Ideas for Building the Ultimate Backyard Oasis

Whether entertaining friends and family or unwinding after a long day, the ultimate backyard retreat should be an extension of your home. Whatever your lifestyle, here are a few ideas for building the ultimate backyard retreat.

Homes for sale in Berkeley, WV

For Entertaining Design a flexible space to accommodate a range of gatherings with:
· Different spaces for dining, relaxing, visiting and cooking.
· Shelter from the elements with an arbor, retractable awning or patio umbrellas.
· Don’t forget about outdoor storage!

For Relaxing — Create an outdoor oasis that you love spending time in with:
· A water feature as the center of your Zen garden.
· Benches and walking paths that draw you into the space.
· Flowers and foliage that attract birds and butterflies.

For Playing — Build a space that is fun for the whole family that includes:
· Outdoor recreation such as a swimming pool, sports area or zip line.
· A kids-only area with a tree house or a backyard clubhouse.
· A backyard spa featuring a hot tub or outdoor sauna.

For Cooking — Treat your backyard as an extension of the kitchen by adding:
· A food prep area, closed storage, grill with side burner, refrigerator and sink.
· Outdoor wood-burning oven and/or smoker.
· A kitchen garden to grow all your favorite herbs within easy reach.

For Nighttime — Make your backyard oasis comfortable after dark by including:
· Outdoor lighting for the conversation and task areas and landscape lights along pathways.
· Patio heater or fireplace to extend the outdoor season.
· Fire pit for a gathering place for marshmallow roasts and ghost stories.

Homes for sale in Berkeley, WV

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10 Creative Tips to Spice up Your Summer Grilling

Tired of the same old chipotle steak spice slathered on your favorite cut or the endlessly overdone herb chicken? Try one of these savory seasonings to spice up your summer.

Homes for sale in Berkeley, WV

Yogurt and Herbs — Instead of marinating your meat in oil and vinegar, try yogurt combined with fresh herbs. The acid in the yogurt tenderizes while the herbs add flavor.

Coconut Curry — Infuse chicken with flavor by marinating in coconut, curry and fresh lime. Best served with coconut rice, this recipe can be as hot or as mild as you like!

Jerk Seasoning — Give your meat a serious kick with Scotch bonnet peppers and other jerk spices including allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Blackened Cajun — Use high heat and short cooking time whengrilling blackened chicken to avoid dry, overdone chicken.

Chili Lime — Combine the classic flavors of chili and lime for an easy, make-ahead marinade for chicken or beef kabobs.

Balsamic Vinegar — Try this simple recipe for grilling vegetables that combines balsamic vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce and salt.

Coffee Dry Rub — Give your barbecue a little pick-me-up with finely ground espresso and other seasonings, like this version by Bobby Flay.

Lemon Pesto Marinade — Shortcut prep time by using a ready-made pesto sauce added to olive oil, lemon, garlic and pepper, or make your own.

Beer and Brown Sugar — Take your favorite brew and add a little brown sugar and seasonings for a new twist on a classic combination.

Kansas City-Style BBQ — Try your hand at authentic Kansas City-style barbecue (known for their spicy and sweet sauces) with this recipe for ribs.

Homes for sale in Berkeley, WV

How to Get Out the Most Common Spills and Scuffs

Don’t let spills and scuffs stress you out! Here are some tips for getting out the most common stains.

Homes for sale in Berkeley, WV

Scuff Marks Removing the black streaks left by rubber-bottomed shoes takes a bit of elbow grease. Try rubbing the spot with a white eraser or a tennis ball. If that doesn’t work, try a commercial product like Goo Gone or a baking soda paste.

Pet Stains and Odors — Cleaning up the messes left behind by our furry friends requires using a bio-enzymatic cleaner that breaks down the organic materials. Next, use a pet odor neutralizer to eliminate the odor and break the habit!

Grease and Oil — Getting any oil-based stain out can be a challenge. Many household products, from crayons to lipstick, are considered oil-based stains. Look for a solvent cleaner that breaks down the grease for easy removal.

Red Wine and Dyes — Treating the spot quickly is the key toremoving stains from wine, juices, medications and other foods with dyes. Gently blot the stain, being careful not to rub, and clean with water or a mixture of mild detergent and vinegar.

Ink and Marker — Cleaning ink and permanent marker off of walls, floors and even carpets and upholstery is every parent’s worst nightmare. Gently blot with rubbing alcohol for hard surfaces and white vinegar for carpets and upholstery.

Coffee and Tea — Counteracting the tannins is the key to removing the brown, yellow or tan discoloration from coffee or tea. Try one of these tricks to get that unsightly stain off carpet, upholstery or even clothes!

Homes for sale in Berkeley, WV

Five Home Projects for When You’re Short on Time

Want to spruce up your digs but don’t have a lot of extra time on your hands? We’ve got five projects you can complete over the weekend.

Homes for sale in Berkeley, WV

Fire it up – While it may not seem like it now, cooler weather will be here soon. And when it does, you’ll be the envy of all the neighbors when you’re warming up beside your very own fire pit. Just be sure to check your local laws regarding open burning before you start cooking up those tasty s’mores.

Curb appeal – Nothing says “welcome” like a spruced-up front yard and entryway. Easy upgrades include adding walkway lighting, painting your front door, installing a porch swing and planting acontainer garden.

Do-it-yourself storage – If you spend a lot of time in the yard, you know how many tools you need to keep it looking tidy. But where to keep all those rakes, shovels, boots and gloves? How about in your very own garden shed? And it only (supposedly) takes eight hours to build!

Add a little artistic flair – Tired of staring at that blank wall? This weekend, gather up all of your favorite photos and art that have been hiding in the closet and create the perfect gallery wall in your living room, bedroom or hallway.

Budget makeover – Want a new kitchen but money is tight? Paint the cabinets. If you do all the prep work correctly, it shouldn’t take more than a weekend, and when you’re done—voila! A “new” kitchen!

Homes for sale in Berkeley, WV