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Outdoor News

Electric Grills: Perfect for Apartments and Condos

February 26th, 2015

If you just purchased a condo, or maybe just signed a lease for a new apartment – what can you do if you love to grill but you don’t have a large outdoor space or can’t have a fire? Because multi-family properties have different fire codes than single family homes, you need to make sure what you can and cannot use for outdoor cooking! Many apartment buildings and condos do not allow gas or charcoal grills on balconies for safety reasons, but electric grills are often allowed. The technology in electronic grills has advanced to the point where you can do the same things with an electric grill that you can with a gas grill which typically can cost hundreds (often thousands) more.

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The Legacy 2 Electric Cook Number™ Grill can sear, roast and even comes with the patented Cook Number System™, taking the guess work out of grilling. It is compact in size, perfect for smaller balconies, and can also be used traveling with an RV, camping, tailgating, and more! The real point is you can still have all the amenities found in a large back yard without actually having the extra outdoor space!

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Tax Season: Invest Your Refund

February 19th, 2015

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It’s that time of year again when our accountants are busy and our tax refunds are being given back (yay!) While some people choose to save this money or use towards everyday expenses, we like to use it by investing in our homes and making improvements. Home improvements are an investment when done wisely. Like the multi-car garage, the outdoor room is not a passing fad. It’s a relaxing and enjoyable home investment, an upgrade that can be added at a fraction of the cost of indoor construction, in a fraction of the time. By knowing the right steps to take, it’s possible to turn an outdoor space that’s been a dream and turn it into a reality. Beyond outdoor furniture or a fire pit, pergolas, a deck, landscaping, and an outdoor kitchen are all great investments in your home. Not only are you doing something that you can enjoy, but also the next homeowner. Invest your refund with The Outdoor GreatRoom Company and get inspired for your own outdoor room here. 

Planning Your Outdoor Room for Spring

February 12th, 2015

Even though it’s only February, spring will come sooner than you think. Be prepared for outdoor living by prepping ahead of time. Here are 10 steps to successfully plan your outdoor room for spring.

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1. Determine the purpose of the room.
Step one in the design process is to create a list of needs and wants, then prioritize. How will it be used most? Maybe as an outdoor kitchen, a cozy nook for two, an al fresco dining room, a gathering place for friends and family, a quiet place to read and write, an entertainment center or outdoor theatre, gardening, swimming, lawn games, or jungle gyms.
Tip – Make use of free online resources that help gather and organize ideas like Pinterest and Houzz!

2. See it as a room.
Don’t set limits while envisioning a room without walls – consider any option and think big. Some people have difficulty seeing how a room without walls can be decorated, but as soon as they picture a pergola or outdoor structure, it’s easier to define the space. This may include simple pillars for stringing lights or hanging ivy on full-size structures to create privacy walls.

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3. Create a Landscape Plan
Make efficient use of space and time by working with a professional designer or landscape architect who will analyze the site, provide solutions and develop a scaled plan that includes all of the desired elements. Besides offering valuable building and layout ideas, a professional will be able to provide a rough estimate on project costs. If you’re looking to DIY the landscaping, find inspiration from Pinterest or Houzz!

4. Prepare a Timeline and Stick to the Budget.
Be sure that a savings plan and budget are in place to cover the cost for new items, renovations, and professional services. Determine which parts of the project can be done in phases to meet budgeting needs. With a structured plan, it is much easier to work in phases and not end up with a  mismatched or unfinished looking final result. Begin with the essentials and then move forward with intent towards completion of the project as a whole. Take Inventory. There may be salvageable items for use which are currently available in a garage or storage space. What needs to be replaced or refurbished? Consider each component for the outdoor space in this inventory: outdoor structures (pergolas, shades, gazebos, patios/decks), grills (gas, electric, charcoal, pellet), outdoor kitchens and outdoor entertainment areas (outdoor televisions, lawn games, sinks, refrigerators, side buers, kegerators, spas, etc), lighting and heating, campfires/fire pits (prefab surrounds, built in, custom finishing options), fireplaces (gas, wood, gel fueled), landscaping (plants, water features, pathways), hardscaping (pavers, pizza ovens), etc.

6. Do Your Homework. 
As a rule, cities have adapted from the Uniform building Code, which was written to enhance public safety and protect property owners from unsafe construction. Local codes take precedence, so it’s important to check with planning and zoning boards. For some landscape projects and outdoor rooms, a city permit may be needed. Also consider any foundation work such as laying pavement, staining, landscaping, gas lines, or installation that may need to be done by contract workers. Be sure you know the lay of the land – some items that require installation may need a flat area. Also consider the climate, the direction of the sun, shading, noise and privacy factors.

Custom Outdoor Kitchen and Matching Fire Pit

7. Save Time and Money. 
Find local talent to help with set up, assembly and manual labor – especially the heavy lifting. Contact local dealers, retail locations, and ask around to get recommendations for experienced, reliable worker. It may take time up front, but will save you time and effort in the long run. Another idea to consider is DIY options (Do it yourself). Everyone wants to save a buck, and while working on various phases, there may be elements homeowners wants to manage by themselves. Buying a pre-finished Fire Pit or Pergola Kit can help you save time and money vs. building your own. This means more money to spend on plants, furnishings and accessories.  Example: finishing of custom surfaces on pre-fab unfinished islands or fire pit surrounds.

8. Entertainment Outdoors.
Outdoor kitchens are the heart of the home indoor and they are becoming an equally essential element outside of the home. Grilling islands now offer everything from storage space to refrigeration, sinks, even outdoor TV’s. Remember to check restrictions or codes related to use of open flames or any requirements for natural gas lines.

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9. Light up the Night, Turn on the Heat and Pull up a Chair.
People are naturally attracted to flame. Think of fire either as an anchor or centerpiece for the room. Setting a fire pit in the middle of the space creates a cozy focal point, while a fireplace just outside the perimeter brings natural warmth to the whole room and allows for maximum square  footage for decorating. Fire pits, fireplaces, solar lights, or hanging lights add ambience, warmth, and an outdoorsy glow to the whole yard. Outdoor furniture is generally a high priority. By committing to purchase products with high quality and design, they will withstand the outdoor  elements far longer than similar looking, less expensive options.

10. Pay Attention to Design and Detail.
Strategically placed plants and accessories add the finishing touches to an outdoor room. Now it’s all about aesthetics: hanging plants, outdoor rugs, art, lawn games, potted plants, candles, etc. Pull in colors and textures from the home architecture to create a seamless transition from indoors to out. Like the multi-car garage, the outdoor room is not a passing fad. It’s a relaxing and enjoyable home investment, an upgrade that can be added at a fraction of the cost of indoor construction, in a fraction of the time. By knowing the right steps to take, it’s possible to turn an outdoor space that’s been a dream and turn it into a reality.

 

 

What to Love about Electric Fireplaces

February 5th, 2015

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it’s making all of us here at The Outdoor GreatRoom Company a little bit more romantic than usual. When we think about the products we L-O-V-E, our GreatCo. Electric Fireplaces are at the top of the list!

Valentines Day Electric Wall Mount Modern Linear Fireplace

Here are the top 6 reasons we LOVE our Electric Fireplaces:

  1. We offer 3 different styles to fit any room of the home: Electric Fireplace Insert, Wall Mount Modern Linear Electric Fireplace, and a Built-In Electric Fireplace style
  2. Electric fireplace installs in minutes, not hours or days like gas– saving time and money (perfect for a last minute gift for Valentine’s day!)
  3. Cool to the touch when flame and heat are on, therefore safe for children and pets. CSA certified for safety.
  4. Control your flame intensity, ember bed lighting, and backlighting (AKA Mood lighting- wink wink)
  5. Built-in heater operates on high & low settings and no heat when it is not wanted or needed– great for everyday, year-round use- Hellooooo Ambience!
  6. Move it to another room when you want to redecorate. Have one in every room without the cost of remodeling.

Whether you’re spending Valentine’s day with that special someone or with family and friends, make it special with an electric fireplace from GreatCo. (and maybe some light Jazz music for effect.)

 

 

Best of Houzz 2015

January 29th, 2015

Houzz Best of 2015

The Outdoor GreatRoom Company won the Best of 2015 Design award on Houzz for having some of the most popular photos on the social media site. Houzz is an online community of contractors, builders, designers, architects, and the companies that supply them. It is used by professionals to connect to one another, and by consumers to find the best professionals to fit their needs. OGC uses Houzz to create brand awareness of our products, promote our products to the end consumer, and to connect with potential dealers, designers, builders, etc. to carry and use OGC products.

Check out our award winning photos and profile here.

 

 

Understanding BTU’s

January 22nd, 2015

Let’s get technical. Today we’re talking BTU’s and what that really means when it comes to your gas fire pit.

British Thermal Units (or BTU’s) are described as a unit of energy required to heat or cool one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

But perhaps a more relevant description of BTU’s for a fire pit or outdoor decorative appliance is that the greater the BTU the more flame and the more heat the fire pit or appliance will generate.  BTU output will generally range from 30,000 to 100,000 on a fire pit or outdoor decorative appliance.  Therefore, the higher the BTU, the more warmth you will feel from the fire.

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The flame appearance and height on a burner is affected by a number of things besides the BTU:

1. The amount of primary air mixed with the gas before it is burned will affect the overall color and flame height. The more primary air the bluer the flame color will become and the shorter the flame will be. It will also be a cleaner and higher temperature flame. More primary air is added by opening the air shutter more at the orifice location. Less primary air is done by closing the air shutter. This causes a brighter yellow flame and  a taller flame. But closed too much and you will have a sooty dirty flame. While cleaner than a wood fire it still can be dangerous due to CO2 generated.

2. Larger orifice hole means more BTU’s to the burner, assuming all else is the same.

3. Higher gas pressure means more BTU’s to the burner, again assuming all else is the same.

4. Natural gas (1000 BTU/ft3)has less BTU’s per cubic foot than LP (liquid propane)(2500 btu/ft3)

5. Natural gas typically is used at 3.5 to 7 inches of water column

6. LP is used typically at 10-11 inches of water column.

Natural gas and LP are sold by the BTU so the more BTU’s a burner uses per hour the more it will cost to burn the appliance. So all in all, while you generally want a high BTU measure for your gas fire pit or fireplace, other factors are also important to consider when purchasing the right fire pit for you!

Post by Paul Nigon, Western US Sales Manager

 

 

OGC Dealer Open House

January 16th, 2015

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  • Showing over 10 new 2015 products
  • Extra 10% off for orders placed during event.  Extra 5% off on any seconds or out of box items that you take that day!
  • Marketing and Sales 2014 recap reports available, specific to each dealer (Must RSVP to sales@outdoorrooms.com)
  • Out of box/Overstocked product deals— first come first serve
  • Training on products
 
When: February 10 (9 am- 4 pm) & 11 (8 am- 12 pm)
Where: The Outdoor GreatRoom Company Offices and Showroom
2015 Silver Bell Road Suite 195
Eagan, MN    55122
 

RSVP or have questions? Email sales@outdoorrooms.com

or Click to RSVP here

 

 

Featured Dealer: Performance Pool & Spa

January 15th, 2015

Performance Pool & Spa is one of The Outdoor GreatRoom Company’s Twin Cities area dealers specializing in pool, spa, and outdoor products. They have retail locations in Woodbury, Plymouth, Oakdale, Burnsville, St. Cloud, and a new location in the Rosedale Mall in Roseville, MN.

Performance Pools 1

OGC: Tell us about your store? What categories do you sell/display

PPS: Mostly we display the fire pits/tables.  We have a limited amount of the furniture and electric wall hanging fireplaces.

OGC: What trends are you currently seeing in the outdoor products (or electric fireplaces) category? What do you think is a “hot” product right now?

PPS: Looks like the low end copies are flooding the market on the electric wall units.  Although product awareness is higher, the product differences are low compared to pricing. For us a “hot” product would be fire pit tables in a variety of colors.

Performance Pools 2

OGC: What new kinds of products or styles are you looking at adding for next outdoor season?

PPS: Something with a water feature would be great.

OGC: What qualities do you look for in products for your showroom to set yourself apart from your competitors?

PPS: Products that do not have the big box feel and look high quality, variety of options. 

OGC: What is your favorite OGC product and why?

PPS: Any fire pit table that sells!! Love them all!

 

 

Top 10 Reasons to Choose an Electric Fireplace

January 8th, 2015

When winter storms and cold come, many people choose to spend their time inside by the fire. Whether you’re entertaining friends, home alone, or spending time with family, a fireplace is a great focal point. GreatCo., a division of OGC, offers electric fireplaces for any style or size room of the house.

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  1. No Gas or Fuel Line required, just an electrical outlet for standard 110 volts.
  2. There is no venting, flue, or chimney required.
  3. Electric fireplace installs in minutes, not hours or days like gas– saving time and money.
  4. There is no annual service plan required and the daily operating cost is much less than a gas fireplace—only a penny per 24 hours with flame and backlighting and 9-18 cents per hour with the heat on.
  5. Cool to the touch when flame and heat are on, therefore safe for children and pets. CSA certified for safety.
  6. LED light technology offers high definition realistic looking flames. LED’s last for 35,000 hrs+.
  7. Control your flame intensity, ember bed lighting, and backlighting
  8. Built-in heater operates on high & low settings and no heat when it is not wanted or needed– great for everyday, year-round use
  9. Move it to another room when you want to redecorate. Have one in every room without the cost of remodeling.
  10. Glass stays clean without the film or residue of gas, or smoke from wood. Also great for those with allergies.

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Office Closed Dec. 31- Jan. 1

December 30th, 2014

The Outdoor GreatRoom Company offices will be closed tomorrow and Thursday, Dec. 31- Jan. 1, to celebrate the New Year Holiday. We will resume regular business hours Friday, Jan. 2. Happy New Year!