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TAILGATING ON YOUR PATIO

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SIX IDEAS FOR A WINNING SEASON

We’re almost through August, and we’re headed for the goal line. The temps will be dropping soon, and we can all start celebrating with football parties on the patio.

But if you really want to score this season, there are some necessities to provide when the Sun Devils, Wildcats and Arizona Cardinals take the field:

1 | The Big Screen

You can’t watch football without a TV, but it could cost $4,000 or so to buy a tough weatherproof television, designed for patio use. Most of us don’t want to pay that. However, you can take your old indoor set outside and use it until it conks out.

To give that cheaper, old set a try, install it in a shady spot on a heavy duty-wall mount that can pivot if needed. Of course, the TV screen has to be big enough and not placed too high on a wall. From personal experience, I recommend buying a metal bracket. I bought a plastic bracket rated for 128 pounds and used it for a 27-pound TV, only to have the bracket collapse after four Arizona summers. You’ll need a cable or satellite connection on the patio; you may want to connect the TV to external stereo speakers.

Cover up the TV when it’s not in use with a weatherproof wrap. Another solution: Buy a cart and wheel the TV in and out for the game. Remember, Arizona heat plus insects plus dust can murder a television eventually. Store the TV indoors in June, July and August.

2 | The Seating

How big will your crowd be? If you can’t buy a table to seat everyone, get a couple of small tables. Add a sofa, love seat or chairs and make sure the cushions are covered with fabric that resists the sun and that’s easy to clean up after food or a beverage is spilled

3 | Fire up the crowd

Fire pits are as common as cacti in our backyards because they’re easier to install than fireplaces and come in many styles, sizes and prices. You can buy a kit online or at a hardware store and install it yourself for $200 or so. It’s best to have a plumber run a gas line out to the pit rather than using wood. (Maricopa County does have no burn days for wood fires in outdoor fireplaces and fire pits.) Pits can also be fueled by a propane tank in a cabinet nearby. Everyone loves to gather around that fire to talk over the win or the loss as the sun sets. Bench seats circling a fire pit is a great idea, too. Don’t skimp on a log set for a fire place or pit. Spending a little extra can get you something that looks like the real thing.

4 | Keeping it Cool

Although the days are getting shorter, you still need shade for comfortable relaxation, particularly for afternoon games. If your patio isn’t covered, buy an umbrella or two, a shade sail or a patio awning. As for umbrellas, there are lots of choices including table-mounted and free-standing models and ones that can be tilted as the sun moves around. They should be made with tough, sun-resistant fabric. The bigger, the better. If you’re installing a misting system, make sure it’s right next to the TV screen or furniture. That’s because the mist could cause calcium build-up on the screen and sofa.

5 | More Landscaping

Speaking of shade, it’s a great time of year to plant a tree. It may be too small this year to provide shelter, but if you’re patient — in a couple of years — it will start cooling the party crowd and the house. And a tree is less likely than an umbrella to get blown into the neighbor’s yard or into your swimming pool.

6 | Outdoor Kitchen 


Even if you don’t want to build an entire outdoor kitchen, you may want a built-in grill. The more counter space around the grill, the happier you’ll be. You may want a portable mini-refrigerator. I’ve never been able to find one for outdoors that lasted more than five years in Arizona. Let us know if you’ve had a different experience. Pick a cooking spot far enough away from the eating area so that heat and smoke don’t upset diners. But keep the grill fairly close to the kitchen door so you don’t have to run a giant cart full of food and dishes way out to the other end of the yard.

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Photo Credits:

  • Television: Stabley Home Entertainment
  • Outdoor Kitchen (Header and bottom photo): Prideaux Design of Tucson
  • Fire Pit: Belgard (Phoenix and Tucson)

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