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.
(BPT) - Whether an afternoon tailgating before the big game or a fun-filled evening under the dazzling autumn stars, the forecast for this season's entertaining is trending toward cozy, comfortable and outdoors.
"I think the big lifestyle shift right now is toward eating out less and entertaining more at home, and autumn is the perfect season for taking your get-togethers outside," says Keith Winkler, marketing manager for dinnerware giant Replacements, Ltd. "Think about it - the temperatures are cooling down following our record breaking summer heat. You can have more people at outdoor gatherings than you can generally fit in your home. Plus, there's more flexibility because you can easily have one or more set ups, whether that means setting up tables for dinner or having canapÃ©s and finger foods around a fire pit."
Fall is a great season for ditching the paper and plastic and taking your dinnerware outdoors. Tableware industry experts say there are many positives to introducing your "good stuff" to Mother Nature. It won't blow away like paper plates, and it's far more environmentally friendly than Styrofoam.
Mix it up
While serving finger foods on small plates is extremely popular and encourages your guests to mingle, there's a definite return toward the comfort and connection of a sit down meal. To set the perfect fall table, designers encourage mixing and matching patterns to reflect your distinctive style.
"I generally start with a pattern that sets the tone for the evening, one that reflects what I'm feeling for this particular gathering," says Replacements' designer Julie Robbins. "Whether that's a cute salad plate that's going to sit atop the dinner plate, or a fun color I want as my main design element or theme. I then add pieces that either draw out that feeling or ground the place setting to give me the ambiance I want for my entire table."
Robbins says that may mean pairing a current fall favorite, such as a dinner plate in Woodland by Spode, with vintage American amber glass from the 1940s. She also mixes different pieces. For example, adding a hued glass accent salad plate creates another layer of dimension, while a bright goblet can infuse a much needed pop of seasonal color.
Light up your evenings
There's really no need to go heavy on the decorations for fall outdoor entertaining. Bright leaves, pumpkins, seasonal berries and other naturals create the perfect autumn decor. Experts say you don't need a floral centerpiece if you have nature all around you. Instead, use candles to light up your evenings.
"It's time to upgrade from the Mason jar look by mixing glassware and candles," says Robbins. "Lighting can truly set the mood for your gathering, which is why I'm big on creating an eclectic grouping down the middle of my table by mixing glass and metal candlesticks with hurricanes, clear decanters and other pieces I can use to hold candles. If you don't think you have enough pieces, old tumblers make great votive cups, while you can also turn wine glasses and goblets upside down and place candles on the inverted base. This is beautiful for daytime entertaining, and when lit, creates a simple, warm feeling on those nights when you're just starting to feel a nip in the air."
Looking for more fall inspiration? Robbins and team suggest checking out Replacements' website at www.replacements.com.
Here are six unique themes and some ideas for implementing them with style this season.
(BPT) - Patriotic celebrations, neighborhood block parties, graduations, bridal showers and family reunions - whatever your summer soiree, a creative theme can elevate any gathering from fun to fantastic. If you've done the usual - luau, ethnic and red-white-and-blue - and are looking for motifs that will really make a splash, here are six unique themes and some ideas for implementing them with style this season:
1. Star-spangled movie night
Summer patriotic celebrations can be pretty formulaic if you just serve burgers and hot dogs while watching fireworks on TV. But merge patriotism with film, and you can create a memorable, magical party. Break out the red-white-and-blue bunting, rent some velvet ropes and stanchions like you see in a theater, pick up a projector, screen and popcorn machine from your local rental store, and spend the day reveling in patriotic-themed movies.
Your local rental store has everything you need to create a star-spangled movie night. Find a rental store at rentalhq.com. Not sure what to show? "Captain America" and "Independence Day" are thrill rides that both kids and adults will love. Or, tug at the heart strings with sports-themed, all-American movies like "Miracle" and "Field of Dreams."
2. A day at the carnival
Whether you're looking for an inspired block party idea or a kid's birthday party theme that will leave parents and children talking about it until winter break, you can't beat a carnival theme for summer fun! Serve up traditional carnival fare - rented hot dog and popcorn machines will come in handy - and break out the carnival games. From favorites like the ring toss, dart/balloon board and duck ponds, to inflatable bounce houses and dunk tanks, you can rent carnival games to create a one-of-a-kind backyard event.
3. Summer snacking soiree
Beach time, vacation, warm weather and sunshine are all lovely aspects of summer, but let's face it - summer snacks are the highlight of the season. Adults and kids alike will love a menu that highlights some of their favorite warm-weather snacks. Set up a s'mores station with graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate bars and a camp fire (under adult supervision, of course). Place popcorn, hot dog, frozen drink and ice cream machines around the backyard. Celebrate summer fruits like watermelon and avocado with creative recipes like watermelon fruit pops, fruit bruschetta, fruit skewers and hummus/guacamole dip.
4. Whacky water world
When the temperatures soar, everyone loves some water fun. Invite guests to bring their bathing attire and visit your backyard for some whacky water fun. Fill balloons with water and hang them from a tree branch to create a wet, wild pinata. Rent an inflatable water slide, a misting fan, dunk tank and bubble machine. As guests arrive, equip each with a water gun. Have plenty of water barrels around the yard for quick refills and don't forget to have plenty of towels on hand.
5. Karaoke dance-off
Dance party or karaoke - which musical theme should you choose? Why not combine the themes and give your guests a chance to belt out their favorites while their friends shake it on the dance floor? Your local rental store can provide the karaoke machine, juke box and dance floor - your guests bring their creativity. Escalate the fun and add a touch of competition by inviting guests to dress and perform in the musical style that was in fashion when they graduated high school (or kindergarten or grade school for younger attendees).
6. Stadium day
Watching the big game together is a great party theme any time of year. Add a singularly summery element to your game day celebration by staging it outdoors in a homemade stadium setting. You can rent bleachers and a big screen to make guests feel like they're right there in the stadium as they're watching the game together. Add in food machines to make traditional stadium fare like hot dogs, nachos, popcorn and burgers. Decorate with banners, pennants and flags. Set up a portable bar beside the bleachers and you're all set for a stadium-style experience in your own backyard.
Creative themes can add fresh excitement to virtually any summer gathering. To find a rental store with everything you need to execute a unique theme, visit www.rentalhq.com.
Take this year’s outdoor enjoyment to a new level with items designed to keep you and your fellow revelers safe and ready for food and fun.
Fun in the Sun
Backyard essentials for a summer outdoors
(Family Features) From a leisurely afternoon watching the kids play in the sprinkler to an evening cookout with friends under the stars, it’s the perfect time of year to bask in the comfort and beauty of your own backyard. Take this year’s outdoor enjoyment to a new level with items designed to keep you and your fellow revelers safe and ready for food and fun.
Savor the Flavors of Summertime
Help Your Skin Recover After Too Much Sun
Be Prepared for Burns, Bites and Scrapes
Keep Hot Summer Parties on Ice
Grill Up Some Goodness
Serveware with a Purpose
Photo courtesy of Getty Images(three photos: people at party, cooler, and grill)
Spring and summer present endless opportunities to celebrate, from events like graduations and birthday parties to barbecues and gatherings with friends. Impress guests and add an element of fun and whimsy to your party with easy DIY balloon projects, such as Floral Balloon Tails and DIY Glitter-Dipped Balloons.
Celebrate Summer with DIY Party Decor
(Family Features) Spring and summer present endless opportunities to celebrate, from events like graduations and birthday parties to barbecues and gatherings with friends. Impress guests and add an element of fun and whimsy to your party with these easy DIY balloon projects.
Party planning experts Seri Kertzner and Michelle Bachman of Little Miss Party recommend making a bold statement by using fresh flowers to create floral tails on your balloons. It’s an unexpected detail that adds a colorful element to your tablescape. You can tailor the flowers to your party’s color scheme or the guest of honor’s favorites. Put any leftover flowers in vases or use them for a table runner to pull the theme through.
DIY glitter balloons from Kelly Mindell of Studio DIY are another fun project that can lift the look of any occasion. Simply coat clear balloons with spray adhesive and roll them in glitter to add sparkle to your gift table, centerpiece or dessert area.
With Balloon Time’s portable helium tank on hand, you can inflate balloons for creative uses anywhere you want to celebrate.
Floral Balloon Tails
Purchase light, fresh greenery that has a flexible stem. A florist or local farm stand can help identify the greenery best suited for this project.
Buy jumbo confetti balloon. To make the balloon instead, pick up a clear jumbo balloon at a local party store. Cut tissue paper into small pieces and add cut tissue into the balloon before inflating.
Inflate confetti balloon with helium tank and tie with string or ribbon.
Take strand of green leaves and wrap greenery around string, starting at the balloon stem.
Notes: Be aware that popcorn ceilings and hot ceiling lights can pop balloons. If high ceilings are a concern, tie balloons to a jar of decorative rocks or candy in the party’s color scheme.
DIY Glitter-Dipped Balloons
Inflate balloons using helium tank and tie with ribbon.
Pour glitter onto paper plate.
Spray adhesive on bottom third of the balloon and roll sticky part in glitter until it is completely covered.
Tap balloon to remove excess glitter.
5 Simple Tips for Birthday Bash Success
(Family Features) Whether you’re planning a princess tea party or a superhero birthday bash, the secret to organizing a party your child will treasure is to keep your little one’s interests at the forefront.
If your child does well in smaller groups, keep the guest list small. Plan the menu around his or her favorite foods and look for little touches that celebrate the unique joy he or she brings to your family. Make your little one’s big day extra special with these simple tips that make childhood birthday parties manageable but magnificent:
Find more ideas for throwing a birthday bash to remember at HersheyBirthdays.com or visit select Walmart locations to find all your birthday party needs.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
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