It comes as no surprise that during these warmer months we move more of our attention toward the outdoors. Thoughts of sipping cool beverages atop cozy lounges and backyard barbeques instantly come to mind at the mere mention of summer. The last few years, however, have brought a dramatic increase in the dollars and time spent on improving our outdoor living spaces, and designers have responded to this trend and are seeking to provide us with our ideal backyard paradise. We spoke with Feng Shui guru and interior designer DeAnna Radaj of Bante Design LLC about outdoor living and creating the perfect getaway.
In 1914, Robert Frost wrote, in his poem Mending Wall, "Good fences make good neighbors." You may choose to build a privacy fence on your property for any number of reasons: to increase safety, privacy or security; enclose pets or children; eliminate sight lines beyond your property; or simply to enhance your home's curb appeal. Once you gain an understanding of the materials required as well as layout and installation techniques, building a wood privacy fence is a job many do-it-yourselfers can accomplish.
In real estate, old adages don’t exactly apply -- looks do matter and what’s on the outside definitely counts. Whether you are getting your home market-ready or planning to stay awhile (and perhaps secretly coveting that “Yard of the Month” accolade), an exterior home makeover is only a weekend, and a minimal investment, away.
Outdoor lighting illuminates social gatherings, comforts us with additional safety and security, enables us to work or play, and enhances our home garden aesthetics from dusk to dawn. With the variety of outdoor lighting fixtures available, selecting the right one can be somewhat daunting. Understanding the available outdoor lighting technologies, techniques, and fixtures will allow you to make better use of your property after the sun goes down.
Has your head been in the gutter lately? A properly installed gutter and downspout system performs a seemingly simple task, collecting water that drains off the roof and directing it away from the home. Quite often, homeowners pay little to no attention to their gutters and downspouts, and the system in turn performs poorly or even fails. Lack of maintenance allows for clogs, leaks, and potentially damage to your home. These issues are more extensive and costly to repair then to prevent with a little maintenance.
Only you and those around you know what color your thumb is. For those of you without a green thumb, plants have a few environmental needs to grow and stay alive: temperature, water, soil, and sunlight. When Mother Nature doesn't provide these, you need to. That all seems rather easy, right? Whether you are planting a new garden or adding to an existing one, a little knowledge, planning, and preparation will go a long way toward earning your green thumb and determining the future success of your garden.
Planting a new lawn and establishing turfgrass begins with understanding your region's climatic conditions. The United States has five climatic zones: Cool and Humid, Cool and Arid, Warm and Arid, Warm and Humid, and a Transitional zone. All turfgrass types have the ability to grow in any zone for a portion of the year. Finding the most appropriate turfgrass type for your location will provide you with the best chances for a lush, green lawn. Once you have determined your climatic zone, the question now becomes seed vs. sod.
Tired of eating at the picnic table on the lawn but not interested in maintaining a wood deck? Look to make a lasting impression in your backyard by installing a paver patio. Paver patios are aesthetically pleasing and are relatively low-maintenance. If you hire a contractor, you can expect to pay $15–$20 a square foot, depending on where you live and what type of paver you have selected. If you are able to set aside some time and are willing to perform the work on your own, you could save 40%–60% by doing it yourself. Let's get started!
Refinishing your wood deck every few years is necessary maintenance. Learn when and how.
When is it time to refinish your wood deck? Sometimes it’s hard to tell. Use the “splash test” to see if your wood deck needs attention. Take a glass of water and splash it on the most heavily traveled areas. If the water beads up and sits on top of the wood, then refinishing is not required. If the water soaks in and darkens the wood, then it’s time to get on that deck maintenance before any serious damage is done. Join our host, Jeff Wilson, as he demonstrates how to refinish a wood deck.
According to the Study of Life Expectancy of Home Components, which was prepared in 2007 by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the average life expectancy of a wood deck varies: 10-15 years in the South, 20-25 years in dry areas, and 20-30 years in the North. The NAHB states, "Because they [wood decks] are subject to a wide range of conditions in different climates, the life expectancy of wooden decks can vary significantly. Under ideal conditions, they have a life expectancy of about 20 years." Whether you are caring for an aging wood deck or building a new one, understanding and practicing proper maintenance is paramount to protecting your investment and extending its lifetime.
In addition to efficient watering, you need to know how to fertilize your landscape properly in order to have a healthy green lawn and garden. Read on to learn some fertilizer basics that will keep your yard looking great.