Category Archives: Outdoor

Makeover Your Yard with Palapas

palapa bbq island mexican thatch

Create Your Own Tropical Oasis in Your Own Backyard

What are palapas? Palapas are open structures made from thatch commonly used for backyard or resort designs. They are related to umbrellas but they are not the same! These beautiful structures create a wonderful space to entertain friends and family during the warmer months.

four post palapa mexican thatch

Different Types of Palapas

There’s many different styles of thatch to choose from. Using different types of thatch creates a unique look for your palapa. Palapas can generally range between two posts to four posts. A two post palapa is commonly seen with BBQ islands or other dining entertainment spaces. A four post palapa is larger and sturdier which makes it great for adding lower chairs and tables. Guests can comfortably sit under this palapa while drinking and chatting with other guests.

Unique Types of Thatch

The Mexican palm thatch is a very popular style of thatch used to create palapas. This plush and luxurious style thatch is commonly seen in tropical resorts around the world. Another common style of thatch is the African reed thatch. This thatch is valued for its clean and structured look. If you’re looking for something that lasts longer, artificial thatch is a great alternative to natural thatch. Baja palm thatch is the artificial version of Mexican palm thatch while Zulu reed thatch is the artificial version of the African reed thatch.

No matter what style of thatch you end up choosing, adding a palapa to your backyard is a great addition to your lifestyle!

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Tiki Torches: The Essential Summer Accessory

tropical decor tiki torches

Tiki torches are the essential accessories to a perfect summer gathering! Light up warm evenings with the beautiful ambiance of torches. Tiki torches come in many different designs that will suit any home or business.

Why use torches? Torches are subtle way to light up your outdoor space. The gorgeous flame will create a gorgeous glow that will warmly illuminate the area. For the summer months especially, these tiki torches will not overheat your area. Torches help create an oasis that homeowners strive for. Tiki torches will tie the entire look of a summer backyard  quickly.

tiki torches nickel metal

With a closer look at the types of tiki torches offered, you may decide which one would be ideal for your space. Update your area with luxurious hammered metal tiki torches. These tiki torches are a wonderful upgrade from woven tiki torches and longer lasting. It looks great in all types garden settings- not just tropical! The torches come in rich metal colors of copper and nickel. Copper has a warm bronze-y looks while the nickel has a more silver look to it. You can also pick out what kind of texture you would like for the torches. The tiki torches either come in a smooth or hammered texture. Additionally some designs come in more color options such as the cranberry- a deep, rich,  and red metal patina. Another beautiful and subtle option is the brown patina.

tiki torch table top lamp

Add tiki torches in clusters of twos or threes for a brighter effect. You can also use single torches spaced evenly for an all around lighting. The torches are generally up to 64″ in height which is tall enough to illuminate most areas. There are also tabletop torch options. Add these table torches to illuminate outdoor dinner parties. Also add them on pedestals , near fountains, pools, or on top of any surface where there needs to be light outside.

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Getting Ready for the Summer with BBQ Islands and Grills!

bbq island with tv and palapa

With the weather warming up, it’s time to start thinking about outdoor entertainment! An outdoor BBQ island or stainless steel grill is the perfect step towards creating that summer environment! Ranging from all sizes, you can get a small table-top size grill to a large entertainer bar complete with a palapa (umbrella). Nothing says its the summer like the smell of BBQ sizzling on the grill with juicy hamburgers, steaks, skewers, and hot dogs!

bbq island with umbrella

BBQ islands are a great choice if you plan on entertaining outside a lot. With plenty of space on the grill and off the grill, it is easy to keep everything outside. Many of these islands come with storage space as well. Store your dry foods, grill accessories, and other things for easy access. BBQ islands can also come with refrigerator. Store food and keep drinks chilled as family and friends lounge around outside. Or pop open a nice can of cold soda or beer as you grill your food! Island BBQs tend to have plenty of counter space which is great for preparing food on the go or for use as a table. This is great space for the cook to interact with guests leading to great conversations and memories.

bbq island entertainment

Other BBQ islands offer the option of umbrellas and palapas to keep you and your family and friends cool under the sun as they cook or eat. You can either use a traditional canvas umbrella or add a thatch umbrella for a tropical or beach-like environment. You can also have a flat-screen tv or  stereo in the BBQ island to enhance that summer atmosphere. This would be perfect for parties outdoors. There are also numerous options for tile or stucco colors and styles for different types of BBQ islands.

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Gorgeous Everyday Statues for Your Backyard

 garden statues

Statues are the perfect accent to any home or business decor. It can instantly update the look of any room, entryway, or garden. Statues can range from small tabletop sizes to large stand-alone sizes. They come in many different design styles ranging from contemporary to classical styles. The texture, color, and type of stone can also change the whole look and feel of the statue and the design space it is in.

garden statue goddess

Statues for Every Area

If you have an empty spot that needs to be filled, use a statue! Small to medium statues work well in creating added interest and texture to any room or outdoor area. Larger statues work well as a focal point to any space. Smaller Buddha head statues work well on table tops, counters, or shelves. Classic busts are great for pedestals and for indoors as well. Add garden spheres to add unique look to your outdoor gardens. Place them individually or in clusters of three.  For a classical style garden, Roman gods/goddesses are a perfect accent or focal point. Feel free to add statues to entryways or by the front door outside. Have fierce lions or Foo dogs greet guests on your front pathway.

buddha statue head bust

Statue Design Styles

There are many different styles of statues to choose from. For zen and Eastern look, Buddha statues are the most popular kind. You can either place a Buddha head or a whole calm Buddha meditating. You can also add animal statues for a woodland feel to your gardens. Deer statues, frogs, dogs, and garden fairies are all wonderful additions to your garden. Classic styles such as Roman gods and goddesses add an elegant and luxurious touch. They come as busts, torso, or full body length. For a beautiful and modern look, the garden spheres are an excellent choice. Obelisks with its clean and simple lines work well in a contemporary chic garden. Elegant post balls can be added on top of pedestals and columns for a finishing look. With many styles to choose from, it is easy to add that special and extra decor for your home or business.

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Outdoor Lighting for Summer

As summer keeps giving us little tastes of what is to come, we can’t seem to stem the anticipation of outdoor barbecues, hot summer nights outside and all the glory that is the warmest season of the year. So as we sit in eagerness, we might as well get a jump on the outdoor decorating that is sure to make our backyards, porches and outdoor rooms perfect summer venues. Outdoor lighting is going to be a key component to extend the beautiful summer days into the warm summer nights, even if the sun says out past 8 pm. Here are some tips to get your outdoor space up to par for nighttime entertaining.

Illumination. Make sure to light treacherous areas of your yard. Your guests will appreciate it. Hazards include changes in terrain, abrupt directional shifts, steps, curbs or inclines/declines. Also light pools or any water feature for safety purposes.  Trails or walkways can be lit with small “pathway” lights, placed close enough together so that the small pools of light overlap. Interesting focal points such as fountains, statues or particularly beautiful foliage should also be illuminated .

Mood Lighting. An outdoor space or yard used primarily for throwing big parties will require more and brighter lighting while a space for small scale gatherings may only require the dim light of a fire pit or a few well-placed solar lamp posts. For a brighter scene, consider using Christmas lights in shrubs, to line a fence or intertwined with an umbrella or patio posts; white twinkle lights will add elegance while colored ones will add life and vibrance.

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The Benefits of Solar Lighting


As the summer months drift lazily on, there are more and more opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. Whether entertaining guests in your backyard or simply sitting solo with a good book into the evening is your style, you’re certain to run into a classic summer problem: the weather is still warm and comfortable, but the sun has gone down, forcing you to retreat indoors. Once again, Backyard Xscapes has the answer to your most vexing questions – the use of solar lights can easily and cost-effectively solve your outdoor lighting dilemma.

Solar lights capitalize on one of the Earth’s most reusable resources –the sun. A solar panel within the unit “stores” the energy from the sun’s rays during the day and subsequently emits this energy through LED light bulbs at night. Most solar lights turn off and on automatically with the help of  high-tech darkness sensors, making them both easy to use, waste free and an integral part of any intention to “go green.”

To make your life even simpler, solar lights don’t require a connection to the house power source and therefore do not require any confusing wiring or outlet planning. Positioning is the only tactical consideration as the bulbs require direct sunlight during the day in order to operate at full capacity at night.  They usually consist of two or less parts making them easy to assemble, easy to move and easy to install.

To add to the growing list of benefits to solar lighting, they will not add to your electric bill, produce environmentally harmful emissions or become dangerous in any way. Children and pets cannot be electrocuted or burned because there is no electricity involved and the bulbs are always cool to the touch. The lights can be placed anywhere that is lit by direct sunlight during the day, with no consideration for potential water spills or contact with upholstery or other flammable materials.

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Benefits of Artificial Grass

After a week’s worth of work, weekends are typically thought of as a time to relax, spend time with loved ones or just enjoy the free moments available. Though it seems that with our daily routines and endless lists of errands, weekends seem more about catching up on tasks then relaxing.

The truth is that although your home is an escape and a piece of paradise away from the rest of the world, there is a lot of work that can go into the upkeep especially when it comes to the landscape. Having natural grass as part of your backyard landscape can provide a lot of enjoyable features, but also produce an array of chores in maintenance. Spending weekend mornings lugging out the lawn mower to mow the lawn, worrying about animals digging or pets ruining the landscape are just a few of the many hassles in maintaining a natural grass lawn.

Artificial grass is a growing trend not just for home owners but for professional sports establishments, golf courses, parks, educational institutions and even theme parks. The increase in demand has brought for the production of varying types of grass to satisfy any need and some that look almost identical, if not better, than real grass.

Benefiting the Environment


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Deforestation, Environmental Effects and Hopes for Change.

“Take care of the earth and she will take care of you.” ~Author Unknown

The topic of going green and addressing environmental issues is ongoing,  especially poignant and trending within this past decade.  From pollution, to waste management and the earth’s drastically deteriorating resources, the amount of information and list of issues can be overwhelming.   What is helping in healing the earth and regenerating resources are the positive and mindful everyday decisions on how we interact with the planet.  As an example within the past thirty years Los Angeles has almost doubled in the amount of cars on the road, yet the amount of air pollution has declined by almost half and the hole in the ozone layer is not getting bigger but actually slowly decreasing in size.   Though this is just a small piece of the puzzle, it shows hope and promise that positive change can take place.

Deforestation is another urgent environmental issue.  Though the term is recognized and defined as the immense reduction of forests, it is more specifically defined as the logging or burning of trees in a forested area.  Most of the trees cut/burned are used for fuel, building materials and to clear land for farming purposes.  With natural resources being stripped faster than they can be replaced, we want to discuss the causes, consequences and some possible solutions to deforestation.

Causes – Statistics
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, deforestation can result from “a combination of population pressure and stagnating economic, social and technological conditions.”  Wood from the trees, and farming land serve as an economical benefactor to many countries where alternate resources and land may not be readily available.

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Choosing the Right Outdoor Furnishings

11When it comes to a house, it’s often forgotten that “home” extends beyond just the walls, windows and doors. Our front and backyards are an extension and reflect the style and care of the home we live in. Whenever planning a new landscape or outdoor design project, one of the most important aspects in outdoor decor is furnishing. Depending on the size of your outdoor space, there are various types of outdoor furniture and possibilities to best suit your needs. Just like when you first start a landscaping project, with choosing outdoor furnishings you must start with main focal areas. Main focal areas could be entertainment spaces, structures, or even a visually stimulating accent to your space. Here are some great, economical and eco-friendly ideas for furnishing your outdoor space.

Tiki Bars- Barstools


Tiki bars add a tropical and fun flavor to any backyard. They provide a central location perfect for conversations, serving drinks and entertaining. Tiki bars create a visual dynamic by providing a point of interest for eyes to be drawn to, without taking up too much space. Another great feature is while you are grilling food on the barbecue, the Tiki bar can help conserve BBQ counter space by providing an area to serve drinks and snacks from. Various Tiki bars come with drawer space, rear shelving, and you can even place hooks to hang cups or tropical decor from. Some great accessories include Tiki signs, colorful tropical figures, wind chimes or even lights. Pair your Tiki bar with some Bamboo barstools and you have a complete space for entertaining guests.

Thatch or Umbrella Kits


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