Building Deck & DIY Platform for a Grill
BBQ Basics: Techniques You Need to Know

Grilling Tips

Weber charcoal grills and gas barbecues give you great grilled results every time because they are designed to give you ultimate control of your grilling temperature and cooking method. Here we explain the secret to great grilling.

Grilling Tips
Direct Method

The Direct Method is similar to broiling. Food is cooked directly over the heat source. For even cooking, food should be turned once halfway through the grilling time. Use the Direct method for foods that take less than 25 minutes to cook: like steaks, chops, kabobs, sausages and vegetables. Direct cooking is also necessary to sear meats. Searing creates that wonderful crisp, caramelized texture where the food hits the grate. It also adds nice grill marks and flavour to the entire food surface. Steaks, chops, chicken pieces, and larger cuts of meat all benefit from searing.

Grilling Tips
Indirect Method

The Indirect Method is similar to roasting, but with the added benefits of that grilled texture, flavour, and appearance you can't get from an oven. Heat rises, reflects off the lid and inside surfaces of the grill, and slowly cooks the food evenly on all sides. The circulating heat works much like a convection oven, so there's no need to turn the food. Use the Indirect Method for foods that require 25 minutes or more of grilling time or for foods that are so delicate that direct exposure to the heat source would dry them out or scorch them.

Grilling safety requires placing your grill on a flat, level surface that remains free of combustible materials that could catch fire should you experience grill flare-ups or your fire produces sparks.
Building a simple deck for your grill can provide a safe location to cook outdoors without worry. Choose from several different decking materials to build a deck that fits your style and level of building experience.
Regardless of which simple deck style you choose to use for your grill, you must prepare the ground beneath the area. You may need to level the surface if you intend to install the deck on the ground rather than install a raised deck.
You can find a variety of snap together decking tiles to use when building a simple grilling deck. These tiles are made from different hardwood and composite materials, such as teak, eucalyptus, recycled woods and recycled plastics.

How Much Sun Does Your Dallas Garden Need?

If you have decided to install a garden in your Dallas yard, your first thought may be to add a nice combination of beautiful looking flowers. But have you stopped to think about how much shade each variety will need and where they will thrive the most? Not all do well in direct sunlight for […]

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If you have decided to install a garden in your Dallas yard, your first thought may be to add a nice combination of beautiful looking flowers. But have you stopped to think about how much shade each variety will need and where they will thrive the most? Not all do well in direct sunlight for […]

The post How Much Sun Does Your Dallas Garden Need? appeared first on Outdoor Home Living.

If you have decided to install a garden in your Dallas yard, your first thought may be to add a nice combination of beautiful looking flowers. But have you stopped to think about how much shade each variety will need and where they will thrive the most? Not all do well in direct sunlight for much of the day; they need plenty of shade so they don’t die. Mapping out the shady areas of your property is a useful practice in landscape design.

Mistake #1: Seeing Sun and Thinking the Space is Sunny/Seeing Shade and Thinking the Space is Shady

Just because you see sun or shade on a part of your land does not necessarily mean this area is good for plants that prefer shade to sun or vice versa.

Fact #1 and #2:  The sun moves from sunrise (east) to sunset (west) AND the angle of the sun changes with the seasons

In the northern hemisphere, the height of the sun (AKA solar altitude) changes about 50 degrees as it relates to the horizon over the course of a year. Therefore, the sun is higher in the sky during the summer (which creates shorter shadows) than during the winter (which creates longer shadows). Starting during winter, the solar altitude ramps up throughout the spring, peaking in summer before it starts decreasing through fall to its lowest point in winter again.

It’s important to remember that the sun moves during the day, of course, but it also moves across the face of the sky throughout the year. It’s these seasonal movements that change the amount of light your garden will get at any given hour. At different times of the year, your plants may receive shade from a fence or the neighbor’s tree, not to mention all the irregular shadows that are cast by your house, privacy fences, large trees, and outbuildings.

Make a Shadow Map

Before planting anything, you have to know how much sun your garden will get throughout the growing year. To do this, you can make shadow maps which display the sections of your garden that are shaded during the daytime hours as well as during the seasons over the course of a year.

You can download an app for your phone, but it’s very easy to make one yourself. Sketch out your garden area on a piece of paper, grab a calendar and colored pens, and you’re good to go.

Sketch the shape of your property, using a measuring tape. Once the property outlines are done, mark anything taller than you that could cast a shadow, such as fences, trees, shrubs and buildings. Find north on a compass and mark it on the map. Make three copies of your map.

Go to your calendar and mark a weekend that is closest to either March 20, which is the spring equinox for 2021, or September 22, which is the autumnal equinox for 2021. Now mark the weekend closest to June 20, which is the summer solstice for 2021, and then a weekend near the winter solstice on December 21 for 2021.

On the days you have marked, head outside and sketch the edges of the shadows at the following times: 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. Using a different colored pen, differentiate the edges of the shadows. When you’re all done, you’ll likely be pretty surprised, as your shadows reach farther and into more areas than you first assumed.

Sure, it takes a little preparation and planning, but making your own shadow map of your garden areas will benefit you for many years to come.

Contact Outdoor Home Living

Need some help with landscape design so you don’t have to worry about which plants do well in which areas of your yard? Our experts will be able to tell you. Contact us at 214-328-5296.

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