By Neena Vlamis, President of A and N Mortgage

Most Of Your Yard

Whether it’s cooking on the grill, planting a garden, or simply relaxing in a hammock under a tree, homeowner’s love their yards. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of the great outdoors.

Outdoor Kitchen

An outdoor kitchen is perfect for entertaining in your backyard. If your grill will be used under a covered area, including a power vent hood or other methods for venting the smoke. The cabinets for an outdoor kitchen should be built to resist the elements. This could be custom cabinets, using treated lumber and plywood, or ones made from weatherproof material.

Choosing a Grill

Appliances and grills for outdoor kitchens are usually made from stainless steel to make them weatherproof as well. While most grills today are gas-fired, cooking with hardwoods-like hickory, pecan, or oak-can produce better results. Using starter sticks, rather than lighter fluid, to light a wood or charcoal fire can improve the taste of the food. The insulating qualities of ceramic charcoal cookers, like the Big Green Egg, allow them to be used as a conventional grill or as a smoker oven for slow cooking.

Grill Maintenance

Use a wire brush to clean the cooking grate after each use. Once a year, disassemble the grill and clean it thoroughly. Remove cooking grates, soak in liquid grill cleaner, scrub with a wire brush, and rinse. Take out the ceramic plates or briquettes and clean them with a wire brush. Remove the burners and use a wire brush to take off residue and rust. Clean out the burner holes by inserting a toothpick into each hole. Use a wet/dry vac to vacuum out the inside of the grill. Reassemble all the grill components. Light the grill and leave it on for a few minutes to burn off any remaining residue.

Keeping Cool

The shade is essential for summer backyard activities.

Popular options include:

Shade arbor: An outdoor arbor covered with vines makes a cool retreat on a hot summer day.

Roof: Extending the roof of your house to cover a patio works well.

Awning: A retractable awning is a great way to create shade when and where you need it.

Misting System: Outdoor misters keep you cool by spraying a fine mist of water in the air. Misting systems are available as inexpensive DIY Outdoor Cooling Kits as well as portable misting umbrellas that hook to a garden hose.

Water Feature: The soothing sound of falling water from a fountain or waterfall can make your yard feel like an oasis during a summer heatwave. Pre-made water features are available, or you can build your own custom water feature for your backyard.

Keeping You Informed

A and N Mortgage professionals are dedicated to keeping you informed of the latest market trends, household tips and mortgage options. Call A and N Mortgage today to obtain custom loan options designed to fit your needs and help you obtain your home goals.

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