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A little effort will dazzle outdoor party guests

May 18 at 6:25 a.m.

The late Betty Minkler was a wonderful cook and hostess. When she was asked for some of her secrets to successful entertaining, the community-minded Wichitan said, “Your table may be pretty, or clever, elegant or casual, but it has to be inviting. And if you have a great-looking table, your food, well, it doesn’t have to be as whippy.”

  • Escape to a treehouse

    Who doesn’t love a treehouse? The escape, the cool leafy cover, the feeling of floating above the earth.

  • Right equipment makes backyard movies a blast

    It’s Friday night, and Andover’s Carly and Travis Stowell have laid out two large tarps and brought out blankets and camping chairs. They have stretched out their large portable screen and plugged in a sound bar. Travis has set up their projector on a card table, and Carly has popped the popcorn. In about 15 minutes, the backyard theater is ready.

  • A cook is only as good as his grill, enthusiasts say

    Before he really got into grilling, Greg Rowe used to cook hamburgers and hot dogs on a cheap gas grill.

  • End game: Keep the family playing together this summer

    There’s nothing like a good backyard game to get the kids out of the house, bridge the generations and draw in the neighbors.

  • Advice on how to have healthy, safe summer

    Being outdoors and active seem to be the hallmarks of a fun summer. But it’s only fun until someone gets (insert your common summer ailment here).

  • Make the most of a small outdoor space

    If your space for gardening is limited to a balcony or a spit of land outside your apartment door, make the most of it by choosing the right plants and decorating with pots, statuary and maybe a birdbath that pack a punch.

  • Spruce up your patio before your summer get-togethers

    Feeling like your patio is a little blah? It doesn’t take a lot of money to do a little spring sprucing, and while a gorgeous outdoor space isn’t required to entertain guests, it can definitely set the stage for a memorable event.

  • Summer fun: Create a backyard bubble station

    Give your kids a bottomless cup of simple pleasure by setting up a backyard bubble station. Chances are, they’ll run out of energy before they use up all the solution.

  • Side-table decor spruces up home for summer

    When I decorate my home for summer, I like to give my side tables a fresh, seasonal look. It just takes a few minutes to craft a summery display on these strategically important spots, and the payoff is huge. Your home looks renewed and refreshed. This summer, I’m using three simple decorating tools to trick up my side tables.

  • Landscapers offer advice on when, how much to water

    Watering your lawn and garden beds too much or too little can cause a lot of problems. And that often means money going down the drain, when it comes to the cost of maintaining your yard.

  • Containers, deck accessories can spruce up patio area

    Resolve to use your deck or patio for more than grilling this summer.

  • Staying in shade key to enjoying summer fun

    Sometimes the difference between getting out in the yard in the summer and staying shuttered up inside is a lack of shade.

  • Right plants reduce water needed in container gardens

    It’s not for nothing that more and more varieties of sedums can be seen at garden centers each year.

  • Answers to summer’s most common garden questions

    No matter what the weather, every summer brings some perennial garden questions.

  • Simple changes can brighten any home for summer

    Winter is finally over, and now it’s time to clear out, clean up and redo drab, dull rooms.

  • Build your own fire pit to enjoy summer nights outside

    There were many things that Erin Lang Norris and her husband were looking forward to when they moved out of an apartment and into their own house in south central Wisconsin. Top on that list was having a yard for building big fires to enjoy during the summer and winter months. But the property they purchased didn’t have a fire pit, so Lang Norris had to take things into her own hands.

  • Block party a great way to connect with neighborhood

    Burgers sizzling on the grill, kids conducting an impromptu parade down the street, a veteran neighbor reminiscing about when your Eisenhower-era house was built. They’re all familiar scenes from a sure sign of summer: the neighborhood block party.

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