Whether you’re hoping to sell in the near future or simply looking to touch up outdated areas, there’s one aspect of home maintenance most homeowners agree is important: curb appeal. It’s a broad term that may reference any number of visible features, meaning there are plenty of ways to enhance the appearance of your house. Consider these ideas – some big, some small – for bringing new life to your home’s look.
7 Ideas to Improve Curb Appeal
(Family Features) Whether you’re hoping to sell in the near future or simply looking to touch up outdated areas, there’s one aspect of home maintenance most homeowners agree is important: curb appeal. It’s a broad term that may reference any number of visible features, meaning there are plenty of ways to enhance the appearance of your house.
Consider these ideas – some big, some small – for bringing new life to your home’s look from the experts at the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.
Swap Out Your Front Door
Create Seating Areas
Rethink the Mailbox
Paint (or Repaint) the Exterior
To find more ideas to increase curb appeal, or to find a certified remodeler near you, visit RemodelingDoneRight.com.SOURCE:
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
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!
Before the dull and dreary days of winter set in, you still have plenty of time to update your home’s curb appeal with these ideas for applying pops of color that add a cheerful touch to offset the oncoming gray weather.
5 Easy Ways to Add Colorful Curb Appeal
(Family Features) Before the dull and dreary days of winter set in, you still have plenty of time to update your home’s curb appeal with pops of color that add a cheerful touch to offset the oncoming gray weather.
Get a Step Up with Railings
Create DIY Doormats
Put the Spotlight on Light Fixtures
Pretty Up Planters
Refresh Patio Furniture
Explore more ideas to give your home a seasonal color boost at TodayWeSpray.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.
Once the structural elements and hardscape features of your outdoor living space are in place, it’s time to turn attention to the details that really bring the area to life.
Add Life to Outdoor Spaces
(Family Features) Once the structural elements and hardscape features of your outdoor living space are in place, it’s time to turn attention to the details that really bring the area to life.
Vibrant textiles like cushions, pillows and rugs can all soften the look of a space while adding colorful charm, but another effective place where you can introduce plenty of character is the landscaping.
Often, homeowners treat the landscape and the architectural components of an outdoor living space as distinct design elements. Making the landscape seamlessly integrate into the area not only transforms the way the space looks, it enhances the outdoor ambiance.
Create Climate Control
Keep Prying Eyes Out
Go Low Maintenance
Consult with experts at your local nursery or garden center for advice on the trees and plants that work best in your climate zone, and find more tips for creating your ideal outdoor living space at eLivingToday.com.
Enhance Your Outdoor Living Space
Regardless of the size of your deck – or budget – these simple tips from the experts at Trex can add interior function to your outdoor oasis:
Absolute Al Fresco
For more information and outdoor living inspiration, visit trex.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (patio with orange cushion chairs)SOURCE:
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.
By incorporating the right design principles, an outdoor kitchen can be the place where you and your guests enjoy delicious meals for years to come. Big or small, you can get started on your outdoor kitchen design by understanding these basics.
Smart, Stylish Designs for Outdoor Kitchens
(Family Features) Kitchens are moving outside. And they’re doing it in a big way. According to a recent study from the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), outdoor kitchens are expected to be a top design trend in 2016.
“An outdoor kitchen can drastically improve the value of a home,” said Alana Busse, designer and NKBA Central Coast and Valleys chapter president. “They also bring people together. Whether, it’s simply your neighbors coming over for a weekend barbecue or a big family gathering, everyone loves being outside.”
Big or small, the basic principles of outdoor kitchen design remain the same. Get started by understanding these basics:
Get the right heat
More homeowners are also expanding their cooking capabilities with specialized products offering different types of heat. Smokers, pizza ovens and charcoal or wood-fired grills, such as Kalamazoo’s Gaucho Grill, are options to keep in mind as they can enhance the outdoor cooking experience.
Assess the space
If they are relatively close together, an outdoor kitchen can utilize the indoor kitchen’s capabilities, such as prep space and storage. Conversely, a fully independent outdoor kitchen with refrigeration, warming cabinets and cabinetry is more self-reliant, but will require more space and connections for gas, water and electricity.
In the zone
The cold zone should be next to the wet zone. This will simplify moving food from the cold zone refrigerator to the wet zone sink to wash and get ready for grilling in the hot zone.
Also plan for uninterrupted counter space, or landing areas, for placing platters and utensils while cooking. Grills should have at least 24 inches to one side and 12 inches to the other. Sinks should have 18 inches on both sides for room to wash food or place dirty dishes.
Be sure to dedicate enough space for each zone and think about the relationships among them for cooking and serving activities.
When considering refrigeration for an outdoor kitchen, Faulk stresses food-safe rated options. With these products, meats won’t go bad and drinks will stay cold, even when it’s above 95 degrees outside.
Cabinetry should be equipped to handle rain and protect the items inside. Weather-tight cabinets have seamless rain gutters around the door and drawer openings to help divert water.
By incorporating the right design principles, an outdoor kitchen can be the place where you and your guests enjoy delicious meals for years to come. For more design tips, visit kalamazoogourmet.com.
Photos courtesy of Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet:
(BPT) - Are you ready to put your deck on the best-dressed list this summer, but hesitant to dent your savings? With these simple design ideas, you can make your deck the perfect place for summer festivities.
1. Accessorize with railings.
An easy way to give your deck a beauty boost is to update the railing. The decorative details of this safety feature are easy to overlook during the initial deck building process. Thankfully, with today's products, it's easy and affordable to turn this eyesore into an accessory.
For example, by replacing outdated railings with those that complement your deck boards and home's exterior trim, you can create an outdoor living space that's a well-styled extension of your home. If you have a non-traditional deck, cable rails or mixed medium infills like tempered glass panels may be your style. Or, if you want to mix modern with traditional elements, consider letting guests lean on attractive, but affordable aluminum rail systems like MoistureShield Pro.
"The sleek lines of aluminum railing are the perfect counterpart to today's contemporary spaces," says Brent Gwatney, senior vice president, MoistureShield Composite Decking. "They're a less obtrusive railing option and give decks a high-end, custom feel without the high-end price tag, and tend to be backed with long-term warranties."
2. Block the sun beautifully.
Another way to balance form with function is to shade your deck in style. Fortunately, there are a number of beautiful, low-cost ways to block the sun that go beyond the patio umbrella.
Pergolas are a popular way to shade your space without breaking the bank. You can vary the direction of the beams to create interest, weave fabric panels across the top to create a cozy respite or use the structure to frame a view.
Screening trellises are another affordable option for relief from direct sunlight. They can disguise an unsightly view, soften your deck or provide an attractive backsplash for an outdoor kitchen, while adding shade and privacy. You can even bend high performance decking materials, like composite decking, to curve around existing trees to let nature act as your canopy.
3. Plant a deck-adent garden
Deckscaping is a timeless, low-cost way to turn your outdoor living space into a backyard beauty. Placing shrubs or a curving flowerbed along the perimeter of your deck can soften its edges and add colorful accents. Alternatively, bringing planters on deck with a mix of annuals and perennials can quickly turn a bland deck into a garden retreat full of seasonal blooms.
If your deck is small, consider keeping floor space free with a gorgeous overhead garden. Hanging flower baskets and trellises with climbing vines are simple and affordable space-savers that can make covered deck spaces resemble a spa-like retreat.
4. Dress your deck to impress
To finish your deck and give it that one-of-a-kind feel, outfit it the same way you would an interior room, thinking about color and texture. While this may sound expensive, there are plenty of practical, budget friendly ways to make your deck a stylish extension of your home.
You can easily spice it up with painted furniture and fun accents. Pretty and durable accent pillows made from outdoor fabrics are an inexpensive way to add pops of color. Or if you find an outdoor fabric that you love you can make bench cushions to give your outdoor seating a cozy feel. Accents like an outdoor rug can tie it all together by adding texture underfoot, keeping dirt from being tracked inside your home, and defining areas for different uses.
5. Light up your evenings in style
Finally, don't neglect how your deck looks when the sun goes down. With the right lighting, you can extend your hours outside and keep your deck as charming in the nighttime as it is during the day.
From subtle post lights that cast a magical evening glow to understated recessed lights and rail strip lights that help guide guests' steps, today's deck lighting choices are both functional and affordable.
And, with the emergence of energy-efficient LEDs, you can use them liberally with little effect on your monthly electricity bill. So, let your imagination roam with nighttime illumination options to add after-dark ambience to your outdoor retreat.
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