Thursday, June 5, 2008

Fun ideas for summertime

By S. Derrickson Moore
Sun-News reporter
LAS CRUCES — Are you looking for something to perk up your less-than-great outdoors? How about a hot new landscaping idea? Or something new for the barbecue. Or maybe it’s time for a backyard water feature.
During a summer when escalating gas prizes are compelling many of us to stick close to home, there lots of ways to add some summer fun to your home and yard, whether you’re preparing for a party or family gathering, or just planning to hang out.
Ideas and interesting purchases could come from a trip to the mall, a Saturday making the rounds at garage sales or a visit to an event like the recent Las Cruces Home Builders Association Home Improvement and Lifestyle Show at Oñate High School.
Exterior spruce up ideas at the show ranged from stylish wood vigas and wrought iron trim to prefabricated hot tubs.
Concrete resurfacing seemed to be a particularly hot trend this year, with vendors offering everything from colorful staining techniques to textured pebble looks and patterns to resurface patios, sidewalks, pool decks, driveways and even that old garage floor.
Do you lack the patience and/or budget to tackle major improvements like a in-ground pool or pond? Wayne and Maya Lee’s Desert Earthworks of Las Cruces can transform your yard with exotic water features like terraced ponds and fountains constructed of faux rock.
“The rocks are made with lots and lots of things,” Maya Lee explained, leading a tour of a pretty pseudo rock alcove with bubbling water, part of a temporary installation she had just set up in the parking lot at Oñate High School. The Lees specialize in xeriscaping, low-water irrigation systems, custom arbors and benches and rockscapes. For a consultation, call (575) 805-5117, 805-5118 or visit online at
After you’ve cooled down, you can heat things up with an unusual grill in the shape of a giant pig.
The porker is even anatomically correct in some details.
“There are little pips underneath, which our cat discovered the other day, and a cute little curly tail,” explained Elizabeth Flores, who runs Western Stoves and Spas with her husband Jim at 1103 E. Lohman Ave. A personality-packed, cow-shaped barbecue is also available. For information call 647-1941.
A stroll through the housewares department at your favorite superstore could turn up some other life-of-the-party conversation pieces. Target carries an amusing line of kitchen critter accessories made by Boston Warehouse’s Animal House division. Standouts include a piranha pizza cutter, complete with fearsome teeth, a toucan can opener, woodpecker scissors, a bright yellow mouse cheese grater, produce peelers in the shapes of birds and monkeys, a shark bottle opener and for cleanups, their bright red Punk-U-Pine scrubber, sporting ridges of punky “quills.”
Inspiration could also come from a stroll around your favorite neighborhood. Mesilla is full of inspirational yards and courtyards.
Check behind one of the area’s most photographed landmarks, Josefina’s legendary gate, at 2261 Calle de Guadalupe in Mesilla. You’ll find a courtyard of what is now a restaurant, brimming with interesting ideas, on property owned by the late Josefina Gamboa Barth’s daughter and son-in-law, Kathleen and Bob Foreman. Check out towering trees with thriving planting beds underneath, edged with old bricks and filled with a pretty mixture of in-ground and potted flowering plants, vines and greenery.
S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at

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