Archive for the 'Patios & Decks' Category

Jun 21 2012

Patio Problems: How to Turn Your Outdoor Living Space into an Oasis

No matter if you live in a sunny climate or one that is predisposed to bouts of chilliness, everyone likes to have an outdoor living space that is usable for entertaining and cookouts. The only problem is that for those of us looking to spend our money wisely, outdoor decorating can seem daunting and unnecessary considering the amount of time the space may be used.

You may be surprised how often you would use that abandoned deck or backyard of yours if you just put a little love into making it appear like the outdoor oasis it is capable of being.  If you are short on cash or short on time, here are a couple of quick and easy ideas for turning that backyard into a gem! 

Never Underestimate the Power of Plants 

Your yard may seem like an overgrown field with no shape or purpose, but with a quick clean-up, a good mow job and a couple of carefully placed plants- whether potted or planted- you can make any backyard go from lackluster to lush. If you do not have a green thumb, then do your research on the type of plants which will do best in your yard year round and which will come back year after year. Perennial such as ox-eyed daisy’s or Purple Coneflower’s will always pop up the following spring, so for a few dollars you can count on a burst of color to enhance your backyard’s beauty.

However, if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, season after season, a lot can be said for choosing exotic or interesting annuals to spice up your yard no matter the time of year. Pansies make for an excellent pop of color even in the cooler months, and you can always invest in groundcovers in all shades of green to add freshness to an otherwise brown backyard.

Think of Your Backyard as a Rec Room 

Even outdoor living spaces should be approached with an indoor design style. When you are choosing patio furniture choose something that won’t overwhelm your yard, but that will be inviting. These days you can purchase beautiful outdoor furniture that looks like something you could put in your dining room, living room, or rec room and no one will blink an eye.

Don’t fall victim to the temptation of throwing your old furniture or cheap yard sale patio set on the back deck. No matter how much time you spend outside, your backyard furniture will never get as much love as your indoor furniture, so you want to choose a quality set that can stand up to the weather no matter what the conditions are or how the climate may change through the seasons. There is nothing sadder than a moldy or neglected patio set on your deck- not to mention anything less inviting.

Set the Table 

Do you have a mix matched set of china in storage, or a fun plate setting that just never went with your indoor décor? Setting your outdoor table is the best way to bring a little life to dining al fresco. In your outdoor living space you can dare to have more of a bright and exotic design personality than inside.  Have fun with setting the table from time to time, besides, now you have an excuse to break out that Hawaiian printed glassware set you’ve never used!

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Feb 29 2012

Transform Your Boring Patio in to An Outdoor Room

Published by under Patios & Decks

Most patios are quite boring – a concrete slab that is void of decoration and color.  Spring is coming up soon, and barbecue’s will be firing up all over the neighborhood.   Why not transform your patio in to a charming “outdoor room”, perfect for entertaining guests or just relaxing?

Here are a few tips that will help you create a warm, inviting space that offers privacy and relaxation.

Natural elements create a beautiful and relaxing atmosphere

Two things you need to consider when creating your outdoor room from an existing patio – natural stones and plenty of greenery.

Consider paving the concrete with natural stones, or creating “walkways” through your patio using stone.  Set greenery around the perimeter of your patio in clay or ceramic pots, or consider two or three trellises filled with climbing vines to help seclude your patio from the outside world.

Think of your patio as an “outdoor” living room

In order for your patio to be its most beautiful and relaxing, the right furniture is a must.  Wicker is a good choice if you like a natural garden atmosphere.  Webbed or plastic lawn chairs just won’t do when you are creating a showplace!

You can also find many styles, fabrics, and designs which will help create any decor theme you like.  Bold stripes, bright floral patterns and vibrant solid colors allow you to design any look you like.  Most outdoor furniture is constructed of weather-proof materials, so you won’t have to worry about moisture damage or fading.

Rugs offer additional color and texture

Rugs are another element of decorating that help add a warm touch and contribute texture to your patio.  Unlike the old outdoor rugs that were mostly constructed of rubber or looked a bit like Astroturf, the rugs available for outdoor use today range from hand knotted oriental rugs and contemporary styles to braided rugs.

For a striking look, arrange the largest pieces of patio furniture around a large area rug.  This makes for an intimate, cozy setting that is perfect for guests.

Room “dividers” separate areas of larger patios

If your patio is large, you may want to create separate areas; one for cooking and barbecuing, the other for relaxing.  To separate one area from another, consider old wooden shutters that are on the tall side, or even decorative screens.  The wooden shutters can be painted any color you like, or even stenciled for a dramatic effect.

Accents are what really set the look apart.  Consider hanging lanterns and candles for an ambient atmosphere.  Lanterns can also be set on tables or wooden benches or anywhere that provides the right amount of light and is out of the reach of small children.

Outdoor fire pits and chimineas are another great idea for the patio.  Not only are they beautiful and decorative, they will provide a bit of warmth on those chilly early summer evenings.

It’s easy to transform your patio into a beautiful extension of your home.  Try some of these ideas, and use your imagination to come up with a few unique ideas of your own.

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Jul 18 2011

Easy Ideas to Spruce Up and Add Life to a Boring Deck

Published by under Patios & Decks

Is your deck just a deck, bare of any color or personality?  Many people forget about their decks when decorating their homes, but your deck is actually an extension of the interior.  If you relax or entertain outdoors frequently, why not make your deck as enjoyable and appealing as the inside of your home?  These tips and ideas will help you transform your deck into one that stands apart, and offers privacy and appeal.

Add a quirky or personal touch

If you like a look that leans toward quirky or classic, add a whimsical touch with a monogram on the wall of your home that adjoins to the deck.  A large letter in a bold color that complements the rest of the deck decor is interesting and unique.

Drape a large vinyl “curtain” along one side, pulling it back with a tie crafted of wood or other rugged material for a unique look.  Hanging light fixtures and greenery add further to a setting that is relaxed and private.

You can also consider building walls made from lattice and allow plants to grow up and over, creating a natural curtain which can be adorned with interwoven mini LEDs.

Is elegant your thing?

If you prefer a look that is out of the ordinary, think outside the box.  A table and chairs made of wrought iron and topped with shatter-proof glass is beautiful and elegant.  If there is a tree limb or pergola nearby, hang a chandelier from a limb or rafter to further enhance the look!

Continue the wrought iron theme with candle holders and other accents.  You may want to consider an outdoor fireplace which will add a warm ambiance on nights that are cool and crisp.

Create a warm glow – and a cozy setting

If you enjoy your privacy and prefer a setting that is intimate or romantic, create the look with lighting!  Scattered lighting creates visual interest and intimate spaces.  Hang lanterns if you have a roof over your deck, or buy lanterns that are built on a stand similar to floor lamps.  Scatter candles around the perimeter of the area.

For additional privacy, consider a rock or brick wall along one side of the deck to help block the view from the outside.  Build the wall about waist high; it is the perfect place to set clay flower pots, greenery and candles!

While it may seem impossible, you can actually create a room outdoors that is just as comfortable as those inside your home.  Add comfortable furnishings such as a sofa, chair and tables; hang curtains from rafters.  You can even add throw pillows and comforters, as long as you remember to bring them indoors when weather is bad.  Make sure the fabrics you select for curtains and furnishings are weather-proof.

There are no limits to what you can do with your deck.  Depending on your style preferences and budget, you can achieve any look you like.  Flip through magazines and you will find that there are hundreds of things you can do to make your deck anything but average.

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Jul 02 2011

Ideas for Transforming Your Patio into a Beautiful Extension of Your Home

Published by under Patios & Decks

Your patio can be a picture perfect extension of your home, a “room” where friends and family love to relax, visit and enjoy a meal cooked in the great outdoors.  If your patio is plain and lacks personality, the tips in this article will help you transform it into an area that is warm, comfortable and welcoming.

Before you begin, consider your patio as another room that simply adjoins to your home.  A patio is actually a connection between your home and your lawn; you want it to be as beautiful and inviting as the rest of your home.

Creating an element of privacy

Whether you’re entertaining company or just relaxing in a chaise lounge, privacy is important. You want to be able to enjoy your patio without the invasive sounds of traffic or the peering eyes of neighbors intruding.

There are several ways to add privacy to your patio.  Placing wooden trellises around the patio with climbing vines is one option; you might also consider a hedge that grows tall or even wooden fencing.  There are many different options when it comes to fencing, one of which is sure to add to the style of decor you choose.

Consider materials and space zones

If you plan on doing a good deal of outdoor grilling or even adding a cook stove, plan appropriately.  You want to locate the cooking area in a space where potential fire hazards are not a concern.

Also choose flooring that is resistant to stains from oil or grease or even coal if you choose to use an outdoor fireplace.

Furnishings add charm and ambience

The furniture you choose for your patio should be selected carefully.  While you do not want to crowd the patio or have too many pieces of furniture, you want enough so that everyone has a place to relax and enjoy the beautiful outdoors.

Wicker, treated wood and aluminum are all good choices when it comes to patio furniture.  Choose the type that will blend best with your decorating style; cushions add color and depth as well.  Also choose a carpet or area rug intended for outdoor use.  This will add further to the warmth and appeal of the patio.

Accents

Just as you add accents and accessories to the interior rooms of your home so as to make them more beautiful, the same should be done for the patio.

Ceramic pots filled with greenery, candles, flags and other accents meant to be used outdoors will add color and texture.  A ceramic outdoor fireplace adds warmth and ambience, and is even useful on those days and nights when the air is cool.

As you can see, your patio can be an extension of your home – and it should be.  Instead of a stark, bare patio you can create an area that is just as inviting and comfortable as any room indoors.  A beautiful, well-kept patio will add tremendously to the outdoor curb appeal of your home as well.

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Jun 10 2011

Transform a Concrete Patio In To a Beautiful Warm Weather Haven

In some areas of the country, the weather stays warm year round; in others, there are 6 or even 8 months of the year which are perfect for enjoying the outdoors.  If you have a stone or concrete patio, the tips and ideas below will help you transform it so it is one of the most beautiful “rooms” of your home!

Softening the look

A concrete patio can look harsh or stark; most end in an abrupt line instead of blending into the landscape of your backyard.  There are several ways you can make your patio appear as though it is a part of the landscape.

One way to accomplish a softer, blended look is to set potted plants around the perimeter, so that the edges of the patio aren’t so noticeable.  You may even decide you want to build a small waterfall or pond along the edge.  The sound of trickling water is soothing and relaxing; you can also add lots of large stones and greenery around your pond or waterfall to incorporate the natural setting even further.

Another idea is to stack bricks around the perimeter in short columns, placing wide planks or boards across the top.  These can be used as a sitting area, and you can also arrange potted plants at the top of every brick column to add further natural beauty and color.  Consider outdoor cushions for the boards if you entertain guests outdoors frequently.

Outdoor furnishings can create a “room” effect

Arranging outdoor furniture in an intimate fashion can make your patio feel like a cozy room.  A rugged wooden bench, comfortable chaise lounges and chairs can be arranged around a large table complete with umbrella.  You may also want to consider a portable fire pit surrounded by randomly placed chairs for a warm, comfortable setting in cooler months.

In another corner of the patio, place a freestanding swing or glider.  A folding screen made for the outdoors is a good way to separate the “rooms” of your patio.  Hang a few plants from the eaves of your home, an outdoor clock or wall fountain help make the transition from patio to house seamless.

Don’t forget the “floor”

Your patio can be enhanced further by creating a colorful, interesting floor.  Instead of hard, colorless concrete, choose a large outdoor rug with an appealing pattern and bold color.  You can also paint your patio any color you like, or consider stenciling patterns on it instead.  A good idea is to paint your patio a color that complements your furnishings, then use two or three rugs that add further depth and interest.

Consider any accents or accessories that can be used outdoors when creating your beautiful patio “room”.  Pottery, plants, outdoor lighting such as lanterns, or bricks and stone – all of these elements can be used to design a patio that seems to be a natural part of the landscape, and is anything but dull and boring!

Add a few citronella candles to keep bugs away and provide ambient lighting, and you’re all set.

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