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Tag Archive | "outdoor spaces"

Get your outdoor spaces ready for summer living


(StatePoint) There’s no better place than your own backyard for relaxing, entertaining and enjoying the outdoors. And there’s no better time than summer to spruce up your space.

If you’re looking to upgrade a humdrum yard into something special, here are some things to consider:

Comfort

Trees and awnings aren’t just great adornments for your yard; they provide much needed shade for you to sit outdoors comfortably and safely.

Avoid summer mosquito bites by placing birdbaths and other standing water structures far from lounging and eating areas. Install LED yard lighting for night, which is less likely to attract mosquitoes than incandescent lights.

Safety

When planning your space, make safety a top priority. Since evenings are prime time for summer entertaining, lighting is an essential safety measure.

Start by considering where you need to increase visibility. Choose post-mounted lanterns near driveways and wall-mounted lanterns next to doors for ease of access and to welcome guests. If underground wiring is required, consult an electrician or experienced landscape lighting contractor.

For deck stairs or terraced paths, don’t forget step lights to aid in navigation.

And thoroughly check outdoor railings, steps, decks and porches to make sure they are steady and that no nails or boards have come loose.

Beauty

Your yard is an extension of your home, so don’t let design and style fall by the wayside when planning its look.

For a touch of natural beauty, consider planting a flower garden to attract butterflies and humming birds.

“Illuminate paths and define edges where the garden or grass meet walkways,” says Jeff Dross, corporate director of education and industry trends for Kichler Lighting, a leading supplier of outdoor and landscape lighting for consumers and contractors.

The interplay of light and shadow adds magic to the night. By carefully placing accent lights at upward or downward angles and using wall wash lighting, you can silhouette trees and direct shadows. Capture the nighttime loveliness of water features like ponds with LED lights specially built for underwater illumination. For best results, consult a landscape lighting expert.

More information on landscape lighting can be found at www.kichler.com or www.landscapelighting.com. You can also receive referrals to Kichler-certified landscape lighting contractors by clicking “Need a Contractor?”

Energy-Savings

Don’t let your exterior spaces drive up your home’s energy bills. New LED deck and landscape lights are low-maintenance, cost effective options. Lasting up to 40,000 hours—about 15 years—these fixtures use 75 percent less energy than incandescent lights.

“Since outdoor lighting is often left on all night or for many hours at a time, savings from LED lighting can really add up,” Dross says.

Remember to avoid cheaper LED lights with a bluish cast that many find unattractive. Opt instead for a warm white light, such as Kichler’s Design Pro LED landscape lights.

Don’t just dream about the perfect outdoor space. For a great season, transform your yard into a beautiful, fun place.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Home and Garden, Spring Spruce UpComments Off

Green ways to freshen outdoor spaces, without breaking the bank


(ARA) – Sprucing up outdoor spaces doesn’t have to cost a lot to create a big impact. Rather than buying new, consider refreshing or upgrading furnishings, equipment and features you already have. You will save some green and give new life to items that might otherwise wind up in the trash and ultimately in the landfill. Here are some summer spruce-up ideas:

Reviving patio furniture

Time, use and weather can leave outdoor furnishings looking withered and faded. Whether your patio set is wooden, painted aluminum, cast iron or even wicker, you can make it look new again with a fresh coat of paint. Gentle sanding and the right type of paint will have your set looking new in no time. Add in new cushions in bright colors and you’ve created a whole new look at a fraction of the cost of buying new.

Winning water features

Water features can add a splash of beauty and relaxation to an outdoor environment. Consider repurposing a flower pot or large colorful vase into a fountain by waterproofing it and adding a pump. Or if you bought a fountain a few seasons ago and it’s sitting there unused because the original pump has burned out, it’s actually simple and cost-effective to get it going again with a replacement fountain pump found at your local home improvement store. As the weather heats up and evaporation causes water levels to drop in fountains, traditional pumps can burn out from too-low water levels. smartpond’s Fountain Pump with Low-Water Shut-off, found at Lowe’s, automatically turns off the pump when water levels dip low in your fountain, and automatically turns back on when you add water. The energy-efficient pumps are ideal for small- to medium-sized fountains and come with or without a light for evening enjoyment.

Fences and decks

Large surface areas such as fences and decks are the first to get noticed. Improve the aesthetics of worn, neglected surfaces with a new coat of waterproofer and stain. First, inspect for damaged boards and replace with appropriate materials when necessary. Check to be sure deck fasteners are secure and tighten them if they’ve come loose over the winter. If a fastener can’t be tightened, you may need to replace it. Next, power wash and waterproof (either in clear or stain finishes) decks and fences. You can also spruce up decks by making small changes, such as adding decorative rails or post caps. Lighting, decor and accessories can also freshen the look of an existing deck.

Keeping your grill great

New gas grills can cost from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. You can refurbish your old grill for a fraction of the cost. Start by cleaning all parts and surfaces by following the manufacturer’s instructions. If you no longer have the manual that came with your grill, check the manufacturer’s website to see if you can download one. It’s possible to repaint rusted, faded or scratched parts as long as you use a paint rated for high temperatures. For stainless steel surfaces, use an appropriate polish to freshen the shine. Worn-out igniters are also a common problem with gas grills, so check yours to see if it still works. If it doesn’t, you can likely buy a replacement either through a home center or from the manufacturer.

With a few cost-effective upgrades, it’s possible to spruce up the outdoor equipment you have, so you can enjoy it—and the savings you’ll reap—for another season.

Posted in Bloomin' SummerComments Off


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