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Outdoor Living

Creative ideas and cool products to help you turn your yard into an inviting oasis for family fun and festive gatherings.

For a tucked-away feeling, surround a low deck with large cedar planter boxes. | Photo: Plant Connection Inc.

16 Ways to Customize Your Deck

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If your deck is low enough not to require a railing, build a bench around the perimeter to provide seating and a sense of enclosure. You can even use leftover deck boards for the seat. | Photo: Mark Lohman

16 Ways to Customize Your Deck

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If a super-glam cabana isn't your style, go for this boho-chic canopy instead. Hang long lengths of silk over a clothesline strung between the house and a pole anchored in the backyard. Secure the sides to a fence or a roof overhang with sturdy spring clips. | Photo: Debi Treloar

Turn the Backyard Into Your Favorite Summer Destination

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A knock-out deck starts with great wood—in this case, clear redwood protected with a burgundy-tinted penetrating stain, @BEHR® Premium Semi-Transparent Weatherproofing Wood Stain.

16 Ways to Customize Your Deck

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Edge your garden boarder with rope lighting for dramatic evening display. It's inexpensive, waterproof-and can be set with a timer! | thisoldhouse.com

Putting mini-golf in my backyard Page 2 of 6

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Invented in 1952 when a metalworker cut a marine buoy in half, adding air vents and legs. Perfect for preparing a movable feast. @Weber Grills | Photo: Yunhee Kim

Household American Classics

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A popular gathering spot for locals to lunch and kids to play, historic Sevier Park is in the heart of the neighborhood and is host to the 12 South Farmers Market. | Photo: Caroline Allison

From Rundown to Down-Home in Nashville

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All-weather wicker gets a sophisticated update in black with cream-colored cushions. | @Wayfair.com

Create a Patriotic Porch

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A crane fly looks like a giant mosquito, but it's not nearly as pesky. Unlike bloodthirsty adult female mosquitoes, which are only too happy to feed on you, crane flies prefer to feed on decomposing organic matter. | Photo: Redmond Durrell/Alamy; John Abbott/Visuals Unlimited, Inc./Getty Images

Battle of The Look-Alike Bugs

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Keep a stylish beverage container stocked and at the ready so that you can invite friends to stop by and stay awhile. | @Wayfair.com | Photo: Wendell T. Webber

Create a Patriotic Porch

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While they both feed on flower nectar, only bees make honey. Aggression-prone wasps, including yellow jackets, will just leave you with a nasty sting. Look for fuzzy bodies on honeybees; yellow jackets have sharper stripes. Beware of nests in the ground or out in the open—they're likely wasps'. Honeybees prefer hollow spaces. | Photo: Don Farrall/Getty Images; YAY Media AS/Alamy

Battle of The Look-Alike Bugs

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Both ants and termites go through a winged phase in their life cycle, but you can spot the ants by their narrow waists, bent antennae, and noticeably shorter wings. It's not uncommon for carpenter ants to be found out in the open, especially after sunset; most termites avoid light and are rarely seen outside their colony. | Photo: iStockPhoto

Battle of The Look-Alike Bugs

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Transform a well-defined area close to the house by trading turf grass for a dry-laid brick patio or a patch of gravel with outdoor furniture. Just be sure to choose permeable paving that allows water to percolate through (not a broad expanse of concrete), so you don't create a parking lot–type yard where rain collects in puddles and storm drains instead of returning to the soil.

Lawn-Less Yard Solutions

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Pest control: Get the scoop on those winged stingers around your home—and learn how to get them to buzz off

How to Deal With Bees and Other Stinging Insects

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Loose gravel in shades of gray, white, and tan gives this raised patio a beachy feel to complement the relaxed look of the low-slung wood-sided cottage it sits behind.

Building Blocks for a Perfect Patio

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Get your game on this summer with our easy-to-follow instructions for this yard-size version of Shishkaball Ball-Drop. | Illustration: Douglas Adams

How to Build a Shishkaball Ball-Drop Game

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#tip Create zones on the grill: Form two temperature zones by moving all the hot coals to one side. The direct-heat area sears burgers perfectly, while the cooler zone gives you a place to let them "rest."

All About Built-in Barbecue Pits

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Building a simple barbecue pit is a relatively easy job and likely to cost less than a fancy new gas grill. With the right tools, materials, and a little skill, you can put together a basic brick barbecue in a weekend.

All About Built-in Barbecue Pits

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Take a few indoor comforts with you when you go outside this season. Create your own cool breeze with a porch ceiling fan. | Photo: Richard Felber (Styling by Michelle Lay)

Turn the Backyard Into Your Favorite Summer Destination

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Although you could spend tens of thousands of dollars for a custom outdoor kitchen, a basic island is an efficient design that leaves out the complexity of curves and angles while packing everything into one compact and handsome unit. | Photo: Wendell T. Webber

10 Smart Ideas for Outdoor Kitchens and Dining

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A hanging candle lantern adds ambience and brightens a dining table without the expense and hassle of a hardwired fixture. This Moroccan-style pendant also adds a touch of worldliness. Get the look here. | Photo: Tria Giovan

Outdoor Rooms as the Perfect Staycation Destinations

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A patio floor without rectilinear lines complements the organic shapes found in nature, for a relaxed, easygoing effect. | Photo: Wendell T. Webber

Outdoor Rooms as the Perfect Staycation Destinations

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