outdoor living space

February 9, 2015

Optimize Your Small Outdoor Space

Optimize Your Small Outdoor Space

If you’re among the millions of homeowners downsizing to a smaller house or condominium, your exterior space will likely shrink, too.

In most cases, having fewer square feet simply requires prioritizing your favorite outdoor choices, so you don’t crowd a site.

Decide what to include by focusing on elements that will provide the greatest pleasure and use, as well as fit your climate, property’s orientation, topography and budget.

Start With a Plan

Balance the layout. Proportion how much hardscape you need for dining or sitting, versus softscape, which contributes to color and softness but requires more maintenance, says landscape architect Stephen H. Wlodarczyk of Botanical Decorators.

Choose color wisely.

Limit your palette in a small space to a few choices, and remember that white offers advantages for contrast. A white, silver or gray “moonlight” palette is easier to spot at dusk and night than green and other dark colors, says landscape designer Jean Marsh, owner of Jean Marsh Design.

Layer lighting.

Light your outdoor spaces as you do indoor rooms for aesthetic and functional needs. Outdoor lighting offers other advantages: You enjoy your yard from the indoors, at night, and deter burglars. Numerous LED options are energy efficient and conceal unattractive wiring and are barely visible themselves.

Add storage.

Include a place to stash outdoor cushions, bikes, tools and hoses.

Ellison Jane (2015 February) Optimize Your Small Outdoor Space. Retrieved on February 7, 2015 from HGTV.com

April 11, 2014

Enjoy spring on a new porch

More and more home owners are using their front porches for traditional outdoor purposes and enjoying the increased interaction this creates with their community.
(Photo: Getty Images / iStockphoto)

Outdoor living spaces are one of the most popular design trends of the past few years in both new home construction and remodeling, and it’s a trend that looks like it’s going to be around for many years to come.

Judges for the recent Best in American Living Awards, an annual National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) competition, noted outdoor spaces as an essential design trend that has expanded to homes nationwide and is at the top of many home buyer and renters’ must-have lists.

Whether you’re remodeling to make your home better suited to your family’s current lifestyle or sprucing it up to be more attractive to potential buyers, adding a porch can be a great option.

Here are some things you should think about when planning your new porch, whether you plan to build it yourself or hire a contractor:

Size matters

The porch is an accessory, so it shouldn’t overwhelm the main structure of the house. It should, however, be large enough to look like part of your home instead of an afterthought.

“Think about the activities that might take place in this space and the ways you’d like to use the porch,” says Jason Broderick of Broderick Builders, a Nashville-based remodeling company. “If you envision dining al fresco with your family during the warm weather months, you’ll want a porch that’s at least eight to 10 feet deep to accommodate a good-sized table and chairs. Six feet or so should be sufficient if you just want to place a loveseat or a couple of chairs outside.”

All about location

If your home has the flexibility, what side of your home your porch is on also can be an important factor. A south-facing porch will take advantage of the sun’s heat, but also could get uncomfortable during the summer. If the idea of cocktails at sunset is appealing, place your porch facing west. Early risers may want maximum light to read the paper and sip coffee with eastern exposure.

A current trend finds more people opting to use the front of their houses, a custom with deep historical roots that once was considered standard practice for most homeowners.

“In the 19th century the porch was always located on the front of the house,” says Nancy Moore, president and founder of The Porch Company. “The backyard contained the barn, the chicken coop, the kitchen garden and other practical resources of the day. It wasn’t until the advent of electricity that we moved indoors and the front porch became a forgotten piece of architecture.

“When people did return to the outside of their homes they naturally gravitated to the large, vacant spaces now available in their backyards. Decks and screened-in porches followed and the popularity of outdoor living spaces flourished.”

Now it seems people are rediscovering the spaces in front of their homes.

“In recent years the front porch has been making a comeback,” Moore says. “It’s still primarily a façade, more pleasing to the eye than functional. But more and more home owners are using their front porches for traditional outdoor purposes and enjoying the increased interaction this creates with their community.”

Consider features

To ensure aesthetic continuity, try to use the same materials to build your porch as are used in the home, especially the exterior surfaces. This includes coordinating millwork and other design motifs so your new porch integrates smoothly with the rest of your home.

Also take into account other factors that could affect your enjoyment of your new porch.

“Consider installing screens if you live in an insect-friendly area, or glass windows so you can extend the days of the year you can use the porch in cooler climates,” says Broderick, current president of the Home Builders Association of Middle Tennessee’s Remodelers Council. “If you plan to use the porch during the night hours, make sure you install either sufficient lighting or outlets for lamps. A ceiling fan is a good idea to make the space more comfortable in warm temperatures.”

Before you know it, you and your family can begin to relax and enjoy the summer season from the comfort of your new porch — or an attractive feature to offer to would-be buyers.

Dillon Mike (2014 March 29) Enjoy spring on a new porch. Retrieved on March 31, 2014 from Tennessean.com

January 6, 2014

PVC Decks – The Beauty of Wood Without All the Fuss

Choosing a deck material can be a difficult and confusing process. With so many options like wood, composites, PVC and more, it means there are many factors that weigh in the decision. Traditional wood decks are beautiful when maintained and are the most common when you think of decks. However, the PVC decking market has made great strides over the last few years to give you the same look of even the most exotic hardwoods without all of the cost and maintenance. In fact, a traditional wood deck can cost up to $3,000 every 5 years in maintenance costs alone like sanding, staining, power washing, and replacing warped or damaged boards. With PVC decking, you don’t have all of those maintenance costs. All you have to do is hose it off and you are ready to go.

To create the perfect outdoor living space PVC decking from Fiberon is as smooth as interior hardwoods (and no splinters) and extends your home’s living space. Great for enjoying the outdoors with friends and family, relaxing with a good book, or celebrating life’s special moments in a beautiful and personal space that keeps its good looks. With its patent pending Lumenite technology that helps protect your deck and make it easy to clean, PVC decking is a great solution to your decking needs.

Outdoor Flooring from Fiberon also resists stains and fading and is backed by a limited lifetime performance warranty and 25-year stain and fade warranty. It is a lighter product compared to wood and can be easily installed without the need to pre-drill holes. PVC decking has the added benefit of hidden fasteners so you have a beautiful deck without all the screws showing. It comes with a Class A flame spread rating that meets requirements for fire prone areas. PVC decking products give you the look of exotic hardwood without all of the upkeep. These decks are perfect for anyone looking for the ideal combination of beauty, durability and low maintenance.

With its patent pending Lumenite technology that helps protect your deck and make it easy to clean, PVC decks are a great solution to your decking needs. Let us help you design the outdoor living space of your dreams with a beautiful natural looking deck without all the fuss. Outdoor Flooring from Fiberon is durable, beautiful and is redefining decking as we know it.

Cummins Jennifer (2013 February 15) PVC – The Beauty Of Wood Without All The Fuss. Retrieved on December 21, 2013 From fiberondecking.com

December 20, 2013

Adding a deck: A cost-effective way to protect your home’s value

Protecting your home’s value in a restless real estate market may seem daunting. There are some easy remedies to restore strong property values on a home in today’s market. Homeowners everywhere constantly preserve their home value by focusing on a project that involves a remodel at their current property. All homeowners should consider building an outdoor living space to accomplish this task. A deck is the most consistently rewarding home improvement project that is cost-effective and improves the value of your residence. When compared to other home improvement projects, there is significantly less time involved with building this type of outdoor addition.

When a homeowner attempts to sell their house, having an outdoor structure like that can be a powerful selling point. For homeowners who plan on living on their house for many years, this space can be an excellent space utilized for parties. In many ways, this outside space is ideal for entertaining guests. And instead of spending money on expensive vacations, homeowners can spend quality time on their new outdoor addition. Typical accessories for this space include furniture, a barbecue, carpeting and flowerpots. And during the construction, some of these accessories can be built in the space when you remodel for it.

Although there is certainly some important maintenance that must be completed to preserve the beauty of this space, it is still significantly less time-consuming when compared to the maintenance of building a new room in a house. The maintenance of this outside space includes winterizing to protect against the brutally cold elements of winter. One tool that is used to clean the space is a pressure-washer. Homeowners who would like to make sure that this space is properly clean should also use oxygen cleaner instead of bleach. The oxygen cleaner will protect the wood and make the space look brand new.

This addition is the perfect outdoor living space for sustaining the value of a home. And best of all, this type of space is constructed to uniquely fit your home. A quality one in the yard of a house can add tremendous value to any home within any neighborhood.

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December 13, 2013

Three Reasons to Light Your Outdoor Living Space

When many people imagine their dream deck, they picture how big it will be, what color it’ll be, how many levels it will have, what they’ll do on it. But most of the time, they don’t think about how they will light their deck. Sure, your standard porch light will light your deck. Without using a harsh floodlight, however, it’s likely that portions of your deck are in shadows. Here are three reasons you should consider built-in lighting for your deck.

Safety First

As the days grow longer so do your deck parties. But twilight shifts to night pretty quickly and the edges of your deck can be hard to see, which can be dangerous even if your deck sits on the ground. Recessed deck accent lighting can be used to define the edges of your deck, helping to ensure that nobody accidentally walks over the edge because they don’t know where it is. Another potential danger in the dark is your stairs. Riser lighting is available to illuminate each step, for added safety and awareness.

Mood Lighting


Nothing beats spending a date night out on the deck, but the harsh light from a porch light can really ruin a romantic dinner. With remote-controlled dimmable in-deck lights, you can easily adjust the level of light to match the mood (and maybe limit the number of six-legged guests)!

A New Level of Sophistication


The difference between an average deck and an outdoor living space is all in the details. Built-in deck lighting brings a design together and adds a level of sophistication that a standard back porch light cannot. Lighting in your railing posts, stair risers and recessed into the deck elevate a deck from average to exceptional.

Plate Samantha (2013 July 18)Three Reasons to Light Your Outdoor Living Space. Retrieved December 05, 2013 From Fiberondecking/blog.

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September 23, 2013

Pro and Cons of Deck Building Materials

If you are in search of some deck building materials for your decking, here is some important information for you. Basically, there are three main types of deck building materials. Just like any other construction products, each of these decking materials has their own advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the popular decking materials and their list of pros and cons.

Pressure Treated Wood

These are specially treated wood that can be used for decking purposes. Generally, pressure treated wood is the most popular and affordable type of outdoor deck material available in the market. Most outdoor deck contractors prefer these materials. However, if the wood has not been completely dried, it may crack easily.

Natural Wood

Of course, it is the most traditional type of material used for decking. Unlike pressure treated wood, this variety of deck materials are sustainable and durable. However, consumers will have to pay approximately two to three times more the price of pressure treated wood. Still, this is the next affordable option after pressure treated wood according to many Philadelphia deck builders.

Wood Plastic Composite Materials

This is the best and most exquisite variety of decking materials available. These artificially treated wood plastic composite materials are highly durable as they contain plastic. This makes them more resistant and durable. Composite materials are resistant against moisture and insects. The major disadvantage of this decking material is their cost. In addition, these materials don’t seem natural when touched. In fact, many consumers don’t like the unnatural feel of these decking materials.

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