Tuesday, 2 October 2012

How to Build a Fire Pit

An outdoor fire pit can be a great accessory for many homes. While it’s possible to buy a commercially-produced fire pit or outdoor fireplace, there are a number of ways one can build a fire pit on his or her own. The following guide provides simple tips and tricks on how one can build a fire pit.

When choosing a location for a fire pit, it’s essential to make sure that it is at least 50 feet away from a home. Since some hot ashes may become airborne, it’s essential to make sure that they won’t land on a roof or other parts of a home. If hot ashes landed in a pile of leaves in a home’s gutter, that home may be at a high risk of burning down. It’s also important to make sure that a fire pit isn’t near any overhanging trees or other flammable objects.

In addition, it’s a good idea to choose a location that is close to a water source. If possible, try to set up a fire pit near a swimming pool or hot tub. In an emergency, it’s possible to use water from a swimming pool or hot tub to put out a fire. If an individual doesn’t have access to a swimming pool or hot tub, it’s a good idea to make sure there is a fire extinguisher within 50 feet of a fire pit.

It’s also a good idea to check with an insurance agent before installing a fire pit. In some cases, insurance companies will deny coverage if a fire pit is built without approval. However, this policy can vary with different insurance carriers.

When building a fire pit, it’s a good idea to make sure there is no grass or other flammable objects on the ground for at least 10 feet surrounding the pit. If possible, try laying down stones and gravel around a fire pit. This will reduce the risk of a fire spreading.

It’s also a good idea to make sure that a fire pit is at least 4 feet deep. By building a very deep fire pit, it’s possible to ensure that flames can’t escape from the sides. In addition, this can make it very easy to add additional fuel to a fire. However, it’s important to make sure that a fire pit isn’t so deep as to make escape impossible. If an individual falls into a fire pit, he or she should be able to walk out of it with ease.

In addition, it’s a good idea to line the base of a fire pit with clay. Since some dirt can introduce moisture into a fire pit, it’s important to make sure that there is a barrier between a fire and the wet ground.

A fire pit can be a rewarding way to enjoy the outdoors. In addition to providing warmth, fire pits can foster a sense of community with one’s family and one’s neighbors. They can also be an excellent way to enjoy flame-broiled food.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The Best Patio Furniture for All Seasons

Comfortable and practical four season patio living depends upon making smart choices for your outdoor furniture. The beauty and diversity of each unique season of the year can be enjoyed and highlighted with a comfortable and well-chosen outdoor living space. There are essentially five primary materials from which patio furniture is usually constructed. Choosing among these materials is easy if you know what to look for. Before you begin, decide on how much time you will spend outdoors during the year and select the budget you have to work with.

The sturdiest and most durable choice is furniture constructed from steel. The upside of this furniture is that it will last year after year and looks fabulous. However, unless specially treated, this material may be inclined to rust when left out during the winter. Easy to clean with warm soapy water, steel furniture is an excellent choice if your budget permits. In the other extreme, plastic furniture is the least expensive. It is also lightweight and very easy to keep clean. The trade-off here, of course, is that plastic furniture may tend to look less elegant than its pricier counterparts. Nevertheless, if you are on very tight budget plastic furniture can be a practical and attractive choice.

Perhaps the most beautiful choice of all is natural wood. Both Teak and Cedar look gorgeous, wear well and are very comfortable. However, even these beautiful woods have their drawbacks. Over time their rich colors will fade from weathering. Ideally wood furniture should be stored during the wet and cold winter months. Your lovely furniture should be specially treated with sealants to keep water damage and rot at bay. Do consider the surface upon which you place your furniture as well, since damp ground can facilitate wood rot. Wood furniture is best when set on concrete or tile patio surfaces.

Another lovely choice in the light weight category is weather resistant wicker. Wicker is both attractive and portable but can be pricey. Easy to clean wicker can be quickly renewed with warm soapy water and careful drying. Wicker also lends itself well to gaily colored pillows and cushions to match any decor you wish. Wicker also comes in colors as well as natural hues making it easy to mix and match.

Last but not least is the reliable standby of aluminum. Powder coat finish aluminum is low maintenance, light weight, and usually quite inexpensive. It is a great alternative to steel furniture when your budget is limited. Although top quality aluminum can also be pricey, it is durable, cleans up easily and is comfortable and attractive.

The majority of the year is best spent enjoying the beautiful outdoor seasons. You might even want to have more than one set of outdoor furniture such as wicker for spring and summer and perhaps steel or aluminum for fall and winter. Whatever your preferences or budget you are sure to find the perfect outdoor furniture for your patio or deck, given today's diverse choices. Add a few personal items such as charming candles, a birdfeeder or two and some decorative touches and you have your very own outdoor Shangri-La any time of the year!

Friday, 6 July 2012

What is the Best Type of Wood Stain for a Deck

If you have a wood deck on your home, or have recently added one, you may be wondering about the best way to maintain it. There are a number of good staining options based on the type of wood used. Some woods will need to be stained every year and others can be done every three to four years.

In the past, almost everyone used oil-based stains on their decks. They penetrated the wood better and lasted longer. This is slowly changing as technology becomes more advanced and people become more concerned about the environment. In fact, oil-based stains, because of their toxic chemicals, have been outlawed in over 12 states with more on the way.

One of the reasons that oil-based stains have been banned is because of the natural resins that are food for algae and mildew that need to be counteracted with toxic pesticides. There is new technology that uses synthetic resins combined with a water base that allow stain to penetrate just like oil. Next you need to decide which type of stain to use on your deck. A lot of this is based on preference, but the basic pros and cons are detailed below.

Clear Stains

Clear deck stains look really good when first applied, enhancing a wood's natural look. The problem is that they are not usually able to stand up to the sun's UV rays and do not last very long because of this. Your wood will also darken quickly because of this lack of protection.

Solid Color Stains

While solid stain is great for deck posts or areas that don't get sun or foot traffic, these stains tend to peel when used the flat surfaces of a deck. In order to reapply solid color stains when they start to peel, you must remove all the previous peeled stain in order to make it look good. Stain stripper is not usually effective and sanding and paint thinner is usually necessary. This is way more effort than is necessary and can easily be avoided by choosing a different stain type.

Semi-Transparent Stains

This type of stain is by far the easiest to maintain, reapply, and it lasts longer than other types of stain. Because of the tint, which can be had in a wide variety of different shades, your wood is protected from the suns harsh UV rays. This allows the stain to keep working longer than either solid or clear stains. Maintenance is as easy as using a low-pressure pressure washer once or twice a year. Reapplication is usually only needed every two or three years depending on the climate where you live and there is no need to strip the stain at all.

While the choice is up to you, if your aim is convenience and long life for your stain and deck, semi-transparent stain is the best choice for your wood. This option can save you a lot of time and money over the life of your wood deck.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

How to Determine the Size of Your Backyard Patio

Having a backyard patio is one of those features that can really add value to your property and make your house a destination place for family and friends.  A well-constructed patio has the potential to completely transform your yard, but that transformation may not be what you want if the patio isn’t the right size. 

It’s important to take the time to determine the right size for your patio before you start digging and building.  A patio that is too small will leave everyone feeling cramped and one that’s too big will leave a lot of wasted space in your yard.  Follow a few simple steps to figure out the ideal size for your backyard patio. 

How Much Space?

Perhaps the primary factor that will determine the size of your backyard patio is how much available space you have to build it.  You must measure your year carefully before you start the planning process. 

You’ll also have to take the shape of the yard and any other features into consideration when figuring out how much space you have.  If you have a pool or other permanent fixtures that will affect how much space you have, and if you have kids you might not want to eat up too much of their play space.  Try to take all of the different factors into consideration, then designate a section of usable space for a patio.  You might not end up using it all, but at least you’ll know how much can be used and where it is within the yard. 

What’s It For?

Before you get to work, it’s wise to figure out what you’ll be using the patio for.  Do you plan on using it as a place to lounge in the evenings or afternoons and catch up on your reading?  Do you want to use it as a second kitchen in the summer?  Do you want it to be the neighborhood summer party destination?

Deciding what you want to use your patio for shouldn’t be the sole factor that determines the size, but it will help you with the design elements.  If you plan on cooking and eating out there, you’ll need the equipment and furniture to do that.  You may also want a fireplace, space for couches or any number of accessories that match your desires. 

How Many People?

After you figure out how much space you have and what you’re going to use it for, you can decide roughly how many people will be using it on a regular basis.  If you only have a limited space available in the yard, this step may be irrelevant, but if you have a lot of space, this will help. 

As an example, if you have half the yard, but you only want it for yourself and your immediate family, you won’t need all that space.  However, if you plan on hosting parties with 20 or more people, you’ll probably need as much space as you can get.  Take your time and really try to envision what your backyard patio life will be like, and you’ll end up with exactly what you want.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Create A Patio Haven

Summer is around the corner and 'tis the season for outdoor living. Options for creating an outdoor space abound and can be customized depending on your budget, taste and how you intend to use the space most often. Whether you have a small balcony or a full-size deck, there are decorating pieces available to fit all needs.

The basics of an outdoor room include seating (chairs or benches and tables), an umbrella, accessories such as lights or candles, fire pits (optional) and grills (gas or charcoal). Before buying furniture and accessories for an outdoor space consider the following:

The outdoor space itself -
The amount of space you have at your disposal, the position of the access points to the space and any safety considerations (e.g. fire safety for wooden decks) will determine the kind of furniture and accessories suitable for your outdoor haven. A small patio balcony attached to an apartment will most likely hold a small table and a couple of chairs. Most balconies are covered so an umbrella may not be necessary. If the space already has outdoor lighting you will not need to buy lights or candles unless they are for ambiance. A larger deck will hold more people and so require more furniture.

Type of furniture -

Patio furniture comes in a variety of materials and styles and provides a plethora of choice for creating just the space you want. The most common materials for furniture are wicker, wood, plastic and metal (aluminum, steel, wrought iron, etc.). Fabrics on patio furniture are usually weather-proof thereby eliminating the need for protection from rain or snow. You can choose between standard chairs, loungers or storage benches with seating on top. Umbrellas offer an even wider choice with enhanced features like tilting stands for sun protection from any angle, built-in lights and fabrics that offer UV protection.

Patio accessories -
Creating a cozy outdoor space is even easier with the availability of several accessory pieces like fire pits, tiki torches, string lights and solar lights, and even outdoor rugs. Fire pits provide the glow and warmth of a campfire without the hassle, and are great for entertaining - s'mores anyone? Tiki torches bring a touch of class and can also be used with citronella oil to ward off pesky insects. String lights come in beautiful colors and shapes and will enhance any outdoor space. Solar lights not only provide the perfect low glow but are also environment-friendly and budget-friendly. And finally, nothing can bring a space together more than a well-chosen rug.

Cooking outdoors -
With the choice of grills available in the market today, grilling has become a great way to make healthful, flavorful food while avoiding a messy kitchen. Depending on your patio space you can choose between gas/electric grills or charcoal grills. Grilling on gas/electric grills doesn't mean that you have to compromise on that smoky flavor with ingenious accessories like smoker boxes to impart that wonderful flavor to food.

Protecting your patio furniture -

The best way to make your patio furniture last is to protect it in inclement weather. This means either storing all patio furniture and accessories indoors, or if you do not have adequate space, covering furniture securely with weatherproof covers. Invest in good quality all-weather covers to preserve and protect your beautiful space so you can enjoy it year after year.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Patio Furniture Style

While decorative styles in home furnishings are virtually unlimited, for outdoor use, furniture must be constructed to withstand a variety of weather conditions, and throughout history, that has influenced patio furniture design styles. Although furniture has been used in outdoor living spaces for millennia, it wasn’t until after World War II that furniture manufacturers began to produce furniture that was specifically designed for home patios.

During the post-war housing boom of the 1950s, the demand for outdoor furniture grew, but materials were limited. Manufacturers flooded the market with affordable but impractical products. Painted steel flaked, wicker unraveled and untreated wood faded. By the 1980s, modern, durable materials, such as plastic, resin and aluminum, were being used to craft outdoor furnishings. Modern finishes gave natural materials like wood increased durability as well.

Once outdoor furnishings were freed from the limitations that weather and wear imposed upon them, style flourished. Today, patio furniture is available is just about any style imaginable, and people can enjoy furnishing their outdoor areas much as they do their interiors. When it comes to decorating, however, design rules still apply. When choosing patio furniture, it’s important to consider the size and location of the space and how the space will be used as well as the furniture style.

When a patio is situated before a line of picture windows, for example, the outdoor furnishings shouldn’t block the view from indoors. Patio furniture with a low profile adds a sleek, modern style to an outdoor patio without impeding vistas of the great outdoors. Long and lean sectionals are ideal. Materials like teak or wicker-look-alike resin add warmth to the lean-and-low modern look.

For outdoor entertaining, furniture needs to provide comfortable seating for enjoying foods fresh off the grill. Patio dinette sets with comfy cushions made with functional fabrics enhance outdoor eating. The right patio furniture can extend the festivities as well. Patio umbrellas protect family and friends from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. Patio heaters help keep the party going into the evening.

While function and decorative styles are important, it’s just as important to think about creating a distinctive atmosphere when it comes to purchasing patio furniture. A small cast-iron table and chair set can give a corner of the garden the ambiance of a French cafĂ©. Lounge chairs lined up at the side of a swimming pool give the garden the air of a luxury resort. A hammock slung between two shady trees instantly establishes an atmosphere of ease and relaxation.

Whether it's aluminum crafted to look like bamboo or sleek and stylish stainless steel used to create a mid-century modern look, the materials used for patio furniture today offer people broad choices for functional style. Throughout the Great White North, people now have the freedom to choose outdoor furnishings that complement their personal taste and that suit their individual lifestyle.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012


This is a blog that will host the benefits and beauty of patio furniture.

Focusing on anything and everything that has to do with the outdoors. If you have an idea or want to get your blog posted contact me and we will work together.

Enjoy the party!