Summer, my outdoor living favorite five

Every spring I get all outdoor! I only have a small yard. A very small yard on a corner lot. There is a garden, a grill, and a table.So every year I have to take care with my additions. Actually, I want a full on smoke-house. Don’t you? But here, I will talk about the normal kind of thing we all want and needs in our outdoor living spaces. 



We all want cool and awesome things out there just like you do. I am going to leave the pizza ovens and outdoor beds to some other blog for now. I am thinking. something we can both afford and doesn’t cost and HGTV episode. So let’s get to my favorite ones. 

Wine Bottle Torches

There are a lot of other types of lights. Boy, do I know it. But I like these. I mean fire! Also, how many solar ones have failed on you? And fire! It never fails.

I made mine last summer and love them. Here are some plans, hey I used them! Pay attention to the 1/2” x 3/8” Copper Coupling, they were oddly hard to find for me. 

Wine Bottle Torch

Wine Bottle Torch

In Torch doing it's things

Torch doing it’s things

Yes, you can use vodka or whiskey bottles( the screw top doesn’t look as good). I made these last year and enjoyed them a lot. Take them in for the winter though. And I found adding the chain to the cap helped me not to lose them. As usual, I painted the supports.

I could always make you some. Unless you have more bottles than I do,

Bar/Wine/Beer Cooler

If you are going to enjoy the summer, you need a place to keep you drinkables. No one wants you and your buddies to be dragging yourself in and out of the kitchen

skull beer opener

My Skull bottle opener

while you enjoy friends and the grill. Plus, it’s a waste of drinking time.The solution is some sort of beer stand or bar or something. Permanent is great, portable is what I have and I know a lot of you will choose to. LINK  

Wine Barrel cooler

Wine Barrel cooler

Mine so far is a plastic bucket in a wine barrel which is actually a herb planter. The bucket holds a bottle of wine or about eight beers on ice. Enough while I am grilling.

Simple bucket holds a lot of beverages

Simple bucket holds a lot of beverages

Not enough if I have company maybe. I remade an awesome metal bar cart from a 50’s metal kitchen cabinet thing with some sturdy wheels and a wine rack. I just can’t use it in my yard, damn. Rain does nothing to this baby. It just looks up and says, “what are you trying to do, tickle me?”

Metal Top

Metal Top

Not a bad place to look for some cool ones is 26 Creative and Low Budget Outdoor Bar ideas. Thinking about a small fence mounted one this summer. Or maybe number 6. Send me pics of yours.

You need a Table

I don’t know about you, but when was the last time someone offered you two wine barrels free? Maybe you found them on the road. just waiting for you? Whatevs. So we can skip the wine barrel, antique barn boards table for your yard too. Unless you have awesome

Mine? Wrought iron with 3 chairs, I got if off Craigslist for $65. Took two trips in the Jeep. Saw a few over the winter at thrifts stores in the same range. So look, you can find one. Big Lots usually has something not terrible if you aren’t a maker. 

If you are making. The first one I ever made was with a pallet and 2 X 2’s. I even cut the wood wheels. To all pallet workers. A minimum of a good orbital sander with 80 grit. A belt sander would not be a bad thing if you are making a table top. It just saves time and curses of significant others. 

Lately, though, I want a Tire table. Like the one above but maybe 3 or 4 tires. No wine barrels needed. I see tires on the side of the road all the time. three or four and a plywood, pallet or door top? Go on send me a picture of yours. Paint the tires or something. It’ll last for years on your patio, deck or in the yard. Hmmm, next to the grill, ice bucket int he center?  Tires I can find in my area.


Herb garden

If you are like me and love cooking, you NEED a herb garden at a minimum in your yard. Doesn’t matter how terrible the yard is. It can be done. Herbs love bad dirt. Most don’t mind mistreatment. Basil excepted. Even if you rent, your outdoor living space needs to include plants, it can be done. They have pots for this. If you live on the third floor and have any outside place you can have one. Think dirt. I once had a whole garden on a second-floor balcony and got some awesome tomatoes. No excuses.


The pallet version is one I still want to do. Some awesome options here. Even if I don’t have a perfect place for it. If I put it on big industrial wheels it could be a cool fence like thing. Like this one.

Paint it!

Seriously!  Trust me. Put some color in your outdoor living spaces. It took a while, even for me. I am a redwood and gray guy from way back. But I have changed, seen the light, or is it color?


Whatever it is, whatever you might think… you can paint it! did you see the tires earlier? Even your ugly cheap plastic can be painted now. Think Rust-Oleum, it works. And no! Not white, not black, not beige! Ok, black maybe(Goths gotta Goth).  My current favorites are midcentury colors(aqua, and orange and lime). Color works!

New painted planter

Newly painted planter

You’d be surprised how much better it makes you feel to see it in the yard. And how much better everyone else loves it  I have had people stop and ask me about my wrought iron table and chairs.They were the “classic” forest green but no more. In fact, a local bar changed theirs after I did. I would go for a roller with wrought iron. Spray for a lot of things, but if you use cans, do it outside and take breaks.

Tiki Candle

We all need a TIKI



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