19. May 2016 17:05
Whether it’s a front courtyard, expanded deck, or backyard barbecue, plan for outdoor entertaining when you are designing your new home! [More]
14. March 2016 10:08
"In our neighborhood, they won't allow any sheds or storage buildings. What am I going to do?" "I have to keep the garage doors down because there's so much stuff in the garage it's embarrassing when people drive by." "I need a place for the patio furniture when the snow starts to fly." [More]
18. September 2015 14:56
Special places to gather are what makes a house a home; otherwise, families are essentially just cohabitating, which makes their home a place for eating and sleeping. Gathering places don’t have to be elaborate or defined – even if it’s just at the breakfast bar for a quick meal – being together is what makes you feel connected. [More]
24. July 2013 12:39
There are numerous benefits to having a front or back porch, and if you’re lucky enough to have both, that’s even all the better. A front porch gives you the advantage of curb appeal by highlighting your entryway. It can add an element of graceful style to your home, and it is one of the first things that a visitor or passerby will see. Back porches offer the bonus of a private space to relax or entertain, and will add to the beauty of your backyard. A nice front or back porch will increase the value of your home and any porch can be made more alluring with certain touch-ups or additions.
Add a Porch Covering:
Although a porch can be a nice feature on its own, if you don’t have a covering, it will be exposed to the sun and rain, and will be damaged over time. This also leaves you, your guests, and your entryway with no protection either. A covering is an investment that will save you from having to rebuild your porch prematurely, and will also make it a more enjoyable space for everyone.
Install a Railing:
Having a railing on your porch can significantly impact its appearance and give it a finishing touch that complements the other design elements of your home. A railing provides privacy without obstructing your view and will give your porch a more secure feel. This is especially important if you are going to have children playing on or around the porch.
Change your Décor:
The furniture you use to decorate your porch has a large impact on its look and attractiveness. Since these accessories are kept outdoors, it is likely that they will need to be replaced more often than your other furniture. Adding a rug can make the space appear larger and give it a cozier experience. The seating that you choose will also greatly affect the feel of your porch and should be considered carefully.
Add Finishing Touches:
Adding ceiling fans can keep you comfortable during warmer weather, and light fixtures or lamps, will provide both decorative and useful elements to your porch. Hanging plants, or sheer curtains, can add a nice touch to the space, and offer you more privacy without completely blocking t
he outside view and light. Finally, you will want to keep your yard maintained, especially around the porch as this reflects on the area as a whole.
Looking for homes plans designed with great porches? Craftsman style homes are famous for their large beautiful front porches.
15. May 2013 10:42
Getting your patio and backyard ready for the warm summer months is about a lot more than restocking your Tiki torches and cleaning the grill (although that may very well be part of it). It’s about making your yard, patio, or deck ready for lots of summertime activities. It may take a little work to get everything in shape, but as you enjoy the beautiful yard and patio throughout the summer, you’ll realize that it was worth it.
Wash the Patio
First things first: get out the hose and start washing off the patio. A pressure washer is the most effective way to clear out the residue that builds up over the winter months, but just keep the pressure below 1,000 psi on wood surfaces to avoid causing any damage.
Check and Repair Patio Damage
If you have a cement or brick patio, check for cracks or crumbling areas. Cracks can be fixed with various patching compounds, and any broken bricks or tiles should be replaced. If you have a wood deck, you may notice splintering or rotting in some places which you can sand down. Be sure to hammer in any nails that have started to stick up and repair any beams or planks that have st
arted to split.
This may also be a good time to reseal the surface of your patio to prevent further weathering, abrasions, or moisture problems. Spring means a lot of rainfall in some areas, and this will help you extend the life of the patio.
Check and Wash the Furniture
All the snow and rain of the past few months has probably left a lot of unwanted dirt and residue on your patio furniture. Wipe everything down with warm, soapy water to clear away that dirt and clean any cushions or other coverings. Your furniture will see a lot more use if it doesn’t look like you have to dust everything off before taking a seat. You should also check for any rust buildup and make sure all the bolts and screws are still solidly in place and make any necessary repairs.
Treat the Yard for Weeds and Pests
en the weather turns warm, a lot of things start waking up and moving into your yard. Spring may be the time for flowers to bloom, but there are a lot of weeds and pests that want to stretch out and take advantage of the weather, too. Treat your yard for the local weeds and pests to make sure they don’t get the upper hand throughout the season.
Refresh the Lawn
Rake the lawn to remove excess thatch (decaying plant material) and let water and light reach the ground, and put down some fertilizer to give it a head start on the summer. You can also aerate the lawn for better oxygen and nutrient exchange. Now would also be a good time to reseed bare areas and make sure the sprinkler system is working correctly.
Trim the Trees and Bushes
Overgrown trees and bushes can crowd your patio and give everything a shabby appearance. Get out the trimmer/clippers/saw and cut back the overhanging branches and start shaping those bushes. Clear any pathways and find and remove any dead branches. Be careful how you cut, though, because you don’t want to lose the shade around your patio.
Take All Safety Precautions
Now that it’s warm and family and friends are running around your yard and enjoying the patio, make sure you’ve taken all the necessary precautions. Protect your children and guests by clearing out any poisonous or thorny plants and always put away any dangerous tools and landscaping implements. Check your fences to make sure they’re still secure so kids and pets can’t run out into the street, and keep toys and play equipment where no one will accidently trip on them.
Enjoy your summer and be safe!