|Steps To An Updated Outdoor Entertaining Space|
|June 07, 2013 - Outdoors Lawn and Garden|
(BPT) - With milder weather finally here, it's time to start planning your outdoor projects. Is your outdoor patio or deck looking a bit dated and dingy? Does it reflect your home's personality? Whether you're planning to host outdoor festivities with friends and family or just grilling up gourmet creations, a few changes can really liven up your outdoor space and add value to your home. Follow these simple steps for an updated look that will create a more enjoyable area.
Clear it off:
The first step when updating any patio or deck is to remove all items from the area; this includes furniture, planters and even the weathered layer of grime that sits atop the wood. Use a power washer to really remove any mildew and debris. By starting with a clean surface, you'll be able to see the current state of the wood. If the stain is faded or wearing away, consider re-staining it. Wood exposed to the outdoor elements should be coated with an oil-based finish, never a latex or acrylic paint. Paint is more susceptible to weathering, fading and flaking. Oil-based stains soak into the wood and result in better and longer-lasting results.
Purdy mini-rollers are the perfect size for applying stain to railings, spindles and any other small areas of the deck. The covers are available in 4 1/2- and 6 1/2-inch lengths and come in all fabric types, including fabric that works well with oil-based finishes. If your deck is currently painted, be sure to scrape away any flaking areas from the deck flooring, the steps and handrails. A scraper is a great tool for removing peeling or flaking coatings. If the entire deck is painted, consider stripping with chemicals or power sanding, and then applying a high-quality stain.
Dress it up and add some color:
Is your existing outdoor furniture looking a bit drab? Repaint it and dress it up with outdoor pillows and cushions. Change up the layout of the furniture for another fresh look. By moving furniture into a more square or circular shape, you'll increase conversations. If a focal point exists, such as a fire pit or great view, arrange furniture to face that. For a more embellished look to your railings, replace existing spindles and ball tops with more decorative ones. Repaint planter boxes and add in colorful accessories such as rugs, lawn ornaments and small plants. Flowers, herbs and many vegetables can be grown in planters, boxes and any other small space.
Lighten up your space:
Many outdoor gatherings can carry on past sunset, so lighting your deck area is important. There are hundreds of options available to lighten up any outdoor area. You can create whatever atmosphere you prefer. Solar lamps are a smart, energy-efficient way to light the walk and seating areas, while Chinese lanterns hanging in the trees create a fun, party feel.
Lights lining railing walkways will direct attendees to and from the gathering areas safely, and an enclosed bonfire pit or portable fireplace is a great way to gather people for post-dinner carousing. Sufficient lighting will encourage guests to stay past dark and allow everyone to enjoy a warm summer evening.
By following these simple steps, you'll be spending more time outdoors and have a fresh space to enjoy with family and friends all summer long.
|Why Winter is the Right Time to Plan Outdoor Updates|
|January 30, 2013 - Outdoors Lawn and Garden|
(ARA) - Does the bitter cold weather have you dreaming of warm days spending time with friends and family in your backyard? The cold may keep us indoors, but professionals in the landscape and remodeling industry are still thinking about the outdoors and use the winter months to plan spring projects, and so should you. |
Winter months provide the perfect opportunity to prepare your outdoor space for the warmer months. Planning and prepping now will ensure that you get full use of your outdoor space for the entire season once warm weather arrives. Get a head start by planning some of these spring projects now:
Before you know it, you'll be peeling off your wool socks and walking around your yard feeling the soft grass between your toes. To ensure a lush lawn, spend time this winter researching grass seed options so you can repair any sparse areas in your yard. Planting grass seed early gives the seed plenty of time to germinate which will give you a healthy, green lawn in the spring. In addition to research, you can also chat with someone at your local nursery for help choosing the appropriate type of grass to plant in the early months of spring.
Some bulbs grow best when planted in the early spring when the ground is still cool. Do some research to figure out the best bulbs for your region so you can determine the ideal planting time. There's nothing better than having a yard full of colorful flowers providing great curb appeal early in the season.
Sitting on your deck enjoying warm, sunny days or cooler evenings is something everyone looks forward to. Adding a new deck to your home or replacing an existing one adds value to your real estate investment. Homeowners have been consistently choosing composite decking over wooden decks over the past several years because composite decking is high performance and low maintenance, unlike wood decking which can splinter and crack, and often requires staining and sealing. Composite decking is long-lasting, durable, made of recycled materials, and resists mildew, warping and insects. According to Remodeling magazine 2009-10 Cost vs. Value Report, adding a composite deck to your home has a 70 percent return on investment.
You can find free online tools to help you plan your new decking project during winter months. Visit www.timbertech.com to learn which decking materials are best for you by taking a quick quiz. Create free deck designs with the Online Deck Designer. Mix and match decking and railing colors with the Color Visualizer and be inspired by other deck designs in the Photo Gallery. Before you know it, you'll have the perfect plan for your dream deck so when warm weather hits, you're ready.
Trees and shrubs
As you're deciding on the deck, consider a plan to plant trees and/or shrubbery to provide a more natural outdoor atmosphere. The right type of landscaping will not only be visually appealing, but will also provide privacy and shade. Planting your selections early can have many benefits including time for each tree or shrub to establish a strong root system so that it flourishes for many years to come.
Stop dreaming of warm weather and put that energy into planning your outdoor space. From decking to landscape updates, your efforts during the winter months will bloom into big results once the spring thaw hits.
|Create Stylish Outdoor Space on a Budget|
|June 30, 2011 - Outdoors Lawn and Garden|
|If your patio furniture, barbecue grill or favorite outdoor planter was left outside, it probably has taken a beating. But think twice before you relegate your favorite lounge chair or lawn ornaments to the landfill. It's easy to transform them and make them look better than new. All you need is a little imagination and a few cans of spray paint.|
Create "designer" furniture. Designer patio sets, lawn chairs and other outdoor furniture can cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars. But it's easy and inexpensive to give the furniture you already own a face lift that mimics the look of trendy designer furniture with a few coats of spray paint.
Create a durable designer look that sparkles in the sun with Rust-Oleum Stops Rust Textured Metallic in Galaxy, a textured black with flecks of silver. The texture adds depth, elegance and unmatched protection to any project. Or create a rich Oil Rubbed Bronze finish, while protecting your furniture from the elements, with Rust-Oleum Universal spray paint. Choose an unexpected color, like Painter's Touch 2X Satin Eden. You can also transform garage sale bargains, flea market finds or used furniture you find on sites like CraigsList or Freecycle with spray paint to get a designer look without the designer price tag.
Revive an old barbecue grill. If your grill was buried under three feet of snow, it could probably use a little TLC. Why not revive it with a spray paint specifically formulated for high heat applications? Rust-Oleum High Heat Ultra resists heat up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit so it's great for grills, fire pits and wood-burning stoves. Plus, it's available in traditional black, as well as stylish colors and finishes such as brown and aged copper, so your barbecue grill will look better than new.
Accessories can get a second life, too. No need to toss planters, lawn ornaments or other outdoor accessories because their finish has been weather damaged. Spray paint can give them a second life. Try spray painting planters with Rust-Oleum Stops Rust for a rooftop garden or patio in a variety of vegetable colors-Sunrise Red for tomatoes, Hunter Green for lettuce or green peppers, different shades of green for herbs. The possibilities to add a splash of color-or a little sophistication-to a patio, rooftop or backyard are endless.
For more inspiration, project ideas-or to share a project you've done-visit www.PaintIdeas.com. Or find Paint Ideas on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/Paintideas.
You can give your grill a lift with the help of a spray paint specifically formulated for high heat applications. (NAPSI)-
|Backyard Upgrades Bring the Resort Lifestyle Home|
|May 02, 2011 - Outdoors Lawn and Garden|
(ARA) - Many Americans are choosing to spend their hard-earned money where they'll enjoy it more for longer - in their own backyards.|
Upgrading your backyard may work for you on multiple levels. Not only will you increase your enjoyment of the time you spend there, backyard enhancements like decks, patios and landscaping can increase your home's resale value. You can create your own oasis of luxury at home for much less than the cost of a luxury vacation.
From murals to outdoor kitchens, resort-style luxury can be had for less right in your own backyard. To get an idea of where to begin, think of the features and decor that you most loved about your last resort stay and work toward recreating them at home for a fraction of the cost. Here are some ideas to get you started:
HGTV star Jamie Durie has elevated outdoor living spaces to an art form by creating each design around a specific theme, whether it's capturing the exotic flavor of Thailand or the dreamy, relaxed style of California. You can borrow Durie's techniques and create a theme in your own backyard.
Do you dream of a vacation to the English countryside? The right mix of flowers, cultured pathways and gracious seating areas can evoke the beauty of an English garden. Is a beachside retreat more to your taste? Try potted tropical plants, torches and decorating accents in sand and ocean hues to recreate the atmosphere of the beach.
Your outdoor decor can go a long way toward creating a luxury resort feeling. Draw on favorite luxury touches of interior designers, such as luxurious floor coverings and engaging wall murals. An outdoor mural can transform a space from mundane to exotic.
New technology, dubbed SmartStick, can allow you to mount a mural virtually anywhere outdoors. All you need is a flat surface (other than non-painted brick). The space-age material will withstand all weather conditions, won't shrink or curl, and can even wrap around corners and curves. It's easily removable, peeling effortlessly away from the surface without leaving any marks or residue, and can then be re-used elsewhere. Log on to www.muralsyourway.com to learn more.
A splash of class
For many of us, water play is a key part of a resort experience. If you live in a community that permits pools, you can easily install an above-ground pool for less than you would pay for a luxury vacation. Modern kits include everything from the pool walls and liner to the filter. Prices range from just a few hundred dollars for basic, modestly sized pools to a few thousand for more upscale versions.
If a pool isn't possible for you, consider adding a different type of water feature. Installing a fountain or building a pond can not only be a great do-it-yourself project for the entire family, everyone will enjoy the delightful presence of water in your outdoor living space when you're done. Whatever type of water feature you choose, from a tabletop fountain to a bird bath, the object is to deliver the restful mood and charming sound of flowing water.
Seating that sizzles
For some items, it's worth paying a bit more to get better quality, and outdoor furniture is one of them. You'll be spending a lot of time on your deck or patio, and your seating area should be comfortable, inviting and luxurious. A table and at least four chairs is a must, but think beyond the box and consider incorporating loveseats, lounges and ottomans into your seating design.
If you have the space, consider creating seating groupings throughout the yard. Your deck or patio will be the main entertaining area, but a simple bistro set tucked away beneath a tree or beside a flower bed can make a great spot for quiet chats, or reading a book while sipping your favorite wine.
This summer, consider staying home and keeping your money with you by creating a backyard resort that your whole family can enjoy throughout the season.
Upgrading your backyard can increase your enjoyment of the time you spend there and increase your home's resale value.
|Fail-Proof Gardening Tips from the Pros|
|February 16, 2011 - Outdoors Lawn and Garden|
(ARA) - With so many plant choices, picking the perfect plants that will thrive in your garden can seem overwhelming - even for experienced gardeners. Rather than randomly buying plants that are attractive in the displays and hoping they'll live once you get them home, there's a smarter way to shop.|
Check out these tips from the experts to make plant selection easy, fail-proof and fun:
Look through garden magazines and visit online for ideas on what's new and tried-and-true. Talk to your friends and neighbors for suggestions.
Tip: Use the new garden website, BloomIQ.com, which inspires and takes the guesswork out of planning and plant selection. Its garden design suggestions and planting combinations will match your color preferences, personal style and growing conditions.
With one click in the comfort of your own home, you can browse beautiful images, plant descriptions and info to help you choose the right plants for your needs. Plus, there are tips for designing gardens, creating container gardens, using indoor plants and learning which plants work well together - all on one easy-to-use site.
Sketch a garden plan.
Look at your home's architectural features and landscaping. "Start with the 'bones' of your home and landscape - they'll make your yard look good all year long," says Justin Hancock, senior garden editor at BHG.com, the Better Homes and Gardens online magazine.
What kind of garden do you want - formal or informal? Decide if you want edibles, annuals or perennials in a garden or containers filled with herbs, veggies and perennials. And don't forget the indoors. Include houseplants to change the look of your home; it's easy and economical.
Tip: Sketch what you want to plant - and where.
"No matter what you want to grow, gardening success starts with a good design plan," says Bobbie Schwartz, president of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (apld.org). "Photograph your home and landscape, print out the photos, lay tracing paper on top and then sketch out your ideas."
Schwartz suggests not worrying about specific plant varieties. "You can fill in those later. Begin by deciding on features such as shape, color, and height texture and bloom time."
After you have a general idea what you want, you can start having fun by picking out the plants.
Create a shopping list
"Come up with a list of plants suitable for your garden conditions," advises Hancock. "Hostas may come to mind, but if your yard is a deer magnet, coral bells are a better choice."
Tip: Educate yourself on exactly what works best in your garden before you go shopping. Learn the plant's water, sun and care requirements. Is it deer-proof, drought tolerant, or low maintenance? Answering these questions can be a garden saver.
"With a click of the mouse at BloomIQ.com you can create and print a shopping list of the plants you want," says Kristi Huffman, vice-president of John Henry Horticulture. "You can shop with confidence, knowing that the plants you buy are going to be successful in your home and garden."
With a personalized plant list in hand, anyone can shop like a pro. For more information visit www.BloomIQ.com.
Expert advice on making plant selection easy, fail-proof and fun