How to Give a Boring Deck More Dimension

How to Give a Boring Deck More Dimension

For many people, grill-out season is finally here. We all enjoy long summer evenings, eating family dinners, having friends over, and socializing outdoors. It’s not as fun when you look outside and realize that your deck is boring. Maybe the wood is looking a little dingy, or there just isn’t much to look at period. You don’t have to settle for a boring deck where only the grill is relegated to. Here are five ways you can give a boring deck more dimension and entice your guests outdoors.

Paint or Stain in Two Tones

Painting or staining your deck in more than one shade is a great way to add dimension to your family and party area. If the wood is looking a little weather-worn, now might be a great time to add some pizazz to the overall color. Try painting or staining the floorboards in one color but the railing in a contrasting shade. Get creative with it and remember to prime and waterproof.

Add Some Outdoor Plants

You can spice up the look of your deck by adding some plants. Flowering plants can give a beautiful touch of color to small spaces. Or, you could consider having a potted garden. Many herbs, tomatoes, and some peppers can be grown in pots which you can then use in your cooking. Fresh, homegrown tomatoes have the best flavor and taste great on burgers. Their beautiful colors will also liven up your deck.

Consider Updating Your Furniture

Fading deck furniture always looks drab. Consider purchasing a new set. Or, if you aren’t ready to commit to that purchase, spray-painting metal, plastic, or wicker chairs and tables can bring new life to the furniture you already have. If the cushions are looking worn and faded you can either recover them if you have some sewing skills or you can purchase new ones. Add touches of color with the cushions and include decorative details with pillows, throw blankets, or table centerpieces.

Add Evening Atmosphere Lighting

At night we all enjoy looking at the stars but if you are having a party a little bit of lighting is a great way of giving your deck a bit of ambiance. Paper lanterns can add a fun vibe. Another great alternative is string lights. Or, if you would like something more permanent consider inset lights or strip lights placed under the floorboards which will also ensure that no one trips as they climb the stairs. Insect repellent candles can give you some protection as well as added lighting and ambiance.

Keep Your Lawn Manicured

We’re talking about decks, but many have stairways that lead into the backyard or at very least, overlook the backyard. By keeping the lawn and yard well-maintained you will have a more inviting view that will give your deck more dimension. Put up yard games like croquet, badminton, or horseshoes for the kids. Be sure to mow or have a lawn care service come and cut the grass before any event.

Your deck doesn’t have to be boring. With just a few easy changes you can have a deck that you, your friends, and your family will enjoy all summer long.

 

9 Ways To Pimp Your Patio – Infographic

Having a paved patio area in your garden can make the area much more usable, meaning you can enjoy your garden easily throughout the year. During the summer months a patio offers the perfect space in which to enjoy some al fresco dining, spend quality time with friends and family, or simply relax and unwind with a good book and a cool drink. As autumn approaches and the weather gets cooler, your patio can remain usable thanks to outdoor heaters or a fire pit, making it a really versatile attrition to your garden!

A patio is really easy to clean and care for too; paving stones can be swept easily to remove leaves and debris, and the area can be cleaned with a pressure washer to keep it looking its best. Paving part of your garden to create a patio also reduces the amount of grass, cutting down on the time and energy spent mowing the lawn and keeping grass in good condition.

If you’re looking for some fun ways to inject some new life into your patio, this handy infographic from Mainland Aggregates details nine ways that you can pimp your patio!

Pimp Your Patio Infographic

Summer Project Bring Shade to Your Deck or Patio

Summer Project Bring Shade to Your Deck or Patio

While some people wait for summer in order to undertake interior remodeling projects, the best thing about this season is that it allows you to spend most of your free time outdoors. Sure, you could go to a park and simply sit on the bench, but the satisfaction of making a real-life oasis of nature in your own backyard is simply much more appealing. The most important part of this garden during the summer should be your deck, patio or even a gazebo, where you can sit and rest with a group of your closest friends.

Now, the aforementioned gazebo always comes with a roof construction, which means that shade is not an issue, alas, the same could not be said about your deck and patio. With this in mind, here are few projects that will help you make your patio into a pleasant place even during the hottest summer days. Let’s take a look.

Buying a Parasol

Those who intend to cover a small area of their patio (just enough to cover the seating) should definitely consider buying a parasol. The advantages of this solution are quite obvious and even straightforward. First of all, it costs next to nothing (compared to some other methods), it is highly portable which makes it easy to remove during the colder part of the year. Most importantly, however, you can buy it in person or order it online and install it on your own. This is actually a simple procedure and you won’t need more than several minutes to set it up. All in all, most people would agree that, while going with a parasol may not be the most creative, or stylish, solution, it is definitely the most flexible one out there.

A Roof Construction

For those with more time, more energy and definitely a bigger budget, the optimal option would probably be to go for a roof construction. This way, you are giving your garden a lasting upgrade by putting a real roof over your patio. The best part of this solution is that it is durable, protects you from a sudden summer downpour (something parasol may not be able to do). Unfortunately, in order to make it you would either have to learn a thing or two about this type of construction or hire someone to do this for you. No matter the effort, it is undeniable that this is definitely worth your while.

summer projects

Shade Sail

Another great idea for protecting your deck or patio from sun would be to do it with some shade cloth. Shade cloth and mesh banners are impressive printing advertising tools, however shade cloth also serves another purpose. By using it to cover your deck or patio, you can decide on the size, shape and position on your own and perhaps even find someone who will allow you to print on it whatever you like. In this manner, you can turn this sun protection method into a great stylish addition to your backyard. You don’t even have to stop there. By adding few curtains to the mix, you can get that exotic Arabian Nights look, as well. Your only limitation is your own imagination.

Retractable Awning

In case where your patio is right next to your home (or some other construction) you could always invest a bit in a retractable awning. The ingenuity of this device is quite astounding. First of all, it provides you with the shade you so desperately need. Second, you can use it on your own accord and keep it retracted when you don’t need it. Finally, it covers a fairly large area, which will give you quite a bit of room to rethink and redesign your patio. Unfortunately, like the above-mentioned roof construction, it is quite immobile, which means that you will be restricted to the area it covers, without any possibility of further advancement or expansion.

hammock

Planting Your Own Shade

In the end, it is by far the most satisfying but also the most difficult way to provide your deck with some shade to just plant a tree above it. Nonetheless, this is a process that can take years (even decades), which is why it is recommended only for those who have settled there for good. Keep in mind that not any tree would do. You want fast growing trees that provide a lot of shade. Moreover, having a tree so close to the patio, will mean that in the autumn, you will have quite a bit of work cleaning the surface (especially if it is a wooden and not a concrete construction we are talking about).

As you can see, your options are quite numerous and it is up to you to decide which of them suits your needs the best. Naturally, for those who expect to relocate sometimes in the future, awing, tree and a wooden construction are not the best of solutions (although they add quite a bit to your home’s resale value). At the end of the day, this is mostly the question of finding a solution that fits both your budget and your personal taste.

Guest Post By:

Leila Dorari is a marketing consultant and a freelance writer from Sydney. She has been working with different companies for 5 years now. When taking a break from making new marketing slogans, she is either window shopping or exploring new ways to make her life more meaningful.

Concrete Backyard Design and Decor Ideas

Concrete Backyard Design and Decor Ideas

Living in a house with a backyard opens various interesting options making your home even more inviting and comfortable. Concrete patios and backyard designs provide you with a great place to relax after a long day, entertaining playground for your kids, as well as a perfect spot for some intimate parties and barbecues. Designing and decorating your backyard can truly transform the look of your home so if you find yourself interested in this kind of project, keep on reading.

1. Benefits of concrete

If you’re stuck with ideas when it comes to redesigning your backyard/patio, one of the most recommended options is to use the concrete. There are, of course, several reasons as to why concrete is considered to be one of the best options for this project. In general, concrete is highly durable, yet very easily maintained. What’s more, you can adapt your concrete outdoor design to any style you prefer, and shape it according to your own taste and ideas.

2. Touch of personality

You may think that concrete looks plain and boring, but thanks to various decorative concrete options you can still get a pretty unique look of your backyard. In general, stamping and staining are two widely used decorative approaches. For example, if you want to have freshly poured concrete, stamping technique allows you to transform the appearance of your backyard with any texture you want. It can even mimic other natural materials, such as stone and wood. On the other hand, if you already have concrete in your backyard, you can always make it more interesting with a staining technique that comes with warm earthy tones. In the end, using decorative concrete is cost-effective since it will create a high-end, luxurious appearance of your outdoor area without going over your budget.

3. Play with shapes

The best thing about using concrete in your backyard is the freedom to choose the shape and form of your patio. Of course, you can cover your entire backyard with concrete, but you can also use various molds and play with their position in order to create something truly special. You can focus on patio area only, or spice up the garden space as well. If you’d like to use some really nice and unusual molds for concrete pouring, you can easily make one yourself. In general, using styrofoam blue board to shape the molds the way you see fit is definitely one of the most fun, personal and rewarding ways to refresh and redesign your backyard.

4. Add nature to the mixture

One of the mentioned benefits of concrete backyard is its low maintenance. This doesn’t only mean that concrete is just easy to clean, but also you won’t have to deal with dirt and grass in your yard. Still, removing all the traces of nature from your backyard won’t do you any good either. In order to experience true bliss every time you step outside, you can leave enough room for your garden that will be surrounded with interesting paving blocks. Alternatively, you can leave grass openings in your concrete layout for pops of decorative flowers, bushes, and plants. If you don’t mind tending the grass from time to time, you can create a nice balance in your backyard with concrete patio, lovely garden path and grassy area that will occupy the rest of your yard.

5. The heart of your backyard

In order to make your backyard/patio livelier and unique, don’t forget the fire feature. Together with some matching outdoor furniture, this barbecue area will undoubtedly add the final touch to your efforts. There are also many cool ideas online when it comes to building your own backyard, so feel free to check those out.

There are things that you could do yourself when tackling the redesign of your backyard, but sometimes you will need a professional help to accomplish the wanted backyard style. Make sure to be realistic and practical in this project so that your backyard will end up with a clear-cut, modern and creative concrete design.

Guest Post By:

Chloe TaylorChloe is an art historian, recreational ballet dancer and a contributor at smoothdecorator.com. She is passionate about photography, dance and music. Her biggest dream is to travel the whole world with her husband and take stunning photographs of beautiful places. She also enjoys learning and writing about home design, since she is crazy about aesthetics. You can find Chloe on FB, Twitter, and G+.

Grilling in the Great Outdoors – Essential Ideas for Your Outdoor Kitchen

outdoor kitchen

source: telecomwiz.com

Building an outdoor kitchen isn’t easy, and there are a great many things to consider when you’re planning your next outdoor improvement. Designing from the ground up isn’t easy, but you’re in luck – part by part, we’ll cover some of the basic elements of the outdoor kitchen and give you a solid base for the work to come.

Outdoor cooking is more popular than ever before, so there’s a lot of inspiration to go around. Let’s have a look at some of the best ideas to build around.

The Pizza Oven

If you’ve never had a brick-oven pizza, you’re missing out on something special. With the right bricks and the perfect design, you can make better pies than anyone else in the neighborhood. The best part? You pick the ingredients. Whether it’s sausage or sardines, you can choose your own daily special.

pizza oven

source: pcbrickovens.com

The Grill

Your options are virtually endless when it comes to the outdoor kitchen’s mandatory grill. If your space is located near your indoor kitchen, you can easily choose to extend your electric or gas hookups to a gas grill. Prefer charcoal? Even that can be elegant.

outdoor kitchen grill

source: baysideoutdoorcentre.com.au

The Bar Cart

If your current version involves a Styrofoam cooler and a bag of ice from the gas station, it might be time for an upgrade. If you plan to host parties involving anyone you’d like to impress, a bar cart is a worthy investment.

bar cart

source: img2-3.timeinc.net

Remember the Basics

It’s easy to get caught up in the construction and the appliances, but storage is equally – if not more – important. The more thought you put into essentials like storage and garbage, the happier you’ll be when you’re cooking in your new kitchen.

outdoor storage solutions

source: fourgenerationsoneroof.com

Protect Your Kitchen

It’s important to consider the protection of your investment. Even if you live in a region that’s not concerned with rain or snow, you’ll still have to worry about wind, dust and sun damage. Be sure to keep your outdoor living space safe.

protect your outdoor kitchen

source: img.hgtv.com

Don’t Neglect Ventilation

You may be outdoors, but that doesn’t keep you out of the woods when it comes to smoke. If your neighbors live downwind, there’s a good chance you’ll hear about the smoke produced by your cooktop or grill. Think ahead and save yourself some trouble by looking into some proper ventilation.

 outdoor kitchen ventilation

source: cchpools.com

Don’t Forget the Kitchen Sink

Even if you’re just building a small outdoor BBQ, having a sink nearby can make your life easier every time you pick up the tongs. If an extension of your water source is in the budget, you certainly won’t regret the installation.

 outdoor kitchen sink

source: wowhomedesign.net

Rooftop Grilling

The backyard is the go-to standard when it comes to outdoor kitchens, but have you considered the roof? It can eliminate those smoke concerns we mentioned earlier, and it provides a better view besides. If your home is built in such a way as to sustain it, moving the backyard grill to the top of the roof might be the best thing you’ve done this year.

 rooftop grilling

source: kalamazoogourmet.com

Go Country

If you live in the right climate, the southwestern look is the standard for a reason. It fits in perfectly with the countryside, and it inherently reflects the natural surroundings.

 country outdoor kitchen

source: kleinslandscaping.com

Winter is Coming

Outdoor kitchens aren’t limited to dry climates. There are appliances and building materials that can stand up to snow and rain season after season.

outdoor kitchens source: weblando.com

A Garden is the Perfect Touch

Nothing goes with an outdoor kitchen like a garden. It offers more than just a vivid look and a fresh scent – you can harvest fresh herbs growing just steps away. If that doesn’t improve your culinary skills, nothing will.

outdoor kitchen garden

source: www.devcenteronline.com

An outdoor kitchen can bring another dimension to your family’s life at home, and that’s not all – it can also increase the value of your home, improving the resale value when you’re ready for a change of scenery. Making the right choices during its design and construction will pay every type of dividend imaginable.

 

Enjoy Your Outdoor Living Spaces All Year

Tips to make your outdoor living spaces more useful all year

No matter if you live on a coast or in the Upper Midwest, you can use your outdoor spaces to the fullest in any season by adding a few enhancements. Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional, it’s easy to add features like a seat wall and a fire ring for an outdoor gathering spot, or an outdoor kitchen to create the taste of summer all year. A few simple improvements can help you create a space that keeps you outside longer into the night, earlier in the spring and later into the cooler seasons.

firepit

1. Add a fire feature. Even in sunny Florida, it can get chilly at night. An outdoor fireplace, fire table, fire pit or chiminea will enhance any outdoor space. A 2013 membership survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects found that 97 percent of respondents saw moderate to high demand for fire pits and fireplaces.

2. Create a convenient outdoor cooking space. A dedicated space for the grill close to a door lets you barbecue in any season. A complete outdoor kitchen is even better.

3. Add retaining and seat walls. A variety of outdoor hardscape features can be created with pavers.  You can create a variety of features including stairs, retaining walls, freestanding walls, couches, tiered walls, planters, columns, multi-angled corners and curves.

4. Add lighting. A variety of lighting options for outdoor spaces exist, and it’s a good idea to include lighting design for safety and aesthetics in your landscaping plans, says O’Donahue. Low-voltage LED uplights along walls and structures and downlights along pathways and walkways are popular. “Lighting can be installed within retaining walls, under capstones and among paving stone pathways and patios,” says O’Donahue. Even a simple string of lights around a patio or deck railing adds a warm ambience to evenings and cool nights.

5. Install a paving stone patio. Interlocking concrete paving stones fit any outdoor landscape style, from classic to contemporary. Pavers are easy to install, come in many styles and colors and require little to no maintenance.

6. Select year-round outdoor furniture. Look for outdoor furniture that’s durable and doesn’t need storage or annual maintenance other than cleaning.  Due to durability and ease of maintenance, many homeowners and businesses choose recycled furniture over traditional wood and wrought iron outdoor furniture, which needs to be stored in the winter.

outdoor living spaces

7.  Shelter’s not just for shade. Take shelter from the elements with a variety of pergolas, awnings and other coverings for patios and decks that not only provide shade but also help protect from wind and inclement weather.

8. Turn on the heat. A variety of portable outdoor gas or electric patio heaters and lamps adds warmth and light to outdoor spaces. “Freestanding heaters, lamps and tabletop fire bowls and pots are very popular,” says Johnson.

Creating inviting outdoor spaces for entertaining

Expert Tips for Designing Your Outdoor Space

outdoor spaces

From barbecues and games of bocce to parties and candlelit dinners, your outdoor space can be a hub for entertaining friends and family.

“Try to create a living room for your outdoor space,” says Kate Anthony, owner of Kate & Company Design Studio and Interior Design instructor at The Art Institute of California – San Diego, a campus of Argosy University. People spend a lot of time on their indoor living room spaces, and she recommends extending the interior home out to your exterior.

Whether you have a small patio or sprawling backyard, interior design experts from The Art Institutes system of schools provide six simple tips for making the great outdoors a great place to eat, play and entertain.

1. Focal points

Edward Varias, owner of E.V. Design and Interior Design instructor at The Art Institute of California – Hollywood, a campus of Argosy University, says a focal point brings everyone together, and can include furniture, a fountain, a fireplace, or any piece that will provide a “wow” factor. An outdoor rug can serve as a focal point and help define an area, and a fire pit makes a great place for guests to gather.

2. Seating groups

“Define the space for the type of entertaining you need,” says Varias. Determine the size of your space, the number of people you will typically be entertaining and whether you will use the space for eating, drinking and socializing, or playing games. In a larger space, you can mix dining, hanging out and garden spaces to provide your guests with more areas to enjoy.

For a small space, seating can be a simple bistro table and two chairs. For larger spaces, you can incorporate sofa and chair groupings, along with a small coffee table. Anthony adds that a circular furniture pattern allows everyone to see each other, which is great when playing cards.

3. Vistas

“Select several vistas or view points for people to explore depending on the space; utilizing the space in several locations creates gathering areas, such as a garden to explore or seclusion for meditating,” says Varias. Anthony encourages people to think about creating areas for games such as bocce and says that seating or rugs can help establish designated areas without fences or barriers.

In creating vistas, you can use a combination of natural and manmade elements. This can include creating garden areas with rocks and fountains and adding little surprises such as statuettes, pagoda lanterns and seating for two, says Varias.

4. Landscaping

The first step in landscaping is cleaning up the space and trimming bushes, trees and overgrown plants to create a fresh palette. Anthony recommends hiring a professional landscaper as they will be able to tell you what plants are appropriate for your climate. If a landscaper isn’t in your budget, Varias encourages you to take advantage of the people at your local home and garden stores. They will be able to make recommendations based on your climate and the look you are trying to achieve.

Plants can help add color, style and definition to your space, and Anthony says not all plants need to be in the ground. “You can create great little vignettes throughout the yard by using varying sizes of planters.” Potted plants can also be brought in during the winter to keep them looking great year after year.

5. Lighting

Lighting can set the tone for any type of nighttime event. Varias recommends providing ample lighting for your focal points and providing a mix of electric lighting and ambient lighting such as candles and candelabras. Other easy DIY lighting includes strings of lights, which can be used year-round and simple solar lights.

6. Accessories

Anthony recommends bold accessories for outdoor spaces. Your starting palette will be very neutral, with a lot of greens and browns, and you can add pops of color with pillow cases or colored plants. Storage is another area to consider. You won’t want your hose and garden tools lying around the yard, so a storage bench or shelving can keep everything nicely organized.

Ready to create your outdoor living space?  Contact us for a free consultation!  We can help you design and create your own private outdoor oasis.

Why a wood deck is one of the best investments a homeowner can make

Want remodeling ROI?

Why a wood deck is one of the best investments a homeowner can make

wood deck

As the seasons turn, more homeowners look for projects that not only make their homes more livable, but also offer great return on investment. With demand high across the country for outdoor spaces that bring the comforts of the indoors outside, there’s no surprise that decks are one of the top remodeling projects for 2014.

In fact, a residential wood deck addition has a recouped cost of 87.4 percent, according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2014 Cost vs. Value Report, the second highest ROI midrange project only behind an entry door replacement. That means adding a deck to your property will increase your livable space so you can enjoy the outdoors more, and you can rest easy knowing you’re boosting the value of your home investment.

If you think you’d like to add a wood deck to your home, you might wonder about the different material options. “Although composite and PVC decking have gained popularity in recent years, pressure-treated wood decking still carries the lion’s share of the market because it’s inexpensive, easy to work with and can be found at any lumberyard,” says Chris Fox, product manager at Universal Forest Products, a leading supplier of lumber and decking materials.

Today’s pressure-treated lumber comes with advancements that weren’t available to homeowners just a few years ago. For example, with more homeowners seeking eco-friendly building materials, wood suppliers are exploring environmentally preferred treatment methods. For example, ProWood’s micronized copper azole (MCA) treated lumber decking is eco-friendly, cost effective and easy to install.

MCA is a method for treating the wood (typically pine) using an EPA-registered waterborne wood preservative system to protect against termite attack and rot. MCA-treated lumber provides a light, natural look, unlike other pressurized wood treatments that result in the greenish hue with which most people are familiar.

You can leave MCA treated lumber in its natural state for a more organic appearance in your outdoor spaces, or you can choose ProWood Dura Color decking that is color-infused with pigment driven deep into the wood fibers. This process creates beautiful treated wood grain that will stand up to the elements for many years, with no need for staining.

“People like the natural look of redwood and cedar, but they don’t want the drawbacks that come with them, such as the high price and the fact that they quickly fade to gray,” says Fox. “ProWood Dura Color lumber not only looks like natural cedar or redwood, but the color lasts much longer and is backed by a two-year color assurance warranty”

When researching treated wood materials for outdoor home improvement projects, such as a deck addition, Fox suggests discussing the project with the local lumber dealer and to be sure to understand and check the end tag for:

1. The description of use (above ground or ground contact)
2. Warranty statement
3. The quality standards it meets
4. Third-party quality inspection (which assures product has passed retention and penetration tests).

Research proves a wood deck is a sound investment, and now with new eco-friendly decking materials, homeowners have more options than ever when it comes to improving their home’s exterior spaces.

Ready to add a deck addition to your home?  Contact us for a free estimate!

Top outdoor living trends for 2014

deck with fire pitFrom genteel porches in the East to sleek, seaside balconies in the West, the popularity of outdoor living spaces is poised for significant growth from coast to coast with industry analysts predicting it will be a $5.7 billion market by 2016. Reinforcing these projections, 63 percent of architects cite an outdoor living space as the most popular “special function room” in housing construction, according to the American Institute of Architects. What’s more, the-Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association reports that homebuilders list decks among the top three features most requested with new home buys.

“Decks and porches are now considered true extensions of a home’s living space,” says Adam Zambanini, vice president of marketing for Trex Company, the world’s largest manufacturer of high-performance wood-alternative decking and railing. “People are showing increased interest in maximizing the function, comfort and personalization of their outdoor spaces and are realizing that it’s far more economical to expand their living space outside than to enlarge or renovate their home’s interior.”

As planning and preparation for the 2014 outdoor living season begins, the experts at Trex offer a glimpse into the national trends that will be emerging outside homes across America in 2014.

Size matters

The biggest trend in decks right now is the increase in square footage. Gone are the days of the 20-by-10-foot rectangle with just enough room for a grill and some patio furniture. Today’s decks are expanding both horizontally and vertically. Demand for decks with multiple tiers is increasing, as are requests to finish the space below an elevated deck.

Thinking outside the box

When it comes to deck designs, today’s homeowners also are thinking way outside the box and customizing nearly every aspect of their outdoor living spaces. Remodelers trex elevated deckand architects report increased interest in pergolas and walls to define different functional areas and create privacy, as well as integrated features like built-in benches, planter boxes and storage. Similarly, consumer interest in accessories such as deck lighting, ornamental post caps and decorative balusters also is on the rise.

“We are seeing a lot more mixing of materials,” reports Zambanini. “Contractors and consumers alike are creating highly customized deck designs combining two or more decking shades and also mixing materials such as composite railings in white with contrasting black aluminum balusters. Our product offering allows for more than 1,200 different design combinations so there truly is something for every taste and lifestyle.”

High-performance, low maintenance

In addition to design aesthetics, homeowners across the country are increasingly concerned with performance. Specifically, they want materials that allow them to spend more time enjoying their outdoor living space rather than maintaining it. This motivation has contributed to the continued innovation and popularity of composite decking and railing. Unlike wood or even traditional composites, high-performance wood alternatives like Trex Transcend resist fading, staining, scratching and mold – and won’t rot, warp, crack or splinter. Upkeep is hassle-free and requires no sanding, staining or painting. Food and drink spills wash off easily with just soap and water.

Sustainability

trex patioComposite decking also responds to another growing trend among U.S. homeowners – interest in sustainable, eco-friendly building materials.

“High-performance decking provides the look and feel of real wood, but without the environmental impact, making it an ideal choice for today’s eco-conscious consumers,” notes Zambanini.

The entire high-performance Trex decking portfolio is manufactured from more than 95 percent recycled content, including reclaimed wood and sawdust, as well as plastic from many common household items. The company salvages and keeps more than 400 million pounds of plastic and wood scrap out of landfills each year.

To see examples of these and other top outdoor living trends, visit the Trex Inspiration Gallery. Image Source: Trex.com.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you transform your outdoor living space!

Winter Planning for Summer Projects

Tips For Planning Your Home Improvement Projects

backyard patioNow that winter is here, people aren’t thinking much about gardening, outdoor renovations, or other projects normally reserved for the spring and summer. Depending on where they live, they won’t be able to work on these projects for several months and they probably have other issues to think about if they are perpetually under six inches of snow during the winter. During the winter, gardening and landscaping is simply out of sight and out of mind, but maybe that shouldn’t always be the case.

One of the most important and time-consuming steps in any home improvement project is the planning process. Not only do you need to know the lay of your own land, you need to know about any issues that may have come up that you need to work around. You need to know something about the rest of your neighborhood and what is and isn’t allowed. If you are planting a garden, you need to plan its layout and know what you are going to plant and when. It’s a lot of work and, depending on the size and complexity of your project; you might want to start planning for it before the spring thaw. Here are just a few things you can do to start planning for your summer projects in the winter.

Performing Inspections

If your summer home improvement project is going to be a simple repaint of your home or deck, you can start inspecting your property in the winter for areas that need some extra work. The paint on your home is more likely to sustain damage in the winter, so looking for areas that have accumulated a lot of snow and ice will give you a good idea of where you need to apply some fresh coats of paint. Keep a close eye on things like garage door frames, rooflines, and your deck. You should also watch for loose boards and areas with bare wood as they can be damaged by a particularly harsh winter. If you see things such as exposed nails, peeling paint, or warped wood, you will have a good idea of where to focus your efforts in the summer.

Getting the Lay of the Land

You obviously shouldn’t start building a deck in the dead of winter, but you can still take a look at your property and decide on possible locations for a new deck. You can get an idea of the evenness of your land in the winter as long as there isn’t too much snow on the ground and you can always take a look and see what areas of your yard and home will get the most sunlight.

Planning for Year-Round Interest

Your planning options will be a little more limited if your renovation plans involve a garden, but there are still a few things you can do during the winter. For starters, you pine treescan have plants that will grow and stay green throughout the winter and summer. Take the time to plant some pine trees and evergreen bushes if you want your property to look great even in the snowiest of winters. These plants will of course look just as good in the winter as in the summer.

When it comes to home improvement and outdoor renovation, there is still a lot of work you can get done even during the winter “off season. Planning for these projects takes a lot of time, and it’s always best to get started sooner rather than later. Keep that in mind and don’t let the winter months stop you from having a beautiful home.

This article was provided by Matt Jefferies, construction firm owner and all-around handyman. If you’re looking to replace your windows –a project that can’t wait until spring– Matt recommends Home Exterior Systems.

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