Monthly Archives: May 2014

The right umbrella can keep you looking and feeling cool

A patio umbrella does more than just keep you cool. It can be a dramatic accent to your outdoor decor, and become the finishing touch on any theme you’ve designed. You can instantly add style and comfort to your patio or deck, and a bit of shade can make spending time outdoors even more enjoyable. Make sure you’re getting the most out of your sun shade by taking a look at the list below. It will give you some ideas on how to choose just the right umbrella for you:

The materials
The material you choose for your patio umbrella will depend a lot on where you live. If your backyard sees high winds, you may want to opt for a fiberglass design, versus aluminum. Fiberglass frames tend to bend with the wind, so you won’t risk your umbrella flying off in the middle of your dinner party!

The fabric is an important feature as well. You want to choose something that will stand up to whatever kind of weather your area throws at it. The last thing you need is rain dripping through onto your guests, or the color fading from the sun! Patio umbrellas can be found in a range of colors to suit your landscape, decor and style. Choose an umbrella with a bright color to pop against your garden background., Or, pick something more subtle like beige or grey that allows it to blend in seamlessly.

The size
The size of umbrella that you choose depends on how much space you are looking to shade. An umbrella that is too large for your patio will feel cramped, and one that is too small won’t provide much relief from the summer sun. A good rule of thumb to follow is to choose an umbrella that is the width of your patio table, plus 2 feet on either side.

The height
The height of your umbrella is also an important feature. You don’t want it to be too tall, or it won’t keep anything cool! But if it’s too short you risk bumping into it, which is never fun when you’re enjoying the outdoors. The standard height for patio umbrellas is about 8 feet, which leaves room for your taller guests to walk beneath them. You can even opt for an umbrella that has a tilt-option, so you can adjust it depending on where the sun is and who needs to keep cool.

The base
The base is an important feature of the umbrella, so pay attention when you’re choosing one. You want to select an umbrella with a strong, substantial base to keep it from tipping over. The larger and taller the umbrella, the larger the base should be.

Free-standing versus table-anchored
Free-standing umbrellas are great if you plan to move them around to different parts of your patio or deck. Some come with wheels to make moving them easy. But, if you spend most of your time outside at the table, chatting or dining with friends and family, a table umbrella is your best bet. These are anchored at the center of the table and can keep everyone cool, comfortable and out of the sun.

7 backyard renovation mistakes you can easily avoid

It's that time of year! Get outside and enjoy your haven out back with barbecues, picnics and a refreshing beverage. But if your backyard is a jungle of weeds and you have no place to set up your outdoor dining set, consider a renovation. However, before you roll up your sleeves and tackle that project, take a look at the most common backyard renovation mistakes, all of which you can avoid with the right tools and planning:

1. Starting without a plan
Before you begin any major project, you should always have a plan. Sketch out ideas or find pictures of inspiring yards to imitate. Take a look around your yard to determine the best placement for different plants, ornaments and outdoor furniture. Make sure you include inspiration from indoors so you can create a cohesive space that blends with your entire home design.

2. Focusing too much on the theme
While you might dream of a beautiful rock garden or a yard filled with decorative boulders, don't forget to make it family friendly. You don't want to get carried away with a theme and then realize you can't relax out back. Try making a list of everything you want out there and then figure out if it fits your whole family's needs.

3. Forgetting to light the way
Don't forget about lighting when drawing up plans for your backyard retreat. While you'll be doing the renovations during the day, you'll want to enjoy the fruit of your labor on warm summer evenings, and in that case, lighting is essential. You can opt for solar lights that require little maintenance but add real dimension and beauty to the yard at night.

4. Selecting oversized plants
It's just as important to pick the right size plant as it is to pay attention to the season in which it grows. Do your research to find out if the plants you choose tend to grow very big or require a lot of pruning. You don't want your bushes to take over your newly renovated space!

5. Clashing themes
When you are planning your new garden's theme, take into account your home's style too. You don't want to plan something that will clash with your house and look out of place. Try to match the architecture of your home with the layout of your yard. For example, if you are thinking of installing a deck, make sure it complements the facade rather than overpowering it.

6. Using the same kind of plant life
Remember to mix and match different kinds of plants in your yard, not only for the aesthetic effect. Certain plants need specific nutrients, and a yard full of the same kind of plant will drain the soil of those specific nutrients.

7. Choosing seasonal plants
It might be tempting to invest in plants and flowers that are in season now, but remember, you want to enjoy your yard all year round. Choose a mix of plants, some seasonal and some evergreen, to make sure your yard is blooming throughout every season.

Step out in style with unique flooring ideas for your backyard

You can get just as creative with the flooring on your deck or patio as you did inside your home! There are so many different options to choose from that can really enhance the space you have created out back. So take a look at a few of the ideas below to inspire you. Then make them your own!

Colorful tile
Outdoor tile doesn't have to be plain. You can opt for colorful ceramic or stone tiles that can pick up the tones in the flowers around you or the covers on your outdoor dining set. Opt for an eclectic selection of mismatched tiles to create a bohemian look outside. Or, choose tiles that can create a large graphic pattern on the ground once they're all laid out. This will add dimension and interest to your outdoor floor that you can use to inspire the rest of the decor.

Concrete pavers
Concrete pavers are interlocking slabs of stone that can be found in several different colors and they are more durable than asphalt. Concrete pavers are a practical and attractive option anywhere on your property. They are modular, so they're easy to install and fix, and you can lay them down in different patterns, such as herringbone, for a special look in your backyard retreat.

Stepping stones
Create a walkway through your yard by laying down large stepping stones. You can leave space between them for ground cover like clover or succulents. You can even add brightly colored pebbles between them for a funky floor. Or, position the stones together for a mosaic look that will lead you through the landscaping.

Wooden tiles
You can find wooden tiles in any stain or shade you prefer. From a natural blonde wood all the way to a deep, dark hue, wooden tiles can be quickly and easily placed over an unsightly concrete patio for an interesting look. Vary the orientation of the grain for an interesting display, or keep the tiles uniform for a neat and clean look.

Wooden planks
If tiles aren't your thing, try wooden planks. You can keep their natural color for a comfortable worn look, or sand and stain them for a more polished appeal.

Opt for a checkerboard patio reminiscent of a retro diner! You can find large square tiles in any color that speaks to you. Install them under your dining area or across your entire deck for a colorful and whimsical look.

Faux slate tile
Faux slate tile is actually simple concrete that has been stained with chemicals. The process gives it the overall appearance of patterned slate and can immediately upgrade the look of your deck or patio. Accent your outdoor furniture set with flooring like this and your guests are sure to be impressed!

Artificial grass
If you are trying to get away from grass, you might want to consider artificial turf. It is easier to take care of than traditional grass but it looks natural!

RST Brands releases new line of kids’ furniture

RST Brands has released a brand new line of furniture made just for kids. In RST Brands' Legare catalog, customers can find a wide variety of fun, brightly colored beds, tables and containers.

Inside each of Legare's tool-free products is an uncommon passion for creativity all wrapped up in one awesomely simple package.

Items in Legare's catalog range from the traditional to the unconventional and are perfect for children with great imaginations. If a child enjoys stories about fairy-tale kingdoms, knights in shining armor and smart and beautiful princesses, Legare offers princess-themed bedroom collections that come with a bed frame, dresser and two-tiered study desk in traditional creamy pink.  The princess' bed frame can fit a twin-size bed and features a shelf that can hold books, alarm clocks and much more.

Kids who like hearing stories about global peace, the love movement and the sustainable culture iconic in the late '60s and '70s will love the flower power-themed study set painted in vibrant purple hues. The desk can be adjusted to provide multi-level shelving big enough for a small computer or a laptop.

Young children who are raised next to the ocean can go to bed every night thinking about the peacefulness of the open water while resting in an ocean wave bed frame of a four-piece surfer set that also includes features a dresser, desk and stool colored in ocean-spray blues.

About Legare
Legare furniture is designed with kids in mind. With vivid graphics and bright colors, children will be drawn to their bedrooms for adventures throughout the day. Legare's award-winning design features tool-free assembly to put every item together in under three minutes. You can create entirely fun new worlds that matches your child's imagination in no time at all, from the pit stop of the world's fastest race car driver to the lily pad of a noble and adventurous frog prince.