Summer is here, and with the season comes plenty of time outside in the yard. When the weather is pleasant, you want to be able to enjoy a beautifully maintained outdoor room, but nature's elements and natural growth can leave your yard looking overgrown or old. There are, however, a few things that you can do to maintain your outdoor space on a weekly and daily basis to help keep it looking fresh and inviting.
More than likely, you'll need to mow your lawn at least once or twice per week, according to this source. When you mow your lawn, make sure that you double check the height of your blades so that you avoid scalping your grass. Also, be careful around smaller plants in the landscaping. It's easy to mow over a seedling if it's just starting to sprout. Usually, you should mow grass about 2-3 inches high. This lets you stimulate growth by cutting it back without taking so much of the top off that the roots aren't protected. For small plants and seedlings, put wire fences around them so that you don't accidentally cut them down with an edge trimmer.
Beware of Sun Damage
Rays from the sun can do a lot of damage to almost every piece of metal and plastic that you have outside. After a few years, you will likely begin to notice that your patio furniture is a lighter color than it was even a couple of seasons previously. One of the simplest solutions is to use patio furniture covers. According to this source, protecting property, such as patio furniture, is dependent somewhat on climate, but in general, lightweight covers do best. That way, whenever you're not using you're furniture, you can easily put the covers on to protect furniture from the sun and storms.
WoodStaining wooden decks and furniture is the type of job that most people try their best to put off because it can be labor intensive. It can take some time to sand and apply protectant to the wood, but it looks great when it's finished. A coat of paint or sealer can also prevent wood from warping, helping you protect your property for years longer. There's even a simple test to know when to apply a new coat of stain or sealant. According to this source, you should just drop some water on the boards to see if it beads up. If it doesn't, the wood needs some TLC.
When you're looking for a few ways to make sure that your outdoor space always looks its best, there are a few simple techniques that can make a great impact. More than likely, you're already doing some of them, but you might need to tweak them to get the best results.
If you’re redoing your outdoor space, why not update your indoor space while you’re at it? Take a look at these tips for taking the headache out of a remodel!
When it comes to tackling a backyard makeover, there is no time like the present to start planning. Unless you’re planning to build your own deck, one of the first items on your “to-do” list should be hiring a contractor. To help ensure you find the right professional for your project, consider these five often overlooked questions.
5 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Decking Contractor
(Family Features) When it comes to tackling a backyard makeover, there is no time like the present to start planning. Unless you're planning to build your own deck, one of the first items on your "to-do" list should be hiring a contractor.
Quality deck builders can book up quickly and often have waiting lists by early spring. By doing your research in advance, you can ensure a spot in the project queue and have a brand new deck in time to make the most of outdoor living season.
While many questions are obvious, such as costs and timelines, homeowners sometimes overlook other key considerations when vetting contractors. To help ensure you find the right professional for your project, consider these five often overlooked questions:
1. Are you and your company licensed and insured? Make sure the contractor you choose has insurance and the required licenses to obtain permits by calling his or her insurance company for verification. Without such coverage, you could be held accountable for property damage or injuries that occur on your property.
2. How will the permit process be handled? Nearly every deck building project requires a permit. If you build without the necessary permits, you may have issues with paperwork or have to pay a fine when you try to sell your home. Most deck builders handle the permit process but be sure to obtain a copy for your records.
3. What decking materials do you work with? Your deck is a permanent addition to your home that affects its value, so it's important to choose a contractor who is skilled and comfortable working with your preferred material. If you want to build with composite, for instance, Trex Company, a leading brand of wood-alternative decking, has an international network of pre-screened and hand-selected contractors, known as TrexPros, who have completed specialized training in working with high-performance, low-maintenance composite decking.
4. Can you provide references? It's one thing to read online reviews, but to personally speak with a previous customer offers another level of reassurance. Once your preliminary questions have been answered and you feel comfortable with the contractor, take the time to contact a few references to ask questions about the quality of work and overall experience to help ensure you are making a good hiring decision.
5. Do you offer a warranty? Typically, contractor warranties only cover structural damage related to the construction of the deck. Reputable builders should provide a written statement that spells out the type and length of time they will guarantee their workmanship. Be sure to also inquire about any manufacturers' warranties on the products being used. For example, Trex decking is backed by a 25-year limited fade and stain warranty.
Find more information and other common questions at trex.com.SOURCE:
As the major outdoor living trend sweeps the nation, decks are getting bigger. But with television shows featuring 3,000-square-foot monster decks, the average homeowner is left to wonder, “Just how big of a deck do I need?”
(BPT) - As the major outdoor living trend sweeps the nation, decks are getting bigger. But with television shows featuring 3,000-square-foot monster decks, the average homeowner is left to wonder, “Just how big of a deck do I need?”
Atlanta, Georgia-based deck builder Frank Pologruto says it all comes down to how homeowners intend to use their space as each “zone” of the deck will require a general square footage.
“People want somewhere to cook, and then eat, and then have a conversation, and you start adding up these areas and you realize you can’t do all this in a 16-foot by 12-foot deck,” said Pologruto, the owner of Decks & More.
Dining — 320+ square feet
Outdoor kitchens and dining areas are growing in popularity, but do require significant space. A grill with some counter space for cooking and a large table and chairs for dining will take up around 320 square feet of deck.
Seating — 250+ square feet
Adding an additional seating area, whether a quiet morning coffee spot or an after-dinner conversation pit, will require more space. A conversation area for about six people will add another 256 square feet to the deck. Adding a fire element to the seating area, will require not only the space for the actual fireplace or fire pit, but also appropriate distance between the fire and any seating.
Pool or hot tub — 150+ square feet
Homeowners looking to include a water feature like an in-ground pool or hot tub can expect it to require additional deck space. A four-person hot tub could take up as many as 100 square feet of deck, but Pologruto cautions homeowners to build in plenty of room to walk around, and enter and exit the hot tub, bringing the total to between 150 and 200 square feet.
Parties — 15 square feet per person
As a general rule, Pologruto said homeowners should determine how many people they expect to host on their deck and estimate about 15 square feet of deck per person. To comfortably fit around 20 people, the deck will need at least 300 square feet of open space.
“Remember though, if you plan to have 50 people over, they won’t all be out on the deck at the same time, so plan for your deck to hold about 30 people,” he said.
With the added square footage comes a bigger price tag — $25,000 to $250,000 depending on the size.
The deck material will also affect the final cost. Pologruto uses traditional wood boards and high-end ENVISION composite decking by TAMKO Building Products, and says if homeowners are already preparing to spend the money to build a large deck, they should go the extra step and upgrade to a composite board.
“If you’re smart and have the money, do the composite — it just makes more sense,” he said.
Overall, from his experience, Pologruto said most homeowners don’t need a 3,000-square-foot deck, and should be able to fit a small dining area, arbor, hot tub and separate seating area in about 750 square feet, although some of the decks he builds are more than twice that size.
Planning to include the right amount of space will leave you with the most comfortable outdoor living area to suit your needs.
While outdoor living season may be winding down, there’s no better time to start planning your dream deck. These 5 quick tips make creating your outdoor oasis exciting and easy.
Deck Design Made Easy
Start planning now for a beautiful outdoor living space
(Family Features) While outdoor living season may be winding down, there’s no better time to start planning your dream deck. Prep work is a big part of the process – much of which can be done now and throughout the cooler months to get your backyard retreat ready for next spring.
The following are quick tips to make creating your outdoor oasis exciting and easy:
Get digitally inspired
Dive into design
Designing a deck starts with the same questions as planning interior rooms, such as whether it will be used for relaxing, grilling or socializing. Determine how to incorporate those activities into your space by exploring the possibilities with online apps. Trex, the leading manufacturer of wood-alternative decking and railing, offers several ready-to-build Deck Design Plans representing today’s most popular and versatile designs. Once a user selects a design, the tool provides the details of the deck’s dimensions and materials needed, as well as an overview of the design’s benefits so that homeowners can be assured they are selecting the ideal layout for their planned outdoor living activities.
Decide on details
Understand costs and value
For more information and inspiration for getting the deck planning and designing process started, visit trex.com.
Whether you’re keeping up with the Joneses or capturing attention from would-be buyers, give your home’s curb appeal a boost with easy steps, such as making a list of any imperfections that require replacing or repair; prioritizing your to-do list, taking your budget into account; cleaning siding, doors, shutters and delicate items like patio tables with a power washer; making improvements to stop current and prevent future problems; cleaning outdoor surfaces such as decks, sidewalks and driveways; and adding finishing touches like flowers, lighting and other small details.
6 Steps to Up Your Home's Curb Appeal
(Family Features) For good or bad, first impressions count. Whether you’re keeping up with the Joneses or capturing attention from would-be buyers, give your home’s curb appeal a boost with these easy steps.
Find more solutions to make the view from your curb as appealing as possible at briggsandstratton.com.
While most people today understand the main benefits of composite decking, the material itself is still new enough to raise questions, confusion and some skepticism among homeowners who grew up with wood decks. To help set the record straight, a pair of backyard design experts offer their insights on five common misconceptions about composite decking.
Demystifying Composite Decking
5 common misconceptions about composite material
(Family Features) First introduced in the late 1980s, composite decking quickly gained acceptance among builders and homeowners who recognized and appreciated being able to achieve a natural wood look without the ongoing hassles of upkeep. While most people today understand the main benefits of composite decking – durability and minimal maintenance – the material itself is still new enough to raise questions, confusion and some skepticism among homeowners who grew up with wood decks.
To help set the record straight, Trex Company, the world’s No. 1 decking and railing brand and leader in high-performance, low-maintenance outdoor living products, has teamed with backyard design experts Paul Lafrance and Kate Campbell of HGTV’s acclaimed “Decked Out” series.
Misconception No. 1: Composite decking looks “fake.”
“Composite decking has evolved tremendously since its beginnings more than 20 years ago,” Campbell said. “The latest generation of products, such as Trex Transcend, look more natural than ever, featuring high-definition wood grain patterns and rich, saturated colors ranging from warm browns and pristine grey to spicy reds. There are also tropically inspired boards designed with subtle color variations and authentic streaking that mimic the look and feel of exotic hardwoods without the environmental impact – or splinters.”
Misconception No. 2: All composite decking materials are the same.
“Since composite decking was invented in the early 1990s, the market has been flooded with competitive offerings varying widely in quality, aesthetics and value,” Lafrance said. “For my projects, I use what is categorized as ‘high-performance’ composite manufactured with an integrated, three-sided shell or ‘cap.’ Capped boards feature an added layer of protection against severe weather, heavy foot traffic, fading, mold and staining.”
Misconception No. 3: Composite decking is maintenance free.
“Anything that sits outside in the elements for years on end is going to need some type of maintenance,” Campbell said. “When it comes to decking, the difference lies in how much upkeep is required. Maintaining wood decking is a downright chore with all the scrubbing, sanding and staining that wood requires – not to mention the replacement of splintered, warped and rotten boards. High-performance composite decking, on the other hand, calls for just wiping up spills when they happen and a simple soap-and-water cleaning twice a year – once in the spring when you’re getting it ready for outdoor living season and again when you close up your outdoor living space for the winter.”
Misconception No. 4: Composite decking is too expensive.
“Over time, wood decking actually ends up being more expensive than composite,” Lafrance said. “Sure, the initial cost of pressure-treated lumber is less than wood alternatives, but since a deck is a long-term investment, it’s important to consider the long-term costs, such as all the materials you’ll need for seasonal stripping, staining, painting and sealing. Add to that the time and cost involved in repairing and replacing wooden deck boards that will inevitably warp and splinter over time – even if they are well-maintained. When you factor in the cost of ongoing maintenance required with a wood deck, a composite deck ends up paying for itself in the long run.”
Misconception No. 5: Composite decking is not eco-friendly.
“Because it is made primarily from recycled content, composite decking is remarkably eco-friendly,” Campbell said. “In fact, Trex composite decking is made from 95 percent recycled content. By using plastic and industrial wood scraps that would otherwise wind up in landfills, they use more than 400 million pounds of recycled material each year in the making of their deck boards.”
For more information, visit trex.com.
Interested in Publishing on The Home Idea?
Send your query to the Publisher today!