Enjoying the best of summer without the maintenance


August 25, 2002|By Sara Engram | Sara Engram,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

There's nothing more inviting on a summer evening than a cozy rocker on the patio or a sturdy Adirondack chair overlooking your own backyard vista. But when the paint is peeling, the rockers are wobbly or the chair begins to splinter, time-consuming maintenance can take its toll on your warm-weather pleasures.

If that's an annoyingly familiar dilemma in your household, check out the wares from By The Yard Inc., a Minnesota firm that offers a line of stylish and durable outdoor furniture that is billed as maintenance-free and environmentally friendly.

Made from recycled plastic milk jugs, EcoSmart furniture is guaranteed not to crack, break or peel. It requires no painting, no winter storage and produces no splinters. Debby Anderson, the firm's president, says EcoSmart is 20 percent heavier than cedar. No wonder -- a single rocking chair contains about 350 milk jugs.

The EcoSmart line includes dining sets, bistro sets, Adirondack chairs, benches and rockers, tables and planters in four colors -- white, cedar brown, hunter green and charcoal gray. The Days End rocker, with a high back and wide arm rests, is $299.

For more information, call 877-220-0448 (toll-free) or log on to www.bytheyard.net.

Seasonal helpers

This month's Metropolitan Home features accessories guaranteed to add some sizzle to end-of-summer dog days. Need some instant privacy, or a way to keep pesky critters out of your vegetable bed? Try Smith & Hawken's portable fencing, made from willow branches and galvanized wire. Metropolitan Home suggests it can even be used inside as wainscoting. The small version is 9 feet long and 3 feet high and sells for $69. The large size, 9 feet by 4 1/2 , sells for $89. For more information, log on to www.smithhawken.com.

Bodum's portable barbecue grill is easy to pack for a last-minute trip to the beach or your favorite picnic site. Enamel-on-steel, it comes with foldaway feet and a windscreen for windy conditions. It sells for $60. For more information, go to www. bodum.com.

Brighten up your pooch's corner, or give him his own pup tent on your next campout, with a colorful Funky Pet Pop Up Kennel from Room Interior Products. Made of nylon, the tent has a washable floor mat and collapses for easy storage. It is available in blue, chocolate, green, red and yellow for about $50. For more information, see www.roominteriorproducts.com.

Dishwasher goes to a new level

Dishwashers are great for plates and glasses, but all too often let us down when it comes to dirty pots and pans. Maytag offers a clever solution: a third rack, along with buttons to adjust the height of the other racks so you can make the most of every square inch of space. Designed to clean even cookware with baked-on food, the FlexLoad rack is positioned at the bottom of the washer to ensure these items get the strongest wash possible.

Prices for Maytag's new JetClean II line, which includes the three-rack washers, range from $450 to $699. The line comes in white, black, bisque and stainless steel, and is available from appliance and home stores, including Maytag Home Appliance Centers, Lowe's, Home Depot and Sears.


* Clay Orbit, a gallery featuring pottery, paintings and fine craft by local artists, will exhibit the watercolors of Rhoda Seiden of Bel Air now through Saturday. On view will be landscapes and florals, autumn and winter scenes. The gallery is at 10918 York Road in Cockeysville. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Satur-day. For more information, call 410-329-1440.

Home Front welcomes interesting home and garden news. Please send suggestions to Liz Atwood, Home Front, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278, or fax to 410-783-2519. Information must be received at least four weeks in advance to be considered.

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