Do you ever notice that in fantasy literature, the royals always have the most elegant gardens? There’s something about the image of a well-maintained, luxurious garden that recalls images of royalty to us, that suggests the ability to cultivate and nurture, that puts us at ease and assures us that we are in a great good place.
While a well-maintained front yard is how first impressions are made, a beautifully sculpted, royalty-worthy backyard is how that impression is maintained: you want your guests to feel like they’ve stepped through the wardrobe when they walk into your backyard as if Mr. Tumnus is waiting under your gazebo with fresh-baked pastries. You want them to feel as though they have stepped into your own fantasy world, to hear the message that a well-maintained backyard can communicate: this is your paradise, and they are welcome to come and stay as long as they like.
Doesn’t that seem like hyperbole? After all, how many of our backyards look like something out of a fantasy novel? How many of us spend enough time in our backyards to warrant treating it like our own slices of nature; let’s get real, how many of us even think about our backyards, neglecting them and not treating them like the necessary fixtures of our home they are? However, with the right investments, and regular pest control maintenance, you can easily convert your drab, lifeless backyard into a magical, outdoor hangout space that would be the envy of fantasy royalty.
Building outdoor furniture isn’t easy and will likely require you to hire contractors to install to make sure everything is up to code. With that in mind, here are a few projects you can undertake to renovate your backyard, making it a paradise for your family and friends.
If you haven’t had a deck before and you don’t have one now, starting by having a deck constructed by a reliable, affordable deck builder is your best bet. A good hardwood deck acts as a balcony from which you can survey your kingdom, a customizable hangout space where friends and family can come, sit, and enjoy being outdoors. While most of the fixtures on this list provide space for communities to gather, decks are special, being closely mounted to the house and having room for a variety of activities. You can set your deck up as a purely social area, with several types of outdoor furniture allowing friends and family to sit and chat, or you can use it as a cookout space instead, with plenty of room for a grill, a table, and an assortment of supporting furniture.
Gazebos: The Height of Luxury
If you can afford it, installing a gazebo might be a great way to construct a space where people can gather in the middle of your backyard, in the midst of the natural world, instead of being distanced from it like a deck. Aside from the aesthetically pleasing design of most gazebos, recalling beautiful natural gardens such as those in elfin paradises, gazebos come with their own lighting, lots of seating area, and (if put in the right place) a prime location from which you can survey your backyard. Gazebos make great spaces for you or other members of your family to retreat to, reading a book in a sheltered space while basking in nature, or even for smaller communal gatherings.
Benches, Swings, and Things
If you have the space for it, installing benches throughout your backyard to give people places to hang out might be a great way to provide a way for guests to relax in the outdoors. However, if you’re running low on backyard space, you can also hang hammocks or swings on large trees to give your guests a place to hang out or kids to play. The idea behind this would be to give people a place to relax outdoors, but also a place for them to bask in natural beauty privately, so don’t be afraid to position your benches, so your guests are looking at flowerbeds, gardens, or even placing them in more secluded areas as well.
Whether you want to install large furniture or not, investing in your backyard can be a great way to construct new communal spaces, taking advantage of an oft-neglected resource in our hustle-and-bustle, mostly indoor culture. Don’t hesitate to take advantage of your backyard’s natural beauty, doing what you can to convert it into the fixture it is.
Can I Build a Man Cave In My Garden?
Given that you have enough space in your garden or don’t mind altering the said space to suit your relaxation needs, then the only answer to this is a resounding yes. Among the fresh ideas for relaxing and hanging out at home is to do it in your very own man cave.
So, now that we’ve established that you can erect a man shed in your backyard, you’re probably wondering how to go about things properly. Let’s shed light on some important stuff to consider before pushing through with a garden man cave project.
Let’s begin with the most important question: would you need permission to erect a garden shed? Seeing as how almost everybody is constructing these works of art in their very own backyards, you wager the answer would probably be no. Well, you would be right.
What’s great about building sheds in your garden is that it won’t require planning permission. And if you follow the guidelines set by the governing body for these projects, things should proceed smoothly for the most part. Here’s what to keep in mind to avoid unwanted visits by the local planning inspector:
Build the shed for domestic purposes only. If you plan to invite people over to show off your creation or host a party, feel free to do so. Just make sure you don’t charge them for the alcohol; otherwise, you would need a license.
None of your guests should stay the night because you aren’t operating as a hotel. Trust us; you may think you can get away at first, but these inspectors are keen about what’s going on on their turf.
You don’t want to take the chance. Suppose it ends up being an oversight. You know what they say: ignorance of the law excuses no one. Make sure you are well-informed, so you can avoid these untoward mishaps.
Garden sheds can function similarly to a workshop, office, or bar. Don’t use it as a bedroom unless it’s for taking afternoon naps.
Specifically, the shed should take up only half of your garden at most. You want to take this seriously because a square foot above the required space could get you in trouble. Except for the main house, no building within your property’s boundaries should take up more than half of the available land.
That’s not to say you can’t go big with your project. Just make sure the size of your property allows it; otherwise, you would have something serious to answer to.
As much as you would love to show off your man cave to the world, having it built in front of your garden is not the way to do it. The rule indicates that no more than half of your shed should be visible to by-passers outside when it faces walkways, front driveways, or roads.
Guys are prone to going crazy with their man caves, building them to equal the size of or be even bigger than their homes. That is not the way to go about this venture.
A multi-story shed is off the table since the height of a backyard man cave should not exceed four meters. So, if you have big expectations of your dream shed, it would be a good idea to take them down a few notches. That way, you’ll save yourself some disappointment.
Building codes also dictate that skylights are a no-go. There’ll be no recreating your dream science-fiction space where the rules are concerned. Dormer or skylight windows are off-limits, and you’d do well to remember that.
Furthermore, external dimensions are always the basis for calculating measurements. You may or may not install an electrical wiring system in your shed. Most guys’ dream man caves would include a fridge, gaming area, bar, fruit machine, and the whole nine yards. If this also happens to be your dream, your playground will need a good power supply.
While you can install electrical systems using DIY methods, we recommend hiring a professional if you aren’t too experienced with the job. In fact, even if you are, the chances of doing things safely and properly would be so much higher with an expert on board.
Even under the above conditions, it’s still very much possible to create an entertaining and relaxing space for you and your friends in your garden. The backyard is where a man’s interests come together to make experiences more fulfilling. It’s where guys can escape and be themselves when their homes are not conducive to freedom and relaxation.
From Molehill to Mansion: Upgrades That Will Add Value to Your Home
There comes a time in every homeowner’s life when their home could use some sprucing up. Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to completely change the look of your home— it can be something as simple as painting the walls or buying new furniture. However, if you plan on selling your home one day, you’ll want to look into home upgrades that will increase the property value.
Home improvement projects can take a while and cost a lot of money, so it’s best to gradually upgrade your home, rather than try and upgrade everything all at once. Here are some home upgrades for both the inside and outside of your home that will increase the property value.
If you have a basement or attic that’s just used for storage, consider converting it into another bedroom/living space. What this does is add another bedroom/room to your home, increasing its value. This project also helps you to declutter these storage spaces. So if your basement and/or attic can be converted, talk to a contractor about making it happen.
Updating the tiles, countertops, and hardware in your kitchen and bathroom(s) also adds value to your home. Other updates to consider are a new shower/tub, toilet, and vanity in the bathroom, and maybe adding an island in your kitchen.
As for the type of flooring in the rest of your home, hardwood floors add the most value. They’re pet and child-friendly, and they last much longer than carpet. You can also opt for laminate, vinyl, or tile flooring in your high-traffic areas.
Owning a home evokes images of families spending time together for most people, so many people are going to love homes that have a porch, patio, or deck for gathering. Another idea is to add a pergola to your backyard for those cozy family gatherings around a firepit.
Over time, the paint on your house starts to fade and it may not be noticeable to you at first. A new paint job can really brighten up your home, making it stand out from the other homes on the block. Even simply painting the shutters makes a huge difference to the outside of your home.
Also known as curb appeal, the first thing people notice about a home is its front lawn. You’re probably already making sure that your grass is trimmed regularly— which is a great start— but you also want to make sure that any hedges are neatly trimmed as well. It’s also not a bad idea to plant some flowers and other greenery around your home.
While many upgrades increase a property’s value, there are also some that will decrease a property’s value. If you’re planning to stay in your home then you can definitely add these upgrades if you want, but if you plan on selling, you’re more likely to spend way more money on these upgrades than what will be added to the overall property value.
- Adding a sunroom
- Building spaces for your hobbies
- Expanding the garage
- Installing a jacuzzi/hot tub or pool
Now some of these additions will pay off in certain circumstances. For instance, if you’re buying a vacation rental property, the addition of a pool or sunroom may pay off for you because more people may want to rent properties with these features. However, although many people may desire these features for their home, they also know that they’ll have to pay more for these features.
In conclusion, be smart about the upgrades you make to your home, whether you plan on selling or not. If you do plan on selling, there may be some home additions that will increase your property value depending on where you live, whereas it may decrease property value in another location. And if you don’t plan on selling your home, you can spend your money on whatever additions you want— just don’t go overboard.
Doing It Yourself: Easy Home Renovations for Amateur Tradespeople
It’s shocking how many of us like taking on the challenges associated with homes that are a bit of a fixer-upper, especially for the first homes we purchase. After years of living in apartment complexes where you could only change the configuration of the furniture (if that, depending on how much space you had in your apartment) or condos with noisy neighbors and strict landlord guidelines, buying a house that needs a little bit of TLC presents a bit of a blank canvas on which you, the homeowner, can create.
It isn’t enough to own your first home, to be out from under the ever-oppressive heel of leech-like landlords and obnoxious upstairs and downstairs neighbors: you have to be able to do something with it, to make it your own. Homes that need renovations here and there tend to be cheaper than homes that come fully refurbished, and also allow new owners to customize them to their heart’s content. While some jobs are a little too complex for your average Joe to do by themselves and require a seasoned professional to avoid serious damage to your health or property, like installing pressure treated wood decks or wiring issues, there are plenty of jobs you can take on yourself if you want to have a direct hand in building your own corner of the world.
A quick note of caution: while many of these jobs are included on this list because they are easy for amateurs to jump into and represent a minimal health or safety risk if things go wrong, you should still be careful. Minimal risk does not mean no risk, and engaging in any kind of construction endeavor carries an inherent danger.
With that said, here are a few home renovation projects you can take on if you want to work on your home, shaping it into your ideal dream home without employing contractors.
Whether your home has been standing for decades or was just built a few years ago, the façade of your home has likely accrued a fair amount of grime: dirt caking the paint, ever so slightly changing its color, as well as present threats like the presence of wasps nests or spider webs. One of the first things you might want to do to improve your home’s outer appearance is to take a powerwasher to it, sloughing off years of grime in a matter of seconds.
While deceptively low-effort, not requiring you to don your hard hat or pick up any tools, this can take years off the look of your home, making it appear brand new in a matter of hours. If you have more fragile siding, like vinyl siding, a hose with a brush will also do wonders, though it will take longer.
Refurbish Your Floors
Even if the flooring appears stable, chances are that if you’ve bought a property that has been well-lived in, the flooring hasn’t been changed out in a while: you might want to consider at bare minimum re-finishing and sanding them, as those two processes can take years off the look of your flooring and make your home appear new on the inside as well.
If you should notice structural issues or even dislike the kind of material used in the flooring, you can also take matters into your own hands and replace the flooring material. If you decide to do this yourself, be careful that you do your due diligence, looking over the floorplan of your home to avoid any potential hazards while re-doing the floors. Instead of tearing up the floors yourself, you can also use vinyl tiles that stick onto your current flooring, available from popular e-commerce sites. This is more of a band-aid, though, until you can either do it yourself or hire a professional.
Work on Your Backyard
There are several ways to renovate your backyard, as it’s one of the most easily customizable features of any home. With few safety concerns associated with it (as you aren’t likely to, say, accidentally cut into some wiring), you can redesign your backyard at will, shaping it into a Wonderland-esqué paradise. Grow a garden, add some new furniture, construct bird feeders or weed-resistant planters for your plants: just make sure for more serious construction projects, like gazebos or decks, that you hire a professional.
With the right tools and information, you can do little things here and there to shape your home into your dream house. Make sure you call a professional for larger-scale projects but feel free to experiment with safe ways to modify your home to your liking.
Renovating Your Backyard: 5 Things to Keep In Mind
Winter is one of the best times to renovate your backyard to have it ready to enjoy during the warm summer weather. Please keep reading to learn more about five important things to keep in mind when doing a backyard remodel.
The Outdoor Life You Want
There are a few things to consider when renovating your backyard, such as how you currently use your backyard now and how you want to use it in the future. It would help if you thought about what the perfect backyard oasis means to you.
If you have children and/or pets, it also makes sense to include them in your vision as well. A pool is great, but a pool could be a safety hazard if you have young children. If you have adventurous pets, making sure you use pet-friendly plants and proper fencing is also something to consider.
It boils down to how you want to use your backyard. Do you want to use it for entertaining or relaxing outdoors? Do you like playing sports and want to enjoy your own soccer field steps from the house? The outdoor life you want is critical for planning your new backyard.
When planning your backyard remodel, when to start construction is something to think about. Construction is generally a hassle, so choosing a time that works best for you is ideal.
Starting in the fall or winter, when you are less likely to be outdoors and so that your oasis is ready by the warmer months, might work best for you. If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow or rain, that’s okay! Thankfully, with construction crane mats, snow doesn’t have to slow down the work in your backyard. You can use construction mats to gain traction across snowy or wet ground if using large equipment for your remodel.
When looking at construction mats, composite mats are best. They are more lightweight than wood or wood-like mats and make clean-up a breeze. Composite mats help protect the ground underneath and create a path for any machinery that needs to come into your backyard.
The design of your backyard vision is essential as a functional, low-maintenance design will be best in the long run.
Landscaping can make a dramatic change in the look and feel of your backyard. Sometimes all your backyard may need is a simple change in landscaping or plants, and it feels brand new. Updating the landscaping may be all your backyard needs.
When choosing plants, trees, and flowers for your new backyard, make sure to consider the climate and topography of your backyard as well. Foliage that does well in your environment and regional soil is the best choice. Depending on how much work you want to do in your backyard, maintenance levels are essential to factor in as well.
The costs for remodeling can quickly get out of hand if you don’t go into the project with a set budget. Not only are there costs for the construction and remodel itself, but you also need to factor in additional maintenance costs of the backyard once it is complete.
Make sure to consider whether you can finance your remodel not only with the upfront costs but also the upkeep costs later down the line.
Hire the Right Person for the Job
This doesn’t apply if you’re going down the DIY path. But depending on how extensive your backyard remodel is, hiring a proper, professional contractor who does excellent work is critical.
Doing your research, talking to multiple contractors, and asking others who’ve gone through this process before for recommendations can help you find someone who will do a good job, is certified, and has the right price.
Redesigning your background correctly requires the proper expertise, vision, and time. Having a plan in place can facilitate the process and result in not only a beautiful new backyard oasis, but also sticking to your budget and timeline.
4 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Outdoor Space
Sometimes, our outdoor spaces do not get as much love as the interiors of our homes. We tend to forget about our backyards, patios, and decks, focusing on living rooms and bedrooms instead. Nevertheless, an outdoor space is an integral part of every home that significantly affects its curb appeal.
To make the most out of the outdoor space you have, you might want to search for ways to improve its looks and practicality. Lucky for you, we have a list of solutions that will help you do just that. From installing retractable awnings and planting some herbs in your backyard to going for water features and adding a fire pit in the middle of your outdoor living area — there are plenty of things you can do to make your outdoor space more appealing.
If you want to learn some of the best tips to incorporate into your outdoor space, read on!
One of the most important aspects of your outdoor space is its shade. If you live in an area with really sunny days, you might want to find a way to get some shade in your backyard without having to build some kind of structure or buy an expensive umbrella.
A retractable pergola is a perfect solution that will allow you to enjoy your outdoor space while maintaining an optimal level of comfort. This type of awning allows you to control the amount of shade it provides, so you can choose whether you want to sit in direct sunlight or in the shade.
If you decide to install a retractable awning, make sure to get one with high-quality materials. The awning frame should be made of stainless steel or aluminum, which is rust-resistant and sturdy. You should also make sure that the fabric is resistant to ultraviolet rays and water since it will be exposed to both during hot afternoons.
Herbs are not only good for cooking purposes but also for enhancing the beauty of your outdoor space. You can plant all kinds of herbs in your patio or backyard, especially if you have enough space for them to grow.
For example, you can plant some basil, cilantro, oregano, thyme, or rosemary. These herbs have various uses for cooking, but they also add a touch of nature to your outdoor living area. They are also easy to grow and maintain, so you will not have any issues watering them or keeping them alive.
If you do not want to plant herbs in your backyard or patio, you can choose some decorative pots instead. Make sure they are made of high-quality materials. The pot should be made of solid plastic or metal, and it should be durable and resistant to weather conditions. You should also pay attention to the design and color of the pot — this way, you will be able to match it with your current decor.
There are plenty of reasons why adding a fireplace in your outdoor area is a great idea — first of all, they look fantastic. If you have a fireplace in your house, you should go for a fire feature that matches it — this way, your house will look like a complete set.
However, the main reason why fireplaces are such a great addition to any backyard or patio is that they provide warmth and create an intimate environment for those who sit next to them. If you do not want to go for a fireplace because it is too big and bulky, opt for a smaller fire feature like a gas fire pit that provides an intimate and cozy feeling without taking too much space.
If you want to install a fire feature in your outdoor area, make sure it is well-protected from weather conditions and vandals — otherwise, it will not serve its purpose for long. Also, try not to place it near susceptible objects like furniture and plants — it could cause damage to these items if it comes into contact with them!
In addition to providing a cool decoration for your backyard or patio, water features can also help improve the aesthetic value of your outdoor area by adding a bit of life and movement. If you want a waterfall or a water fountain that will add a touch of nature to your outdoor space, then this is what you need!
There are plenty of different types of water features available nowadays — from elegant water fountains that stand on their own base to small-scale architectural fountains that can go right into your pool or pond. The choice is up to you — all you have to do is pick one that fits your needs perfectly!
Your outdoor space is an important part of your house that can significantly improve its curb appeal. If you want to make the most out of it, there are many ways to do it. You might consider adding a retractable awning, planting some herbs, going for a fire or water feature. These additions will make your outdoor living area more appealing and enjoyable at the same time!
Nevertheless, there are a plethora of other ways to improve the aesthetics and practicality of your backyard or patio. All you have to do is find a solution that matches your needs and gives you the results you want. No matter what you pick, make sure it is made from high-quality materials and that it matches your current decor!
The only thing that remains is to take action and start improving your outdoor environment!
The Smart Way to Install Your Garden Shed
You picked out the perfect garden shed, the cherry on top of your landscaping sundae. But even installing a prefabricated shed comes with challenges. Before scheduling delivery, it’s worth taking the time to consider the impact heavy construction equipment will have on your yard.
Self-Installation vs. Professionals
Start by thinking through when you will be available to supervise construction. Once you block off your schedule for that time, determine what type of equipment will be required to move your shed or the component pieces.
Unless you plan to place your shed directly beside the road, you will need to move it into its new home. If you aren’t a trained professional or confident operating heavy machinery like a forklift, it’s probably a good idea to opt for professional installation. Despite the extra expense, make safety a priority.
Protecting Your Yard
Self-installation can save you time and money, but you’ll need to consider how skid-steering and weight impact your existing landscaping. Even with professional installation, you will need to require that they provide yard protection.
More than any other consideration, you don’t want to tear up your newly laid sod or brickwork, or even burst any pipes running beneath your yard. Construction crane mats are a great way to protect your lawn and any pipelines underneath. Also called access matting, these portable platforms create a temporary roadway. A crane mat effectively distributes the machinery’s weight while protecting the surface of your yard.
Your contractor either should own or be able to rent these premade composite mats. There are also mats made of other materials, but composite is easier to set up and it protects your lawn better because the mats join together.
Choosing Heavy Machinery
Ask yourself if you’ll need to rent your own forklift. If you choose professional installation, instead, determine what type of equipment will be crossing your yard. Either way, the odds are good that you will need to set up your space to accommodate these machines.
Keep in mind that local bylaws might require you to park your rented equipment on your property rather than the road. Make sure you have a spot cleared in advance and check your city ordinances before starting installation.
Preparing the Area
Before you can place or build your shed, you need a firm and level foundation. The simplest way to prepare the ground for a shed is to use pegs and string to measure the space. Then, you’ll need to dig down at least 6 inches and roughly level the bottom of your hole.
A simple wooden framework inside this hole will support the concrete for the base. First, however, fill the space approximately half full of stone or similar material, like hardcore. Now, the area is ready for your cement.
Ensure you understand when and how to mix your chosen cement and use a spreader to level the surface once it’s poured. When your cement is cured, you can bring it into the shed.
Cleanup is an often overlooked aspect of residential construction projects. In certain areas, muddy runoff into storm drains will earn you significant fines. You’ll also need to dispose of the packaging or other materials, like the pallets used to support the shed during relocation.
The less time construction mats cover your sod, the better it will recover. Plan to spend an entire day post-installation dedicated to matting breakdown and removal. If you don’t own a truck, it may be worth renting or borrowing one.
Once your yard is clear, you’re finally ready to fill your new shed with all those garden essentials.
8 Modern Features You Need for Your Home Exterior + Bonus Tips
It’s not just the inside of your home that sets off the first impression. Your exterior is also important. That’s why modern homes are doing things like adding glass walls, radiant heating and cooling systems, skylights, green roofs, and more to their exteriors. Let’s explore some of these features in detail!
1. Glass Railing
The first thing that most people see when they step up to your home is the railing. You can make a great impression with a glass railing since this beautiful design sets off both your home’s exterior and provides safety for those entering it. You can also find more online if you need new ideas.
Extra Tip: Glass Railing for Stairs on Porches and Added Porch Space
You can add stairs on porches to help protect your house from damage caused by weathering and erosion while adding more living space for you and your guests. When you add a glass railing for the staircase on stairs or porches, it provides an eye-catching look that adds extra safety features.
Adding porches is another way homeowners can enjoy more living space without breaking their budget by moving into a bigger home. With added porch space, families can eat dinner together outside or enjoy time with friends and family around the grill without feeling cramped inside their home! This is also great if you have small children playing nearby in the yard because you can keep a closer watch on them.
2. Green Roofs
You know green roofs provide homes with insulation and natural beauty, but they also help insulate them against noise pollution and bad weather conditions such as high winds or hail. This feature also helps filter pollutants from the air for cleaner indoor air. If you’re building a new home, consider adding one to help keep your house cool in the summer and warmer in the winter.
3. Sliding Glass Doors and Energy-Efficient Features
Sliding glass doors are an increasingly popular feature to add to homes because they can turn any room into a fully enclosed patio space. With these types of doors, you can open up several rooms for entertaining or relaxing while enjoying the fresh air!
When you add energy-efficient features to your home, you will have all the above benefits without paying more on your utility bill each month. These features include things like double pane windows, insulation, and radiant heating and cooling systems. With these in place, you can save money by lowering your monthly energy costs. Of course, if budget is not an issue for you, then there are even more modern features that you can choose from – it’s truly up to you!
Super Tips: Radiant Heating and Cooling Systems
You can also add radiant heating and cooling features to your exterior design because these types of systems are easier on the eyes when compared with traditional HVAC units. Not only do radiant heating and cooling systems look better, but they also offer the added benefit of keeping your home more environmentally friendly since they recirculate air instead of needing to draw in new air after each cycle.
4. Modern Exterior Lighting
Adding exterior lighting is another way you can turn your house into a modern home. This feature is important because it allows people to see your home more easily at night, but there are some other reasons that exterior lighting is great for homeowners. For instance, security lights will help protect your home against intruders and thieves during the evening hours when most burglaries occur.
5. A Glass Wall on the Garden Side
You can also add glass walls around outdoor spaces like pools or gardens for safety purposes and design appeal. These types of enclosures keep children safe without compromising the look of your property since these glass walls blend in with any kind of architecture that you’re using throughout the rest of your property.
6. Placing the Garage at the Front of the House and Front Entrance Areas
With home exteriors all about adding more living space, why not consider placing your garage at the front entrance? This feature is becoming increasingly popular with homeowners because it adds square footage for parking or future expansion room. Plus, this type of layout typically showcases a beautiful front yard and walkway, so you can add amenities like flower gardens or even a water feature to make your home stand out from the crowd!
If you’re going to be remodeling or updating your home exterior, then making sure that the front entrance area of your property is just as nice looking as the rest of it is a must! This is why people are choosing to add unique features like glass railing or crystalia glass best railing for staircase with wood accents because they look aesthetically pleasing and keep people safe when walking into their homes.
7. A Roof Suitable for Storms in High-Wind Areas and Skid Resistance Surfaces
Adding a roof suitable for high wind areas is another safety feature you may add to homes in coastal areas or other high-wind regions. This way, when storms roll in, people can remain safe without having to worry about damage to their roof, which could result in expensive repairs.
Because it’s common for homeowners in high-traffic areas to walk up to their driveways when returning from work, be sure to consider adding skid-resistant surfaces such as brick pavers or gravel so people don’t slip and hurt themselves if it’s raining out. Since these walks are typically pretty long, this is an important feature, so people feel safe walking onto their property after a long day at work!
8. A Background That Offers Privacy
Having a background or landscaping that offers privacy is another thing you should consider when updating your home exterior because it will help place more emphasis on your front entrance. This added privacy screen can also minimize noise pollution from nearby roads, so people don’t feel bothered by outside distractions once they step onto their property.
A. Focal Point Decks and Pergolas
When looking at the best ways to add living space without increasing the square footage of your home, be sure to include adding deck areas or pergolas for seating into the plan! Not only are these types of features great for entertaining guests, but they make fantastic outdoor entertaining or living spaces.
B. Brick Accents
Adding brick accents is another detail that homeowners are implementing on their new homes or when updating existing properties because it creates a unique aesthetic appeal beyond wood siding. If done correctly, a brick accent wall can add a lot of personality and flair to your home exterior while also complementing areas like stone or stucco that you may have used on the rest of the structure.
With all the benefits that skylights bring to the table for homeowners, it’s no wonder why people would choose this type of exterior feature for their homes! Not only do skylights allow ample sunlight into your home, which reduces energy costs by cutting down on electricity usage, but they also create a fantastic aesthetic appeal that enhances any room you install them in.
6 DIY Home Remodeling Ideas That Pay Off
Ever thought of giving your home a makeover without the trouble of a complete renovation? Then you’re in luck; there are plenty of fun DIY projects you can undertake to spruce up your space and add something new. Check out these simple projects to transform your house and spice it up, and without any help from a contractor.
1. Spruce up Your Front Door
Your front door is one of the most visible and noticeable parts of your home. Mixing things up with your front door is an easy way to add some character to the house’s exterior. A fresh coat of paint helps revive your door and creates a new look for your exterior. You can match the paint to the colours inside the house to give any visitors a taste of what you’ve got to show off inside. If you want to take your renovations to the next level, you can even add a new door handle or knocker to add a few more points of interest just before anyone comes inside.
2. Make Your Own Shelves
You can never have too much storage space, and a few extra shelves around the house can help you in that regard. Think about adding some shelves, particularly floating shelves, or avail a self-storage North York facility to give yourself some more storage space. A few extra shelves can also work as great decor. For example, place some books on the shelves so you have your favorites close to hand, and show them off. You can also consider using recycled materials like used wood pallets to make your project more eco-friendly while staying cost-effective.
3. Update Your Fixtures
Replacing your lights is a great way to change the ambiance inside for the better. It’s a good chance to replace any harsh white bulbs with more calming yellow ones that’ll be easier on the eyes. Opt for LED lights that’ll last longer to get more bang for your buck and make the house just a little more energy-efficient. You can also install dimmers instead of light switches to go with your new lights. Dimmers let you set the brightness in each room to match your mood and time of day, allowing you to create specific moods as you like.
4. Get Smart
Technology brings with it some new conveniences, and you can take advantage of them to spruce up your home. There are plenty of smart home features you can integrate into existing systems. Think about adding smart thermostats or irrigation controls. In Toronto winters, having these devices offers greater control over your systems to avoid wasting heat, water, or electricity. You can set timers or control those systems from your phone and make those essential systems more energy-efficient and easier to control.
5. Replace Cabinet Hardware
Rather than replace your cabinets entirely, you can replace the handles to give them a dramatic uplift without breaking the bank. Measure the existing drill holes to get the right size, then buy the hardware you like. Take care to choose a style that complements your cabinets to create a harmonious aesthetic in your rooms. This project works equally well for all sorts of cabinets, from the medicine cabinet in the bathroom to your bedroom drawers. You can also think of it as a tip for storing your glassware, clothes, and knickknacks in style.
6. Add a Touch of Green
One effective way to breathe some new life into a bland or dated space is to bring in some plants and flowers. Plants do far more than just add a splash of colour to your home. Even adding a few potted plants to your rooms can freshen the air and add some vitality to your space. For beginners, look into more durable and low-maintenance plants that’ll be easier for you to take care of. Rather than using pots to hold your plants, you can use your imagination. Look for old items around the house you don’t really use anymore and turn them into DIY pots. Not only is it a great way to be more eco-friendly, it’s also a great chance to show off your artistic side as you decorate your recycled pots to your liking. You can even make it a bonding activity with the family; take a weekend to decorate your own personal DIY pots and put your own stamp on each one.
Renovating your home doesn’t always have to be a large, time-consuming process. Even a few simple DIY projects can go a long way toward making a house feel new. Use these ideas or connect with an interior decorating Toronto professional to start giving you some inspiration and making your home look and feel exactly how you want it to.
8 Easy and Quick Garage Projects You Can DIY
What does your garage look like? Is it as useful and spacious as you would like it to be? If not, do not worry. It is an area of the house that tends to be forgotten about and neglected. In fact, it is often reduced to being a chaotic storage space filled with spiders and dust.
Fortunately, there are many easy and quick ways to upgrade your garage. Would you like to know what they are? In that case, this article is definitely for you!
Here, you will find a list of garage projects that you can take care of yourself, including installing a garage heater, adding windows to your garage door, insulating your garage walls, adding storage space, and updating the lighting. Check it out!
It is safe to say that most garages out there are cold and stuffy. If your garage is like that, do not worry – you just need to make it a bit cozier, and one of the easiest and most efficient ways to go about it is to buy a garage heater.
It will ensure that your garage is warm and toasty during the winter months, turning your garage into an ideal space for a number of exciting activities, including fixing your vehicle and woodworking.
The other thing that you can DIY is adding more storage space to your garage. This should be your priority if you store many different items inside your garage, such as sports gear, camping equipment, gardening tools, seasonal decorations, etc.
It would be beneficial to install cabinets, shelves, and hooks, among other things, in order to keep this space organized and use it to the maximum extent.
Next, you might want to upgrade your garage by adding windows to an existing garage door. That way, you will allow the natural light to come in and brighten up the garage’s interior, making it feel comfortable and cozy.
Ideally, you should add windows near the top of your garage door, making your garage look more airy and spacious. Other than that, you should choose the type of windows that will match the rest of your house.
Your garage will be a much better place to work in if its walls are insulated. This will ensure that the temperature inside the garage is comfortable, regardless of what the weather is like outside. Ideally, you should go with fiberglass insulation – it is really efficient.
If you want to upgrade the flooring in your garage, you should go for something durable and easy to clean. In addition to that, you might want to customize it a bit. For instance, if you want to buy floor tiles, you can go for the ones in your favorite color.
Other than that, you can think about installing epoxy flooring in your garage. It is a unique choice that will improve the durability of your garage floor and make it easy to clean – and it is affordable, too. You can expect to pay $2 to $5 per square foot for the equipment and materials alone.
If your garage is dark and gloomy, it is high time that you update the lighting. It is an easy and quick way to make it feel much more welcoming. Besides, insufficient lighting can make it more difficult to repair your car or perform other tasks in your garage. Ideally, you should go for LED lights, as they are both eco-friendly and energy-efficient.
Furthermore, it is recommended that you go for warm lighting – it will be easy on your eyes. You do not have to install the lights on the ceiling if you do not want to; instead, you can buy a few bigger lamps.
Each room in your house could really benefit from a personal touch, such as a painting that you like and souvenirs from your journeys – and your garage is no exception! If you want your garage to feel welcoming, this is definitely the way to go.
Lastly, think about replacing your garage door seal. First of all, it will help keep the warm air inside the garage, making it much more comfortable in the winter months. Second of all, it will keep rainwater away from your garage.
These easy and quick garage projects will help you turn your garage into an area that is as functional as it is attractive. Once you are done, you will get to enjoy having a cozy, warm, and welcoming garage that your neighbors will be jealous of.
It is worth noting that garage project ideas can be put into action even if you are not a car enthusiast. In fact, if you do not own a car, you can turn your garage into a home office, workshop, extra living space, or even a cinema room. It is up to you!
8 Exclusive Tips for Painting a Garden Fence
Maintaining your garden fence and keeping it up to date may not sound like something fun, but it would be if you’re fond of gardening. Unfortunately, sometimes it could be a tiring job. A job that will sap all of your energy even you’re the most practical person in gardening.
But if you do not maintain your garden, the garden will lose its beauty. On the other hand, if you keep painting or staining your fence and garden gate every couple of years, its beauty will be preserved for many years.
Let’s face it; the garden is where we spend most of our time when the weather is favorable, pottering around the flowerbeds or inviting friends and family round for barbecues in the sunshine.
Having a perfectly groomed garden will add value and beauty to your house. So please don’t rush out and splash the paint when the time comes; take your time and follow our top tips for painting your garden fence mentioned below to give your garden a beautiful look.
While painting the garden, preparation is vital, like in most DIY jobs. The trick is that the more care you take and more time you spend while making sure that the preparation work is completed as best as you can, the better the final outcomes will be.
Tip # 1 – Trim
Mow the lawn. Get your garden trimmer out to trim around the fence gate, the bottom of the fence, and fence posts. You can use edging shears or scissors if you don’t have a garden trimmer.
Tip #2 – Debris and Dirt
Brush away all debris and dirt from all fence areas by using a stiff bristle hand brush or broom. Make sure to clean all the areas that need to be painted properly. To stop any leaves and grass cuttings from blowing up against the fence while painting, it’s also a good idea to sweep away them from around the fence base before painting.
Tip # 3 – Scrape Before you Paint
You’ll need to scrape the fence before moving onto the next step if the old paint is flaking, cracked, or chipping. To smoothen the paint surfaces, try to use a wide blade paint scraper and coarse sandpaper.
Tip # 4 – Wash and Dry
The next step before starting the painting is to wash the fence thoroughly by using a pressure washer if you have one, or you can use a garden hose and spray nozzle if you don’t have the washer. For any stubborn spots of dirt cleaning, keep your stiff bristle brush and a bucket of soapy water to hand and clean all of them right away. Next, apply a diluted bleach solution (1 part bleach to 1 part water) with the hand brush for cleaning fences that have attracted mildew and algae. Before rinsing the bleach solution, please clean it with the pressure washer and leave it to dry thoroughly.
Tip # 5 – Masking or Removal
It’s best to remove the hinges, door handle, and barrel bolt when you are repainting a fence with a gate so that they don’t get paint stains. However, if you’d instead paint it, you can mask off the hardware by wrapping a small plastic bag over the handle, simply sealing the edges with masking tape so that it doesn’t get painted.
Tip # 6 – Protect, Don’t Forget
Now we are almost there where we are ready to start painting, but before making it happen, lay tarpaulin or dust sheets to cover up the ground below the fence areas that you’ll be painting.
Doing this will help you to protect your grass, garden decking, flower borders, or whatever lies underneath it from getting splattered in paint or stain.
Tip # 7 – Trees and Greens
Place a plywood sheet or hardboard against tall shrubs or hedging trees planted close to or making contact with the fence if you have them in your garden. Doing it will allow you to squeeze in between the woods and the fence and gently lean back on the hedging to keep it away from the fence while painting.
Tip # 8 – Paint, Don’t Faint
Avoid garden painting during the heat of the day when the sun will be at its strongest and sunlight for best results and make the tiring job a little easier. Otherwise, the garden paint will dry too quickly, and the outcome will result in a patchy finish.
While painting a garden fence, the final tip is to check the weather forecast and choose a couple of days that are looking dry.
For excellent garden painting, you can contact Promain, a leading supplier of exterior paints and coatings from some of the world’s largest paint manufacturers and brands, including Centre coat, So lignum, Ron seal, Cuprinol, and Rustoleum.
Their exclusive range of external paints not only covers the outdoor of your home but through to large industrial premises, and all hold waterproofing properties second to none. Feel free to take the time to browse their large selection of multi-surface paints.
The Best Way to Stain Your Teak Furniture
If you’re unfamiliar with teak, it’s a large tree that’s grown in tropical forests. Its superior ability to resist elements in comparison to other woods is why it’s often used to make outdoor furniture. While it’s very resistant, it still has to be treated. If not treated, it can fade to a greyish color. Staining helps to prevent the fading from happening. It’s a simple process that just requires the right tools and techniques. Here’s how to properly stain your teak furniture.
Before you stain your teak furniture, you have to sand and smooth out the wood first. Take a dry paper towel and brush off any dirt, dust, or debris. If some spots are a little harder to remove, use a wet rag to rub the area clean. Any grease, dust, or dirt left on the surface of your wood will cause the stain to not properly adhere. Avoid any use of cleaning products. It will make staining more difficult and also potentially damage your wood.
Move your hand over the furniture to locate rough spots in the wood. If there are areas that have to be sanded down to match the rest of the surface, use 120 grit sandpaper to do it. As you’re sanding, frequently check to see if the spot has become even with the rest of the wood. When you’re doing that, you’ll need to ensure the surface is even and ready to absorb the wood stain. Use 220 grit sandpaper to sand the entire surface until it feels smooth and even.
It will open up the pores of the wood, allowing for the stain to more efficiently adhere to the surface. Be sure you’re sanding along the grain, so you don’t risk scratching up the wood. Afterward, wipe off any wood dust with a dry rag.
Take a foam brush to paint a layer of sanding sealer on the wood. It will make the surface smoother and help give your wood stain a better grip. Dilute your sealer with mineral spirits if you want to achieve a lighter color. After the sealer has started drying, grab a clean cloth, and wipe off any remaining sealer that’s pooled atop the wood. Doing this will reduce the possibility of spots or blotches forming on the wood and keep your surface smooth. The sealer needs to be dried completely. It will likely only take a few hours for this to happen. When completely dry, sand the surface a few more times with 220 grit sandpaper. It will ensure any spots where your sealer didn’t dry evenly are smoothed out. After sanding, wipe off any remaining residue with a rag.
Several tools are useful for painting on the stain. You can use a bristle, a foam, or even a cloth dipped in stain. You’ll want to apply an even coat all over the wood. If there are parts of the furniture you want to avoid staining, you can use masking tape to protect those areas. Wood stain can come in a water-based formula or an oil-based formula. While water-based formulas tend to be more common, oil-based will potentially last longer.
After staining, wipe off any excess amounts not absorbed by the wood with a clean, dry rag. Make sure it’s a rag you don’t mind getting dirty, as the stain can be tough to get washed out. Keep in mind that the longer you leave the stain on before wiping, the darker it will be. The amount of time that it will take for your stain to dry completely depends on the thickness of the layer you used. You don’t want to touch the stain too much if it’s still wet. Otherwise, you could end up with a blotchy, uneven coat.
When the first coat of stain is dry, observe the wood’s color and determine if you’re satisfied with it. If you decide that you want the furniture to be darker, add a second coat of wood stain on top of the previous layer. Repeat the same process as before. After repeating the process, you can use a clean brush to paint the finish if you’ve got the desired color. Once the finish is applied, give it time to try. Be mindful that there are three main types of finish.
Oil finishes look the closest like wood. Unfortunately, this finish isn’t the best for protecting wood and shouldn’t be used on outdoor furniture. Lacquer finishes can give an attractive look while also providing durability to the wood. Be mindful that this finish will require multiple coats. Polyurethane finishes tend to be the best in protecting wood, as it’s effective in even repelling water.
What brand and color match teak wood?
You can mix and match colors like cream and tan. With accent colors, pay attention to the undertones that are on the stain your teak has. Teak often has an orange undertone. If your goal is to bring out this color, go with the opposite color on a color wheel chart. The opposite one, in this case, would be blue.
If there are some gouges or rough areas in the furniture, try using a wood filler before you stain it. If you want some idea of what color you’ll get from staining your teak furniture, use these steps on a plank of teak first. Then, you’ll be able to know if you’re using the right stain or finish to get the kind of color you want to achieve. It will also be good practice for doing these steps correctly. It’s important to remember that wood stain can cause your skin to be irritated. It’s best to wear rubber gloves whenever you’re staining teak.
Teak furniture can be one of the most useful styles to consider selecting for your outdoor furniture. Properly maintaining it through staining is necessary to prevent fading. Following all of these tips will help you keep your outdoor furniture looking nice for a long time. Here’s where you can learn more about Garden Furniture Teak.
How to Convert a Garden Shed into a Home Office
Working from home can seem like the perfect set-up, but after a while having no boundaries between your downtime and work can become a problem. Everyone needs a dedicated space to work out of. However, if space is at a premium then you may have to get creative with your workspace. Converting a garden shed or greenhouse into a home office can be a great way to make a secure separated space for working without spending a lot.
With a home office for you can improve your productivity and that important work-life balance, all without leaving your home. Making a home office from a garden shed might be easier than you think, it can be achieved relatively quickly if you go about it in the right way. These are the steps for converting a garden shed into a home office the right way.
The first step to converting a garden shed into a home office is planning. You might be excited to start work, but this is the most important stage. There are a few big decisions you’re going to have to make. The first is if you want electricity running to your home office. This can be useful if you need to run a computer or charge a laptop. However, it will make your conversion a lot more complicated.
You also need to think about lighting. You will probably need some lighting in your home office for the darker months, but you can work around electricity if you don’t want power sockets in your new office. You need to measure up the shed you already have and decide what sort of space you want to build. If you don’t think you have enough of a foundation to turn your shed into an office, you can think about replacing your shed with one that’s more fit for its new purpose.
Once you’ve taken stock of your resources and decided what type of home office you will be turning your shed into, it is time to design your home office. You will need to plan out how your shed is going to look when it is finished. If you’re adding electricity, you need to plan out where you will run the wiring to your shed. You need to consider which section of your garden you can dig up to run it under since electrifying your shed is a major undertaking.
You also need to plan out windows to ensure your office will have plenty of natural light. Natural light is really important for making a nice working environment, you should work in as many windows as you can.
3. Work with What You’ve Already Got
The good thing about converting a garden shed into a home office is that you have plenty already built. You should work with what you’ve already got rather than reinventing the wheel. Make sure that each wall is fully secure and that the roof will not drip. This is especially important for the rainy times of the year since you will have electronics in there.
The wood used for the shed should be checked for rot or instability and replaced if necessary. Since you’re going to be building on this to add insulation, you need to have a secure and solid wall to start with. You should then add in the windows as you planned in your designing stage.
4. Insulating your shed
With a working home office, you need to ensure it stays warm. You can achieve this using insulation to keep your home office warm no matter the weather. Insulating your shed is relatively simple compared with hooking up the electricity. You need to purchase the necessary materials for the insulation and additional wood to cover up the insulation so you’re still working in a nice environment. A coat of paint after installation can be done when you’re adding in your new floor to give you a nice environment during the working day. This guide will run you through insulating a shed to make sure you get it right.
5. Adding Lighting and Power
This is by far the most complicated step. If you only need electricity for lighting, then you can make this a bit simpler. Solar paneled lighting can be powered from a panel attached to the side of the shed for adequate lighting.
However, if you need power sockets to run things in your home office then you won’t be able to use this workaround. A generator might work, but this isn’t a great long-term solution. If you’re going to get a lot of use out of your home office, then wiring in power is the best solution. You will need to dig a trench from your home to the shed to run the power through. You should consult an electrician and ensure this is done correctly.
Converting a shed into a home office can take some time, but it will be rewarding. Once you’re finished you will have a comfy and secure working space away from all those distractions in the home. With a strong enough Wi-Fi connection, you’ve got a dedicated environment to stay productive even when you’re working at home.