenin Blanc

Paumanok Vineyard

  Paumanok Vineyard Chenin Blanc

Mr. H says: Good wine starts and ends with a smile-Enjoy!