Are summer’s sizzling temperatures causing you to retreat from your favorite outdoor spaces? Garages, patios, sheds, gardens and other outdoor areas should be enjoyed throughout the year. Unfortunately, heat and humidity can quickly make being outside intolerable during the dog days of summer. The good news is keeping outdoor spaces comfortable doesn’t have to be a challenge. With the right tools and some thoughtful planning, you can stay cool and continue your favorite hobbies, no matter how high the temperatures rise.
(BPT) - Are summer’s sizzling temperatures causing you to retreat from your favorite outdoor spaces? Garages, patios, sheds, gardens and other outdoor areas should be enjoyed throughout the year. Unfortunately, heat and humidity can quickly make being outside intolerable during the dog days of summer.
The good news is keeping outdoor spaces comfortable doesn’t have to be a challenge. With the right tools and some thoughtful planning, you can stay cool and continue your favorite hobbies, no matter how high the temperatures rise. Whether it's wrenching on a car, in the garage tackling a DIY project, tending to your patio container garden or simply kicking back on the deck, the following steps can help you stay cool and safe.
Step 1: Shade
Direct sun on decks and patios can make it nearly impossible to enjoy hot days. Strategically install shade features like umbrellas and awnings to add instant protection and ambiance. An alternative is vine-covered trellises that block sunlight and align well with the natural elements outdoors. For covered areas like garages and sheds, direct sunlight isn't a concern, but those rays can raise the temperatures in those spaces fast. That's why it's important to take additional steps to cool the air within.
Step 2: Portable cooling
Fans alone simply circulate stagnant, hot air throughout outdoor living spaces. Instead consider an evaporative cooler. Available in a variety of sizes, Portacool portable evaporative coolers drop temperatures through the naturally occurring process of evaporation using water and the surrounding air, without creating mist. Open backyard spaces, patios and garages can be more comfortably cool on the hottest days by rolling this cooler wherever it's needed.
Step 3: Insulation
For covered spaces like garages and sheds, adding insulation can help regulate temperatures. Batt insulation is inexpensive and an easy weekend DIY project to install if drywall isn't present. Add to walls and ceiling spaces where applicable and then cover with drywall. If you already have drywall, you can look into blown-in insulation options. By insulating these spaces, you'll help keep sweltering heat out and cool air in for more enjoyable summer days.
Step 4: Color
Keep color in mind when evaluating outdoor spaces. Light colors reflect the sun and dark colors absorb it, causing temperatures to rise. For decks and patios, opt for rugs and furniture in light colors to stay cool and comfortable. For garages and sheds, consider the color of the exterior. If you find the afternoon sun beats mercilessly down upon it, consider painting the exterior a lighter shade of paint, and when it's time to replace the roof, choose a new color in a lighter hue.
Summer heat doesn't have to force you indoors. Enjoy favorite outdoor spaces with these simple steps to stay cool and comfortable. For more information about evaporative coolers, visit www.portacool.com.
All lawns are not the same, and using the right equipment to maintain the lawn is important. After all, unlocking the potential of the lawn can result in significant advantages from curb appeal to relaxing in the backyard to hosting gatherings with family and friends. Here are three key areas to consider with zero-turn mowers, an option that’s gaining popularity.
Here’s What You Need to Mow
(Family Features) All lawns are not the same, and using the right equipment to maintain the lawn is important. After all, unlocking the potential of the lawn can result in significant advantages from curb appeal to relaxing in the backyard to hosting gatherings with family and friends.
Many homeowners may have a push mower, a lawn tractor or both – and technology on lawn equipment has come a long way over the years. Today’s lawn tractors incorporate fuel-injected engines or feature Bluetooth technology that connects with a smartphone.
However, a third lawn mowing option is gaining in popularity – the zero-turn mower. It’s called a zero-turn mower because its design allows users to make zero-degree turns – allowing for easier maneuverability around trees, shrubs, lawn decorations and other obstacles typically encountered when mowing.
Zero-turn mowers are becoming more popular for homeowners because they are comfortable, have great handling and can mow lawns quickly and efficiently.
Here are three key areas to consider with zero-turn mowers:
The steering wheel option offers patented SynchroSteer® technology, providing unparalleled stability on hills and terrain with no turf damage. With four-wheel control, the RZT SX delivers incredible handling and unmatched stability on hills. The line is available in a variety of cutting widths from 42 to 54 inches.
As many families prepare to ramp up their time spent outside, it can be helpful to keep the latest trends in mind while planning for outdoor living spaces. Since many people enjoy spending time in an outdoor living space, it’s fitting that the 2018 furnishing trends address the outdoor lifestyle experience.
Living Lavishly Outdoors with 2018 Trends
(Family Features) As many families prepare to ramp up their time spent outside, it can be helpful to keep the latest trends in mind while planning for outdoor living spaces.
According to research from the International Casual Furnishings Association, many people use outdoor rooms for things they can do indoors – from using cellphones for calls and games to working on computers, watching TV, eating, exercising and, of course, relaxing.
Since 70 percent of survey respondents said they enjoy spending time in an outdoor living space more than inside, it’s fitting that the 2018 furnishing trends address the outdoor lifestyle experience.
“Whether enclosed or open-air, outdoor spaces have come into their own as legitimate rooms in American homes,” said Jackie Hirschhaut, vice president of the American Home Furnishings Alliance and executive director of its outdoor division, the International Casual Furnishings Association. “Today’s outdoor rooms have it all – somewhere to dine, to relax and be entertained – with furnishings that function like they would for any room in the home and with style and flair that distinctly fits outdoors.”
Dining tables and chairs top many people’s outdoor shopping lists this year, followed by lounge chairs, lighting, fire pits, umbrellas and sofas. Leading the list of trends in the dynamic dining category is ultra-comfortable seating and a wide variety of table options.
Extra-large dining tables are popular for entertaining groups and al fresco dining. Yet manufacturers understand not everyone has a large outdoor space, so they also offer selections for small spaces, including dining sets suitable for apartment- and condo-size balconies, as well as sizes in-between.
The research also shows 68 percent of people use outdoor spaces several times a week in seasonally appropriate weather. Comfort, spaciousness and style were the most important factors in encouraging people to spend more time outdoors, which is why deep-seated chairs with high backs for relaxed comfort rank high on wish lists.
Often accompanying these group seating options are fire tables or pits, which continue to increase in popularity, according to the survey.
“We are seeing that fire of some sort for outdoors is topping many consumers’ wish lists again this year,” Hirschhaut said. “You just can’t beat a fire element for creating ambience.”
Much like spaces indoors, outdoor rooms are leaning more toward mixing rather than matching, both in individual pieces and in groups of pieces. To help meet this trend, try looking for pieces that incorporate several different elements such as aluminum, wicker and teak, as well as groups that pair, for example, wicker seating with iron or wood tables.
On the color spectrum, the survey found that after years of brown as a dominant color, shades of gray are increasingly peeking through as a more popular finish.
For more tips and information about creating a stylish outdoor living space, visit icfanet.org.
Photo courtesy of O.W. LeeSOURCE:
International Casual Furnishings Association
(BPT) - Summer is here and your lawn is a source of pride. However, it can also be a source of hard work, sweat and even frustration. So ask yourself this question: Would you be interested in maintaining your yard's beauty with fewer headaches?
If the answer is yes, then you’re in luck, because this article is all about helping you find ways to maintain a beautiful lawn without all the unnecessary effort. Apply these five tips today and you’ll have more time to enjoy your well-cared-for yard.
* Be smart about seeding. The dog days of summer are not the ideal time to reseed your lawn, so don’t waste the effort. Seed growth is more successful during cooler months, so if you didn’t seed in the early spring, wait until later in the season before doing so. You’ll get the same results without wasting the effort on an inefficient seeding.
* The perfect cut. Your lawn is the centerpiece of your yard, and nothing improves its overall appearance like the perfect cut, especially when that cut comes easy. Greenworks 60-Volt Mower is a lithium-ion battery-powered mower that eliminates the need to mix and pour gas, letting you put that time back into making your lawn look great. Finding the perfect cutting height is easy with its seven different blade positions, while Patented Smart Cut Technology maximizes run-time by keeping the blade speed at an optimal level based on the thickness of the turf.
* Water smart. Just as with seeding, successfully watering your lawn is all about timing. And, like seeding, dragging a sprinkler around your yard during the peak hours of the day will result in the water you expend being burned off before it does any good. To make the most of your watering sessions, water your lawn at dawn or dusk when temperatures are cooler. This increases the possibility that the water will stick around long enough for the grass to absorb it.
* Trimming made easy. A well-cut lawn is perfectly complemented by manicured bushes and shrubs, and tackling these tasks with the Greenworks 60-Volt Cordless String Trimmer and Hedge Trimmer is easy. Each tool utilizes push button start technology, eliminating the need for pull cords, while the battery-powered brushless motor offers an environmentally friendly, gas-alternative, and neither lacks for power or options. Tackle large projects with the string trimmer’s 16-inch cut path or use the hedge trimmer’s lightweight, rotating handle to reach every angle and you’ll get the perfect trim in no time.
* Add mulch to control weeds. The most beautiful planting beds lose their luster if their base is crowded with weeds. To eliminate this problem — and to save on the wear and tear of pulling the weeds yourself — add a 4-inch layer of mulch to the top of your beds. This mulch blocks out the sun, making it hard for weeds to grow. It also reduces your need to water these beds by slowing water’s evaporation rate.
Summer is here, and while your lawn care is ongoing, there's still plenty of time to make those chores more efficient to benefit yourself and your lawn. To learn more about the lawn care tools available from Greenworks, visit www.greenworkstools.com.
As the weather gets warmer, mosquitoes can prevent homeowners from reaping the benefits of living life outside. Depending on where you live, the mosquito biting season lasts 5-7 months. If spray isn’t adequate to combat the mosquitoes at your home, it may be necessary to take additional measures. These tips can help combat mosquitoes outside of the home.
Banish Biting Season
Tips for eliminating backyard pests
(Family Features) As the weather gets warmer, mosquitoes can prevent homeowners from reaping the benefits of living life outside.
According to a Harris Poll conducted on behalf of TruGreen, 85 percent of Americans say that mosquitoes limit their family’s outdoor activities during the months they’re most active. The same survey also found that nearly two-thirds of Americans are concerned about protecting themselves and their family from Zika or other mosquito-borne illnesses.
A majority of respondents reported using bug spray on themselves and their family members to combat mosquitoes outdoors at home. Although it’s the leading preventative measure, still only half say it is most effective at preventing mosquitoes from biting.
Depending on where you live, the mosquito biting season lasts 5-7 months. If spray isn’t adequate to combat the mosquitoes at your home, it may be necessary to take additional measures.
These tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the pest control experts at TruGreen can help combat mosquitoes outside of the home:
Remove standing water. Mosquitoes generally lay eggs near water, so once a week take time to dump anything that may hold water in the yard. This includes buckets, kiddie pools and birdbaths. Don’t overlook items like toys, planters and flowerpot saucers. For containers intended to hold water, like cisterns or rain barrels, regularly check that the lid is secure so mosquitoes can’t gain access. A finely woven mesh is a good alternative if there is no lid. If you can’t cover the container and won’t be drinking from it, use a larvicide to treat the water.
Be wary of unexpected reservoirs. Natural features such as shrubbery and tree stumps can also collect water, and they may be more difficult to remedy. Keep dense shrubs thinned and pruned. Increasing the air flow can make these areas less attractive. If removing a tree stump is impractical, a professional can guide you in proper treatment.
Apply a broad-application pest eliminator. Use an outdoor insect spray or professional service to kill mosquitoes in areas where they rest all over the yard. A professionally applied treatment such as TruGreen Mosquito Defense targets pests where they live, and the company’s professionally trained specialists use an innovative mosquito control formula to treat all areas of the yard where mosquitoes hide, including trees, shrubs, mulched areas and all types of ground cover.
“Mosquitoes are a nuisance for many of our customers, inhibiting the time they can spend enjoying outdoor activities,” said John Bell, board certified entomologist and TruGreen regional technical manager. “Most people protect against mosquitoes by using a repellant or citronella candles, but these methods do not target the places mosquitoes hide including low-hanging limbs, ornamental foliage, potted plants and ground cover. The TruGreen Mosquito Defense treatment program targets these places, eradicating the mosquito population in homeowners’ yards and allowing people to spend more time living life outside.”
Make regular rounds to spot trouble. Humans are creatures of habit, and that can mean certain areas of the yard receive much less traffic than other spots. Take time each week to tour the entire yard and keep an eye out for potential pest problems, including standing water in containers or low spots in the ground.
Mosquitoes’ favorite Habitats
Because mosquitoes typically lay their eggs near water, places in the yard where water can pool up are often desired breeding grounds. These areas of stagnating water allow the mosquitoes a favorite spot, but there are some other areas around the house to be wary of as potential habitats:
For more year-round lawn care tips, visit TruGreen.com/mosquito.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (family dining outdoors)
Illustration courtesy of Getty Images (infographic)SOURCE:
Before you can fully enjoy your outdoor living spaces this spring, chances are high you’ll need to wash away a layer of winter grime. Take yourself one step closer to backyard barbecues, leisurely evenings around the fire pit and generally reveling in all the season has to offer with these tips for updating your outdoor living environment.
Prepare Outdoor Spaces for Warm Weather Use
(Family Features) Before you can fully enjoy your outdoor living spaces this spring, chances are high you’ll need to wash away a layer of winter grime. Thoroughly cleaning and sprucing up these outdoor areas can get you well on your way to a season filled with outdoor entertainment.
Take yourself one step closer to backyard barbecues, leisurely evenings around the fire pit and generally reveling in all the season has to offer with these tips for updating your outdoor living environment.
Make functional repairs. Start with a careful scan of your yard, giving close attention to items that may have sustained damage during months of disuse. Look for cracks in planters and other items. Inspect wooden furniture and accessories for splintering and rough patches. Check the bolts and hardware securing furniture, especially moving pieces like swinging benches or rocking chairs that are prone to loosening over time. Where needed, make repairs, apply fresh stain or paint and generally ensure each item is in good working condition.
Turn attention to aesthetics. Once everything is ready functionally, you can turn your attention to appearances. In most cases, a vigorous washing is all you need to bring fresh life to windows, siding, decking, sidewalks and other concrete or stone surfaces. An electric pressure washer can make short work of the task, and each of Briggs & Stratton’s models offers a variety of maximum pressure and flow rates to fit homeowners’ unique outdoor cleaning needs. These units feature an onboard detergent tank to easily store and dispense cleaning detergents. Some pressure washers offer additional versatility, such as the POWERflow+ model that has a high pressure mode – ideal for cleaning tough grime – and a high flow mode, which is particularly useful for extended reach, power soaping, power rinsing and delicate surfaces.
For best results when using a pressure washer – whether you’re power washing the patio, cleaning outdoor furniture, washing outdoor windows, rinsing out the grill or scrubbing messy garbage bins – aim the spray nozzle perpendicular to the surface you’re cleaning. Use a steady motion because inconsistent pressure leads to striping. Be sure to “feather” your strokes, overlapping each previous sweep with half the height of the new sweep. Also, allow the detergent soak into difficult stains for 3-5 minutes before rinsing so it has time to latch onto the stain and pull it from the surface.
Focus on details. An outdoor space can evolve from a practical area for outside activities into a true extension of your home with just a few simple touches. Plush cushions make it more comfortable to spend extended time outdoors and accents like rugs and decorative accessories lend a sense of character and charm. Convenience features like end tables make it easy to rest a refreshing beverage nearby. Also consider elements like fans and shades to manage the climate as temperatures climb, and don’t overlook the importance of lighting so your enjoyment can continue after the sun fades from the sky.
Find more tips to get your outdoor living space ready for spring at briggsandstratton.com.SOURCE:
Briggs & Stratton
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