The title of this post is a bit of a misnomer since the real beginning of summer annuals is December 15th (which is when nurseries ask for next year’s summer annuals orders), though you could argue that it begins even earlier when our client relations managers are developing annuals contracts and forecasting their summer annuals sales. However, in terms of installation, May 16th is our official start of summer annuals. With the threat of frost largely behind us (although this past weekend was not indication of that), we begin rolling out the summer designs. There may be some fluctuation on this date based on weather, but by and large this is it.Read More
It’s hard to believe that we’re approaching the end of summer, especially since this past week has been a hot, muggy mess. There’s a lot to love about summer – lush lawns, vibrant perennial borders, seemingly endless days, and warm summer nights. Ah, sweet bliss! It’s not all rainbows and sunshine, though; we also have to deal with sweltering heat, voracious mosquitoes, and overwhelming crowds of people. Hmm, now I’m not sure if I want summer to go on forever or move aside for fall. (Actually, I do. I love crisp fall days, cool nights, and apple and pumpkin picking.)
This has been a beautiful summer, with manageable high temperatures and sunny days. I hope that you have taken advantage of our good fortune and have spent your time outdoors – soaking in the sun and warmth and stockpiling it for the winter months to come. If you haven’t, there’s still time! Go rent kayaks at the Skokie Lagoons, ride your bike down the Lakefront Trail, wander through the Chicago Botanic Garden and Morton Arboretum, or visit your local forest preserves and parks. The Old School Forest Preserve in Libertyville is a personal favorite for lunch time excursions away from the desk.
So fire-up your grill before you have to unbury it from a drift of snow. Sit outside on your deck or patio and relax, enveloped in the perfect sweetness of summer blooms. Light the fire pit and toast marshmallows for s’mores. Pretty soon the temperature will drop and we’ll all regret not grabbing these last moments of summer when we had the chance. Come winter I’ll encourage you to cozy up to the fire with some hot chocolate and your favorite movie, but for now I can only say GO OUTSIDE!
Has it already been four weeks since my last post? We’ve been in the heart of one of our busiest times in the year, when each moment is filled with researching, concepting, drafting, permitting, and estimating. It’s a lot of work, but a bonus is being able to go on site visits on perfect summer days. We must enjoy it now since in a handful of months we’ll be doing site visits in the snow and freezing temperatures.
In the midst of all the insanity at work, I remembered that gardening and design is fun. It’s not all drainage patterns and sun/shade evaluations. Sometimes we get to design tree houses, children’s gardens, and sculpture gardens. Adding art, or a touch of whimsy, to your garden says a lot about a person and gives your garden personality. There’s no need to go overboard, but a gazing ball, sculpture, hidden gnome, bird house, or whatever your decide, marks your garden as distinctly your own. Not to mention that they bring a smile to your face and if your garden isn’t making you happy then what’s the point?
At Scott Byron & Co., we don’t typically choose your garden art, but we will help you by designing an appropriate place for it and helping you place it. Here are some of my favorite artful moments that I’ve seen while working at SBC.
Like many other people, I consider Memorial Day the unofficial beginning of summer. Coincidentally, I also consider this the beginning of grill season. You may bear the merciless winter chill to bring your family BBQ Chicken in January, but that doesn’t mean grill season extends into winter. That just means you recognize the perfection of grill foods, and I like that about you. There’s a lot of debate regarding gas grills vs. charcoal grills, but I’ll leave that up to you to discuss amongst yourself. (Personally, I like the flavor of charcoal, but the convenience of gas – a conundrum!) What I do want to talk to you about, though, is creating an outdoor grill center (built-in BBQ).
What’s the most important aspect when it comes to building your built-in BBQ? The grill, obviously! There are a lot of options around that you can select, but for our money we like the 36” DCS grill. It’s high-end quality with sturdy heavy gauge stainless steel components. There are many other brands, like Viking and Kalamazoo, and sizes of grills that you can select with endless customization options, so make sure you’re getting what you want.
After you’ve selected the grill, you must make sure you have enough counter space to make your built-in BBQ useable. In most situations, having at least 18” on either side of your grill will give you room to set your plate and tongs down. From there, it’s a matter of what you want to be doing outside and how much space you have. Consider the activities you want to happen around the grill. Is it part of the social space or are you grilling at one location and moving the food to a dining and lounging area? Are you going to be prepping food outside, blending margaritas, and sitting at the grill? Ask yourself these questions to have a better idea of what the size of the entire grill center should be and what features it should include.
Once the grill and overall size have been determined, it’s just a matter of options. Do you want a refrigerator, trash receptacle, warming drawer, storage drawers, lighting, iPod dock, space for a smoker (Big Green Egg is one example), etc…? Whatever you want, we can make it happen. If you already have a grill or smoker that you want to use we can design your built-in BBQ to incorporate them. So fire up the grill and get out your meats, veggies, and fruits. It’s grilling time!