Magazine article Sunset

Round the Clock in Your Backyard: How to Make Your Yard a Comfortable Hangout All Day Long (and into the Night)!

Magazine article Sunset

Round the Clock in Your Backyard: How to Make Your Yard a Comfortable Hangout All Day Long (and into the Night)!

Article excerpt

Morning: Jump-start the day by cooking breakfast in your "campsite"

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7:15

Make this

TIPI

This tent-like tipi with an air mattress is so comfortable, you may decide to spend the night.

No fancy tools needed!

Wrap an oversize blanket around some poles and you've got a comfy tipi (details below). Or make the more elaborate tipi pictured by sewing a cover (a bit of a challenge) of weather-resistant fabric like Sunbrella (sunbrella.com).

Instructions are at sunset.com/tipi

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The 30-minute version:

WHAT YOU'LL NEED

Five 10-ft. bamboo poles

(2 in. diameter)

3 yards of 3/8-in. sisal rope

(available at hardware stores)

1 camping tarp

1 oversize blanket, big enough to wrap around the poles

Three 4-in. steel safety pins

(available on amazon.com)

1 double-size air mattress

(for added comfort)

ASSEMBLE THE FRAME First, measure an 81- by 59-in. rectangle on the ground. Place 4 bamboo poles upright, 1 at each corner. Place pole 5 between 2 back poles for stability. Tether 5 poles with the sisal rope. Spread out the tarp underneath the bamboo frame.

MAKE THE "WALLS" Wrap the blanket around the frame, covering it completely so that the ends meet in the front. Secure at the top front with the safety pins.

ADD AMENITIES Put the mattress inside the tipi and inflate. Add linens and pillows as desired.

DESIGN SHOWN AT LEFT Trisha Olson, Out-N-In, Sausalito, CA (out-n-in.com or 415/935-5929)

10:05

A GRILLED BREAKFAST

Turn French toast into food-on-a-stick.

French toast kebabs

Soak 12 wooden skewers (10 to 12 in) in water for 20 minutes; drain. Cut day-old pain au levain into 1-in. chunks, including some crust on each, to make 2 qts. In a large bowl, whisk 3/4 cup whole milk, 4 large eggs, and 1 tsp. vanilla extract to blend. Mix in bread to coat; thread onto skewers. Grill, covered, on a well-oiled cooking grate over medium heat (about 350[degrees]) until browned, turning once, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve with maple or berry syrup and melted butter and dust with powdered sugar if you like. SERVES 4

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Tricks for great French toast

* Use day-old bread

* Each cube should have some crust

* Soak the skewers

Strawberry orangeade

Ready in 5! More vitamin C than plain OJ

Puree berries in a food processor, then strain, discarding seeds. Mix puree, OJ, and sugar. SERVES 4 OR 5

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Midday: It's pick-me-up time! Spa out in an easy-to-assemble shower

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Dual-purposed to irrigate your landscape

* Runoff from the shower waters your yard.

Make this

OUTDOOR SPA

Build a cool-off corner with a garden hose hookup.

This shower is as simple as building two frames from 2-by-4s and adding corrugated metal panels. The showerhead connects to your garden hose via easy-to-assemble piping. Add a gravel foundation and pavers, and voila! For full materials and instructions, visit sunset.com/outdoorshower

12:15

THE FROZEN FRUIT SNACK

These layered treats have just 90 calories. Start them a day ahead.

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Layered fruitsicles

Put 1 cup each pureed raspberries, apricots, and plums in separate bowls. Stir in superfine sugar to taste (about 2 1/2 tbsp. per bowl). Add lemon juice to taste (up to 2 tsp. each). Pour berry layer into 8 juice bar molds, add juice bar sticks, and freeze until firm, about 1 hour. (Chill remaining purees.) Pour apricot layer over berry layer and freeze. Repeat with plum layer. When firm, at least 1 more hour, briefly dip molds in warm water to loosen. …

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