Category Archives: Outdoor Entertaining

Planning a party or other event outside? Aside from the weather, there’s plenty of things to consider. Love Your Yard’s tips and tricks will help you make sure your guests are comfortable, the yard looks great and the shindig goes off without a hitch.

Consider safety concerns and entertainment needs when picking the right place for your fire pit.

Choosing the best place for a fire pit

Fire pits are a fun and useful addition to your patio or backyard. It instantly becomes a place in your backyard to gather and make memories.

Before you get your new fire pit home, there are a number of points to consider – the most important being location. Where you place your outdoor fire pit should be considered carefully, as it’s important to both your safety and your enjoyment of your new backyard feature.


Here’s a guide to choosing the position for your new outdoor fire pit.

  • WHAT’S THE LAW? Check your local ordinances. Many communities require a minimum distance of 10 feet from a building. Depending on the municipality, you may also need an inspection from local fire officials to ensure your location is safe.
  • WATCH THE DRIFT: You will need a large open space to make sure that flames and floating embers will not drift into any plants, trees, branches, sheds or combustible materials.
  • PLAN THE SPACE: Consider the size of your fire pit. Use tape or chalk to mark where the fire pit will be. Make sure chairs are able to fit around the entire perimeter so the fire pit can be enjoyed from all sides.
  • SUITABLE SURFACE: Portable fire pits can be set on natural surfaces such as concrete, stone or gravel. Do not place a fire pit on a wooden deck. A permanent fire pit is commonly built on a base of gravel
  • FLAT SURFACE: The fire pit must rest on a level surface.
  • ENTERTAINING: For your own convenience, you will want to place your fire pit near or adjacent to other social areas such as a hot tub, patio or grill area.
  • FIRE CONCERNS: It’s also best to have your fire pit located within reach of a water hose. If it’s too far from a hose, have a bucket of sand nearby that can be used to extinguish the fire in an emergency.

 Extra tip: You may wish to install outdoor lighting near the fire pit to create the right ambieance. Unless you use solar-powered lighting, you should consider how close your fire pit is to an electrical source.

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Your fire pit should be placed on a flat surface. It's best to put a fire pit on concrete.

Your fire pit should be placed on a flat surface. It’s best to put a fire pit on concrete.


Fireside Fun - Cooking S'mores

Fireside Activities For a Spooky Night of Fun

3 Lists of Fireside Activities For a Spooky Night of Fun

It’s hard to beat spending time with friends and family by a warming fire on a fall night! So, why not extend the frightful fun and gather round a crackling fire? If it happens to be Halloween, then that’s even better. No matter, if you bring the kids together, tell them a creepy story or two and listen to the howling wind, it’s guaranteed to be one spooky night!

We’ve collected a few of our favorite sources for “around the fire pit” activities. You’ll find a variety of spooky fire-light stories, laughter inducing games, and delicious campfire treats that you can enjoy right in your backyard. Enjoy!

Fireside Chat: How to Tell a Good Ghost Story
Scary Campfire Stories
13 Creepy Stories to Tell After Dark
7 Weird Stories (that may or may not be true) to Tell Your Kids

Campfire Games
10 Campfire Games You Have to Play
Fun Campfire Games for Kids

27 Delicious Recipes To Try On Your Next Camping Trip
Step Up the S’more: 7 Ideas for Campfire Treats
Kids Favorite Campfire Recipes
• And Don’t forget the classic s’more!

Please Use Caution Around Fire!
Every time you light a fire, remember that basic safety precautions can prevent a tragedy. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy your fire pit safely and with peace-of-mind.
Fire Pit Safety

In Need Of A Fire Pit?
Fire Pits are great for bringing the campfire to your backyard! These fire pits are perfect for any style patio and they’re built to last, offering many years of fun Halloween and Fall nights by the fire!
Fire Pits On Sale!
OR Learn more about the different types of fire pits.



Fire Pit Cook Top Recipes!

An easy and fun way to cook on your  fire pit cook top is to use the “foil pack” method. You can prepare them at home, freeze them for transportation, and then keep them in the cooler until you’re ready to cook. Try this easy foil pack recipe via


  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast meat – cubed
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1 (8 ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 4 small potatoes, cubed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced


1. In a large bowl, or a large zip-top bag, combine the chicken, onion, mushrooms, yellow pepper, red pepper, garlic, and potatoes. Pour in the olive oil and lemon juice, then mix well.
2. Evenly divide the mixture between 4 large sheets of aluminum foil. Top each with another sheet of foil, and roll up the edges tightly. Wrap each packet again, securely in another sheet of foil to double wrap.
3. Cook in the hot coals of a CobraCo™ Fire Pit until the chicken is opaque and the potatoes are tender, around 40 minutes.

Breakfast lovers will appreciate this simple donut recipe via!


  • 1 can of buttermilk biscuits
  • vegetable oil for frying pan
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons cinnamon


  1. Heat about two inches of oil in a large pot.  Separate the biscuits on a cutting board and cut a hole from the center of each.
  2. Fry the dough in about two inches of oil.
  3. Flip with tongs after a minute or two.
  4. Place the cooked donuts in a paper bag with cinnamon and toss for a tasty and sweet covering
  5. Serve with coffee

Campfire Crescent Dogs are a quick way to satisfy your kids hunger while dining in the great outdoors! This recipe from Tablespoon is simple and easy!


  1. One tube Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
  2. 8 hot dogs
  3. Ketchup & mustard


  1. On a flat surface, open the tube of crescent rolls and unroll dough. Separate into triangles along perforations.
  2. Place the hot dog on the edge of the crescent roll and begin rolling so the majority of hot dog is covered by the crescent dough. Make sure the crescent dough overlaps at the end, otherwise it will fall apart.
  3. Skewer your crescent dog on a CobraCo® S’mores Fork and roast it over the fire until golden brown. (Tip: Roasting away from the flames, but in a spot that is still quite hot, gives a nice even roasting.)
  4. Serve immediately with ketchup and mustard as desired.

Cast Iron Skillet Campfire Cooking

Go “old-school” and use a cast iron skillet to cook on your outdoor fire this summer! There are a few basics to know for better cast iron skillet cooking and they are cleaning and seasoning.

Seasoning your cast iron skillet forms its nonstick surface. Coat the skillet with cooking oil and bake it in a 350 degree oven for an hour. After removing the skillet, dry it with paper towels. Season your cast iron skillet as often as you’d like to reinforce its nonstick surface.

To keep your skillet performing for years you’ll need to employ the proper cleaning techniques. Immediately after cooking you should rinse your skillet with hot water. To remove stuck-on food, grease, etc., use a non-abrasive treatment like course salt and a non-metal brush. Sparingly use a few drops of mild dishwashing soap.  Before storing, dry thoroughly with paper towels, apply a light coating of cooking oil, and cover with a paper towel to protect from dust.

With all this work to maintain a cast iron skillet you may wonder why we suggest using one. Cast iron skillets, although they take longer to heat up, retain heat very well and disperse it very evenly, which is ideal in an uneven cooking surface like live fires. Food’s iron content is increased when cooking with a cast iron skillet.

Next time you’re cooking outdoors, stretch your capabilities by bringing along a cast iron skillet and the ingredients needed for this easy recipe!

Campfire Breakfast Potatoes:


  • 5 lbs (about 6) russet potatoes, cubed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Coat the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of olive oil, about 2 tablespoons, and place the pan over the coals of your campfire, on a grate.
  2. Add the onion and cook until just tender, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the potatoes, peppers, and another 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir to coat.
  4. Stir occasionally for about 10 minutes, until potatoes start to brown.
  5. Add a few tablespoons of water, and cover with foil to steam for about 5 minutes.
  6. Add seasonings, continue to stir occasionally until fully browned, crispy, and tender in the middle.
  7. Serve alongside your favorite other breakfast items.

Outdoor Food Safety Tips to Avoid Foodborne Illness

Protecting your family from food-borne illness is crucial when cooking outdoors. Warmer temperatures and limited chilling resources create obstacles for cooking outside, although the right steps and precautions can make these situations manageable.

Transport your food properly. Until you begin cooking you’ll want to place cold foods on ice or frozen gel packs to be chilled at 40 degrees or below. Meat can be transported frozen so it thaws over time and stays colder longer. Keep meats wrapped separately and make sure their juices don’t leak to other foods. Cross-contamination is one of the quickest ways to spread food-borne illness.

If you’re marinating your food for grilling, make sure to do so in a refrigerated environment. Do not reuse marinade for flavoring cooked foods. Reserve a portion of the marinade before adding to the meat and use the separated amount later in cooking.

Cooking temperatures and thorough cooking greatly reduce the risk of food-borne illness. Keep a food thermometer on hand to make sure grilled foods reach their proper temperatures. The FDA suggests the following temperatures for your foods:

Food Temperature
Steaks and roasts 145°F
Fish 145°F
Pork 145°F
Ground beef 160°F
Egg dishes 160°F
Chicken breasts 165°F
Whole poultry 165°F
Shrimp, lobster, and crabs cook until pearly and opaque
Clams, oysters, and mussels cook until the shells are open

When it comes to serving your food your focus should be maintaining the proper temperature. The FDA urges that “the key is to never let your picnic food remain in the “Danger Zone” – between 40° F and 140° F – for more than 2 hours, or 1 hour if outdoor temperatures are above 90° F. This is when bacteria in food can multiply rapidly, and lead to foodborne illness.”

Using these FDA appointed guidelines will help you to have an enjoyable and fun outdoor dining experience without the side effects associated with poor food preparation.


Turn Your Fire Pit into a Cook Top

Take your fire pit experience to the next level by using it as a cooking station! Follow these simple steps to create a cook top for your fire pit!

  1. Take accurate measurements of your CobraCo™ Fire Pit and head to your local hardware store.
  2. Purchase steel mesh with about a quarter to a half-inch fabrication to allow enough heat access to cook your food. Typically this is sold in sheets, so you may have to purchase more than one to fully cover your fire pit.
  3. Lay the sheets over your fire pit and trace the fire pit’s circumference. You’ll want the mesh to extend about an inch outside the fire pit. Using wire cutters and gloves, carefully cut the mesh.
  4. If you need to use two pieces to expand the width of the fire pit you can overlap the two pieces by a half inch. Using steel wire you’ll wrap the two pieces together for the length of the overlap.
  5. When cooking, you’ll want to place two steel rods across the cook top and then place the mesh over. This will support the center of the cook top when food has been placed on it.

Just like that, you’ve got an open flame cook top where you and your family can grill up a ton of delicious meals and create a ton of fantastic memories!


Holiday Tablescapes!

Add flair and zest to your holiday meal by creating an environment that embraces the season! Your dining room, with the right holiday tablescape, can become a winter wonderland that will be enjoyed by guests while eating and socializing.

Using textured table linens and items from around your home, a table can become a visual centerpiece. Place a cloth on your table that will be the base of your décor. In the center use candles, greens, and holiday themed knick-knacks such as ornaments, crystals, or plants to adorn the table.

Stack dishes for each person to save space and place cutlery and glasses in their respective positions. Fun place cards can be made using our seed paper ornament recipe, or place a pinecone ornament labeled with each guest’s name on their plate.

For an added wonderland feel, look beyond the table. Place motorized wind spinners above your table to create a feeling of sitting below a falling snow. Guests will marvel in the scene as they enjoy their holiday meal!

Enjoy this holiday season by filling your home with a festive and seasonal vibe. Using the ideas above and your own personal touches you’ll be creating a holiday space ready to entertain in no time!

Fire Ring Beach

Fire Pit Safety & Regulation

Keep your fire pit experience safe and fun with the following safety tips:

  • Place the fire pit in an open area on a solid surface, but never on a wooden deck, grass, or any other flammable surface.
  • Never place a fire pit in an enclosed area or indoors.
  • Know your city or county’s regulations regarding the use of a fire pit.
  • Always keep a fire extinguisher, a garden hose or large bucket of sand nearby to smother the fire if necessary. Your fire extinguisher should be handy, in good working condition, and not close to its expiration date.
  • Use common sense and exercise courtesy as well as caution. Don’t build a fire on a windy day. You don’t want smoke blowing into neighbor’s homes and backyards.
  • Start your fire small. Use recommended fire starters. Never use an accelerant or gasoline to start a fire. Suggested burning materials include wood, fire logs, and charcoal.
  • Do not allow children or someone with little experience to light the fire.
  • Never leave the fire unattended. Fire pits are HOT when in use and should be adult-supervised at all times. Extreme caution should be exercised when children are nearby.
  • As a precaution, the fire should be no larger than 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet high. Don’t pile wood too high.
  • Use the wire mesh cover when the fire is lit to control flying sparks.
  • The screen handle is HOT when in use.
  • Use a heatproof barbeque mitt or poker tool to grasp the handle.
  • It is best to extinguish the fire completely once you have finished using it. Use a fire extinguisher, or enough water to douse the fire.

Local government regulates the use of fire pits so it is important to check with your local office to see which ordinances are in place. A few regulations commonly in order are the size of the fire, the distance from the fire to structures, the use of fires outdoors during periods of drought or extreme heat, and whether proper extinguishing is available.

Check with your local government office to see which rules are in effect for your area. Safety is the key element to making sure your fire pit experience is a fun and enjoyable one.


S’mores Recipes

S’mores. We’ve all had ‘em. We all love ‘em. Gathering around a campfire and spending time roasting marshmallows is a childhood favorite that doesn’t disappear as we “grow up.” Next time you’re hosting a party outback and have the fire pit lit be sure to provide your guests with s’mores making essentials, plus a few fun twists!

The Essentials:

You’ll want to create a station fully stocked with the following:

  1. Graham Crackers
  2. Marshmallows
  3. Chocolate Bars

The “I Have to Try This” Items:

Be the talk of the town with these bonus s’mores ingredients:

  1. Peanut Butter Cups – swap out a chocolate bar for a peanut butter cup for a rich creamy s’more
  2. Peeps – add color to the typical neutral shades of a s’mores with a Peep
  3. Peanut Butter – wiped on to a graham cracker is a tasty surprise
  4. Ice Cream – use in conjunction with the marshmallow, or without
  5. Cookies – substitute cookies for graham crackers

The Avant Garden Décor Favorite:

Peanut Butter S’more Recipe


• Large Marshmallows
• Graham Crackers
• Large Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (or a jar of creamy peanut butter and milk chocolate bars)


  • Gently roast a large marshmallow on a long fire-safe fork over a fire. When the marshmallow is sufficiently warm and golden-brown, place the marshmallow on a graham cracker. Stack a large peanut butter cup on top of the marshmallow followed by another graham cracker and enjoy!
  • A spoonful of creamy peanut butter and bar of milk chocolate can also be used in lieu of the peanut butter cup.

Firewood Options for Your Backyard Fires

Using your fire pit is a great way to create an ambiance outdoors. Sitting around the fire is enjoyable most of the year and allows you to extend your outdoor season by keeping you warm. Burning different woods in your fire pit can impact your fire experience, so let’s explore which woods are best for your next fire!

  • Ash Wood – Ash burns very hot
  • Fir – Favorably smelling and easy to burn, fir is a smoky and sparky wood
  • Oak – Although harder to get burning, oak burns hot and produces little smoke
  • Maple – the hard-to-light maple produces little smoke and odor
  • Pine – Plentiful in nature, pine burns easy and has an enjoyable smell
  • Spruce – Smoky and sparky, spruce is not a high-heat producer 

When finding and using your own wood it is important to remain cognizant of woods overgrown with poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. If you come in contact with this wood when gathering it, you will develop a very itchy and unpleasant rash. Burning these woods will cause the irritants to enter your lungs through inhaling the smoke. Generally this is followed with a painful respiratory infection.