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3 Outdoor Kitchen Ideas For Small Spaces

WP Law - Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Air Filter

Now that summer is here, grilling season is in full effect. Upgrade your outdoor kitchen to make your patio stand out from the rest of in your neighborhood. Just because you have a smaller outdoor space doesn't mean you have to downsize your outdoor entertaining!

Creating a functional and luxurious feel in a smaller space takes a little bit more creativity and a little more know-how -- but it is worth the investment. Deciding which elements are important to you is the first step:

  • Kitchen Island: Islands are great because they can be modified to fit your specific space and are multifunctional. If they are properly utilized they can incorporate storage, counter space and seating or serving space. These elements make it a perfect area for hosting outdoor gatherings.
  • Outdoor Lighting: Simple design elements like outdoor lighting helps your small space feel larger and more cozy. Adding lighting to dark corners or even underneath your island can illuminate your space and brighten up your outdoor kitchen.
  • Fire Pit:Nothing goes better with a cookout than sitting by the fire and roasting marshmallows. A fire pit can be a great addition that can be enjoyed year-round.

When you go for an important purchase such as outdoor kitchen upgrades, you want to make sure that you're buying something that's going to last. These three upgrades are sure to make your cookouts the object of everyone's envy. Contact the experts at WP Law to discuss the best options for your space!

Maintain Your Water Feature with the Right Chemicals

Marketing W. P. Law, Inc. - Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Duo Pro dual-contained piping system

If you have a water fountain, pond or waterfall, you know how relaxing it is to sit by the water and enjoy the tranquility of the moment. However, to fully appreciate your water feature, you have to maintain it properly. Without the right care, you will find yourself sitting next to a murky green pond or looking at a slimy water fountain. Also, a neglected water feature can detract from your property's appeal. Fortunately, it is pretty easy to keep your fountain looking crystal clear. The first steps in caring for your water feature are to:

1. Check the water level-Make sure that the water pump is running at all times and that the pump is covered with water.

2. Remove debris and leaves-At least twice per week, skim the pond's surface to remove any debris.

3. Scrub the Fountain-Drain your fountain once a month and clean it with a brush and mild detergent.

What are the Right Chemicals for my Water Feature?

With all of the different chemicals available for ponds and water features, it might be difficult to know which ones you need. Here are some of the most common chemicals that are used to clean water features.

  • Algaecide-An algaecide will help eliminate algae from fountains, streams and water features. Choose one that works in all temperatures.
  • Foam Remover-Foam is a common problem in indoor and outdoor water features. It is caused by excessive organic compounds that are left behind by animals, plants and bacteria. A foam remover will help keep the foam from forming in your fountain.
  • Sludge Cleaner-This usually contains beneficial bacteria and will help maintain a strong biological balance in your water garden or pond and keep your rocks and gravel sludge-free, as well.

A waterfall or fountain is a beautiful, relaxing landscaping feature. For more helpful information and tips about maintaining your water feature, visit W.P. Law.

How to Make Your Outdoor Kitchen Part of Your Home

WP Law - Thursday, May 25, 2017
Duo Pro dual-contained piping system

For many people, an outdoor kitchen is a way to expand their living space and bring the outdoors into their home; however, these same people may be struggling to find ways to integrate their outdoor kitchen with the rest of the home. For those looking for advice regarding their outdoor kitchen, there are a few ways to better integrate this home addition with the rest of the home itself.

Choose the Right Location

Before even starting with the outdoor kitchen, it is vital to pick the right spot for this addition to ensure it integrates well with the rest of the home. Place the outdoor kitchen near the eating and dining area so that it is easy to run dishes between the outdoor kitchen, the serving area, and the hungry people. If the location is chosen well, the outdoor kitchen will see more use and feel like a part of the home.

Bring the Indoors Outside

To further integrate the outdoor kitchen, it is important to bring the indoors to the outdoor world. This means buying reliable appliances that are intended for outdoor use. Make sure there is a place to store the cooking equipment to cut down on the time spent running between the inside and the outside. Add a little bit of ambiance or seating to the outdoor kitchen as well. This will encourage people to make use of the outdoor kitchen and unite the indoor and outdoor worlds into one.

Tips on Maintaining Your Garden’s Pond This Summer

Marketing W. P. Law, Inc. - Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Duo Pro dual-contained piping system

Ponds provide a beautiful centerpiece for any garden, but only if you maintain them properly. Summer weather complicates maintenance, but through the following tips, you can keep your pond beautiful no matter the season:

Astute Aeration

If your pond contains fish, it is essential to increase the aeration. Hot weather lowers the water's oxygen content while simultaneously making the fish consume more oxygen. To save your fish, it is necessary to step up the aeration

Comprehensive Cleaning

Clean your filter as necessary throughout the summer. The typical filter needs to be cleaned on a weekly basis, but the specifics vary by device, so follow the manufacturer's instructions. If you use a biological filter, don't clean it more intensively than instructed, as this will kill salutary bacteria.

Replenishing with Rainwater

The summer heat can evaporate pond water, so replenish it as needed. Because tap water contains fluoride and other nutrients that cause algae growth, however, it is not ideal for your pond. Instead, collect and use rainwater.

Dealing with Debris

Leaves, twigs, and other debris that accumulate in your pond can trap fish and animals while disrupting the water’s beauty. Remove them with a net, but leave some around the edges so that larger creatures can enter and leave the pond. When you remove debris, wash it in a bucket first, and if any creatures come out, return those to the pond.

For more information on pond care and other water maintenance topics, contact W. P. Law today.

Tips for Choosing the Best Grill for Your Outdoor Kitchen

WP Law - Monday, February 27, 2017
Grill

Outdoor living spaces are becoming very popular. If you’re looking for a new grill for your outdoor kitchen, it can be difficult to know which grill will best suit your style and space. Here are some valuable tips for choosing the best grill.

Think About Storage Options

Even in South Carolina, the weather can get intemperate sometimes. When that happens, you’ll want to be able to protect your grill from weather extremes. If you sometimes go away for vacations, that’s another time you’ll want to cover or store your grill. Think about what storage options the grill has, and whether that will be sufficient for your needs.

Consider the Grilling Capacity

Compact grills are ideal for decks and patios with little space, or for small families. But if you have a large extended family or like to host backyard BBQ parties, you’ll be happier with a larger grill that has the surface area to cook lots of food at one time. This will allow you to put food on the table faster so guests and family can eat at one time instead of standing in line for more burgers.

Consider Built-In Models

If you are like to grill outside on most days, you might be better off with a built-in grill. These models are designed to fit in nicely with the motif of an outdoor kitchen and will help your family to relax outdoors while you cook. Built-in grills add to the décor and frequently offer extra amenities like warming trays, coolers and food prep areas.

To see grill models in person or for more information about outdoor kitchens, please contact us today!

Maintain your backyard water feature with these 4 tips

WP Law - Thursday, October 27, 2016
Pond

A water feature or fountain can add something truly special to your yard - a dynamic layer both when seen and when heard. As long as it is running it draws attention. Some water features can even attract birds. When your fountain stops running it can quickly become an eyesore. Here are some tips for maintaining a fountain or water feature.

1. Cleaning

Fountains should be cleaned every one to three months. Additives to reduce algae are also useful. Larger water features benefit from a deep clean every spring and fall, including an inspection for leaks. Ponds should be skimmed weekly to remove leaves and other debris.

2. Keep things moving

Static features such as ponds should still have water circulated with a pump. Aerating the water reduces algae buildup and prevents mosquito larvae from hatching. It can also attract birds more than a stagnant pond. If you have fish in your pond they need a certain level of aeration to breathe properly - talk to an aquarist about the specific needs of the fish you are keeping. It is worth considering adding at least a couple of insectivorous fish to control mosquitos.

3. Check pumps regularly

Pumps can easily become clogged. Filters and screens reduce, but don't eliminate this - any debris gathered on the screen should be removed often. If there is any change in water level or any odd noise from the pump, check it immediately. If you turn your water feature off for the winter, then try to store the pump inside. This is particularly important for pondless water features.

4. Shade your feature.

Direct sunlight increases water evaporation, potentially causing problems with your pump and increasing the risk of algae. If you have a pond that is not located in a shady location, add shade plants around the edge to shade about 60 percent of the water surface.

If you are in doubt, then contact an expert. WP Law, Inc. has the expertise to repair and maintain fountains and residential water features, and they can both install and repair water features and advise you on the best way to do it yourself.

Determining the right sump pump to use for your space

WP Law - Thursday, October 20, 2016
pond

How hard could it be, right? You go to the nearest home improvement retailer, buy the pump that looks like the best deal, and 30 minutes later you are ready to install. Except it’s not as simple as that. The sump pump you choose now could prevent a lot of issues later. Even worse, it could add to them.

Submersible vs. Pedestal

Submersible pumps—those that are installed below water—are preferred in most situations. For one thing, being underwater makes them less prone to overheating. But your space may not accommodate a submersible pump, which means you will need to consider a pedestal pump. You will also need to consider the capacity of the impeller and the size of solids it can handle. One that is too small may clog easily and often.

Size matters

Sump pumps are available in a variety of horsepower options. However, even choosing between pumps with 1/3 or 1/2 HP can have consequences. If you select a pump with too little horsepower, it will not be able to keep up with water flow in some situations. A pump with too much HP will cycle on and off more than it should, which can damage the pump.  Therefore, you must estimate the gallons per hour (GPH) your sump pump will need to handle at the highest rate of flow.
Other issues to consider include mechanical vs. pressure switch, how to estimate the rate of water flow in your space, and more. Even if you do choose the right sump pump, proper installation is never a given. And that can also affect the performance of a sump pump.  Therefore, we at WP Law, Inc. would love to learn more about your requirements. We can help you choose the right fit for your space needs before you invest your first dollar. To discuss your plans further, please contact WP Law, Inc. to talk with one of our sump pump experts. It could save you a lot of hassles down the road.

5 Tips When Planning An Outdoor Kitchen Area

WP Law - Thursday, July 28, 2016

When crafting your ideal outdoor living space, you’re overwhelmed with options from modern-style furniture to old-fashioned stones. Obviously, you want to want a space that’s functional. However, you also want the area to wow guests. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the elements in your outdoor kitchen area.

1. Size Matters

What you're doing with your outdoor kitchen area should reflect in the design. For instance, if you're going to cook for a large crowd, you need a large space. 

2. Think of Function 

One of the main focal points—and one that’s the most functional—is the grill. You want one that fits your needs. If you don’t grill much and don't grill foods in large quantities, you don't need a large grill. You'll just be wasting space and charcoal or fuel. 

3. What You Grill With Matters

Make sure when you design your area, you think about what you plan on cooking with. You might want to consider a charcoal-gas combination grill if you don't have a preference or enjoy both.

4. What You Grill 

Take into consideration what you typically grill and what you'd want to grill. You can create an ideal space with burners and multiple-layer grates. Consider if you want space to hang or store your utensils for the convenience of not having to walk in between your home and outdoor kitchen.

 
5. Location

Location is everything when planning for a kitchen outside. You need to keep in mind whether you want it right off of your home or further away. You need to determine how much landscaping is required in order to create the space. You don't always want a gigantic project that requires a great deal of time and money. 

You want your dream outdoor cooking space, but you need to take into consideration a few factors. These tips help to optimize the space you have. Not to mention, you must keep in mind your goals during the design phase. To learn about building an outdoor kitchen space in your area, contact the experts at W. P. Law, Inc. today. 


Can I Use A Sump Pump For My Water Feature?

WP Law - Thursday, June 23, 2016
water feature

A sump pump is designed to remove water from the sump basin of your home's basement. However, in some cases, you can use these pumps for other purposes. In most cases, if your sump pump is compatible to use with a residential fountain, pond or other water feature, its box will note that fact.

If your sump pump is not compatible with residential water features, it will likely do the simple job of pumping water, but there will be several drawbacks.

Lack of Energy Efficiency

Sump pumps use more energy than many other types of pumps. If you use a sump pump instead of a submersible or external garden feature pump, you will unnecessarily waste energy and drive your bills higher than they should be. In contrast, a garden feature pump with a direct or magnetic drive can help to keep your energy costs under control.

Not Designed to Be Used Constantly

Sump pumps only turn on as needed. When used in basements, their on-off switch is triggered when the water in the sump reaches a certain level. They are not designed to be used all day long. Unfortunately, however, most residential water features require constant pumping.

Run Hot

In addition, because they are not designed to run constantly, sump pumps tend to become very hot if you leave them on. The heat they generate can increase the temps of water to levels that are intolerable to fish or that encourage the growth of certain algae. Finally, these pumps don't have built-in elements to stop them from overheating, and as a result, their motors may become too hot and burn out, forcing you to replace them.

Luckily, although sump pumps aren't suitable for most residential water features, there are great alternatives. The pump you should select varies based on the size of your water feature, your climate, whether or not you have fish and several other factors. Want to find the perfect pump for your water features? Contact W.P. Law, Inc. today for more information.

How can I improve the flow of my pond pump?

WP Law - Thursday, May 26, 2016
small pond

A backyard pond, of any size, can help give your landscaping a serene, peaceful air. Ponds can also add year-round interest to your perennial beds and be a home for decorative fish like koi. However, one of the key secrets to keeping your pond healthy is making sure that you have enough water circulating through your pond. Too little and your pond can develop algae and become an eyesore rather than an oasis.

Ways To Improve The Flow Of Your Pond Pump

To keep the water flowing steadily through your pond pump, consider the following:

  1. Make sure that you have the correct sized pump. Pumps that are too large or too small for the size of your pond will work inefficiently, restricting the water pressure and flow.
  2. Check the pump system periodically for blockages. Like any outdoor plumbing system, dirt, leaves, and other debris can get lodged in the hoses connected to the pump or in the filter and cause your system to underperform. Such debris can also cause your pump motor to have to work harder (for lesser results), shortening its lifespan.
  3. Make sure your piping is properly sized. Undersized pipe creates more friction loss which can reduce the flow because the pump operates further left on its performance curve.

To learn more about keeping the pump in your outdoor water feature running smoothly, contact W.P. Law Inc. today. We've been helping Carolina homeowners, like you, with their pond and irrigation needs for more than 40 years.


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