Category Archives: Outside Design

Backyard Patio Design Ideas: Simple Tips to Improve Your Yard

Your backyard is an extension of your living space, an oasis where you can unwind, entertain, and create memories. Best of all, you can tailor it to fit your lifestyle. Browse these backyard design ideas to create your very own little slice of heaven outdoors.

Entertaining in Your Backyard

The backyard has become a very desirable entertaining space. Outdoor kitchens, bars, and dining areas are great for gathering and entertaining. Capitalize on your outdoor space by choosing comfortable chairs with durable cushions so your guests will enjoy dining and socializing.

Use this Go-To Guide on Outdoor Furniture Brands to find the best patio furniture for you and your guests. Once you find the perfect furniture, be sure to make it last by using furniture covers during the wet or cold months. Then simply uncover your furniture as soon as the weather warms up.

Many homeowners are also adding additional entertainment features like TVs or outdoor sound systems. And don’t forget that the right outdoor lighting can add impact and extend your entertaining hours after the sun goes down.

Even if you have a small backyard, you can still entertain. Consider installing a Murphy Bar, which simply folds down to a table when you need it. Use the shelves for storage, and enjoy your small outdoor dining room anytime. Visit this DIY tutorial to build your own Murphy Bar.

Small Backyard Design Ideas

When it comes to your backyard, bigger isn’t always better. Small yards or patios can be just as nice as large ones-and often require less maintenance. Here are some small backyard design ideas on creating the perfect sanctuary, even when your space is small.

Choose Storage Options

Save space by using furniture or accessories that have room for storage, like a bench with a hinged lid that also stores toys, gardening tools, etc.

Think Vertically

Use existing fences, walls, or posts to hang planters, storage containers, or artistic focal points. You can also add more vertical space with wood trellises.

Put Your Fence to Work

Your fence can be more than just a divider. Paint wooden fences to add a splash of color, and hang containers for herbs or other garden plants to free up lawn space.

Minimize Furniture

Keep furniture small scale, and your backyard will feel bigger.

Use Tiers/Levels

Tiered planters can maximize ground space. You can also create levels in your patio or backyard to help define spaces and make it feel like there are multiple outdoor rooms.

Garden in Containers

If you struggle with little actual space for planting, plant vegetables, flowers, and even trees in containers. Plus, you can easily move plants around your yard to create different spaces.

Give the Illusion of More Space

A faux-grass rug will give the illusion of a lush green lawn, making your patio space look bigger. Strategically placed outdoor mirrors can also add depth and give the illusion that your backyard is larger than it is.

Small Patio Design Ideas

What can you do with a small outdoor patio? Even a small patio can be converted into an outdoor living space with the right set up. Add some comfy seats, a colorful outdoor rug, and don’t forget outdoor lighting for the perfect final touch. Use a privacy screen to block a bad view or neighbors who are a little too close for comfort.

Don’t Count Out Apartments/Townhomes

Just because you live in an apartment or townhouse doesn’t mean you can’t have your own outdoor getaway. Potted plants and a slim hammock can transform a balcony into a fresh air retreat. Add a rug and some throw pillows or floor cushions for extra seating, and now there’s room for friends. You can never go wrong with such pillows!

Large Backyard Design Ideas

More space often means more maintenance, but it also means more options. You can choose to do any one of these large backyard design ideas, or if your yard is big enough, you might be able to do them all! More space often means more maintenance, but it also means more options. You can choose to do any one of these large backyard design ideas, or if your yard is big enough, you might be able to do them all! Contacting residential contractors like the ones at Milwaukee hardscape suppliers could be a prudent option, if you are finding it difficult to locate the resources that you require for your dream patio. Else, here are few ideas that you can work on.

Pergolas

Pergolas work great in large backyards, either close to the house or freestanding to create a shaded area farther out in the yard.

Walkways

Putting in a path can add shape to any backyard, and also provides guests with some direction. You can use large flagstones to create sweeping walkways that will wow just about anyone.

Water Features

Water is always a fun element to have in any yard. Add water features like a bird bath or a decorative fountain. The size of your water feature depends on the size of your yard.

Fire Pit

Everyone loves a good fire pit! Create a dedicated area for a fire pit or fire table and you and your guests can roast s’mores all night long.

Lawn Areas

Sweeping lawns give children and dogs plenty of room to run and play, and you can experiment with larger trees and shrubs to line the outer perimeter.

Add Some Kid-Friendly Fun

No matter the size, backyards should be a kid’s best friend. Entice kids to spend time outdoors with play structures like treehouses, swing sets, or a seesaw. Add some nearby seating and both children and adults can enjoy hours of fun.

Backyard Ideas for Your Canine Companion

You don’t have to choose between a yard that looks good and a happy dog. With some thoughtful planning and a few minor changes, it’s possible to have both!

Dog’s need space to exercise and spend time off their leashes. A fence will give your dog room to stretch their legs, and give you added peace of mind that they will be safe as they run and play. For a lower cost, you can also choose an invisible electric fence.

To avoid brown spots in your lawn from man’s best friend, consider switching your grass out for a dog-friendly ground cover like clover, synthetic turf, or a more durable grass blend (Kentucky Bluegrass and Buffalo Grass withstand urine better than others). Mulch is also a safe, inexpensive option.

NOTE: Choose your lawn care products with care. Some fertilizers and weed blockers can be toxic to animals. Consider using organic methods or a pet-safe lawn care service.

Other Backyard Improvements

The above tips are all a great start for improving your backyard and making it a place where you want to spend your time. For specific challenges, look through the list of questions below for even more ideas and answers.

How can I make my yard look good?

Whether your backyard is large or small, or needs a full makeover or just a little freshening up, here are some simple tips to improve your outdoor space.

Add color

One of the easiest ways to spruce up your backyard is to add a little color. It’s as easy as new cushions or pillows for your outdoor furniture, switching out your patio umbrella, hanging some outdoor art, or adding a fresh coat of paint on a fence or other structure.

Use an Outdoor Rug

A rug immediately makes an outdoor area feel more cohesive and welcoming. It not only pulls your seating area together, but also helps keep dirt outside and helps to protect your deck or patio.

Relax with Water Features

Fountains and other ornamental water features are not only striking focal points for a garden or backyard, their musical sounds delight the senses and promote relaxation.

Combine Shade and Style with a Pergola

Pergolas are outdoor structures with vertical posts that usually support a crossbeam or lattice roof. They provide structure and shade, while maintaining an open and airy feel. With a variety of materials and designs, pergolas are a stylish way to add to an inviting outdoor gathering space.

Add extra living space

If you have enough space in your backyard, you may even be able to add an additional living space in the form of an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) from somewhere like United Dwelling. This additional space can be used by your family (you could move an elderly relative into it so they could live closer to you), or a paying tenant to generate some extra income for you.

Upgrade Your Hardscape

The term hardscape refers to the manmade features used in landscape design. It provides needed definition and a sense of organization to your outdoor space. Some simple upgrades to your hardscape could include laying stone or gravel paths, placing an arbor or trellis, or adding some extra brick or tile to extend your patio.

Plant Bright Flowers

Adding colorful flowers to your backyard, whether in planting beds or flower pots, is like icing on the cake of your outdoor haven. Not only are they a feast for the eyes, but they can make your outdoor space smell wonderful too. Perennials will keep delighting year after year, while annuals allow you to experiment with variety and color.

Lounge in the Shade

If you need some shade, then waiting for a tree to grow can take a long time. A patio umbrella gives a short-term, quick solution for instant, mobile shade, which makes any outdoor space more inviting during the day. Use this Outdoor Patio Umbrella Guide to find the best one for your backyard.

How can I decorate my patio with flowers?

Flowers and interesting greenery add a bit of color and diversity to any patio or deck. Pots or containers are an inexpensive and versatile way to add flowers, and make your patio almost instantly more appealing.

TIP: Rather than a single pot, arrange pots in groups of three at varying heights to create a bigger visual impact.

How do I build privacy in my backyard?

When most people think of backyard privacy, they think of fences. But don’t forget about living fences of hedges or trees, which can keep your backyard sanctuary private-and give you something more interesting to look at when you’re outside.

How far does a fire pit have to be away from a house?

Whether you are installing a permanent fire pit or using a portable one, it’s important to put safety first. Fire pits should be a minimum of 10 feet from your house and neighbors’ yards.

Where should I put my fire pit?

Fire pits or fire tables are becoming more and more popular for homeowners. They provide a nice focal point for gatherings, and can be used year-round. Make sure that your fire pit is far enough away from your house (minimum of 10 feet), and double check that there are no overhanging branches, fences, or other structures that could easily catch on fire.

Don’t forget underneath your fire feature. Brick, stone, gravel, concrete, or other fire-resistant materials are safe surfaces; never place a fire pit on a wooden deck. Also consider the fuel and material inside your fire pit. Fire glass is an attractive and safe material for use with a natural gas fire feature.

How can I make my backyard beautiful on a low budget?

You don’t have to sink a lot of money into your backyard to make it a place where you love to spend time. With some creativity and a little elbow grease, no one will know you had a low budget.

For outdoor furniture, repurpose existing furniture or garage sale finds. A fresh coat of paint makes metal chairs look like new, and cushions and throw pillows can spice up less expensive plastic furniture.

To make your plant investment go further, opt for perennials. Reuse paint from other projects to add splashes of color by repainting planters or furniture.

With some knowledge and creativity, your backyard will soon become your own outside oasis.

5 Essentials for Your Backyard Remodel [Plus July 4th Discount]

5 Essentials for Your Backyard Remodel

Summertime has finally arrived, and with it, longer days, warmer nights, and every reason to spend more time outside. There are a number of things you need to remember to think about before you make a plan. For instance, do you need a hardscaping project so you have an outdoor space to eat and sit at? Do you need to call in Aardvark Electric or someone similar to sort your exterior electrics out for a nicely lit area and some heating for the chilly evenings? What sort of look are you going for and what furniture do you want to invest in? Then, once you have made your plan you can get to work! Of course, if you’re still stuck then keep reading for some excellent tips. Create a comfortable outdoor space for you and your loved ones to enjoy with this backyard remodel ideas.

 

Outdoor Dining

Pool parties, summer BBQs, family get-togethers–there are so many different occasions for which an outdoor dining set will come in handy. You could set up a couple of folding card tables before your guests arrive, or you could invest in a quality outdoor dining set that will serve you and your guests for many seasons to come.

Use these ideas for backyard updates to create the perfect outdoor dining area:

  • Design a space that can comfortably seat the average number of people who will be using it the most. You can store additional tables and chairs for bigger events.
  • Surround your dining area with pest-repelling plants to keep those bugs from impeding on your evening. Try petunias, lavender, marigolds, and other fragrant greenery.
  • Protect your dining set with outdoor furniture covers when not in use so you can keep it in prime condition year after year.

 

Fire Feature

Is there anything better than roasting marshmallows over a fire on a starry summer evening? Bring that joy to your own backyard by adding a brand new fire feature. You can buy a stunning fire table that will match the rest of your beautiful patio perfectly, or you can build your very own out of old brick!

Here are a few tips for adding a fire feature to your backyard remodel:

  • Plan your backyard design before you choose your fire feature, so you don’t end up with clashing color schemes or styles.
  • Replace those bland fire pit rocks with glass fire rocks for a lovely and affordable upgrade.
  • Choose a fire feature that comes with a cordoning ledge — like these fire tables — so you and your guests have somewhere to set your drinks, plates, and s’mores fixings. This also makes for a nice footrest that won’t melt the bottom of your shoes!

 

Shading

While summertime typically provides enjoyable weather, sitting outside beneath the sun’s beating rays can quickly become uncomfortable. Don’t forget to consider shade as you plan your backyard remodel. There are a number of different ways you can do this, so we’ve provided you with a few options below.

  • For quick and easy shade, opt for a durable patio umbrella that you can easily move as the sun strolls across the sky.
  • For a more permanent fixture, you may want to consider adding a patio awning to the structure of your home.
  • Plant some tree saplings around your patio for a long-term solution and a beautifully natural way to shade your backyard.

 

Comfort

If you want to create a space that people will actually make good use of, then you need to make it comfortable and hospitable. Forgo the cheap plastic lawn chairs and complete your backyard remodel with a high-quality outdoor furniture set. Use these tips to blend comfort and function.

  • Purchase a complete patio furniture set; that way all of your pieces coordinate with your overall design, rather than creating contrast between the mix-and-match.
  • Don’t be afraid to get soft, plush, deep-seated sofas, chairs, and loveseats. Not only will you and your guests thoroughly enjoy spending time outside, but you can keep the fine furniture protected with durable covers.
  • Measure your patio space and double check your measurements before you place an order for a brand new furniture set.

 

Little Details

Last but not least, don’t forget about all of the little details that complete a backyard remodel. It’s the little things that can make the biggest difference, so take these additions into consideration as you’re wrapping up your big backyard update!

  • Lighting
  • Landscaping
  • Entertainment options, such as a hot tub, in-ground trampoline, etc.
  • Accent pieces, such as table centerpieces, fire glass, or end tables.
  • Outdoor furniture covers to keep your new patio set looking gorgeous for years to come.

 

Save Big on Your Backyard Remodel

Are you looking for the perfect outdoor furniture set to top off your remodel? Save big with our 4th of July celebration sale! Between the 3rd and 8th of July, you can save up to 30% on fire features, dining sets, patio umbrellas, and more! Here’s the savings breakdown:

  • Save 20% on purchases of up to $1,499
  • Save 25% on purchases of $1,500 – $3,499
  • Save 30% on purchases of $3500 or more

We hope this article provided you with some useful backyard remodel ideas and tips! If you’re looking for more inspiration, browse RST Brand’s selection of comfortable outdoor furniture, stunning fire features, and more!

Outdoor Lighting Tips [How to Stage Your Backyard]

Outdoor Lighting Tips

No backyard design would be complete without outdoor accent lighting. This crucial component of outdoor esthetics is key to creating the perfect atmosphere outside your home for summer barbecues, late-night pool parties, and time together under the stars.

In this landscape lighting design guide, we’ll show you how the right lights can complement your patio furniture, create a cozy space for entertaining after dark, and also improve your home’s security.

Layout and Design

The first step to DIY landscape lighting is to plan your layout and design. Without a detailed plan, you could spend hours wandering through your local hardware store trying to come up with an idea for what you might need.

For this part of the process, it’s important to think about the purpose of the outdoor lighting. Is your objective to create a well-lit area for late-night pool parties and other entertaining events? Or would you rather create a secluded backyard sanctuary with just enough light to add a touch of romantic ambiance to the setup?

Either way, understanding why you want outdoor lighting will help you design the space just the way you imagined it.

Once you have a feel for your desired lighting, you get to choose which type of outdoor lights to install-this is the fun part. Nowadays, there are so many options when it comes to outdoor accent lighting. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Strands of lights draped overhead
  • Rustic battery-powered lanterns on coffee tables and ledges
  • Mounted outdoor wall lights
  • Mason jars stuffed with LED light strands
  • A stunning fire feature

What if you want to use your backyard for entertaining and romantic moments with your sweetheart? Get the best of both worlds by incorporating a variety of different outdoor lighting tips to set the scene for different occasions. And depending where you want the lighting to be, it might be a case of having to have the wiring rerouted to suit your needs, so also consider getting in touch with someone like Wenbrooke Services in the process.

String lights overhead for a starry date night, install wall lights for family get-togethers where more light is necessary, and top it all off with a warm, cozy glow from a fire feature-just make sure you educate your guests on safety tips for fire pits.

Complementing Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor Lighting Tips

Choosing the type of outdoor lights to use is always fun, but selecting the design is even more so. As you flip through landscaping catalogs or scroll through outdoor accent lighting on Pinterest, try to find the type of lights that will complement your outdoor furniture set.

Pay attention to defining styles, such as rustic, contemporary, or mid-century modern. Once you’ve identified the style of your patio set, it will be a lot easier to find complementary lights that complete the look.

If you’ve turned to our landscape lighting design guide because you’re completely redesigning your patio, make sure to pick your new outdoor furniture set before you jump ahead to lighting.

LED Lighting

No landscape lighting design guide would be complete without the mention of LED lighting for outdoor use. LED light bulbs are, in our opinion, the best way to light your backyard. These lights last much longer than traditional bulbs, they’re far more energy efficient, and they deliver a higher quality of light.

In addition to these benefits, LED lights also provide you with more options to choose from. For starters, you could check out sites like www.neonfilter.com that could provide customized LED lights. This way you can equip your outdoor space with soft, dim, intimate lighting and bright lighting for security purposes or those after-hours pool parties.

Perhaps the best use for LED lights is DIY landscape lighting-you know, those creative fixtures embedded in flower beds and decorative landscaping features, or the fixtures that light a walkway or stairs. With LED lights, you’ll rarely have to change the bulbs in these creative outdoor lighting solutions.

What Color Temperature Is Best for Outdoor Lighting?

One of the most important outdoor lighting tips is to choose your color temperature wisely. What is color temperature? Essentially, it determines how warm or cool the light is that the bulb emits.

The ideal color temperature range for outdoor lighting is anywhere between 2500k-4000k.

Is Warm or Cool Light Better?

2500k-4000k is quite a broad range. How do you know which end of the spectrum will make your backyard look just how you want it to?

For architectural elements, such as your patio setup, we recommend using warmer temperatures on the lower end of the scale. For outdoor accent lighting among plant life, such as trees and flowerbeds, cooler temperatures look the most natural, as they closely resemble the moonlight.

Can Any Light Bulb Be Used Outside?

Not every type of light bulb can withstand the outdoors. Extreme temperatures and various forms of weather can easily ruin a bulb that was made specifically for indoor use.

Before you begin screwing in light bulbs, make sure your bulbs are approved for outdoor use. If you’re not sure, check the packaging-it usually clarifies outdoor or indoor use right on the box. If you’re still confused about whether these bulbs are appropriate for your garden, you can hire an electrician to assist you or do the work for you. If you’re not sure where to look for an expert, try searching for “electrician near me” on the internet.

Outdoor Lighting and Security

As we’ve mentioned, outdoor lighting can also greatly contribute to the security of your backyard. Just because there’s a fence around your property, doesn’t mean your outdoor items are entirely immune from theft and vandalism, nor does it make your back door burglar-proof.

With smart home technology today, you can install smart LED lights around your backyard that will automatically turn on when your motion sensors detect an unwanted guest. In addition to motion detection, you may also want to leave a semi-bright light on all night long near your back door to deter would-be criminals.

Without backyard lighting, you provide potential criminals with complete cover of darkness and uninterrupted access to your outdoor possessions, like patio furniture, equipment, and lawn toys. Pair your LED motion-sensor lighting with an outdoor security camera, and you’ve got a solid security setup to protect your home and yard.

How Many Lumens Do I Need for Outdoor Lighting?

We’ve discussed the optimal color temperature of your outdoor lighting, but what about the intensity? Lumens is how we measure a light’s brightness, and the last thing you want is to install blinding lights around your romantic outdoor loveseat and fire feature setup.

Depending on the purpose of the outdoor lighting, the ideal range would be between 100-300 lumens, give or take for different use cases. For example, lights that guide visitors up the steps or along a walkway should be on the low end of the scale at 12-200 lumens. Motion sensor lights and floodlights for security can be up to 1300 lumens for an effective spotlight.

For all other areas of the backyard, it should be fairly easy to find the sweet spot between 100-300 lumens. The less light you need, the lower you go. Distant accent lights can range from 12-100, while patio lights can be a higher lumen count of around 250.

How Far Apart Should Step Lights Be?

Step lights are a fantastic way to accentuate the depth of your backyard while also guiding visitors along a pathway in the dark. By installing step lights, you can prevent accidents wherein your guests could easily hurt themselves by tripping over obstacles they didn’t even see.

As a general rule of thumb, we urge you to place step lights at least six to eight feet apart. Of course, you can always shorten the distance between lights if you feel it isn’t enough, or you’d like to really add a visual effect to your outdoor pathways.

How Much Does It Cost for Outdoor Lighting?

After reading our outdoor lighting tips, you might be wondering how much all of this is going to cost. We wish we could give you an easy answer, but in reality, the cost is going to depend on the size of your backyard, your needs and preferences, the type of lights you choose, and whether or not you’re going to do any DIY landscape lighting made from scratch materials.

To give you a very general idea of how much outdoor lighting could potentially cost you, we’ve referred to a breakdown on Fixr.com. According to their data, the national average cost to light a backyard of 800 square feet with 20 light fixtures is about $3,800.

How Do I Choose an Outdoor Light?

So, let’s simplify and recap so you can choose the perfect outdoor lights for your backyard. Here are our top outdoor lighting tips broken down into a simple bullet list for your quick reference:

1. Define the purpose of your outdoor lighting (ambiance, entertaining, etc.)

2. Decide which types of outdoor lighting you would like (wall lights, accent lights, light strands, and so on)

3. Determine the style of your outdoor furniture so you can choose lighting that complements your design

4. Choose the right color temperature and lumens for different areas

5. Have fun with it!

Design the backyard patio of your dreams with RST Brands outdoor furniture, fire features, and so much more. Choose from plush sofas, comfortable lounge chairs, outdoor dining sets, matching coffee tables, end tables, and everything else you need to design a stunning space for you and your guests to enjoy for many years to come.

Browse our catalogue of top name brands to start planning your design today.

Best Ways to Care for Your Outdoor Patio Furniture

While learning how to protect outdoor furniture, it’s important you clean, preserve and protect, decorate and design, and store for the weather.

 

Let’s dive into the four tips on how to care for your outdoor patio furniture so it stays looking beautiful for years ahead.

As one of the most valued summer spaces, your patio is often the heart of relaxation, entertaining, friendly gatherings, family dinners, and romantic evenings. Thus, ensuring your patio furniture is clean and functional, is key. Similarly, by exploring fresh patio and backyard design ideas, you can have the most welcoming outdoor living area on the block. As you prepare your house for warm summer days and backyard parties, don’t forget to give your outdoor furniture a little love.

 

1. Cleaning Your Outdoor Furniture

 

One of the best ways to keep your outdoor furniture in tip-top shape is to give it good, regular cleanings. Similarly, starting with a clean patio will help you to better create a space that is both comfortable and welcoming. So before you set up your patio furniture and get it summer ready, be sure you give the surrounding wood, stone, or brick a good cleaning and make any necessary repairs. Follow following tips to make your outdoor patio furniture shine:

 

  • Wicker and teak: Clean and moisturize by using a soft-bristled brush, water, and a mild oil-based soap. Rinse with water and maintain shine by hosing down every two to three weeks.
  • Plastic and wrought iron: Mix water and a mild dishwashing detergent and wipe all plastic and wrought-iron furniture with the mixture and a damp cloth. Hose down to rinse and repeat every three weeks.
  • Aluminum: Wipe aluminum furniture with a damp cloth and mild dishwashing detergent. Use a Soft Scrub brush to remove any scuff marks and rinse with a hose.

Fabric and canvas cushions: Vacuum all cushions and saturate all sides with a mixture of 1 tbs. dishwashing detergent, 1 tsp. Borax, and 1 quart of warm water. Let the mixture sit for 30 to 45 minutes before using a soft bristled brush on stains. Rinse well, let dry, and repeat every three to four weeks.

Patio Umbrellas: Use a bristled brush to remove any loose dirt. Mix ¼ cup of laundry detergent with 1 tbs. of Borax or baking soda and warm water. Let the mixture soak for 30 minutes and rinse well with a hose or bucket. Allow the fabric to dry partially before opening entirely.

 

Mold and Mildew

 

Mold and mildew pose an incredibly common threat to outdoor patio furniture. Whether you live in a tropical climate with high levels of humidity, or you store your furniture indoors during the winter time, you run the risk of acquiring mold and mildew on all kinds of different materials.

If left untreated, mold and mildew can quickly spread across your furniture, covering your patio set in a layer of fuzzy, discolored fungi. Not only can this turn your outdoor oasis into a disgusting, unsightly display, but it can also affect the physical health of those who spend enough time around it.

Mold has the ability to cause a number of minor health complications, including painful migraines, frustrating allergies, inflammation of the joints, and impaired breathing. Mildew is also capable of inflicting negative health effects, such as headaches and respiratory problems. Use these key indicators to catch early signs of fungal growth so you can keep it from spreading.

 

  • Mold isn’t always easy to spot, as it starts out fairly thin and light in color. Look closely for patches of what looks like fuzz clinging to your cushions, pillows, and the underside of patio umbrellas.
  • Mold can grow in a variety of sickly colors, so be careful not to mistake discolored mold as a strange fray in the fabric or a stray clump of dust or lint. Mold can be found in varying shades of white, black, gray, brown, yellow, or green.
  • Mildew grows in flat patches of what looks like powder or a fluffy substance. It commonly grows on the furniture itself, as opposed to cushions and pillows.
  • Mildew starts out thin and white, making it a subtle threat that’s not always easy to discern. As it progresses, it can take on a different shade of gray, black, brown, or yellow.

 

Protect your furniture and your family from mold and mildew with these pro tips from RST Brands.

 

  • Frequently check your furniture for signs of mold and mildew, especially if you live in a humid climate.
  • Keep umbrellas covered and dry when storing, as their folds are a perfect place for mold to grow.
  • Use well-ventilated furniture covers to avoid creating a muggy storage environment.
  • Store furniture in a cool, dry area when not in use.
  • Clean your outdoor set regularly with patio furniture cleaner to prevent mold and mildew buildup.
  • Remove signs of fungal growth as soon as you spot it before it spreads.

 

How to Remove Mold and Mildew from Patio Furniture

 

If you come across a patch of fungi on your outdoor furniture or the inside of your patio umbrella, don’t panic. With the right treatments, you can effectively eradicate mold and mildew. We suggest you scrub the affected area with an ammonia mixture, mild bleach, or hydrogen peroxide to kill the growth and keep it from spreading. If you want to avoid using harsh chemicals on your furniture, you can scrub the area with a combination of lemon juice and salt.

In extreme cases, you may be better off ordering a set of replacement cushions. Once you’ve got your replacements, you’ll know how to prevent the same problem from occurring a second time. Preventative measures can also be made by using outdoor furniture covers during the wet and cold months of the year, or when not in use.

After discovering fungal growth on your patio furniture, you may be feeling uneasy about the effectiveness of your current cleaning habits. If you’d like to step up your game, you can always pressure wash your patio furniture from top to bottom.

 

2. How to Protect Outdoor Furniture

 

Now that you know how to properly clean your patio set with outdoor furniture cleaner and various treatments, it’s time to learn how to protect your furniture against all odds. Contrary to popular belief, snow and rain aren’t the only threats to backyard sofas, tables, and other patio set components. Extreme heat and sun exposure also have the ability to damage many different materials.

These tips will help you protect your patio furniture year-round so you can enjoy a beautiful, high-quality outdoor gathering place for many seasons to come.

 

  • Invest in high-quality furniture covers that are best for your climate. If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow and rain, choose durable covers that are resistant to moisture. If you live in a humid, tropical climate, opt for light-weight covers that are well ventilated to prevent mildew and mold.
  • Store all patio furniture indoors during seasons that bring a lot of snow and rain.
  • Protect your outdoor cushions and pillows from sun and water damage by keeping them in a dry, cool, indoor space when you’re not using them.
  • If your patio receives a great deal of direct sunlight, consider installing a form of overhead shelter that will protect your furniture from sun damage. A few examples of this would be a patio umbrella, an awning, an opaque patio cover, or a pop-up tent that you can put up and take down easily.
  • Make a habit of checking your furniture regularly for signs of rust and mildew. Make sure you eradicate these problems immediately before they spread and corrode your patio set. Keep an eye out for any minor cracks and fix them before they have the chance to grow beyond repair.
  • As a good rule of thumb, it’s always best to store your patio furniture, cushions, and pillows indoors whenever you’re not using them. If you only use your patio set for parties and gatherings, it may be worth the effort to move the furniture indoors until your next event. Otherwise, you run a much higher risk of damaged furniture by consistently exposing them to the elements.
  • If your patio set is much too heavy to transfer back and forth before and after every social gathering, use patio covers whenever you’re not using the furniture, and bring pillows and cushions inside.

 

Additionally, when looking to protect different types of outdoor furniture, here are some tips to help keep specific materials safe:

 

  • Wooden wicker: Choose a matching outdoor paint or shellac and allow it to dry at least two full days before using. You can also apply a thin coat of furniture wax for added shine and protection.
  • Fabric: Use a fabric protector like Scotchgard to protect against spill stains and make cleaning easier. Apply this fabric protector after each and every cleaning.
  • Teak: Although durable, Teak should be kept stained, varnished, and weather treated to prevent it from rotting and turning gray and weathered.
  • Metal: Remove any rust spots with mineral spirits and a damp cloth. Apply a coat of Rustoleum Paint or primer and paint to improve and repair the metal.

 

3. Decorate & Design

 

After you’ve cleaned and treated your furniture, it’s time for the fun part: decorating. If you’re looking for fresh ideas that will give your patio the facelift it needs, check out these backyard design ideas.

 

  • Notes of nature: Trendy planters and natural accessories are today’s hottest design elements. Choose hardy plants like boxwood, grasses, and evergreens for optimal privacy and design, and enhance the look with branches, shells, rocks, water features, and festive lighting.
  • Invision vintage: Make old, new by mixing modern accessories with vintage elements. Check out your local flea market or salvage store for unique pieces that help you avoid the showroom look and make your space more personalized.
  • Feature flooring: Summer is all about being barefoot, so make sure your patio design includes a flooring element that is safe and feels good on the feet.
  • Heat is neat: Include an outdoor fireplace, fire table, or several large pillar candles to make your patio the ideal place for warm, welcoming entertainment.
  • Add ambiance: Overhead canopies, trees, and arbors make your patio inviting while unique lighting can add fun and flair to essential elements.

 

4. Storage For The Weather

 

Summer Furniture Care

 

When the weather unexpectedly turns for the worst, it’s important to care for your outdoor furniture so it keeps the great quality you currently enjoy. During the warmer months, there are a few tips to consider.

 

    • Close Umbrellas: close your patio umbrellas when they’re not in use to avoid accidental damage.
    • Move for weather: move furniture to an enclosed location if severe winds or rain pass through.
    • Storage: when the weather turns cold store away as much furniture as possible in a shed, garage, or under a tarp or furniture cover.
    • Clean and protect: all furniture should be cleaned and protected with sealant or fabric sprays to protect from the summer heat or rain, and before storage for the winter.

 

Winter Care for Patio Furniture

 

Sometimes, all it takes is one particularly harsh winter to cause permanent damage to your patio set. Whether you choose an outdoor dining set crafted from stone and glass, or a deep-seated love seat beside a lovely fire feature, you’re going to want to take the necessary steps to protect your furniture from the extreme temperatures and snowfall.

Without proper protection, you run the risk of shattered glass, rusted metal, warped wood, cracked acrylic, and more. As winter draws near, use these tips for outdoor furniture care to protect your patio set against the harsh weather.

 

  • If possible, store your furniture indoors during the winter season.
  • Remove fabric cushions or pillows and store them in a cool, dry area. Place them in a plastic sack if you’re worried about them getting dirty.
  • Make sure your indoor storage area isn’t susceptible to leaks or flooding.
  • Check for flaws in the structure that could allow rodents to seek shelter among your outdoor patio furniture.
  • Apply a water-repellent finish that’s appropriate for the type of materials you’re protecting.
  • Wrap glass pieces in thick blankets or towels to prevent shattering when you bring them out of storage.
  • Remove any signs of mildew or rust and repair minor cracks before storing furniture for an entire winter season.
  • Wrap your furniture in high-quality, water-resistant covers that are well ventilated for an added layer of protection.

 

With these care and design tips, you bring lasting comfort to your patio while also making sure it’s functional, safe, and inviting. If you’re looking to replace and/or protect your outdoor patio furniture, take a moment to browse RST Brands furniture collections and find the perfect (and stylish) set and covers for your lifestyle.

The Best Outdoor Patio Furniture Covers By Season & Region [Plus Storage Tips]

 

High-quality patio furniture that can withstand the test of weather, parties, and children isn’t a cheap investment, which is why we’re here to give you the ultimate guide to protecting your furniture with the right outdoor patio furniture covers.

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll find all the information you need to keep your patio furniture in pristine condition for many seasons to come. Click on a link below to browse that section of the article:

With this guide, you’ll be able to choose the perfect outdoor patio furniture covers depending on where you live and what kind of furniture you have. Let’s get started.

 

The Best Covers for Weather-Proofing Your Furniture

Outdoor furniture protective covers are the best way to protect your furniture from the elements. Snow and unexpected rainstorms can permanently damage fabric and warp wood and wicker. Prolonged sun exposure will fade bright colors and patterns, causing new furniture to look old and worn. Many homeowners choose to keep their patio furniture in storage whenever they’re not using it, which can be a waste of your investment and your time. Instead of dragging your patio furniture out of storage and dusting and wiping before every small outdoor gathering, you can save time by simply removing your covers when you’re ready to use your furniture again.

If you live in a dry climate that receives very little moisture, use a simple, thin fabric to protect against sun damage. If you get a lot of rain or snow where you live, then opt for waterproof patio furniture covers that will double as sun-blockers on those beautiful, cloudless days.

If you have a patio cover to protect your furniture from the elements, make sure it’s opaque. Glass patio covers may shield a portion of your patio from rain and snow, but they can intensify sun damage on your fabrics.

 

When to Use Covers for Patio Furniture

 

For optimal coverage and protection from the elements, your patio furniture should remain covered at all times when not in use. Don’t risk exposing your fine furniture to a surprise storm while you’re away at work or forgetting to put them on the night before the first snowfall of the season. When you’re finished with your outdoor furniture, take a moment to slip the covers back on before heading inside. This may seem like a tedious task, but your furniture will last a great deal longer and you’ll spend less time and money on cleaning sprays and replacement cushions and pillows.

 

Installation and Setup of Covers

Nowadays, you can find furniture covers for outdoor furniture of all shapes and varieties. People often wonder what they should cover and what they can leave uncovered.

The answer is simple: cover the furniture that you want to last. Leave the rest uncovered.

Outdoor dining tables and chairs, bar stools, chaise loungers, sofas, loveseats, coffee tables, end tables, you name it! If you want it to stay in fantastic condition for many seasons to come, put a cover over it.

 

How to Measure for Custom Outdoor Furniture Covers

If you purchased your outdoor furniture set from RST Brands, you can find the matching set of outdoor furniture protective covers right on our website. If you’d like to measure for custom covers, grab your measuring tape and take down the following measurements for each piece you’d like to cover:

  • Height: From the highest point of the furniture to the ground.
  • Width: From one edge to the opposite edge.
  • Depth: From the front of the piece to the back.

When ordering custom outdoor furniture covers, don’t make the mistake of adding inches to the measurement to make sure the cover fits. Use the exact measurements to ensure snug covers that won’t blow away or slip off.

In addition to snug measurements, you can also opt for tie-downs that will increase protection and ensure your covers won’t come off on their own. The only con to using tie downs is that they do take quite a bit of time to secure and loose each tie. Just make sure you don’t pull the knot too tight.

 

Different Types of Outdoor Patio Furniture Covers

 

The type of furniture covers you choose will play a great role in determining the lifespan of your furniture. At RST, we provide covers that are professionally designed to protect your furniture from the elements all year round. If you choose to purchase different covers for different seasons, we urge you to use these seasonal tips!

 

Spring and Autumn

Spring and autumn often provide the best weather for outdoor gatherings and quiet afternoons in the shade with a good book in hand. However, they also bring inconsistent weather patterns—brief moments of unexpected rain, early snowfall, and cloudless skies and uncharacteristically warm weather. Prepare for frequent use and surprise storms with lightweight outdoor furniture covers that are waterproof.

 

Winter

If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow during the winter, make sure to keep your patio set covered with quality, heavy-duty waterproof furniture covers. If you move your patio furniture to storage during the cold, wet winter months, make sure you at least use a dust cover.

 

Summer

The type of summer covers you use should depend on the climate you live in—which we will cover in depth. For the standard hot summers, use lightweight covers to protect your furniture from sun damage and animals.

 

Best Covers to Use for Your Furniture

The best outdoor furniture covers are the ones that can shield your patio set from the elements all year long. Avoid cheap covers made from plastic or thin vinyl—they won’t last. Opt for quality materials that can withstand extreme temperatures and changing weather.

At RST, we provide custom outdoor furniture covers crafted from the finest materials and made to withstand sun, snow, rain, and whatever else the outdoors can throw at you. No matter which covers you choose from RST, you can count on durable, lightweight fabric that will preserve the quality and appearance of your outdoor furniture. All of our covers are made from a reliable blend of polyester fabric, polyurethane coating, and nylon straps that won’t tear or fray.

The RST furniture covers are perfect for protecting furniture made with wood, metal, rattan, teak, and even vinyl.

 

The Best Covers For Your Climate

 

Mediterranean Climate

If you live in a Mediterranean climate, say the California coast, then you need the best outdoor furniture covers for very mild winters and scorching hot summers. For this type of weather, you’ll want waterproof furniture covers to protect from sun exposure. You’ll also want to find covers with sufficient ventilation to prevent mold and mildew.

While it isn’t necessary to store your patio furniture indoors when not in use, you will want to check for mold and mildew regularly. Clean your furniture regularly and use protective sprays that can help prevent this problem.

 

Humid Subtropical Climate

A humid subtropical climate includes the southern states such as Texas, Georgia, Florida, and the like. Protect your furniture with ventilated, UV-resistant, waterproof patio furniture covers.

Fight against that subtropical mold and mildew by cleaning furniture often and storing cushions and other fabric pieces indoors when not in use. If you’re protecting furniture at a seasonal home in the humid subtropical climate, we suggest you store the furniture indoors while you’re away.

 

Tropical Climate

For the tropical climates in places like Southern Florida, Hawaii, and the Virgin Islands, you’ll need to equip your furniture to withstand plenty of moisture, sun exposure, and high temperatures. Use covers for patio furniture that are waterproof and well-ventilated.

Just like those who live in other humid areas, you’ll need to check your furniture often for signs of mold and mildew and adopt a cleaning routine to fight against it. It will also help you to store cushions, pillows, and other fabric pieces indoors whenever you’re not using them.

 

Temperate Climate

A temperate climate is one without extremes in the changing seasons, but with a nice range between cool winters and hot, humid summers. In states like Kansas, Missouri, and Pennsylvania, we suggest durable, lightweight covers that are easy to slip on and off for frequent use.

We advise you to use the covers whenever you aren’t using the furniture and to store furniture indoors during the cold winter months.

 

Humid Continental Climate

States like Nebraska, North Dakota, New Hampshire, and Maine can all be classified as having a humid continental climate, which means there are four distinct seasons in a year and the summers are hot and the winters are cold and snowy.

For a wide range of weather conditions in climates such as these, we urge you to store your furniture indoors and beneath ventilated protective covers during the winter months. Check every spring for mold and mildew and allow the furniture to air out after the final snowfall.

 

Oceanic Climate

For areas that receive a lot of moisture and low temperatures during autumn, winter, and spring, such as Oregon, Washington, and Southeast Alaska, we urge you to protect your furniture with waterproof patio furniture covers made from durable materials to withstand plenty of snow and rain.

If possible, store your patio furniture under protective covers indoors during wet, cold months. Use protective sprays to fight against mold and mildew and allow furniture to air out every so often.

 

Desert Climate

Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Yuma are all great examples of a desert climate. If you live in a place where the summers are long, hot, and dry, you’ll need to use your covers during the summer whenever you’re not using the furniture. The covers will fight against sun damage and will also come in handy during those fall and winter rain storms.

 

How to Store & Maintain Your Outdoor Furniture Covers

 

In order to preserve the life and quality of your outside furniture covers, designate a storage space to place them whenever you aren’t using them. This can be in the backyard shed, an outdoor storage bin, the mudroom, or a closet. Wherever you choose to keep your outdoor patio furniture covers, just make sure it is a clean, dry place above the ground. Once you remove the covers, fold them and place them in storage until you’re ready to put them back on your furniture.

Interested in outdoor furniture and covers? Check out the collections by RST Brands today.

6 Tips For Creating An Authentic Southern Patio Design

Creating the perfect Southern-inspired patio is about so much more than worn-wood, refurbished antiques, and lush greenery; it’s about soul, memories, and comfort. A Southern patio should be crafted in such a way that even a quick glance at it evokes nostalgia, comfort, and the ability to leave life’s troubles at the door.

In this article, our experts will teach you how to create such a patio with a variety of  Southern-inspired decorating tips for your outdoor space.

Cozy Furniture

Comfort is the most important factor when it comes to creating the perfect Southern patio. You should provide your family and guests with ample room to kick back, relax, and share their stories. Classic Southern patio furniture is mainly comprised of five different factors:

  1. 1. Wicker
  2. 2. Soft cushions
  3. 3. Mixed patterns
  4. 4. Knitted throws
  5. 5. Overstuffed pillows

Keep these design tips in mind as you assemble the perfect collection of Southern living outdoor furniture. Create the ultimate place of comfort and relaxation with a deep-seated loveseat or sofa dressed with pillows and a large knit throw, a couple of luxurious loungers, wicker end tables to hold glasses filled with iced tea, and a wicker coffee table adorned with plants and trinkets. You can even take your patio to the next level of comfort by adding an outdoor hammock.

Meaningful Accents

No Southern-inspired home is complete without meaningful collections, trinkets, and memorabilia. Add a personal touch to your patio space with items that bring you happiness and peace. While this will make your patio feel more personalized and true to your sense of style, these trinkets are also great conversation pieces. Add items that you’ve collected from your travels, treasured gifts from your closest friends and family, and those oddball decor pieces that have accumulated over time.

A Dining Area

Achieve the full effect of Southern living outdoor furniture by providing guests with a comfortable place to enjoy their meals. The right outdoor dining collection will serve as a welcoming place to create lasting memories with your family for many years to come.

And, don’t forget to dress the table with mismatching dishes, mason jars, and a nice centerpiece to tie the whole thing together.

The Right Colors

Colors play a massive role in achieving a patio space that feels both relaxing and inviting. Deck your Southern-inspired patio with warm colors like chestnut brown, deep cherry red, or a rich olive green. Once you’ve laid the warm foundation, add pops of bright, cheerful colors like yellow, turquoise, blue, and bright red. The combination of warm and bright colors will create an environment that is soothing and welcoming.

Lush Greenery

Potted plants, trees, bushes, flowers, vines—all of it is amazing. Surround your outdoor patio with lush foliage to provide a place of seclusion and beauty. Add a stout, patterned vase of hydrangeas to your wicker coffee table, hang pots of English ivy from hooks overhead, and decorate any remaining surfaces with your favorite foliage.

If you don’t have the gift of a green thumb, don’t worry. There are plenty of low-maintenance plants out there that can survive almost any condition including philodendrons, coral bells, and the ever-so-dainty common daisy.

Plenty of Detail

The final trick to achieving authentic Southern decor is to add an abundance of detail. These details can be found in the tassels of the rug, the trinkets on the end tables, the floral pattern of the tablecloth, the hand-painted flower vases, or the trim around the door. Southern decor is nothing if not intricately detailed with memories and darling patterns. If you feel your Southern patio is looking a little bare, all you need to do is add a few painted vases, mugs, dishes, or pillows to complete the effect.

We hope you found these Southern patio decorating tips useful, and that you enjoy the process of designing this new lovely space for your home.

Best Rocks For Inside Your Fire Pit [Expert Insights & Safety Tips]

Fire pits are great for spending a cozy night by the fire with your family, entertaining with friends, or just providing a relaxing evening for two. While there are many reasons to add a fire pit to your backyard, one of the best reasons is that a well-built fire pit can add value to your home and improve the usability of your backyard landscaping.

Before starting construction on your fire pit you will need to consider a few things like local ordinances regarding fire pits, location, what kind of fire pit you want, how to build your fire pit, and even what to put in the bottom of your fire pit. Learn about the best rocks for inside your fire pit, including how to use lava rocks for a fire pit, and how fire pit glass rocks can add an extra touch to your backyard feature. Then light a fire, grab a book, pull up some outdoor furniture, and enjoy your new backyard addition.

Browse a specific section by clicking on any of the quick links below:

 

 

1. Research Your City Code

 

Different cities will have different building ordinances when it comes to backyard fire pit construction. Make sure you know the local requirements before you build or you will end up wasting time and money when you have to move your fire pit to a new location in your yard.

Depending on where you live you may not be allowed any kind of open fire pit at all. Check your city code to find out if all open flames are banned or if using some kind of cover or screen on your fire pit would make it possible to comply with regulations. You can call your local fire department or Google fire requirements for your area to learn if there are restrictions on the size and location of fires as well.

If you’re going to build an in-ground fire pit, a quick 811 call before you dig can save you the headache and expense that would come with disrupting underground utilities. Also, make sure the pit is built at least 10 feet away from any trees, overhanging branches, fences, bushes, or flammable structures on your property.

 

2. How Are You Going To Build?

 

The first thing to consider when planning a fire pit is to decide how portable you want your fire pit to be. If you want it to be a permanent fixture in your backyard landscaping, a traditional in-ground fire pit is the perfect option. However, if you want to move it around, you might consider purchasing a pre-built portable fire pit or a fire table. You will also need to decide whether you want an above-ground or below-ground fire pit, and how you are going to build it.

Once you’ve decided on the type of fire pit you’d like to build you can start purchasing the materials you’ll need. You’ll need to know the best rock for inside a fire pit and how deep to make it. Most DIY fire pits are below ground because they are the most basic and easiest to build.

Some tools and materials you’ll need to build your fire pit are:

      • Wheelbarrow
      • Shovel
      • Garden rake
      • Tape measure
      • Work gloves
      • Hand tamper
      • Garden hose
      • Level
      • Firebricks
      • Retaining wall blocks
      • Lava rocks for the fire pit
      • Construction adhesive

There are great guides on DIY construction for backyard fire pits, with step-by-step instructions to help you get started.

If you prefer an extravagant fire pit design or want something more complicated, a contractor is a faster and easier option than building a fire pit yourself. Hiring a contractor to build your fire pit is also a great idea if you’re looking to add more value to your home, because of the quality of the craftsmanship.

 

3. Does A Fire Pit Need A Liner?

 

Fire pit liners have several benefits, such as preventing underground root fires, and providing essential structure and support if you want your fire pit to be permanent. A good liner will give your fire pit the structure it needs to last for years to come. There are different kinds of liners such as stainless steel, mild carbon steel, concrete, tile or stone, copper, and cast iron. The most common fire pit liners are made of stainless steel or fire-rated bricks and are designed to withstand high temperatures.

 

4. Fill Your Pit With The Right Materials

Learning what to put in the bottom of your fire pit takes more planning than you may have considered. Some materials like hard rock, gravel, or sand weren’t meant to reach high temperatures and can spark and explode if your fire gets too hot. Instead, use lava rocks for your fire pit or lava glass beads as a filler for your fire pit. They are a safe way to create drainage and make your fire pit look nice.

While some people choose to forgo a fire pit filler and simply use a concrete or stone base, filler adds a nice aesthetic to your fire pit that can enhance your backyard landscaping. Place a thin layer of sand on the bottom of the fire pit and add the recommended 2-6 inches of filler on top of it. If you don’t have a preference for what kind of filler to use, irregular crushed lava rock or small volcanic ash tends to cost less overall.

Sandstone, river rocks, natural rocks, and gravel are not ideal fill for fire pits because they are more likely to crack or explode under high heat. No matter what type of fill you use, make sure the fill is dry when you light the fire. Rocks can absorb a lot of water, especially river rocks, and rocks that get too hot near a fire can (and sometimes do) explode. Even wet lava rock can explode.

 

5. What Kind Of Rocks Explode In Fire?

 

Nearly any kind of rock has the potential to explode—especially if it is porous and wet. When wet rocks heat up the trapped air and water expands very quickly, and forcefully breaks the rock apart, or makes it explode. Some of the most common rocks that should be avoided in fire pit construction include sandstone, limestone, pumice, gravel, and river rocks because of their porous nature and tendency to hold water.

Hard rocks like granite, marble, or slate are much denser, and therefore less likely to absorb water and explode when exposed to heat. Other rocks that are safe to use around and in your fire pit include fire-rate brick, lava glass, lava rocks, and poured concrete. This is one area where you can use lava rocks for fire pit safety.

If you have rocks in or around your fire pit, be cautious when lighting fires after it has rained. Wet rocks are much more likely to explode than dry rocks. If you frequently use your fire pit, you may even consider covering your fire pit in adverse weather to keep it dry and keep yourself safer.

 

6. How Deep Do Fire Pits Need To Be?

 

For in-ground fire pits, it’s generally recommended that you dig down 6 to 12 inches. Make sure the ground is as level as possible before adding in your layer of lava rocks or fire pit glass. If you decide to dig a deeper fire pit, make sure you have some kind of ventilation so your fire gets enough air to burn. You may need to use a fire bowl on top of your stonework to keep the fire elevated.

Higher walls around a fire pit can be especially handy if you have small children or pets and want to keep them protected from the flames. Of course, a higher wall is no substitute for a watchful eye, but it can certainly create an extra level of safety for families.

 

7. Distance Your Fire Pit From Possible Dangers

 

Fire safety is of paramount importance when selecting the location of your fire pit. You should always keep your fire pit at least 10 feet away from any trees, overhanging branches, fences, bushes, or flammable structures on your property. Clear away any dry brush around the fire pit and always make sure your fire pit complies with local regulations before building. Also, be sure to call 811 to check for underground utilities before you dig.

One of the most common dangers to watch out for is root fires. While you might think you’ve built your fire far enough away from a tree, it’s important to remember that the roots of a tree spread out, and building a fire too close to a tree can cause the roots to burn long after the embers in your fire pit have died.

If you decide to keep your fire pit on your deck you will need to purchase a fire pit specifically made to be used in a patio setting. You may even want to consult with a contractor to prepare a fireproof surface under your patio fire pit, and you will need to keep a screen on your fire pit as often as possible to prevent sparks from causing any fires. Wherever you place your fire pit, make sure it works well with the flow of traffic in your yard so it’s not a tripping hazard for guests and family members.

When enjoying your outdoor fire pit you should always keep safety in mind. Keep your fire contained and always keep a bucket of water nearby so you can put out any stray flames. Always make sure your fire is cold before you leave it for the night.

 

8. Gas vs. Wood

There are benefits to both gas and wood fires, and while you won’t enjoy the classic smell of a campfire, a gas burning fire makes it easy to start up your fire pit and enjoy a night outside, whereas gathering and lighting wood every time you want to use your fire pit is time-consuming and labor-intensive.

However, you should also take into account what you intend to use your fire pit for. If you plan to cook, a wood fire is hotter and helps food cook faster. If you simply want a warm area to chat with friends or enjoy a night outside, a gas fire has a consistent flame and heat level, without smoke blowing in your face or your fire dying down. You can easily enjoy a full evening of entertainment with a simple 20 pound tank of propane that will fuel your gas fire for up to 4½ hours. Gas fire pits can also be more decorative and use fire pit glass rocks that won’t be faded by smoke and soot.

If you can’t make up your mind you might consider a dual-fuel fire bowl that can use both gas and wood. Keep in mind that they tend to cost more and require a complex construction to build. Whether you go with gas or wood, always keep safety in mind and keep a fire extinguisher handy. Regularly check gas fires for leaks, make sure you add the best rock for inside your fire pit, and to keep you and your guests safe, never add additional fuel to a gas fire.

 

9. Size Up The Space

 

After you’ve found the perfect place for your fire pit and decided what materials you would like to use in its construction, you will need to decide how big of a fire pit you want. Keep it proportional to the size of your backyard or porch so it doesn’t feel like it’s taking over your space. Your fire pit should suit the design of your backyard landscaping, and you should provide enough space for the type of outdoor furniture you want to use around your fire pit.

When it comes to the size of the fire pit itself, it’s typically recommended to plan for a bigger fire pit, rather than a smaller one. Small fire pits are usually around 3 feet wide, whereas large fire pits are up to 6 feet wide. Fire pit dimensions are measured from the outside of the ring, so keep in mind that the interior of the fire pit will be smaller than 3-6 feet, depending on the thickness of your fire pit ring.

Whatever kind of outdoor furniture you use around your fire pit, you will want to make sure you have at least three feet of space between the seating and the fire. Sitting too close can be unsafe, because of sparks and flames. Leaving extra space and planning for a larger fire pit also allows you to upgrade your furniture or pull up a few extra chairs when visitors come over.

 

10. Prepare For The Cost

 

The type of fire pit you decide on will have a great impact on your wallet. Complex designs built by a contractor can run into the thousands, whereas portable fire pits typically run between $50-$200. However, if you’re really looking for a high-quality design at low cost, a DIY fire pit is your best option. There are even fire pit kits you can purchase for around $100-$200 to make your job easier.

To keep up the value of your outdoor fire pit make sure you fill it with fire pit glass or fire pit rocks and surround your fire pit with good quality outdoor furniture. Although good quality outdoor furniture can cost more, it’s worth the investment because it lasts longer and maintains its value.

 

11. Can You Put A Fire Pit On The Grass?

 

Temporary fire pits can easily move from one place to another. If you intend to move yours frequently, you don’t want unsightly dead patches of grass all over your lawn or the danger of dried grass starting a fire. Thankfully, there are ways to keep your grass protected from portable fire pits.

Before you start your fire, you will need to prepare the ground underneath and around the fire pit. Clear away any dead grass or vegetation within 10 feet of your fire pit and wet down the grass underneath the fire pit. Once the grass is wet you can start your fire, and the water will protect your grass—to a degree. If your grass needs additional protection you can simply place brick pavers on top of your grass as a heat shield. They will help protect your grass from high temperatures and keep your grass from drying out.

 

12. Get That Added Value

 

A beautiful, well-built fire pit adds a lot of value to a home and backyard. Patios with a fire pit are especially valuable because they create a beautiful space for entertaining and visiting with guests—especially if that space is not available inside the home. Fire pits remain popular with home buyers and really don’t cost much for the value they add.

To get the most value from your fire pit, make it a central feature of your backyard and invest in quality landscaping and outdoor furniture, that adds to the overall design of your space. There are even stand-alone fire tables and fire table and chair sets that create a quick and easy focal point if you prefer a more temporary option. If you want your outdoor space to feel like an extension of your indoor space, make sure to use similar design elements as you make the transition from inside to outside. It will make your home feel larger, especially when entertaining guests.

 

13. Complement Your Fire With Ambient Lighting

 

Create the perfect entertaining space for your backyard with ambient lighting. While it might seem like your lovely fire pit provides sufficient light, after the sun goes down you’ll wish you had another light source. Additional light allows you to check on the status of your marshmallows as you make s’mores—unless you like them burned to a crisp.

Simple string or bulb lights are the perfect accompaniment to a deck entertaining area. If string lights don’t suit the style you’re looking to achieve, you can always opt for torches or light posts instead. Remember that a good light source will also increase safety for your family and guests because they are less likely to trip over something they can’t see.

 

14. Find The Right Furniture

The outdoor furniture you choose really helps dictate your outdoor design. To make your home feel larger, make sure the design from inside the home flows over into the design of your backyard furniture. This will make your space feel more cohesive and more like one large space from inside to outside.

You should also consider the quality of materials your furniture is made of. By far the best (and most popular) material is aluminum. High-quality outdoor furniture will last you for years to come. No matter what kind of outdoor furniture you purchase, make sure it is safe for use around fire and is non-flammable. Remember to keep all furniture at least 3 feet from your fire pit for added safety.

 

15. Don’t Forget the Extras

 

It’s the extras that really make a fire pit area special and a great place to relax. If you live in an area with lots of bugs and mosquitoes, citronella candles are great for keeping them at bay. A couple of roasting sticks on hand at all times makes whipping up some s’mores a breeze. For safety purposes, you should always have a fire extinguisher and fire pit cover on hand to tame any adventurous fires.

Wood fires require a fire stoker to safely move logs without risking burns, and you should keep a cleaning broom on hand to clean around gas fires. Once you’ve compiled the basics you can kick back and enjoy your firepit in safety.

 

16. Conclusion

 

Your backyard fire pit is a great addition to get-togethers, parties, and family events. Some proper planning on how big to make your fire pit, the best rocks for inside your fire pit, and what kind of outdoor furniture to use around your fire pit, can help you fire pit add a lot of value to your home. Don’t underestimate how fire pit glass and fire pit glass rocks can impact the look of your outdoor fire pit.

Now that you know what to put in the bottom of your fire pit you can enjoy the outdoors year-round and create memories that will last a lifetime. Don’t forget to add in some high-quality outdoor furniture from RST Brands to complete your outdoor landscaping look and environment.

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Backyard Sport Court: Design Tips For The Most Fun

Bocce ball and croquet are great, but have you ever thought about taking backyard fun to the next level with a backyard sport court or green? Backyard greens and sport courts can add an extra dose of fun to an already relaxing and amusing backyard. When you build a sport court, you don’t just want to plop it in the middle of everything; learn how to design your backyard around your sport court with these tips.

Choosing Your Sport

The first sport most people think about when it comes to a backyard sport court is basketball. If you’re passionate about basketball, this is a great option for your yard. There are several different kinds of basketball courts you can put in your backyard: half court, full court, concrete, sport surface, fenced, etc. But basketball isn’t the only kind of court you can put in your yard. Many people enjoy tennis and volleyball courts too. You can even get a sport court where you could play all of these sports.

Is golf more your speed? Backyard greens are more prevalent than ever. With a putting green, you can design it to look however you want. You can put as many holes in the green as you want, and you can make it any shape or size to fit the space you have for it. However you like to golf, you can hone your short game in the comfort of your own yard with a backyard green.

Placing Your Court

Once you’ve decided what kind of sport court or green is best for your yard, you need to decide where to put it. In hotter climates, you may want to put your court in the shade of some trees, so you and your guests don’t overheat when you play. If sports are the main event, find a place front and center, so even people who don’t participate can be part of the fun. Take safety and maintenance into account as well. Design your backyard around the court to provide shade, rest areas, and a pleasant aesthetic effect. When you put a court or green in, your yard is your canvas.

Getting Courtside Seats

So you’ve picked your court and you’ve found the perfect place for it. Your yard design still isn’t complete. You need seating so everyone can enjoy the game, even if they’re not playing. Do you need some comfortable individual seats? Loungers are a great outdoor seating option. For a more group-related approach, try adding an outdoor sofa or sectional to your viewing area. Whatever your outdoor furniture preferences, a relaxing viewing area can go a long way in making your sporty backyard fun and enjoyable.

Outdoor Hammock: 10 Patio Hammock Tips

If you already have the perfect backyard setup, but you feel like it’s missing just one final piece, an outdoor hammock can be an extra touch of comfort to an already luxurious patio. Your patio hammock can provide extra seating, a spot in the shade, a napping nook, or even a secluded space where you can get away from it all and be alone with your thoughts.

Whatever your reasons for getting one, a hammock is an essential element of a comfortable and elegant backyard. Read on for some tips on choosing, installing, and enjoying your patio hammock.

1. Picking an Outdoor Hammock

There are many different kinds of outdoor hammocks. Look at materials like rope, nylon, and canvas. You should also consider different setup variations like a stand, hooks, or straps. See what you like and pick the best hammock for you and your lifestyle.

2. Finding Shade

See where the house and trees cast shadows for most of the day. If staying in the shade is your priority, that’s where you should keep your hammock.

3. Making Shade

Planting trees, installing canopies, and draping tarps are all great ways to create extra shade for your perfect patio hammock placement.

4. Keeping It Green

Plant life is a great relaxation aid. Find a spot with lots of greenery to place your hammock, like a clearing in your garden. If you don’t have many plants, get new ones.

5. Staying Cool by the Pool

Nothing helps you stay cool quite like water. If you have a pool or a pond in your yard, a place next to them is a perfect cooling off point for your outdoor hammock.

6. Lighting It Up

The daytime can get too hot, even in the shade. If you like to kick back outside with a good book at night, lighting your backyard area is essential. You can find good outdoor string or other lights at your local hardware store.

7. Installing Your Hammock

Securing your hammock is a must. No one wants to have their hammock come out from under them when they’re trying to have a good time.

8. Adding Accents

Some outdoor accent furniture, like a coffee table or a side table, can give you a place to rest your book, drink, or snack when you don’t want to hold them anymore. When you find the perfect hammocking spot in your yard, consider arranging tables around it to maximize comfort.

9. Staying Safe

Practice safe entry and exit of your hammock. Set anything in your hands down before getting in or out. Adjusting your hammock to the right height helps you remain safe as well. Ensure that the area around your hammock is free of sharp objects that could become a danger.

10. Take Care Of Your Hammock

Now that you’ve found the perfect place for your hammock, make sure that you take care of it. If the weather is supposed to be bad, like a rain or wind storm, ensure that you take your hammock down and store it temporarily. This can help avoid unnecessary wear and tear of your hammock and enable you to enjoy it longer.

Our best hammock advice is this: take it easy. Whatever kind of patio hammock you get, it will help you get the backyard leisure you are looking for.

Patio Shade Options: How to Shade Your Yard

Depending on what part of the country you live in, summers can get really hot. It’s almost enough to make you want to stay inside your house with the air conditioning on full blast. Sitting outside on summer afternoons and evenings is one of the best simple pleasures life has to offer. Since you probably don’t want to spend your entire summer indoors, there are a lot of ways to keep your backyard cool and beat the summer heat. Read these patio shade ideas to get the most enjoyment out of your yard this summer.

Umbrellas

The easiest of our patio shade ideas is putting up some umbrellas in your yard. You don’t want to get just any old umbrella, though. You want the best patio umbrella you can get. A high-quality umbrella will do a better job of keeping the heat off of your patio furniture. Make sure the patio umbrella you get is made of durable materials. If your umbrellas can’t take wind, rain, and other nasty weather, then they won’t give you good shade for very long. Umbrellas that you can easily adjust make for great sun cover, too. Being able to switch your umbrellas’ positions at a moment’s notice will help you keep yourself and your guests shaded as the sun moves toward the horizon.

Plant Trees

One of the best sources of shade for your yard is a natural one: trees. If you don’t have good trees in your yard, you can always plant new ones. Planting new trees means that you get to decide where the trees go, so you can put your shade exactly where you want it. Some of the best-known shade trees include oak, maple, elm, and sycamore. Even if you put in your own trees, though, you can’t always shade a large amount of patio underneath them. For these situations, a hammock can be the perfect seating solution. Not only are hammocks perfectly comfortable, but they are small enough to fit underneath most shade trees. With one or more hammocks, you can enjoy your shade in ease and luxury.

Under Canvas

If you’ve got umbrellas and trees and you’re still lacking in the shade department, draping a canvas is a simple and easy way to put more shadow onto your patio. If canvas is hard to come by, a tarp or any other cloth can do the trick, too. You can easily use these kinds of materials to cover any area of your patio. Configure your canvas and patio furniture in any numbers of ways to get the optimal amount of shade.

Pergolas & Gazebos

If you have the time and resources to build one, pergolas and gazebos are perfect patio shade options. Build your structure, place your favorite backyard furniture underneath it, and voilà—you’ve got shade. The number of configurations is as large as your imagination. If you’d like even more shade under your pergola or gazebo, consider growing some wisteria on the wood. These vines grow out and provide even more shade, keeping you cool from the sun’s rays.

No one likes feeling like they’re burning up in the summer. Enjoy your yard with class and comfort by augmenting its shade. Whether you choose to add umbrellas, trees, hammocks, canvas coverings, or even shady structures to your yard, these patio shade ideas will help you keep your cool this summer. To learn more about creating the perfect patio, read about extending your living space on our blog.