Can you still entertain outdoors in January?

We had an epic year out by the grill. Tried a few new recipes and had good friends over many times. It was really memorable. Did it come to a halt because the weather changed? No way!

Outdoor living has become a big part of how we enjoy our precious free time and there is no better place to do that than in your own backyard. All the comforts of home are still within reach, yet you can feel a world away. Best Tip: Your phone can recharge in a drawer for a while so you don’t hear it go off.

Once you have the living space set up the way you want, it seems your best friends want to stay longer and come more often; telling stories and making plans that keep the party going. Something like a deep seating resin wicker furniture set to hang out in or a fire pit for a gathering place make it that much easier to entertain.outdoor living, outdoor kitchen, outdoor entertaining, night life outdoors

BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE…So what do we do now that it’s getting colder? The ladies want to stay inside. Some say that’s ok, but we know you spent inordinate amounts of money to get her to like you, and she looks better than your buddies anytime of year. What if we could heat the outside seating area or under a screen porch setting economically and extend that summer party atmosphere?

prone outdoor heater, pyramidal heater, stay warm outdoors

Propan fired pyramidal outdoor heater

Have you seen the pyramid heaters at restaurants that are being provided near outdoor seating, especially at restaurants. Very popular in places like Disney World where you wouldn’t think about getting a chill but a chill could ruin the enjoyment of the patrons. Those places are packed every night.

I looked into some heating options because I’m not ready to give up being outdoors with friends and family. Basically it comes down to gas or electric and stand alone or ceiling mounted.

If you have natural gas at the house we can take a look at having the meter upgraded by BGE to flow more gas volume and having the meter changed doesn’t cost anything (although there is a waiting period). Propane works as well but isn’t as safe and the tanks are ugly. We can have our plumber route new lines and we can permanently mount a couple gas heaters if, for example, you have a screen room to warm up. On a deck, there are ways to mount cantilevered heaters on walls or off a small pergola and of course there are several portable types that run off 20# bottles like the top hat style or the pyramid (shown above). We did a man cave, ok converted garage, with portables and I know for a fact they have a standing room crowd for the football games on Sunday and no one is cold at all.

Electric Outdoor Heaters are also available if you don’t like the idea of using gas. This
makes for a clean installation and again there are stand alone models and ceiling mounts.

The most important thing to look for in an outdoor heater is how far it reaches.

  • Does it’s radiant heating footprint spread evenly or just melt the people closest to it?
  • Can it be adjusted easily?
  • Is there a remote or an app for that?
  • One of the things we do is evaluate the necessity for a single or multiple units.

The newest and most efficient heaters use tungsten elements and actually project fairly evenly out as far as 16-20 feet. One brand we really like is Bromic Heating. We love these for their beautiful design esthetics, ease of use and variety of mounting features. You can’t go wrong with a Bromic Heater. Here is a link to their brochure:  We are lucky enough to have a distributor right here in Millersville, MD where we can take you to see these in person.

Baby, Let’s stay outside a little longer…The first consultation is FREE.

What happened to the Lights?


We are back to work busily preparing for the possibility of snow and designing the projects that will be done this coming season, but something is missing.  This time of year it is noticeably getting dark a lot earlier.  My body clock can’t get used to it. It seems like it is dark most of the time.  Winter days are often referred to as the grey days.  It’s like someone flipped a switch.

So what if we used Outdoor Lighting as a form of Winter Gardening?  During the summer it stays light until all hours and the sun is up way too early in the morning for most of us.  But what about bringing some life back to the winter grey?  There is still plenty going on in the gardens and the trees have a completely different appeal that you cannot see during the summer.  Maybe we could make your landscaping more warm and inviting; Alive.

Outdoor LED Lighting

I always say that if you are going to spend money on landscaping then you should be able to enjoy it all year long.  Personally, I leave before the sun comes up and get home well after it has set most days.  Except for a few Sundays when I do the maintenance on my own house, I hardly see the landscape.  But, there is something peaceful about turning up the driveway and seeing the architecture of your own home lit up, the beauty of the landscape you’ve invested in, and there is the safety factor of being able to see where you are going.  A sense of peace when you return home.  An invitation to forget all the days worries and prepare to greet your family.

Fire Pits

Fire pits and larger fireplaces offer an extra opportunity to be outdoors and skip out on some reality tv.  They can be wood burning or gas/propane.  Often they are the center of the family’s entertaining and AMJ has all the people to make it happen and extend your enjoyment of your Landscape.

With the advent of warm white lamps, LED Outdoor Lighting has moved from that blue haze to a truly beautiful light that uses only pennies worth of electricity compared to the standard Halogen lighting of just a few years ago.

Landscape Lighting - Walkway Steps

And there is nothing wrong with leaving some holiday style lights on the bushes through March.  They also don’t cost much to run if  you use LEDs and who cares if the neighbors think you are lazy.  They are inside hibernating anyway.   I’m not saying the snow globe penguins should still be out there but a little lighting on the roof line or in the shrubs is nice.

I know a garden center in Detroit and the owner goes all out making decorations with greens, so the outdoor pots have something in them for this time of year. She uses LED lighting in every display to keep the season going.  Deborah says, “My advice this January morning is to stay warm and plug something in.”  I agree!