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From the Ground Up


Weatherproof carpets soften a stone patio or wood deck and are kind to bare feet. The rugs look like a carpet you might use in the house. But instead of vacuuming, these deceptively rugged rugs clean up with a garden hose.

“When winter comes, roll them up and toss them in the garage or the shed,” Lutz says.

At the Back Yard Fun Store in Bear, relaxation-loving homeowners are climbing into eco-oriented Bull Frog spas, made with no fluorocarbons and 90 percent less PVCs than traditional hot tubs. The computerized system of jets also consumes less electricity. An added bonus: the self-contained jets can be arranged to suit the people taking a bubbling soak in the tub.

“You can put the jets wherever you want them,” says John Denk, store manager. “And if you change your mind, you can move them again.”

A spa becomes an intimate retreat with the addition of an A-frame redwood enclosure, he says, “like a little chalet.” A basic model will add $6,000-$8,000 to the cost, while an upscale A-frame outfitted with a bar is priced at about $15,000.

For the little ones, Dent suggests a waterslide.

“If there are lots of kids, go with a double slide,” he suggests. “I have four kids and they love it.”

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