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Best in Backyards Blog

A consumer’s guide to backyard products including Swing Sets, Storage Sheds, Outdoor Rooms, Trampolines, Basketball Systems and much more. Check out our blog for advice and expert opinions to help you create your perfect dream backyard!

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An outdoor kitchen island adds beauty and elegance to your backyard, while giving you additional space for family and friends to gather. It even adds to the value of your property. Given the investment you're making when you purchase an outdoor kitchen, whether it is pre-built or custom-made, it pays to keep the unit in good shape by properly maintaining it.   We recommend treating your outdoor kitchen island like the additional room it is, even if it is an outdoor space rather than one that exists inside your home. That means regular care and cleaning. Here are some tips to get you started:   ·      Clean the inside of grill after each use. After you've finished preparing the meal, take advantage of the remaining heat! Put brush to grill and scrape away any food that was left during the cooking process. This may seem like an extra chore but...
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While there's lots to be said for being a DIYer who spearheads projects around the house, the benefits of having a professional take care of your home improvement needs is not to be underestimated. When it comes to big changes and backyard designs -- such as building a structure for an outdoor room, installing a trampoline, building a large backyard swing set, etc. -- we always recommend relying on our team of professionals for delivery and installation. Here's why:   Safety is the top priority -- When you're investing a significant amount of money for something the whole family will enjoy, the safety of the product is typically assumed. But that safety is only guaranteed if the item is installed properly. So we advise you leave the installation to the experts, especially if the item is for children (a trampoline, a wooden playset or a basketball hoop system).     The project...
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July 4th is less than a week away, but there's still time to plan a great gathering for your family and friends. We're here to help you get a head start on the menu with eight foods you can easily whip up on the barbecue!   1. Burgers, Hot Dogs and Chicken -- This one is a no-brainer! Nothing says Fourth of July quite like a traditional BBQ with hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken. You can save time by prepping these items beforehand (season the ground beef and mold into patties; make slices or spiral cuts in the hot dogs; let the chicken marinate so the finished product is moist and not dry; etc.) and throwing them on once your guests start to arrive.   2. Pizza -- If you thought pizza was something reserved for take-out, think again! All you need for a delicious pie is dough (you can pick...
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Joe Saccente of Shrub Oak, New York is headed to The World Food Championships after winning the second annual New York Bull Burger Battle at Best in Backyards in Mahopac, New York on June 6, 2015.  Saccente, a returning competitor who came in last place at the first annual Best in Backyards New York Bull Burger Battle, went with a simple burger this year. He called it "The All American Cheeseburger." It incorporated ground beef (80/20), garlic, onion, salt, pepper, tomato, lettuce and American cheese on a seeded potato roll.  A father of two and an iron worker, Saccente was ecstatic to hear the news.  "I can't believe I won," he said, adding that he thought the burger would place somewhere "middle of the road."  With the first-place title comes a Bull Lonestar Grill Cart, valued at $2,300, and a trip for two to Kissimmee, Florida to compete on Team Bull...
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Best in Backyards is excited to reveal a top-notch list of competitors for this year's Northeast Bull Burger Battle, which is taking place on Saturday, June 6, at the Mahopac, New York superstore.   Fourteen grill masters will fire up their BBQs in the hopes of creating the winning burger and earning a spot at the World Food Championships (WFC). They are:   -Craig Bellomo of Wake-n-Bacon Team BBQ (Floral Park, NY) -Tim Bucolo of Crafty 'Cue BBQ (Mount Kisco, NY) -Dave Conti of Red Planet BBQ (Seymour, CT) -Skip Day of Swamp Pit BBQ (Wantagh, NY) -Robert Erickson of Booby-Q (Sicklerville, NJ) -Greg Friedman of Sloppy Seconds Dry Aged Burgers (Mount Kisco, NY) -Dan Herman of Dan's TBD BBQ (Bellmore, NY) -Christopher Holihan of Holihan's Beer Me BBQ (Bellmore, NY) -Rocky Julianelle of Big Rock BBQ (east Haven't, CT) -Joseph Maino of TailgateJoe.com (Staten Island, NY) -Dana Reed of Three...
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     Is there anything more enjoyable than lounging poolside in your backyard on a lazy summer day, watching the kids play and taking in some rays? If this sounds familiar, you know that the only downside to spending so much time outside is having to run back indoors! Whether it's for lunch or just something you've forgotten (sunscreen, that magazine, your cell phone, etc.), these little trips back in the house definitely disrupt the peaceful day you and the family are having. And, if you have little ones, going back into the house means taking the kids -- dripping and all -- along.       A great solution that will allow you to spend even more time outdoors is a pool house. Pool houses are no longer just for the rich and famous! They come in all different shapes, sizes and styles, with different price points, so you have a...
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Note: Blog post updated May 22, 2015.   The Bull Burger Battle is returning to Best in Backyards in Mahopac, New York on June 6, 2015, for the second consecutive year.    The stakes are just as high as they were in 2014, with two amazing grand prizes: a brand new Bull Steer Grill Cart, valued at $1,699, and a trip for two to Kissimmee, FL, where the winner will compete in the World Food Championships (WFC).    Like last year's event, Best in Backyards is expecting about a dozen competitors. These grill masters will fire up their barbecues and create their very best burger before time is up. From there a panel of judges will sample each of the burgers and rate them for appearance, execution and taste.    Last year Skip Day and his daughter Lizzie of Long Island-based Team Swamp Pit BBQ took the title of champion, thanks...
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     Have you and your spouse spent time, money and effort creating your dream backyard, complete with an outdoor kitchen island, elegant pergola, custom deck, gorgeous garden and fountain, or other features that make it your very own paradise? If kids have entered the picture, maybe it's time to make your backyard a bit more child-friendly. This can be accomplished quite easily, without sacrificing the outdoor living space you've reserved for the adults. Here are five of our favorite ideas for play areas:   •Swing Sets: Backyard play structures are one of the most popular and well-established products when it comes to kids and outdoor activities. Whether you're looking for a simple slide and swings combination, or something more elaborate with towers, a rock-climbing wall, a tire swing and/or a tree house, we recommend going with a wooden cedar swing set. These playsets are typically the safest, strongest and highest...
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Posted by on in News & Events
            Spring is here, and summer is just around the corner, so right now is the perfect time to spruce up your yard. We find that neatening the outside area around your home, and possibly taking on a few updates, is a must at the start of each season. This is especially true if you are planning to host some sort of party later in the season (think graduation, Fourth of July, fifth birthday, etc.), or if you're simply looking to spend more time enjoying your home as the warm weather sets in. Getting into the habit of keeping your property pristine will also help down the road if you put your home on the market.             Whether you're looking to spend a minimal amount of money or are considering a larger investment, there are plenty of ways to give your yard a makeover. Here are a...
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Best in Backyards is excited to announce the winner of its second annual "Win a Dream Swing Set" giveaway with 100.7 WHUD is Karen Courniotes, of Mamaroneck, New York.   Karen and her husband Harry had just started browsing for a swing set, and had actually visited the Best in Backyards website recently. They have a daughter Riley, who is a year-and-a-half.   "She doesn't quite understand what's happening, but when I told her we're getting a swing set this morning she was pretty happy," Karen said.   The news came as a complete shock to Karen, whose family members entered her in the contest. She was so surprised, she actually thought the call -- which came just as she was sipping her morning coffee -- was a prank.   "Quite honestly, at first, I thought it was a gimmick!" she told Best in Backyards. "My mom had signed me up...
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If you are thinking about creating an outdoor room or outdoor space in your backyard or adding a shade solution to your house, you may be considering an awning. An awning makes a beautiful addition to any home. Before you invest in one, it's a good idea to become familiar with the different options available--from material and aesthetics to size and price.   Let's start with the basics. An awning uses a metal frame to extend a piece of fabric and create a shaded area. The awning frame should be strong and sturdy, with a beefy look. The frame works with either a wall mount, a roof mount or a soffit mount, depending on whether your home is vinyl/brick/concrete; a condo or single story; or an older home with an eave. A good awning can reduce the temperature on your deck or patio by about 20-percent. And don't forget about the...
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Posted by on in Sheds
When it comes to purchasing a storage shed for your home, there's a lot to consider. From size and price (think anywhere from $300 to several thousand) to material and style, a shed is an investment that you will have for the long term. We recommend taking your time and doing some research so you can make an educated decision. Be sure to also keep in mind the location, appearance and the purpose (housing the lawnmower and snow blower, holding garden tools, storing pool equipment, etc.) you want your shed to serve. "Wooden, plastic or metal?" is one of the most common questions we see from customers looking to add some backyard storage space. Here is a breakdown of the pros and cons associated with each material. Wooden Many people find wooden storage sheds to be the most aesthetically pleasing, versatile and customizable, especially if they want to match their home. The pricing...
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The Best in Backyards showroom in Mahopac, New York is undergoing a series of renovations and rearrangements in preparation for the 2015 season.   A large wooden gazebo, which acted as an office and sat adjacent to a wall, was once the main focus of the store. That gazebo and the wall have been removed to allow for a completely open floor plan. The office area has been shifted so that it is now surrounded by outdoor kitchen islands, BBQ grills and related components from Bull Outdoor Products. It is taking the place of a display of swing set accessories (which are still available for purchase at the store).         Other changes include the construction of a sliding wall at the rear of the store for employee access to storage, and the expansion of the rubber mulch area where wooden swing sets from Eastern Jungle Gym are displayed....
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Just because it's wintertime doesn't mean you and the family have to put the BBQ grill to rest. Whether you live in the Northeast or the South, a change in seasons simply means a bit more preparation before you head out to the grill to whip up your favorite meal.   First and foremost, we recommend sticking with a simple recipe that won't require too much trial and error. Experimenting on the BBQ is a fun activity for anyone who loves to cook, but we think it's best reserved for warmer weather.   We recommend positioning the BBQ within 10 or 15 feet of your home to avoid a long walk from the house to the grill in cold weather. If you are working with an outdoor kitchen you most likely already have a setup that is designed for year-round use.   Before you head outdoors make sure you have all...
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For Skip Day, a trip to Las Vegas to participate in the burger portion of the World Food Championships (WFC) meant even more than cooking alongside some of the country's best chefs. It meant new friendships; a road trip with gorgeous sites; and great family memories that will last for years to come.   Skip--who won the Best in Backyards Bull Burger Battle on May 31, 2014 in Mahopac, New York--competed in the November WFC with Lizzie, his 13-year-old sidekick daughter. The pair, known as Swamp Pit BBQ, came in 35th out of 47 competitors.   "I was extremely excited," Skip said.    In Vegas the duo whipped up the same Infamous Skippy Burger--a patty melt on Rye bread, topped with two cheeses, sautéed onions and shallots--they crafted at Best in Backyards. There they competed against 12 other teams as friends and family members enjoyed live radio entertainment and face painting....
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Halloween is just ten days away, and that means lots of excitement from the kids! Maybe you love this season too, and delve right into all things pumpkin spice, decorate the house with black and orange, and even put together a couple of fantastic costumes for the youngsters. But why not take it one step further and really make the most of this time of year?   If you are the type of homeowner who has made the most of his or her backyard for fun get-togethers with family and friends in the summer, you can use the same space for a great autumn celebration. Take a quick trip to the craft store and find a few decorations that will work on your pergola to brighten up your outdoor room. Do the same with the swing set (we have seen folks dress up a playset in bright colored lights) and maybe...
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Even though the end of summer means no more warm weather, and less free time for families, this time of year does have its perks. No, we're not talking about all things pumpkin spice or the chance to go apple picking. We're talking about big seasonal clearance sales!   After Labor Day is usually the time for companies to sell off their displays and their excess inventory, especially in the Northeast where winter and snow come quickly. Retailers are looking to make way for their new inventory for the coming year so they run huge sales--sometimes their biggest of the year--that can save customers between 10 and 40-percent on products that have been used for one season and are less than a year old. Any wear and tear on the product will usually be minimal, so don't let that hold you back from making a purchase (remember, even brand new items...
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Coming up with your own outdoor room design is a fun, exciting process that requires you to think about everything from space availability to furniture and decorations. But one of the first things you should consider is the type of shade solution you will use to create this additional living area, whether it's an outdoor living room or a more casual gathering space. From pergolas and pavilions to gazebos to retractable awnings, there are plenty of options for outdoor or patio room creations--each with pros and cons to weigh.   A pergola is a gorgeous option that allows sunlight to shine through parallel, intersecting rafters and headers, which are typically made of wood or vinyl. Supported by four columns or posts, these structures have either a flat or arched top. They are available at department stores for as little as a couple of hundred dollars, but usually this price point indicates...
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Have you ever thought about dry aging beef at home? If you love a tender, flavorful steak--and would rather whip one up on your own BBQ grill than have it prepared at an expensive restaurant--dry aging is definitely something you will want to incorporate into your repertoire of cooking techniques.    Here are some tips and steps to dry aging at home:   - Be sure to purchase a thick piece of meat, ideally, one that is Choice or Prime. Some experts recommend dry aging only large cuts (such as a ribeye roast, a New York Strip loin or a section of ribs), with the fat cap still intact. These can be sliced into separate portions later. The main reason for this is because the dry aging process calls for the outer layers of the steak to be trimmed off prior to cooking. The amount of meat that gets trimmed off...
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From fuel types and ignition quality, to material and maintenance, to BTUs and beyond, there are lots of things--big and small--to consider when you are buying a gas grill, charcoal grill or wood-pellet grill. Whether you are an old pro at barbecuing and looking for a replacement grill, or you are in the market for your first, it is wise to mull over your options and do your research before making a purchase. After all, this item will be the source of many family meals (and memories!) for years to come, so you want to find the best BBQ grill out there that fits your needs and your budget!   Let's start with the basics. First and foremost, where will you be placing your grill? The answer should be somewhere that is safe and convenient. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests at least 10 feet of space between the grill and your...
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  • How to Properly Care for Your Outdoor Kitchen

    An outdoor kitchen island adds beauty and elegance to your backyard, while giving you additional space for family and friends to gather. It even adds to the value of your property. Given the investmen ...

    Rate this blog entry:
    by Ashley Tarr
    Friday, 14 August 2015
  • Backyard Designs: Leave It to the Professionals!

    While there's lots to be said for being a DIYer who spearheads projects around the house, the benefits of having a professional take care of your home improvement needs is not to be underestimated. Wh ...

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    by Ashley Tarr
    Saturday, 18 July 2015
  • 8 Foods to Cook on Your BBQ Grill This Fourth of July

    July 4th is less than a week away, but there's still time to plan a great gathering for your family and friends. We're here to help you get a head start on the menu with eight foods you can easily whi ...

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    by Ashley Tarr
    Friday, 26 June 2015
  • Best in Backyards Congratulates Winner of Second Annual New York Bull Burger Battle

    Joe Saccente of Shrub Oak, New York is headed to The World Food Championships after winning the second annual New York Bull Burger Battle at Best in Backyards in Mahopac, New York on June 6, 2015.&nbs ...

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    by Ashley Tarr
    Tuesday, 09 June 2015
  • Best in Backyards Announces Bull Burger Battle Competitors

    Best in Backyards is excited to reveal a top-notch list of competitors for this year's Northeast Bull Burger Battle, which is taking place on Saturday, June 6, at the Mahopac, New York superstore. &n ...

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    by Ashley Tarr
    Thursday, 04 June 2015
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