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  • danielle dein

    from This Old House I'd like more slate blue / sweatshirt gray paint, but I like the lush garden and the outdoor living room.

  • Katie Nunn

    back porch. Totally digging the painted ceiling!

  • -

    Front porch -- what color would we paint our porch ceiling?

  • Kim Morgan

    back porch - love the blue ceiling

  • June Johnsson

    porch furniture

  • Amanda Henninger

    Color porch ceiling Back porch love. | Photo: Richard Felber (Styling by Michelle Lay) | thisoldhouse.com

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A little summer humor from the newest TOH Toon!

Concentrated streams of water gushing from one level to the next into open pools make a forceful sound, like that of a pot filler—distracting for some, meditative for others. Leapfrogging basin-to-basin leaves the water vulnerable to wind gusts, so maintaining the level can be a bit of a chore.

Check out this nifty grill that can serve as a fire pit and table, too, from JagGrill.com

Show everyone who the master of the grill is with these clever tricks--from brick-flattened chicken to the paper-egg-carton firestarter technique.

How would you like to cool off in your own personal dumpster pool? This one's by artist Louisa Dawson.

This classic Americana-style picnic table, with its X-shaped legs and separate benches, is roomy enough for six adults. It's rated Easy as a DIY project and should cost you about $250 for the cedar and take about two days to build with our instructions.

Garden arbor made of rough-hewn logs via EmpressofDirt.net.

Use colored glass to get your fire pit glowing: Put lava rock on the embers, then a mesh screen, and top with colorful fire glass from The Custom Fire Place (thecustomfireplac...) for a glittery flame with some extra special sparkle.

Have more fun around the campfire with these handy hacks.

Building this lovely Water Wall Fountain isn't a job for novice DIYers. But if you can handle a table saw, the instructions from The Interior Frugalista should be easy enough to follow. And how great is this?

As an alternative to a freestanding pergola, this slatted ceiling covers an open deck, using mature, sturdy tree trunks as supports.

Fire-pit trick for your next backyard party: Stop mosquitoes from annoying you by throwing a couple sage sticks into the flames. You'll like the scent, but the mosquitoes will bug out.

This nylon parachute silk blanket has corner pockets that you can stake down or fill with sand or rocks to keep the blanket from flying away.Grand Trunk Parasheet (about $40 at L.L. Bean).

Planning a cookout? Turn off the sprinklers. Avoid a soggy lawn by tapering off watering two to three days before hosting a backyard party.

The ThermaCELL Mosquito Repellent Patio Lantern (about $20 at The Home Depot) keeps mosquitoes, no-see-ums and black flies away within a 225-square-foot area. The lantern runs on batteries, so there's no worry about having to plug them in.

Perfect for outdoor entertaining or a day at the beach, the 72-ounce AUTOSEAL Pitcher Set (about $30 at Contigo) automatically seals itself after you use it, so even if it falls over, it won't spill—and also keeps bugs out. The BPA-free pitcher also comes with an ice core and an infuser stick.

Fix it now: Pay particular attention to branches hanging near the grill station—they could pose a hazard if the flame erupts.

This sunny yellow lantern will light up your summer nights and maybe attract a few fireflies. It's 10 inches tall and comes in a variety of colors. | Hurricane lantern by Sunnylife | sunnylife.com

By working with the landscape rather than fighting it with an earthmover, you can turn a flaw into a design element. Here, a steep rise presented an opportunity for an intimate patio buttressed by a multilevel sitting wall. Click here to watch a video on how to build your own round patio ringed by a sitting wall.

Jenna of Jenna Sue Design built this rolling bar cart with a removable tray using Ana White plans. Nice!

An outdoor rug can cover a worn or unremarkable surface while also adding warmth, color, and an indoor touch. This rug echoes the vibrant hues of the annual blooms nearby. Similar to shown: Koko Company Melange 6-by-8-foot Indoor/Outdoor Floor Mat in Tutti Frutti Red Mix, about $100; Hayneedle.com

There's no reason you can't relive the kiddie pool parties of your youth! Set up a bounce house, some large kiddie pools, a ball pit, and an ice cream station, and get ready for fun.

Strands of bulbs powered by the sun are an easy way to light up a far-flung garden room. A solar panel staked in the ground harvests enough energy for 6 to 8 hours of illumination. Add a candle chandelier to enhance the mood. Solar String Lights with 200 bulbs, about $40; Plow and Hearth. Wrought Iron 6 Arm Candle Chandelier with Bird Cage, about $40; Amazon.com

A 12-foot-long outdoor kitchen handcrafted of construction-grade Douglas Fir is just one of many fabulous features in this fabulous garden retreat. Take the tour at thehorticult.com and you won't be disappointed!

How to turn your yard into a firefly haven and recapture your childhood excitement of seeing these treasured insects light up the night sky.