Monthly Archives: April 2018

Strategies For Outdoor Patio Maintenance & Safety

Quality outdoor furniture can turn a backyard into a gathering place no matter whether you want to dine, play games, or simply relax. Use the following strategies to make sure your patio stays safe.

Install and Maintain Safety Rails

Safety first. You don’t want a calm evening of family or friends enjoying each other’s company on your outdoor patio sofa or eating on an outdoor patio dining set to be interrupted by accident or injury. Your deck, particularly near the stairs, should be lined with the proper safety rails to prevent perfectly avoidable accidents from occurring.

When installing your deck, check with local building codes to ensure your railing meets the requirements. Requirements may vary between residential and commercial properties as well. Railing will help keep children, pets, and even adults safe while enjoying their time on your patio.

Of course, you can’t simply install adequate railing and ignore it for the rest of your life. Regularly inspect the railing for any signs of deterioration. Once in awhile, push lightly on the railing around the deck to make sure it is still steady.

Use Proper Lighting

Outdoor lighting is an essential part of patio safety. Without proper lighting, it’s too easy for someone to trip, slip, or fall—especially around stairs. It’s also difficult to enjoy a night with friends gathered on outdoor deep seating when it’s too dark to see everyone’s faces.

First, make sure your lighting of choice is approved for outdoor use. Not all lighting fixtures can stand up to the elements of the great outdoors. Rain, wind, snow, and even long-term exposure to the sun can wreak havoc on the bulbs, wiring, and electric system of light fixtures that are not prepared to face the rigors of outdoor use.

Next, you’ll need to decide on the placement of the lighting. Ideally, you should have lights both close to the house and throughout your yard to maximize visibility. Fortunately, there are plenty of outdoor light fixtures to choose from such as sconces, string lights, lamps, etc. If you choose to include ground lighting, avoid placing lights in grassy areas, as it’s easy to damage both the wiring and the fixtures while mowing. Don’t forget to childproof all wiring and outlets.

Perform Regular Cleaning

If you want to enjoy your quality lounger and table set for years to come, you’ll need to dedicate time and resources to regular cleaning and maintenance.

Simple, daily cleaning can include sweeping, wiping up spills, etc. Don’t allow leaves or other organic debris to pile up as that can attract insects and lead to infestations and rot.

As needed, mop the deck as well. However, before you start power cleaning your deck, it’s important to make sure the tools and/or chemicals you use are safe for your patio.

Choose Safe Outdoor Patio Furniture Placement

Believe it or not, the placement of your quality outdoor furniture can have a significant impact on safety, especially if you have a lot of children around.

Outdoor furniture should not be placed near the edges of the patio. It’s too easy to lean back too far or scoot a chair out too quickly. Additionally, small children and pets can climb on the furniture and over the railways if the furniture is placed too close to an edge.

Inspect for Rot, Rust, and Other Issues

Even the best cared for deck can develop rot or rust over time, which is why inspections should be a regular part of your patio maintenance plan.

It’s important to understand what you’re looking for during these inspections. Look for the following signs of potential problems:

    • Sawdust or small holes, as this can be a sign of an insect infestation.
    • Loose, warped, cracked, discolored, or soft wood. This can be a sign of water damage or rot.
    • Discoloration around screws, fasteners, other metal. This can be a sign of rust and/or corrosion.

Outdoor patios can be a great addition to your home and your backyard. It can give people a space to gather around at parties and social events you hold in your home. However, like we discussed above, it’s important you regularly inspect your deck for maintenance and arrange furniture in a way that will help facilitate safety.

5 Ways to Incorporate Spring In Your Patio Decor

Don’t let the long months of winter get you down, Spring is right around the corner. With these five patio decorating ideas, you can spiff up your personal outside space and have it ready and waiting for the first warm day that comes along.

1. Clean or Refinish the Surfaces

No one wants to hang out on a dirty porch or patio. Giving your door, walls, and floor (making sure to get all the corners) a good spray-down with soapy water is usually enough to get your space ready for redecoration.

If you want to add a better backdrop, there are plenty of ways to enliven the area and make it easier on your feet:

    • Paint your door a welcoming color such as poppy or robin’s egg blue
    • Seal or paint your concrete with a high-gloss finish
    • Lay down slate tile
    • Install wood planks
    • Throw down an outdoor rug
    • Use high-grade turf

2. Add Soon-to-Bloom Plants

Nothing says spring more than early blooms. Place some woven planters around your patio, and consider arranging some on top of outdoor accent tables, to add more color and cheer from live plants. Tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths are incredible and will never go out of style. If you want to experiment with some less-expected varieties, why not give winter aconite, double rock rose, or puschkinia a try?

For an easy way to show off your flowers, all you need to do is grab whatever variety that catches your eye (when it looks like the buds are about to burst open). Just slip the plastic container they come in into a colorful pot.

If you want to go the extra mile and have a show-stopping container, remove the flowers from the original plastic pot and plant them into your own larger pot. You can even plant a few varieties together. Then fill up any pockets with container soil, arrange moss on top of the soil, and water thoroughly. Place in a sunny spot on your porch or patio.   

3. Refresh Your Patio Decor

Sometimes all you need are some fresh patio decorating ideas to get the ball rolling. Patio decor styles run the gamut. From tropical to desert and urban to country, there is a look for every personality. Add the following for an almost-instant update:

  • Outdoor pillows to brighten a dull corner
  • A water feature or wind chimes to create a serene scene
  • A hanging clock or thermometer to add visual interest
  • Updated lighting that will complete your look

Remember, it’s the details that truly make an outdoor space feel like an extension of your home.

4. Buy New Porch Furniture

There are times when a completely new set of outdoor porch furniture is exactly what you need. A outdoor dining table set that will seat an intimate gathering of friends or family is a must for those warmer nights that are begging you to dine al fresco. If the weather is still a little too cool for that, an outdoor fire table surrounded by comfy chairs extends the outdoor season by keeping everyone nice and cozy. If lounging in the spring sun is more your style, a couple of outdoor chaise lounges will do quite nicely.

5. Adopt an All-Weather Use Policy

Even if the weather isn’t sunny and warmer yet, don’t let that stop you from enjoying the great outdoors. Crisp, cool weather can actually be good for you. It’ll wake you up and give you a chance to catch some much-needed Vitamin D, even when the sky is overcast.

All you need to do is bundle up a bit, take a blanket and a warm drink with you, and unwind for a few minutes. A comfortable patio hammock is a perfect place for this mini-break. You’ll return back inside happy to have experienced a bit of revitalized relaxation.

Use the tips above to start thinking about ways to decorate your outdoor patio. If you break it down into smaller tasks you will realize you can accomplish it in no time. Here’s to a lovely, warm welcome to Spring on your newly decorated porch or patio.

Home Decoration Tips: Creating a Welcoming Family Room

Decorating family rooms can feel like a delicate balance between maintaining the overall style of the home while creating a space that says “welcome home” to your family and friends. Use these tips to find the right balance for your home.

#1 Start with the Entrance

Creating a welcoming family room starts before anyone ever enters the room. If the hallway or entryway that leads to your family room is dark, bare, or otherwise unwelcoming, that vibe can carry into the room itself. Cheer the area up with adequate lighting and a rug that naturally leads people into the room.

#2 Light Up the Room

Lighting a family room can be tricky. If the lighting is too harsh, you’ll lose the cozy, welcoming atmosphere you’re trying to create, but no one wants to sit in an overly dark room. Create a cozier look with multiple light sources for adjustable lighting. Invest in a few lamps for your family room. You can also help to lighten a room by doing a quick clean of the area. Make sure the blinds, windows, and furniture have been cleaned. All of this can help increase how light your room feels and make it seem more welcoming.

#3 Conceal the Television

Many people make the television the focal point of the family room. While this makes sense for family movie nights, watching the big game, etc., it can also hinder quality family time as it may discourage conversation. You can move the TV to a different room, like the den, or you can conceal the television with an accommodating entertainment center or you can add sliding doors in front of it.

#4 Invest in Several Seating Options

Everyone has different preferences when it comes to seating; some people like sofas, while others prefer their own space in an armchair. Choose family room furniture sets that accommodate individual preferences with multiple types of seating

#5 Make it Personal

You don’t have to choose between having a beautiful family room and having personalized family room decor. There are many elegant ways to add a personal touch to the room. Display treasured family photos or items you’ve collected during your travels on classic, mid-century high quality accent tables.

#6 Arrange Furniture Accordingly

If you want to create a welcoming atmosphere, arrange your furniture in a way that encourages interaction and face-to-face conversation. Avoid placing your furniture all in a line; arrange your living room sofa and other furniture to facilitate interaction. Place seating close to each other when possible to create a sense of intimacy and closeness. However, make sure you don’t take this advice too far by making people feel claustrophobic.

#7 Choose an Inviting Color Scheme

An important element of family room decor is color selection. Warm colors will make a room feel more cozy and welcoming. Colors like brown, peach-orange, soft yellows, and reds can achieve this atmosphere. This doesn’t mean you are banned from picking white furniture if you enjoy the clean, crisp look. Just soften it with warm-colors like these accent pillows.

#8 Emphasize Physical Comfort

No matter how much you try to create a welcoming atmosphere, if the textures and furniture in a room are not actually comfortable, you’ll struggle to actualize your vision. Choose comfy, plush furniture sets and cozy textures for throw pillows, rugs, etc.

#9 Define Space in Open Floor Plans

It can sometimes be difficult to tell where one space ends and the next begins in open floor plans. This can be especially hard if you live in a home that was designed for a different time. However, there is a way to make mid-century home and furniture design work in your favor.The way you arrange your furniture can be a valuable tool, but that’s not your only option. Look at  ways you can tie your furniture together and help your room and floor plan flow together more smoothly. A high-quality area rug can tie together the family room decor while defining the space.

#10 Plan Around the Ceiling Fan

If your family room features a ceiling fan, try to avoid placing seating directly under it. While it can offer a delightful breeze on warm days, most people will subconsciously feel on edge if they are sitting directly below rotating blades. Just plan for a coffee table or empty space to be right below the fan.