Do the Shuffle
Considered something only retirees play on tropical cruise boats, shuffleboard is actually more than five centuries old, dating back to England, where it was initially called "Groat." The game of sliding discs down a court may be ideal for cool days out on the patio. To transform a patio into a shuffleboard court, you need just green and white paint, plus a ruler and, optionally, number stencils. Paint your entire deck green and let dry. The shuffleboard game is made of triangles (which look like the food pyramid). Use white paint and a ruler to draw the triangles. If you have a steady hand, draw the triangle points numbers onto the court. Otherwise, lay a stencil down and paint over it to add on the numbers. Let dry, gather some sticks and sliders and get shuffling.
If you're a fan of the Houston Astros and the Houston Oilers, you may have noticed the team playing in their home base, the Astrodome, with some very bright, never dead, grass. Invented in the 1950s, artificial grass (which goes by the brand name of AstroTurf, originally ChemGrass) was created to make game play look more real, when elements of nature wreak havoc on real grass. Artificial grass shows up in many more places than just sports arenas; you'll find it on miniature golf courses, playgrounds and even rooftop pools. Purchase directly from AstroTurf's website or buy non-name-brands at hardware stores. Whether you want to hit a few rounds or just sink your toes into the you-never-have-to-cut-it grass, artificial turf can help your patio deck "go green."
Zen and the Art of Patio Maintenance
Turn your patio into your ultimate serenity escape from the world by transforming it into a Zen garden. Whether your patio is a raised deck or sits firmly against the ground, you can have a place to curl your toes in the sand and serenely move rocks around as you relax after after a long day. To ensure you don't lose sand, seal off your patio by filling any slats and knotty holes. Large bags of sand are available at home supply centers; buy enough to cover your patio or create a sandbox out of part of it with a couple of two-by-fours. Buy polished stones at the hardware or craft store, or find your own on a long hike or walk on the beach. Sprinkle stones throughout the sand and use a small rake to make designs in the sand.