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Oct 03, 2017

Why a Backyard Meat Smoker Just Might Change Your Life

Editor's note: From time to time, we like to feature the voices of ManMade readers on the site. We love hearing what you're up to, what you're making, and how you stay creative. When ManMade reader Scott Huntington wrote in to share how he hadn't fired up his grill once for the entire summer and it revolutionized his cooking, I asked him to share his experience. 

My life changed forever this summer. It was the summer I didn’t grill a single time. It was also the summer I made the best meats I’ve ever had, all because of a simple backyard ssmoker. It took my cooking level from “yeah I’ll eat that” to “I need to share this with the world.” And it couldn’t be easier.      

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Sep 14, 2017

Make a Modern Cedar Slat Composting Bin for Your Backyard

This post is sponsored by the DIYZ® app.

Composting. Maybe you've heard of it? It's kind of a thing. It's no longer the sole purview of hippies, weirdos, and 7th-grade science teachers Composting has gone mainstream, and that's a good thing. Don't worry, we're sure your 7th grade science teacher will find another weird hobby to call their own.

Anyway, if you've been looking to get into composting, but don't love the look of boring, plastic composting bins, then this is the post for you. We're going to make an elegant, functional, totally-not-weird-looking compost bin. And we're going to have fun doing it! Pay attention, because at

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Aug 08, 2017

If You're Not Doing This Every Time You Grill, You're Missing Out on Serious Flavor

During summer, it's my goal to bust out the charcoal and chimney starter as much as possible. Call it a masculine stereotype if you must, but I never miss an opportunity to take advantage of extended daylight to cook dinner outside. It avoids heating up the house with the oven, and, of course, makes everything taste amazing.

And, if you want you grilled food to taste even better, here's my tip. It takes all of five seconds to set up, and takes your meal up to the next level:     

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May 30, 2017

How to: Everything You Need to Create a Great Backyard Movie Experience

created at: 06/16/2015

Remember when you were a kid, and you never went inside during the summer, except to ask permission from your parents to run around the neighborhood with that new kid you just met, or to get another PB&J, which you promptly marched right back outside?

Let's all do that again. Let's embrace bare feet, and staying up too late, and smell like chlorine and sunscreen. Let's have a summer.    

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May 05, 2017

How to: Make Your Own Shiplap

There's corner of my yard that is a bit of an eyesore. It used to hide my pool pump, but the cheap stapled grid surrounding it fell apart in the sun. I wanted to replace it with something that would hold up well, and also contain a bit of the pump sound. Of course, it had to look great, too. Take a look at what I came up with.   

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Apr 20, 2017

A DIY Weed Killer That Actually Works

Spring seems to have arrived overnight, and with it comes the explosion of green as everything wakes up from its winter nap. First up? Time to fend off the weeds. . . and please don’t reach for that toxic stuff. It’s nasty for you, your yard, and everything around it. Instead, try this safer and super effective recipe.   

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Dec 09, 2016

Weekend Project: How to Assemble a Brick Pizza Oven in a Day


Everyone loves pizza and brick oven pizza is about as good as it gets. The whole point of the brick oven is to bake pizzas between 800 and 1000 degrees giving you that crispy layer of thin char over an airy breaded crust. Much better than the paltry results you can get with a conventional oven that only runs about half that heat.      

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Oct 07, 2016

How to: Make a Swedish Flame

created at: 01/21/2016

What's a Swedish flame? Something you can buy at IKEA? No sir.

If you haven't seen one of these Swedish Flame logs lately, they definitely need to be the star of your next outdoor fire. Its genius design allows the fire to burn from the inside out which means little to no tending from you! 

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Oct 04, 2016

How to: Build a Beautiful Bluestone Patio in A Single Afternoon

Peter Martin found himself with a dilemma. He had a great, new, adult apartment in Brooklyn but his backyard was little more than a 20’ x 18’ concrete slab with a drain in the center. And that wasn’t going to fly. After weighing concrete’s reliability against brick’s throwback aesthetic, he and his wife decided on the subtle beauty of bluestone to make their dream patio come to life.   

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Sep 26, 2016

How to: Use a Swedish Flame to Cook Up Some Cast Iron Salt and Vinegar Potatoes

fireside sea salt and vinegar potatoes

If you're a fan of salt and vinegar potato chips then you're gonna love this recipe for pan fried sea salt and basalmic potatoes. 

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Sep 16, 2016

How to: Make a DIY Fire Pit In Any Shape You Please

created at: 09/11/2016 The backyard fire pit is the hallmark of great outdoor memory-making. Where friends gather, stories are told, beers are drunk. And sure they can be as simple as a no-frills dugout, but something a little more concrete demonstrates your commitment to the intentionality of the space....    

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Aug 24, 2016

How to: Build a Set of Classic Cornhole Boards for The Backyard

Cornhole is the perfect backyard game. It's got a leg up on other lawn games like croquette since it's you can play it one-handed with a drink in the other, without ever having to actually leave your conversation. On the other hand, it also lets you to get as competitive as you want with it (unless you're me and your brother-in-law has to limit how excitable you're allowed to get for the onlooker's sake)...   

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Aug 12, 2016

Make This: Bench That Converts Into A Picnic Table

What started as a backyard space-saving idea became a beautiful and versatile piece of furniture that's sure to inspire other convertible furniture ideas. Instructables.com user jordi D started with a couple of similar design ideas he'd seen online and then adapted them to fit his own specific aesthetic.   

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Aug 11, 2016

How to Make a Concrete Fire Pit That's Really Built to Last

Firepit Looking for a way to keep the fun going when the sun goes down? A firepit is the perfect post-BBQ gathering point for a bit of warmth, some roasted marshmallows, and conversations well into the night. I wanted to build a place where we could keep the summer nights going, but the store-bought kits just didn’t catch my eye. That’s why I decided to build my own from durable, solid outdoor materials that will hold up to years of use, and look great doing it. This project is pretty straightforward, and combines with my backyard corner benches project to create a place where a long evening turns into a lasting friendship.

created at: 08/02/2016

Of course, no night spent around a fire is complete without a little refreshment,

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Aug 08, 2016

Have You Tried These? You Definitely Should Be Making Grilled Oysters For Your Next Cookout

Grilled OysterLooking for something beyond burgers and dogs to toss over the coals and infuse with the flavors of summer? How about grilling up some seriously tasty oysters? It's easier than you think.   

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Jul 27, 2016

How to Make a Set of Indestructible Concrete-Top Benches For Your Backyard (I Did!)

Finished BenchesThere are many reasons we DIY projects: saving money, customizing for the space, or to make something from quality materials without a particleboard heart. But never do we do it because we want it to look like a thrown-together project. 

I have had a corner of my yard that just feels like wasted space. It isn't horribly ugly, it just doesn't really do anything. That’s where the thought of a fire pit corner was born. It’s only a 10’x10’ area, but with some careful planning, the space could be transformed into an area that draws people in, that simply assumes a nightcap is in order.

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Jul 18, 2016

How to: Build a Rustic Cedar Hot Tub for Under $1,000

 Alyssa and Jesse run their own homestead deep in the mountains of Idaho after moving off the grid and blogging about their every endeavor on their blog Pure Living For Life. They're DIYer's with a penny-pinching mindset that keeps them on the lookout for great projects at little cost, which is how I ended up coming across

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Jun 29, 2016

Build This: You Can Have Your Own Backyard Bowling Alley

Backyard Bowling AlleyHave some room in that backyard? Why not fill it up with something everyone can enjoy like this backyard bowling alley. Take a look here.   

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Jun 21, 2016

10 Great Southern Beers You Should Be Drinking this Summer

created at: 06/21/2016

The southeast has a lot of great things about it -- beaches, mountains, iced tea, southern hospitality -- but it isn’t necessarily considered a hotbed of the craft beer world. There are great craft beer cities, sure, but it doesn’t have the respect of a Michigan, Oregon, or upstate New York. The past decade has seen an explosion of breweries in the southeast, though, and these folks have mastered brewing for summertime. These breweries don’t just know heat. They live it, and they make beer that suits it. With that in mind, here are ten favorites to help you beat the heat next time you’re having friends or family over this summer. 

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May 20, 2016

Old Fence, New Life: How to Upgrade that Ratty Fence

Original FenceFences are useful for many reasons, first, they keep the neighbor's dog from leaving surprises on your patio, they also keep their unkempt backyard from being your primary view. While it's generally a cheap, somewhat ugly row of dogeared wood, it doesn't have to be. Here's a simple way to upgrade that fence without breaking the bank.  

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