7 Easy Ways to Get More From Your Patio This Fall

Summer may be over, but fall is the perfect time to take advantage of everything your patio has to offer. It is the time of year that the leaves begin to turn beautiful shades of red, orange, and yellow. The sweltering summer days begin to wane and shift to a more comfortable, brisk environment. It is the time for football barbecues and perfect mornings to sit outside with a cup of coffee.

Most people set up their patio and never change it but it is one of the most versatile and enjoyable spaces your home has to offer. This is especially true if you plan on entertaining guests outdoors. The key is knowing the easiest ways to get more from your patio with very little effort. Here’s our favorite ways you can improve your patio, so you can enjoy it throughout fall.

1. Choose Versatile Seating Options

One of the simplest ways to give your patio a new, comfortable look is to choose versatile seating options. It doesn’t matter if you prefer metal furniture outdoors or more traditional wood or wicker seating, the key is versatility. While it is nice to have one or two chairs for a more intimate or casual setting, seating is typically the one limitation that prevents people from hosting larger get-togethers outdoors.

Adding one or two long benches is a simple solution. You can add seat cushions or outdoor pillows to turn a simple wooden bench into a more comfortable yet versatile seating solution. The best part is benches are easy to move so it can be pushed aside when it’s not needed.

2. Entertain with an Outdoor Television

Outdoor Television

Just because it’s football season doesn’t mean you need to spend your weekends indoors on the couch. Television technology is evolving at a rapid pace. There are now televisions which are specifically designed to be used and stored in an outdoor environment. They have screen coatings which prevent glare from becoming a problem. Some outdoor televisions can even connect directly to your Wi-Fi network so you wouldn’t have to worry about installing a cable outlet.

Just like when you choose a television for your living room, outdoor televisions come with a large assortment of accessories you can buy to make your experience even better. Before you rush out to buy a TV for your patio, it’s important to consider how much space is available and where you plan to install/watch it.

3. Outdoor Beverage Refrigerator

Patio Outdoor Refrigerator

Nothing is worse than constantly running inside to get food and beverages for friends and family when you’re trying to spend time together outdoors. Not only is it inconvenient, but it also lets all your A/C out of the house. The simple solution is to have an outdoor beverage refrigerator available for your guests. The benefit of an outdoor only beverage station is that you can choose from a wide variety of sizes, so it fit your needs and available space.

A portable beverage refrigerator, or even a kegerator, is not only a great way to provide your guests with easy access to food and drinks, they’re also portable and easy to move around. During the winter, if you’re not spending much time on your patio, you can move it in and use in other areas of the house.

4. Portable Ice Maker

Portable Ice Maker

If your beverage refrigerator doesn’t have a built-in ice maker, it would be wise to have a portable ice maker readily available for your guests. Instead of running in and out of the house to get ice, you’ll be providing them the convenience of ice right there.

It’s never been easier to find an inexpensive, yet dependable ice maker that’s designed to stand the elements outside. From the spring sun to the summer heat, a quality ice maker should be durable enough to leave outdoors nearly year-round.

5. Stay Warm With An Outdoor Heater

Patio Heater

As fall begins to turn towards winter the evenings will start to get cold quickly. Depending on where you live, that cold may already be nipping at you. Instead of moving the party indoors try using an outdoor heater. From table top to wall-mounted, there are a number of different heating options you can choose from. Take a look at your options, analyze your space and determine which type of heater will be the best for your patio.

One of the most popular outdoor heating options is a fire pit. This allows you to sit back and enjoy the crackle of an open flame and keep warm at the same time. Instead of building a permanent fire pit, most people prefer the portable version so they can move it out of the way when the weather warms up again. Another option is the more traditional outdoor heaters which can be either propane or electric. With a simple flip of the switch, these heaters are the perfect solution when you don’t want to build and maintain a fire but still want to stay warm.

6. Plant a Garden

Patio Garden Container

An overlooked accent that makes every patio more appealing is the ambiance of a garden. Whether you’re growing flowers or vegetables, having a garden out there is a guaranteed way to make your patio look better. You don’t need a large plot, just a small, low-maintenance garden will do wonders for the look and feel of your patio.

There’s a large variety of gardening equipment and supplies that can help you accomplish this, but all you really need to get started is a few containers, a bag of soil and seeds. It’s easy to swap out your plants depending on the season. This helps ensure that your shrubbery, flowers and vegetables are always lush and green all year-round. Just be sure to cover your plants or move them inside before the deep freezes set in.

7. Cover Your Patio with a Canopy

A simple yet effective way to help maintain your optimal temperature on your patio is by covering it. If you have an open patio the popular option is to use a stylish canvas, canopy or other temporary enclosure, as this allows you to quickly put it up and take it down. Installing a canopy can help keep the elements out, and your heat in. Depending on your patio, you may be better suited with a more enclosed or permanent solution. Be sure to weight your options before buying the first canopy or canvas you find.

Improve Your Patio For Fall

Just because the temperature is changing doesn’t mean you need to retreat indoors quite yet. Summer may be gone, but the beautiful season that is fall is just beginning. By adding a few key accessories and making a couple of improvements to your patio, it will be easy to enjoy everything the outdoors has to offer, even into the early winter months.

Surely, we missed a few ways that you can improve your patio for fall. What would you add to this list? We’d love to hear your tips and suggestions in the comments below.

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Tailgating 101: The Best Travel Coolers for Tailgate Parties

Travel Cooler

Finally! The start of the 2013/2014 NFL season is upon us. It’s been exactly 6 months and 3 days — or 194 days to be exact — since the Superbowl ended. If you’re like us here in the CompactAppliance office, you’ve got your pick’em leagues already set up, your fantasy football draft night scheduled and you’re now counting down the days for kick off. But, don’t forget to get your essential tailgate supplies in order, before the season officially starts.

Most people think that tailgating involves a lot of time and effort, and at the end of the day, it does take a lot of planning. But it’s much easier to plan out the perfect tailgate party when you have the right supplies ready to go. No matter how extravagant your tailgate party is, one of the most important accessories you need is a durable cooler to keep your tasty beverages cold.

Choosing the Right Cooler For Your Tailgate Party

Without a cooler, it’s a little difficult to keep your food and drinks cold, and what is a tailgate without hamburgers, hot dogs and ice-cold beverages? Travel coolers are an ideal choice for tailgating because they are easy to transport and come in a wide variety of different shapes and sizes. There is a cooler for every situation, guaranteeing that your tailgating needs are met.


There are a couple of types of coolers you can choose from. Each type has their own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Chest Coolers:
A portable chest cooler, for example, is probably your go-to cooler. Chest coolers are your basic cheap insulated plastic boxes that keep your drinks and food cool. You probably know them as the bright blue or red box, with a white top. They’re light and easy to carry around. Some of them have wheels and a handle on them to make it easier for you to transport. Once you add loads of ice, they do a pretty good job at keeping your contents cool… at least until the ice melts. This is one of the main disadvantages of a chest cooler. It only works for a short period of time. On top of that, you still have to deal with trying to find the right drink buried under all the ice.
12 Volt Travel Coolers:
Portable 12 volt travel coolers, on the other hand, work on the same principles as the chest coolers, but they are more reliable, less messy and have many desired features available. The most important difference between a chest cooler and a 12-volt travel cooler is that you can control the temperature. If you want to bring along frozen foods, you can do that without worrying about them defrosting or going bad. Or, if you just want to keep your food and drinks cold, you can do that as well. Because there’s no melting ice, there’s less clean-up involved and it’s much easier to find the drink you want. You can plug them into an wall outlet or a lighter outlet in your car. This is the perfect type of cooler for tailgating, as well as camping, boating, picnics and all other outdoor activities.


No matter what you’ve heard, size does matter. Choose the best travel cooler for tailgating based on the amount of people at your event, as well as the amount of food and beverages you need to entertain your guests. When it comes to the size of a cooler, you have plenty of options. Travel coolers can range in size from 18-quarts to over 100-quarts.

A 40-quart cooler has enough space to store approximately 50 cans of beer or soda. Generally, this is an ideal size cooler for smaller tailgate parties. If you plan to have a larger tailgate, you will obviously want to choose a travel cooler with a larger storage capacity. We would recommend a 100-quart cooler, or larger, to ensure you have enough room to store both food and beverages.


In addition to size, travel coolers are made from different materials, including fiberglass and plastic. Both of these materials are a good choice. They’re both lightweight and rust-resistant. Unpleasant odors don’t linger in either type. They’re also both easy to clean and easy to carry. Both types of materials are great choices for tailgating purposes, because they have superior insulation and store ice for an extended period of time.

Warming Coolers

This may seem odd at first, but there are coolers out there that can help keep your food warm. Working on the same principles for keeping your food cold, these coolers utilize the insulation to help keep your food warm. Depending on your tailgate setup, there are coolers that are flexible enough to allow you to choose between cooling or heating its contents.

When choosing the best travel cooler for tailgating, it’s important to consider the amount of room you need for storage and the temperature at which your items need to be stored. This information helps you determine the right size and type of cooler is best for your tailgate party. Regardless of whether you actually use it for tailgating or not, a durable travel cooler is just one of those items that everyone should own.

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4 Key Appliances for Outdoor Entertaining

When it comes to outdoor entertaining, the key to a successful party is creating an oasis for you and your guests. Understanding the important elements that will complete your event is crucial. If you plan to entertain outdoors in the summer, it means lots of heat. To ensure your guests do not become overcome by the intense heat that may be present, it would be wise to have a couple of cooling appliances readily available.

From cold drinks to a refreshing environment, your outdoor party will be successful when you implement the following elements. Each one holds equal importance in creating the perfect outdoor entertaining area. These four appliances ensure that you can refresh your guests’ drinks and provide comfort for everyone who attends your get-together.

1. Ice Maker

Portable Ice Maker

Ditch the trays, and keep your guests cool with ice on the go. There are many types of ice makers, but if you’re throwing an outdoor party, we would recommend going with a portable ice maker. You can bring it outside and put it just about anywhere. A portable ice maker gives your guests the convenience of getting quick ice, without having to go in and out of your house all day long. This will save them the hassle, and save you on your energy bills.

Portable ice makers will produce ice in as little as ten minutes, and produce 33 pounds of ice daily, or roughly the equivalent of three bags of ice.

2. Outdoor Beverage Refrigerators

Outdoor Refrigerator

It doesn’t matter what your guests are drinking, it’s a fact that everybody loves a cold drink on a hot day. Conveniently placed on your patio or deck, an outdoor refrigerator provides your party guests with easy access to the coldest beverages they crave.

Designed to thrive in unfavorable weather conditions, outdoor refrigerators are durable enough for year-round exterior use. Before you buy an outdoor refrigerator make sure it allows for various shelving configurations so you can fit a wide variety of shapes and sizes, as well as gives you multiple temperature options. For optimal convenience, place your refrigerator next to your ice maker and your guest can have an all-in-one beverage station and not even leave the party!

3. Kegerator

Mini Kegerator

Instead of having an unsightly keg sitting around, utilize the latest in beer-cooling technology with a kegerator. These devices can keep your beer at brewery-recommended conditions, allowing you to enjoy one keg for several months. This is another convenient way to cool your guests down while entertaining outdoors, without requiring everybody to go inside.

For small parties, a mini-kegerator may suffice. They are easy to move around and hold just enough beer for a small get together. However, for large parties or beer enthusiasts, we would recommend a dual or triple-tap kegerator. This gives your guests the option to choose between multiple types of beer. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love the opportunity to taste multiple types of beer.

4. Air Fans

Air Fans

When it’s really hot outside, a nice breeze can help cool your guests down. When a natural breeze isn’t an option, we would recommend adding a portable fan to the mix. This is a easy and cheap way to provide your guests with a quick reprieve from the heat.

When the heat is really bad, a misting fan is guaranteed to provide some prompt relief. These fans work by expelling a delicate mist into the air, which cools the air flow coming from the fan.

More Outdoor Entertaining Ideas:

If you have the four elements above, then your outdoor party is just about guaranteed to be a success. But, if you really want to impress your guests, you should consider adding a couple more items to the party.

When it comes to outdoor entertaining, success is definitely in the details. Having cold drinks and a comfortable and relaxing place to sit are factors that will help to complete the space and allow your guests to enjoy the party or event in comfort. Remember, you can entertain at any time of year when you use the suggestions listed here, since even in the hottest conditions these drink-cooling gadgets will provide refreshing beverages.

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Make Preparing for a 4th of July BBQ Easy By Following 6 Simple Tips

burgersonthegrillPreparing for any large gathering can be difficult, but launching a 4th of July party can seem impossible.  Fortunately, there are a variety of simple things you can do to make sure your party goes off without a hitch.  The key is staying organized and effectively communicating with everyone involved.  This is closer look at the simple things you can do to make your 4th of July BBQ unforgettable.

1. Start Planning Early

The only way to host a great 4th of July BBQ is getting started early.  You have to take care of food, decorations, activities, and more.  To effectively manage all of this you are going to need some help.  It could be a few family members or reliable friends.  The key isn’t to get a lot of people involved, but rather finding a few reliable people who are willing to carry their weight.

2. Set the Mood

It’s the 4th July, so act like it.  Take advantage of colorful invitations and decorations that reflect the spirit embodied by a truly great 4th of July BBQ.  This is the easiest way to separate your unique 4th of July BBQ from all of the other BBQ’s you will be a part of this year.

3. Know Your Guests

Depending on who is attending your 4th of July BBQ, your responsibilities and the tone of the party can vary greatly.  If you are hosting a family-oriented BBQ, then make sure you have some activities to keep the kids occupied and entertained.  If your BBQ is primarily adults, then roll out the kegerator and plan more adult-oriented activities.

4. Timing

Unless you are planning on hosting a fireworks display at the end of the BBQ, try to hold it in the afternoon.  This gives your guests enough time to relax and enjoy the party without worry about their obligations later in the evening.  Plus, it gives you time to clean up afterwards and still attend a fireworks display so that you can relax at the end of the day.

5.  A BBQ is More Than BBQ

A great 4th of July BBQ can be as much about the sides and desserts as it is about the BBQ.  Embrace traditional BBQ sides like potato salad, pasta salad, and baked beans – even if you put your own twist on them.  Since most of the food is probably going to be hot, try to include a few cold desserts to help people cool down.  Homemade ice cream is a great solution that is easy to manage.  Plus, you can make ice cream on demand, which ensures you aren’t stuck with a bunch of leftovers.

6. The BBQ Is Still a Focal Point

While the side dishes and desserts are important, it is important you don’t undervalue the BBQ.  Even if you are primarily serving traditional staples like hamburgers and hot dogs you should also include a few unique BBQ items as well.  This is an easy way to make your party more memorable.

With a few reliable friends or family members creating a memorable 4th of July BBQ is easy.  The key is to plan ahead and embrace traditional 4th of July fare while adding your own unique twist.

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