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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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Recent blog posts
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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Skip Day of Team Swamp Pit BBQ took first place at the first Bull Burger Battle of 2014. It was held at Best in Backyards in Mahopac, NY on May 31. Day, a resident of Wantagh, NY, and his daughter Elizabeth whipped up a burger that featured American and pepper jack cheese, a Jersey-inspired pork roll and sautéed onions and shallots between two slices of Rye bread. Day first cooked up the burger about eight years ago, and has since made a few tweaks here and there. Named the "Infamous Skippy Burger," it has earned him recognition in other competitions, too. As the grand prize, Day took home a premium Bull outdoor Angus grill, valued at $2,500. He will also receive a paid trip to Las Vegas to compete in the World Food Championships in November. There, competitors will battle for thousands of dollars in prize money, plus food fame!  To learn more about the...
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Nothing says summer quite like a backyard barbecue with friends and family, and no barbecue is complete without hamburgers. Maybe you could eat a classic cheeseburger everyday, or perhaps you prefer a burger packed with nontraditional ingredients. Whatever the case, there's no reason not to spice things up this summer and try out a new burger creation. Here are a few ideas:   Think tacos -- Love Mexican cuisine? Throw on some grated cheese, avocado, beans and shredded lettuce. If you're feeling really adventurous, add some rice, or mix some salsa into the burger meat. Don't be afraid to top it off with a spoonful of sour cream! Load up the veggies -- Pile your burger high with sautéed mushrooms, onions or scallions, roasted Brussels sprouts and diced tomatoes.  Try a different type of cheese -- If your go-to cheese has been cheddar for, say, the last 10 years, switch it...
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With Easter morning less than 48 hours away, moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas all over the country are prepping for Easter egg hunts that will be tons of fun for the youngsters. Whether you are purchasing the eggs or going the old-fashioned route (FYI: Easter eggs have been around for more than 100 years!) by hard-boiling, cooling, dying and decorating, the eggs are just half the fun.    The other is coming up with tricky spots so your children will have to put in some extra effort to find all the candy and treasures! That may mean switching things up a bit and taking the hunt from the living room and dining room to the front yard and backyard. If you're having trouble coming up with hiding spots, take a look at the list below and see what you can incorporate into this year's Easter egg hunt. Just remember where you...
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Are you at a loss when it comes to finding spots in the garage to store your lawn equipment, your seasonal items, your four-wheeler, your tools and more? If so, a storage shed may be the perfect solution for you.    There are a few things to think about as you consider what type of shed would fit your needs. The experts at Best in Backyards have come up with five important tips for the shed selection and preparation process:   - Location: While the corner of your yard is a tempting place to tuck your shed, it is best to place the structure somewhat close to the house. Remember, if you need a power tool or a shovel, and the weather is poor, you won't want to have to make a big trek. Also important when selecting a location is making sure that the ground is relatively level and dry,...
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The birds are chirping, and the flowers are blooming. With the arrival of spring just last week, it’s no wonder you’re itching to get outdoors and enjoy every minute of those long, twelve-hours days while you can! Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal, and that includes every aspect of your life. Tired of being indoors all winter? Here are three ways you can easily hike, run and jump your way to an active lifestyle. But hurry—the spring season only lasts until June.   Bond Over Basketball There are many ways to bond with your kids—and each one poses a different opportunity to talk, connect and have fun. Bond with your kids over a favorite TV show and you don’t have much time to talk. Bond with each other over a game of basketball, and you talk, shoot some hoops and connect on a level you never could have while...
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Being cooped up indoors is a thing of the past. Or, at least, it should be. If you’re like most people, then you may be experiencing a case of extreme ‘cabin fever’ from the past few months of winter. But luckily, spring is here, and that means you need to make up for lost time and prepare for the many ways in which you can use your backyard to its full potential! Here are some ideas on how to transform your outdoor room into the most frequented room of your home.   Bring in a Little Something Special Are you tired of sweating over the stove top in an effort to make a healthy dinner for your family? Head outside and cook up a delicious meal on your outdoor kitchen instead! Outdoor kitchens are the ultimate backyard accessory, with everything you need to work some wonders for your family and friends! Just imagine...
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