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Monthly Archives: November 2011

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More Outdoors This Summer

Nothing is more relaxing than the usual breath of outdoors, which can be likely the key reason why the lines between indoors and out have blurred immensely. More homeowners are moving their living rooms outside to well-appointed patios and decks, furnishing these spaces with the comforts of the favorite indoor gathering spaces. A decent way to help transform a space is to implement wall treatments such as light fixtures or even rock panels. Give your outdoor space an intimate feel with a new fireplace or gravel pit. Fireplace’s don’t have to be expensive anymore, with the use of faux stones its now easier than ever to dress up that old traditional looking fireplace or pit. Add some flare with the ease of installing faux stones or rocks around the fireplace to give the outdoor space a great theme.

Studies have shown homebuilders are now incorporating two- and three-sided outdoor rooms into home plans. Manufacturers too are addressing the popularity by providing several products designed for outdoor living, giving homeowners nearly as numerous choices to decorate their outdoor living rooms as those inside their homes – including furniture, textiles, lighting,  and in many cases WiFi-enabled outdoor entertainment systems.

“Homeowners are spending as much determination on outdoor living projects as they quite simply do indoor decorating endeavors,” notes Denise Patterson, product manager for Krylon, the nation’s leader in spray paint. “With all the summer season just nearby, now’s some time to renew your outdoor living space making it ‘relaxation ready’ for the warm months of fun ahead.”

Pep up with paint

One of the easiest and many inexpensive ways to spruce up a backyard area is as simple as refurbishing existing furniture along with other pieces with spray paint. Whilst you want furniture to look stylish, in addition, you want something which put in at home to wash and gaze after, and stands up against rain, heat and sunlight. No-one wants freshly painted furniture to fade, chip or rust prior to the season ends.

From wicker furniture and patio tables to pottery and planters, Krylon’s Outdoor Spaces type of spray finishes offers an array of durable, yet contemporary colors that may easily assist you to achieve sophisticated looks using the convenience of spray paint. Because homeowners are trying to find not only basic colors, they’re available in several new, vibrant and exciting hues, including Poppy, Ivy, Ocean and Sunlight.

Lighten up with fabric and lighting

Once your painting projects are complete, accent your bold color choices with unique and interesting cushions and throw pillows made from stain- and mildew-resistant fabrics. Keep in mind that your new furniture colors and coordinating cushions will “pop” and appear brighter using the right kind of outdoor lighting. Depending on how we configure your outdoor normal space, you’ll be able to install lighted ceiling fans, place environmentally-friendly solar accent lighting in surrounding flowerbeds, and use portable lamps designed expressly for exterior use.

Add nature … having a twist

Surviving in the great outdoors wouldn’t be complete when you didn’t weave in natural elements such as fire and water. A grill, fire bowl and water features, such as a container pond, bird bath or waterfall planter further tie together an ideal mix of inside meets outside.

Additionally, portable patio heaters are an easy way to permit you to enjoy your outdoor haven even if nights get chilly, enabling you to maximize your space all season long.

Include enticing entertainment

And don’t forget the entertainment. Outdoor-friendly systems exist for just about any budget – including WiFi- or satellite-radio-enabled speaker systems to get a little mood music, to high-end comprehensive systems that include plasma TVs and multichannel audio. All are meant to withstand any weather.

With every one of the stylish and unique design possibilities open that will help you create your backyard oasis this summer, why even consider expending spare time indoors? The growing season lasts only a few months in several climates, so make the most of it by designing a supreme outdoor lounge that’s perfect for gathering, cooking, entertaining and relaxing with friends and family.

Retaining Wall Construction

The initial step in retaining wall construction is to determine the size or area of the retaining wall by linear foot. This will figure into the estimate of materials needed later. Mark off the area with a string line and allow for extra room on the sides of the retaining wall blocks for a good gravel base.

Estimate the materials required, chose ideal retaining wall blocks, the size you choose will determine the amount needed, for example: if 12 inch blocks are used the number times the linear foot needed is obvious. If 8 or 16 inch blocks are used, convert total linear distance needed to inches and divide by 8 for an eight inch block. Estimate base material- gravel(3/4 quarry process) for under retaining wall, use 4- 6 inch gravel base, more if retaining wall is higher in size.

Preparing for a good retaining wall construction the base is the most important and will be probably the most time consuming procedure. Excavate by shovel or loader if available, use local digging laws to make sure to avoid any buried cable. If possible use a landscape fabric under gravel for greater support and protect base from soil. Some areas may need a deeper base(6 or more inches) due to poor soil or recent disturbed soil from new house construction. Next- get the gravel base in by wheelbarrow, shovel, loader, and rake it out to approximate level.

Grade the retaining wall base with a rake and 2X4 to get an even base where the wall might be placed. The string line ought to be in place with a proper level set and the direction of the wall. So when the base is ready and compacted to the correct string level, all you need to do is line the rear flat side of the retaining wall blocks with the string and keep on placing blocks. When installing string line, remember that the first coarse of blocks needs to be 3/4 buried for good support of the entire wall.
Use a plate compactor or like compaction device to get a good strong base for the wall. If the gravel is too dry, wet it down some using a garden hose to make it pack better. Grade additional times after each compaction until complete.

Lay the retaining wall blocks along the string line until the first layer is complete, remember to have this first coarse secured well, some bury the first layer almost entirely or 3/4 buried so the base is strong. When layer 1 is done, the next coarse is easier, up to the height you want to allow it to be. Use a landscape block adhesive between each coarse for extra strength.

Some retaining wall blocks may have to be cut to finish or match nicely to a foundation or other structure. Use a diamond blade chop saw to get a good cut. measure block in place and cut on your marked line. Retaining wall caps are an effective option to use, they add the best appearance and will not allow weeds to grow between the joints on top of a wall. (depends on type of block used) secure using a landscape block adhesive for added strength.

Finish the retaining wall construction by adding or back fill any more base material or black dirt in front or behind the wall, seed grass if needed. If retaining wall is located in an area that water drainage is a concern, use a drain tile pipe along the back base of the wall and use rock or water friendly material for drainage purposes. Use this on the back of the retaining wall before black dirt or other soil is added.

Tip: Use Landscape Block Adhesive between each coarse of blocks, run a bead of caulk along the blocks, this may make the wall stronger and moisture won’t trickle through the blocks, they will be sealed. An excellent alternative to think of, is the use of faux stone panels or stone veneer sheets which mostly come in lightweight materials that make installation easy and simple. Not only do veneer panels offer a variety of designs, but most come pre-caulked and insulated for use.

Faux Stone For Fireplace

Throughout time, it has been very difficult to actually obtain great quality stones at a low price until now. The solutions are new innovative products such as faux stone panels made of polyurethane components that offer the same great look as natural stones but at a cheaper price. Faux stone panels create a new opportunity for imitation stone with the ease of installation around a fireplace and affordable pricing as seen here:

Stone fireplace

Having a great quality product is in part to hand painted and hand designed panels, which provide the original theme of a natural looking stone. Replica stones give a very realistic appearance to that of real stones. Faux river rock sections offer an alternative to the stacked stone design and can be used for interior or exterior projects of a home or a space. Due to the economic pricing of the raw materials used in making faux stone panels, any home improvement project can be done comfortably and easily.

Faux Stone fireplaces can drastically change the mood or theme of a room instantly. There are different designs to dress up your fireplace with such as bricks, stones, or even river rocks to bring your room to life. Installation is made simple with the use of construction adhesives (ex. Liquid Nails) and also screws to secure placement. Anyone with the “Do it Yourself) attitude can create a great project and see it through.