The richness I achieve comes from nature, the source of my inspiration. -Claude Monet
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A Message from Chad and Jeff…

Outdoor Living Spaces with Fire Pits

Mild days and long cool nights make fall arguably the most pleasant time of the year. The addition of a fire pit can transform your backyard into an attractive gathering space where you can truly enjoy these amazing months. Since the dawn of man, people have enjoyed fire for both comfort and community. So don’t be surprised if your new fire pit ends up drawing a crowd!

As you consider the specifics of your fire pit area, there are a few things to keep in mind. Do you want to develop a permanent space, or do you prefer a temporary setup? Portable, and relatively inexpensive metal fire pits can be placed on an existing patio quite easily. All you need to do is add a few chairs and you are ready to entertain.

For a more established space, a large fire pit made of rock or bricks can be constructed in a current gathering space, or you can develop an entirely new space in an unused part of your yard. Wherever you place it, safety should be the first concern. Make sure that there is ample room for people to sit and that the pit is a safe distance from your landscaping as well as your house itself.

Once you have a space picked out, you have free reign to develop the area to your liking. In addition to the type and size of fire pit, there are also many seating options ranging from wicker chairs to stone benches. Flower pots, small tables, and other elements help develop the space even further. Fire pits are a great focal point and can turn underused outdoor space into a warm and inviting living area. Don’t let a chill in the air drive you inside. Enjoy these months with outdoor fires that your entire neighborhood will appreciate.

Dealing with Deer

Deer are beautiful creatures. A family of deer prancing across your yard is an event worthy of gathering the kids for an encounter with nature. While there may be a sense of wonder attached to the fact that such large animals live so close to humans – this situation does not bode well for your landscaping. A century of suburbanization has rid deer of most natural predators causing their populations to soar. Suburbanization has also provided deer with a convenient food source – pretty much anything you are trying to grow in your yard!

Limiting plant loss from deer is a challenging proposition. Once upon a time, bags of human hair hung from trees drove them off. This was in a bygone era when deer feared humans. These days, fragrant soaps hung in mesh bags can help ward off the deer. Commercial repellants also exist, but be sure to research which one is best for you. Some repellants can damage food plants, and most will need to be re-applied after heavy watering or heavy rain.

Some plants such as black-eyed Susans, daffodils, and lavender are unattractive to deer and can be planted throughout your yard. Unfortunately, the most effective way to secure your plants against deer damage is a physical boundary of some kind. Netting or chicken wire around (and on top of) your garden plants will often do the trick. Fences around your yard will also help (although deer are VERY good jumpers). These barriers may be unsightly, but often they are the only solution to a serious deer problem. The best way to gauge your situation is to try several solutions to see what will work. Not all deer are repelled by the same things, and some populations
are more tame than others. Trial and error is your best bet in keeping your plants from becoming a deer buffet.