Shading Tuscan Style Patios

The Tuscan style can seamlessly work with a lot of your existing patio shade ideas such as pergolas. If you have neutral tones or stucco exteriors then this is a great theme for an outdoor entertaining area. It also works well for a lot of parties because the Tuscan style is often associated with food.

Usually, you will have some type of structure to provide shade for your patio. It could be a typical wood pergola design or you might find more ornate covered patios or gazebos in this type of outdoor living space. There are even enclosed patios with vaulted or arched ceilings because this is in keeping with the ornate Italian architecture.

For a Tuscan style shade covering typically you’d want to go with a pergola. Don’t paint it white but leave it in a natural wood tone or find a chocolate brown PVC to mimic the look. A staple of the Tuscan style is dark wood posts and beams. A pergola instantly imitates this.

Using the Pergola as a Trellis or Arbor

If you want even more shade then this style does use a lot of greenery over entire arbors and pergolas. Usually this has grape vines or ivy on them. Bringing in fabric elements will be a little bit trickier because this style tends to use very ornate and heavy fabrics that just are found in outdoor versions. Ironically usually an insect screen will be quite elegant looking. Just look for bronze or gold versions that will mimic metallic sheers.

The wood tones from your pergola can actually be the inspiration for the entire space. One trend in stamped concrete is to actually make it look like a wood floor but of course the upkeep is much easier and you can even use it outdoors. This is a pretty intricate project that’s best left to the professionals but it does give you a pretty convincing look.

A Natural Cover of Grape Vines

Even Simple Structures can be Beautiful with Trellised Vines

Paving a Patio the Tuscan Way

Terra-cotta is another staple material in this design. Again going with the actual tiles probably isn’t suitable for outdoor use, no matter how covered your patio is. This means integrating a stained concrete style to mimic tile.

The other style of structure that you can create is going to have a covered bench. This can match the exterior or just be a totally new addition. This is one of the trendiest outdoor materials but it’s also something that we see a lot of in the Tuscan design. If you don’t want to redo the entire exterior of your home then adding on a pergola with a few of these accents can be a way that you can get in on the design trends as well.

Also consider the use of your patio. This is going to determine what time of day you’re going to need shade or if you’re even going to need any at all. Of course when you think of the Italian themes you probably think of food. If you have a large covered patio you may not know exactly what to do with it. Look for an oversized farmhouse dining table. You may need to have this custom made. Instead of several smaller eating areas just add in one large rectangular piece that can even go the entire length of your patio and provides you with lots of seating too.

Faux Finishes are Genuine Tuscan

The Tuscan style in interior design is known for a lot of faux finishes. You can use some of these elements outdoors on your actual pergola. Of course you still need to stick with more durable finishes. You might be able to distress some of the beams or let Mother Nature do this for you. This doesn’t use a lot of chipped paint but instead creates more of a weathered or glazed style appearance.

Just choose one faux finish per space. If you have a faux cobblestone patio floor then you might want to take some of the colors to use on your pergola as inspiration. However, just use flat paint finishes in muted grays or blues. Sage green would also be subtle enough outdoors to be convincing in this style.

Accessories for a Tuscan Pergola

If you want more shade than a pergola provides then be prepared to spend a little bit more money on it. You can create wide strips of outdoor fabric and weave them through the pergola braces. You will need to finish off either side of this, but it just requires you to sew a straight line. For the Tuscan style you’ll need to go with patterned fabrics.

Traditionally, you just find these in stripes on outdoor fabrics but this can still work if you choose the right color palette such as dark burgundies and golds. However, anytime you can get a more ornate paisley print this is going to be better in some floral choices. As long as you use rich tones it can also work for this style. It definitely will be a shade structure that no one else will have which is always an advantage to doing DIY projects.

I also like this style if you have an unfinished covered porch. This does use a lot of exposed beams that a lot of the other styles tend to cover up. You may need to stain them in a darker wood tone too. Tuscan style themes will use more built-in architecture for shade.

Styles of Horizontal Blinds for Patio Doors

You might feel a little bit limited with your choices for horizontal blinds for patio doors. There just aren’t going to be as many materials, patterns, and colors that you would find in most fabric choices if you were just shopping for regular window treatments. This is why you need to pay attention to both the silhouette of the door and the theme of your room. This helps you to determine the small details and styles that you’ll need. You also need to decide whether you want your door to stand out or blend in. This just depends on the architecture of the piece and the other elements that you already have in your room.

If you want a rustic style then wood mini blinds are the way to go. This is the more expensive blind option. Even if you just have a faux white painted blind you can still give it a country edge. Usually this will use a blind tape. This is a fabric element that forms a border. This comes in all kinds of patterns but I still like to see it in white. Sure, you can get trim in traditional hunter green or cranberry ribbon but this contrasts way too much against the white blinds. Look for a traditional gingham check or an ivy print.

The actual wood grain itself should depend both on the door and the molding around it. There tends to be a lot of contrast against white. However, if you are using this in a dining room or you have wood cabinetry in a kitchen or an adjoining space it does make sense to bring this wood tone onto your doors. You can always paint the frame in a darker chocolate brown. Use a high gloss paint so it mimics a mahogany look. Oftentimes wood doors aren’t available to you just because of the price range and the safety concerns. You can still give the same look to a steel door just with the right tone of paint. Adding these blinds on top of that in the same color but in an actual wood product will make the whole thing look a little bit more convincing.

The more feminine styles usually use fabric window treatments which is perfectly acceptable. However, when it comes to your patio doors this can be a huge problem because there aren’t that many options available depending on the type of door that you have. It is possible to use curtains on either side of your door if you have more clearance. This can just be a fixed version. You can even use very decorative hanging systems because they are going to be moving back and forth. You can mount antique doorknobs and then tie the curtains from twine or ribbon. Then add coordinating blinds on the doors for the actual energy efficiency and privacy elements.

If you’re just working with the blind itself and you have a more feminine style such as a shabby chic or cottage look then go for a lighter color blind. This could be a plantation shutter. You can also find painted wood or at least faux wood blinds in white. This is the chicest option for a mini blind because it does mimic more expensive plantation shutters but it still allows in a lot of light during the day.

The other feminine look that you’ll need to coordinate this with is the shabby chic style. Sheer treatments usually reign supreme. However they aren’t always the best for privacy. Look for roman shades that mimic lace even if it’s a print so you can still get a blackout effect. There are also sliding panels which usually seem quite modern because of the track system. However, you can get floral prints on natural grasscloth looks even if it’s made out of PVC. Usually, if you’re trying to use purple, pink, or floral treatments it just seems quite outdated. However, using a sleeker silhouette still ensures that it works and has options for several different design themes.

The more opulent design styles are also difficult to find in blind versions. The Tuscan look provides two different options. The first is a dark wood blind. You might want to use an opulent cornice box over this in a rich upholstered faux silk in a traditional burgundy or a gold tone. Roman shades also help to create a more elegant look for this design.

The modern and contemporary styles call for sleeker window treatments which is where blinds can really help you out. It won’t just seem like something that you were stuck with because you do have a lot of other options. In fact, if you do have a sliding door in your room you might want to base your entire design around this. Going with a contemporary look throughout can save you a lot of money on your window treatment. This can use a sliding panel system too. It can also have bamboo shades just depending on how much light you need to filter out and if you want your sliding door to stand out. Then determine the overall room style that you have and pick the right patio blind for it.

Vertical Patio Blinds

Vertical patio blinds are practical and cheap. It’s really easy to access your door with this window treatment. I find that a big downside is the actual aesthetic itself. This is why you don’t usually see a lot of decorators bragging about their use of vertical blinds. However, in day to day living it’s almost essential and there are some ways that you can spruce up this look.

The reason that PVC is usually used is just because of the durability. They slide back and forth all the time and hit against each other so they really need to be able to handle some wear. They also need to be the proper weight just because they’re going to be turning and then swinging back and forth so you don’t want them to get all tangled up.

Usually when you see other materials it’s just going to be as a veneer over the actual PVC. This helps to cut down on costs but also ensures that the vane keeps its shape. If going green is a big consideration for you then consider this carefully when it comes to these vertical patio blinds. Be aware of grasscloth versions. It might have these elements on it but probably is also going to have some man made materials too.

An Unnoticed Look

Sometimes there’s just way too much focus on vertical patio blinds. It just seems like your room can’t be completed until they’re gone or that everyone is going to notice them. However, since they are such a design staple because of their practicality, most people aren’t even going to really register that it’s even in the room. When I first moved into a new apartment I hated the fact that there were white vertical patio blinds in the space. I read up about all kinds of ways to change them or decorate around them. Since I am a renter there wasn’t a lot that I could do. Plus, most landlords still want a cohesive look throughout so they won’t really let you take these down.

However, I found when I actually moved into the apartment and lived in it for a while I didn’t notice the blinds at all. Instead, the focus was on the rest of my décor and the accessories that I had brought into the room. In fact it serves as a neutral backdrop and now I’m glad that I don’t have a crazy or ornate window treatment. If you do hate these blinds it might just be because they’re the wrong color or there’s too much contrast between it and your wall color. Since they are cheap, and I’ll be honest they usually look cheap, I just like to see these in lighter tones that are more neutral that will blend against your wall color such as white if you are a renter.

PVC, Wood Veneer, or Fabric

These blinds tend to be heavy and make a lot of noise when you open and close them. You can find sheer versions. You just might be a lighter weight fabric layered over PVC to mimic tropical window treatments. There are also cellular shades. These will just be sliding panel but it’s still a vertical blind even though it has horizontal cells within it.

It’s also a chance to play around with materials that aren’t typical for this use. This can even mimic shutters. You can find wood veneer versions. There are also plastic PVC versions available but I find that the wood grain looks much too cheap here. There aren’t even bamboo looks available and these tend to look great whether they’re opened or closed. It almost has a tiki flair to it so it only works within certain tropical themes.

Bringing the Vertical Look to Windows

Minimalistic window treatments can actually work to your advantage design wise. We are seeing a lot of rooms that just use one pattern or limited fabric choices. Wood grain is being eliminated in many designs to further create a minimalistic look. If you have dark wall colors or bolder furniture choices you don’t necessarily need to make a statement with your window treatment. You will just need to make sure that it doesn’t draw the focus away from a beautiful fireplace or an expensive piece of furniture. This is an important goal for smaller spaces as well as choosing window treatments that let in as much light during the day as possible. Both of these principles will help your room to feel a little bigger.

If you have limited options you can still customize the piece just with a cornice box, although you will need to have some clearance above your window so that it doesn’t interfere with the actual track system itself. This is where you can add in pattern and coordinate it with your theme. It’s pretty easy to upholster these yourself and you can even make your own fabric covered buttons for a tufted look. I like to see toile prints here just because there’s a white background which will relate back to your vertical blinds but it definitely increases the overall elegance.

Bamboo Patio Blinds

The biggest problem with bamboo patio blinds is that they all look the same. Unfortunately, they aren’t all created the same, which is why you’ll find a lot of difference in the price tags. First off, you may just find options with really strong cords. By far the most common complaint that I’ve read is that the cord snaps. This is why quality is so important. These can also even be the basis for a lot of fun craft projects.

These roller style shades or rollup shades are perfect for a French door option where you still need the clearance for the pieces to open and close. However, you don’t just want to be stuck with basic metal mini blinds. In fact, you can even coordinate this with the rest of your room.

Stenciling Bamboo Shades

One common craft project is actually stenciling on top of these pieces. First off, you’re going to need to choose a pattern that is suitable for this design. Remember that you’re working with strands or matchsticks style here. This means that even when you use a stencil you are not always going to get a straight line just because of the difference in natural fibers. This means that you shouldn’t try to get anything too clear cut either.

My favorite version of this uses more of a tone on tone effect so that it looks like it has a natural pattern to it. You can even pick brown tones that will look more like stain. This will always have an imperfect and handmade quality to it but that’s part of the charm of these homemade pieces. I would just try one or two flower stencils maybe placed at random instead of trying to create an overall pattern which will probably look quite messy. Remember that you’re going to need several of these for your patio doors and you might want to have coordinating treatments on the rest of your window so you don’t want to take on more craft projects then you can actually handle and execute well.

Sometimes your patio blinds might break or you just made be totally fed up with your vertical blinds. This of course calls for a replacement but you might not be able to afford all of the windows and doors in your space to be redone at the same time. Even if you’re working with a drastically different color palette and texture you can make it coordinate just with the silhouette and motif. You could trace out some of the floral prints or scrollwork that’s on your existing valances and then use this to stencil on the new bamboo material.

Usually you will only just find this in one or two color palettes which may seriously limit your décor options. This is why craft projects help you to match it with your wall color and the rest of your furniture. It is possible to get an ebony or a cherry stain but usually you’re just going to see it in the lighter natural texture. Using a stencil allows you to add in color. Plus, it’s the perfect base for craft projects just because it is so cheap. It’s really not a huge deal if you mess it up. It also allows you to use trendier motifs and colors such as a bright turquoise because it doesn’t need to last forever. Sometimes your lined window treatments and curtains can cost hundreds of dollars when you consider all of the panels involved. However, going with patio door blinds definitely gives you much more freedom because it might be a project that you can do for under 50 dollars which helps to alleviate some of that pressure.

DIY Roman Shade

This can also be the base for other craft projects. It’s pretty difficult to sew Roman shades. However, if you start off with a bamboo shade you have an eco-friendly base. Plus, you just need to cover the top part with fabric and glue it down. Do be aware that in some instances, the strands of bamboo are still going to show through unless you line it properly. This is also much cheaper than getting custom window treatments, although it does require a little bit of time and patience.

This way you won’t have to bother with all of the pulley mechanisms like you would if you were starting from scratch. This can actually be a no sew project depending on the trim you want to use. Just make sure that you don’t interfere with the hanging system itself. Heavier weight fabrics will probably do better just because they’ll cover up the natural texture. You also want to start off with blinds that are as flat as possible instead of going with matchstick versions which would interrupt the flow of your fabric but also leave the texture on display, too.

Patio Screens – Privacy and Comfort for Decks and Patios

Adding patio screens or screen rooms for decks will really make a huge difference in how hospitable your outdoor living areas can be. By providing cooling shade from the sun when it’s lower in the sky, to keeping out insect pests, to allowing you and your family an area of increased privacy, patio screens certainly bring a lot to the table.

Adding screens for patio use doesn’t just affect the livability of your patio either, it can actually increase the comfort of your indoor environment as well. This is because you can more readily open up areas of your home to facilitate air movement, without having to worry about insect pests getting into the home.

The Ins and Outs of Home Efficiency

The best things you can do to lower your energy bills is to add features to your home which will passively cool the home in summer, open up your home to improve airflow, and allow you to spend more time comfortably outdoors. This is an area where screen houses for decks and other types of patio screens really make their mark, as they help to address all three issues at the same time.

First of all, patio screens will help to reduce the amount of direct sunlight and other intense glare from entering into the house through windows. While not as important in regards to this factor as an overhead canopy on your deck or patio, it’s still quite helpful. You might be surprised at how much energy is reflected off dull gray patio slabs and up through windows or open doors. Drop down patio screens allows you to further control the amount of sunlight, direct or not, that will be warming your home.

Second, by creating a screen house on your patio, you allow yourself to keep the door into your house open without worrying about letting in annoying pests at the same time. Similarly you can open up your windows that are inside the screen house as well. While you can do the same thing with windows and doors that have their own screens, it may not be quite as effective since screens do limit airflow somewhat, and so having them outside the cooling effect of the patio canopy is more efficient than having them between the house and this cool body of air.

Third, with a patio screen house you have a wonderful place for you and the family to spend time in the fresh air and enjoy the beauty of your landscaping. This can be a great benefit to the health of your family, and gives you other options to pursue at times rather than to sit inside and participate in activities that are generally using a lot of electricity. Given that you’re outside more, you can also reduce the amount of time that you run your air conditioning in those hot summer months, which can make quite a difference in your electric bills over time.

How to Screen in a Patio

Generally speaking, it’s not that difficult to screen in a patio. If you already have a patio cover of some sort, whether it’s a canopy or awning, there often will be screen panels specially designed by the manufacturer of your specific model. These are made so that they can just “snap in” or otherwise attach to the awnings and canopies, and can make the task exceedingly simple.

For this reason, if you are looking to add canopies and awnings to your deck or patio, it’s a great idea to make sure that the models you choose either have built in screens, or are designed to have screen panels added in later if you so choose. This gives you maximum flexibility in regards to how you use your decks and patios later on, and makes sure you won’t have to spend a lot of time and frustration while searching for a compatible product.

If you have a custom canopy or awning, you might be facing a bit more of a challenge in this regard. This is especially true if your patio covering has uncommon dimensions. There are screen products that you can use to create a screen house out of just about any shape or size of patio roof or cover, but doing so will take a bit of extra work and perhaps require you to do some modifications on your own.

If worst comes to worst, you can simply buy a roll of screen mesh and make your own screens. This requires some skills with sewing, which is usually seen more as an interior decorating skill than exterior. If you want though, you can create more sturdy screens by building wooden frames that can be attached to the patio roof. This is a way for the handyman to approach the project if they aren’t so handy with a sewing machine. The problem here is that it may be more difficult to raise the screens when you want to, and so it’s more likely to be a solution for permanent fixtures.

Enjoy the Comfort of Your Screened Patio

After all the hard work (or not so hard work) of screening in your patio, take the time to enjoy it often. It’s sometimes easy to forget to take time out of our busy days to relax and enjoy the beautiful features we spend so much money and effort building for our homes and yards. A patio that has been screened off is a great asset to help ease away worries and stresses while you relax outdoors. Don’t let all your efforts go to waste by taking it for granted!

Covered Patio Designs

A covered patio provides you with shade and also creates a grand entryway into your yard. It does feel a lot more like an outdoor room. It provides you with columns and posts which is a place that you can play with many paint and stain colors. Here are a few steps to take in decorating a covered patio.

First, determine the style of architecture that you have. If you have a lot of simplistic beams then this can go in almost any direction. However, you might need to add in more opulent curtains. Pair it with a darker wood stain for a Tuscan look. If you have archways, then this will probably take out some kind of European influence. If you have stone archways, then this will be quite Tuscan or French inspired, depending on the type of stone that is used. Tuscan style stone, even if it’s just an engineered cement tends to use bolder tones while French stones tend to be more gray.

If you have a stucco archway then this can easily be painted to match many themes. Terra-cotta archways are evocative of the Southwest look or even the Tuscan style depending on the furniture that you choose. Brighter tones can be more Spanish or Moroccan inspired. You’ll want to bring in a lot of tile or paint your porch floor to mimic this. Even if it’s a wooden version it will require extensive stenciling, but it definitely gives you a global inspired theme just through the use of paint.

I also like a covered patio because it gives you more sophisticated furniture options. You can hang wood swings and usually this is the seating area that everyone else is fighting over. You can add in cushions and even throw pillows so that it mimics more of an outdoor sofa. It will definitely be the best seat in the house or at least the front yard.

A covered patio tends to really feel like an outdoor room, which means that cement finishes that are just plain usually won’t do. You can cover this up with a larger outdoor area rug. However, you can also get cement that is finished to look like stone. The popular themes right now use a variety of different colors and sizes to mimic more of a stone tile.

Trellises also lend more the feeling of an outdoor room. The trend now is to use sturdier trellises and paint them in a bright or unusual color. They might not even have climbing plants on them. You can also mimic this with your actual architecture or it can look like a shoji screen. This can be pretty delicate so you want to make sure that your kids don’t try to hang on it or your weigh planters that you place on this. This almost acts as windowpanes. If you don’t want to use a lot of outdoor curtains you can still add an intricate pattern through the use of trellises.

A covered patio also opens up a lot more design options. You won’t have to worry about shade which instantly makes the space more usable. From a design standpoint you have a much wider range of what is available to you. While most outdoor fabrics look pretty sturdy you’ll get a surprise when you look at the label. Most of these have to be kept away from sun and rain. You may even need to vacuum it. This means that you’re going to want to keep it as clean as possible. Since these prices have really gone up you want to make sure that it stays looking great as long as possible. This means protecting it from the sun. Many natural fibers even have to be under covered enclosures just because they need to be away from water.

If you can’t decide on a theme then consider the architecture of your sliding doors. It also can use the same theme that you have indoors. This looks great both from the outside and inside. If you have smaller spaces continuing with one color palette onto both spaces helps to make it appear like one large space. Then it isn’t quite as broken up.

The other way that a covered patio opens up your options is with an exterior wall. It really sections it up from the rest of the exterior which means that you can paint an entirely different color from the rest of your house. You can even create a focal wall with this. You probably don’t want to go too bright. I would just use the same paint chip that you have on your exterior but maybe pick up one or two shades darker to create a focal wall and more as an intimate feeling. If you want to mimic built-ins then you can paint shelves and potting benches in the same color but it’s still going to be removable. Decorating a covered patio opens up all kinds of fun dining and entertaining options.

Ideas for Pergola Covers

Pergola covers can be quite pricey. While canopies look beautiful in magazines they may not provide you with all of the shade and UV protection that you need. Plus, most of these pieces are practically disposable because they just last for a few years. There are some DIY projects that are available to you that will save you money on the initial costs even if they don’t last as long.

Outdoor fabric is pretty expensive. However, look for unconventional materials. One of these is a drop cloth. It’s supposed to be pretty resistant to water. It’s also a way to get a lot of yardage and width. Sometimes when you’re trying to cover a pergola you’re going to need a lot more width than is available in most fabric choices. Plus, it’s the cheapest fabric option. Whenever you use unconventional outdoor fabrics, you need to check them regularly to make sure that they aren’t developing mold or mildew. You also need to keep them away from flames like you’d find in a barbecue or outdoor lanterns.

The key to making a pergola cover is to use smaller strips. This allows you to weave them between the slats and crossbeams. The weaving process is important because it helps to weigh down the fabric. It creates a canopy effect underneath, but there’s also a practical purpose for it. If you just had one large pergola cover the wind would come along and rip it quite easily. So it is important to secure it properly. Probably the most extensive part of this process is putting in the grommets so that you can hang it up.

If you’re going with a name brand company like Sunbrella then you can get a higher quality design and fabric, although you will pay more money. One of these is a retractable effect. This type of pergola focuses more on fabric instead of a lot of crossbeam structures for shade. While I love the look of pergolas sometimes when I’m underneath them I find that it doesn’t provide as much shade, or even casts a weird light. However, using a canopy option provides more shade and a better quality of light.

There are retractable versions available but be aware when it’s open, you really don’t have any shade. This is just because there aren’t going to be cross beams. This is probably the most modern style of pergola cover. However, if there are several awnings or valances on the side then this will feel more traditional. Look for plain colors and stripe fabrics to keep it pretty neutral. You don’t want to go with bolder trendy colors here because it is so expensive and you want it to last as long as possible, at least from a design standpoint.

You can also implement your pergola cover into the actual design. Of course, this requires that you plan ahead, but it’s the most durable and sleekest option available to you. Some outdoor fabric even though it’s pretty expensive just has a warranty of up to three years. If you’re using unconventional options where you live in a really harsh climate then it’s probably going to wear out even before then.

The most modern aesthetic actually uses cedar slats and even goes down into walls. This type of wood will be more expensive. However, if you have a cement patio it does add a lot of character to the space. We are seeing stone patios a lot more than wood decks. However, consider maintenance in this instance. Think about how difficult it is take care of the deck and then consider all of the staining and painting above your head or on a ladder. Also, consider the shade before you start building. You may need closer slats and hanging up typical patio covers might be more difficult later on.

Outdoor fabrics tend to work better in some styles than others. This still means that they can work with the modern aesthetic. However, pergolas tend to go in more of a traditional direction just because of all of the wood posts. If you paint your pergola gray then this can mimic a stainless steel post but it’s a lot cheaper. There are steel pergolas available but they are expensive and not the best if you want to train a climbing plant onto them. Keep this sleek looking with a plain white shade. Most pergola covers won’t last forever but they do provide you with a lot of shade and atmosphere.

Comfortable Patio Conversation Sets

One of the ways to really spruce up a patio is by adding one of the many patio conversation sets out on the market. By giving yourself, your family, and your guests a place to relax in comfort out on the patio, you greatly expand your living area and give your landscaping a chance to really stand out and impress visitors. With the right patio conversation sets, you can spend more of your time outdoors without having to give up some of the more social and utilitarian functions that would otherwise be relegated to your living or dining room.

You can combine your patio arrangement with other patio ideas to make for an even more welcoming environment as well. This type of synergy could be added with products that provide cover for your patio set. With a gazebo canopy or cantilever umbrella for instance, you can further enhance the comfort of your patio by providing shade from the hot sun, or protection from rain when the weather turns bad.

Functionality of Patio Conversation Sets

Ask yourself what types of activities would you like to be able to do outdoors, but often find yourself settling for indoors or not doing at all because of not having the right amenities in your yard. This can help to provide you with a valuable road map towards choosing the patio conversation set that is right for you and your family.

You might find that a minimal collection of patio furniture is plenty for your needs, and thus you can spend the money on either increasing the quality of the construction, or in other more useful ways.

On the other hand, you may need quantity in some cases. This means you may have to skimp a little on the quality. Another possibility is to use quality components for your everyday demands, and reserve some more affordable additions (properly matched of course) for the rare events where you need more seating or a specific functionality.

Fitting it All Together

When looking for the right patio conversation set for your situation, it’s important to take into consideration what other features of your landscaping and home will be impacted by the addition, and how they will interact with the new furniture. Contrasting colors, styles, and materials can cause visual dissonance which will detract from the general sense and feel of your outdoor experience. Complementing those colors, styles, and materials with those already present can help you to bring it all together into a singular welcoming and aesthetic whole.

You should also consider possible future additions to your yard. If you are thinking of repaving your patio sometime in the future, now might be a good time to set a color palette for materials to use, so you can match that with possible paving materials or surface treatments that you will apply in the future to the patio conversation sets you are considering in the present. This can help to keep you from pigeonholing yourself on future home improvement projects, where you would have preferred another type of treatment for the patio, but it wouldn’t go well with the furniture you already have purchased.

Material Differences

You can find a wide variety of patio conversation sets not only in how they differ due to styling or colors, but also in how they are constructed. The materials used tend to dictate the styling and colors even, as not all materials lend themselves to every style.

This is perhaps most obvious when looking at wrought iron used in patio conversation sets. The dark black of the wrought iron is generally left as is, since that is the distinctive look of wrought iron and covering it up would greatly diminish the reason for using the material in the first place. There may be some times when light coloring is added to tint the look one way or another, but it tends to still be very dark in appearance. This can give wrought iron furniture a very strong and solid presence, without being flashy or distracting from the surroundings. Wrought iron can be shaped into very intricate designs and patterns, and lots of lattice work and floral imprints are often used. The designs don’t jump out and grab your attention so much because of the colors, so what may otherwise have been too busy a look can still fit right in.

Compare this to teak or wicker conversation sets, where after finishing the materials tend to keep their light and natural coloring. Both tend towards more minimal designs where the look of the material itself is a feature, rather than the designs it is shaped into. Wicker of course has lots of variation due to how it is constructed, but even then it tends to be in a very uniform and repetitive weave. There can certainly be some designs that present interesting patterns in both wicker and teak, but they tend to be minimal. This is important because the light color will attract more attention in general, and you don’t want too much going on at once or it will appear busy and even distracting. For the most part, the grain/fiber of the material has plenty of character already without having to add more. And that can be detracted from by trying.

Other more modern materials often seek to mimic those types of looks, or simply to provide utility at lower price points. Aluminum or plastic don’t necessarily have to be spartan and uninspiring, but they usually end up that way. Especially the plastic. Often patio conversation sets made of these sorts of materials can be picked up from your local hardware or department store for very little money, and because it is easy and convenient, that’s all the draw they need. Still, you can sometimes find beautiful patio furniture in these materials, for not much more money than the cheap stuff, so it can really pay off to do proper research into the available products.

Backyard Landscaping Ideas

Coming up with new backyard landscape ideas can be a great way to show off your creativity and spice up your yard a little bit at the same time. You don’t have to be as conservative in the back yard as in the front, since your additions will be less for the passers-by and visitors to your house, and more for just you and the family. This allows you a lot of freedom in how you express yourself and facilitate outdoor activities to enjoy.

You still want to be sure to keep the overall theme of your landscape involved when adding new projects to your backyard though. Just because there’s more privacy and not as much visibility doesn’t mean that there isn’t still a lot of value in having things work together, or look good together for that matter. The right landscaping ideas for backyard improvement should still seek to provide synergy with existing improvements, to enhance their functionality and looks rather than to detract from them.

Backyard Patios

One of the mainstay features of any backyard is a patio to serve as a central gathering point for most any outdoor activity for you and the family. As such an important feature of your back yard, and as something that will potentially last decades, it’s a good idea to make sure that you put the proper amount of planning into creating the right backyard patio design before putting anything in stone (or concrete). Done right, a patio is going to give you and your family a huge amount of value over the years. Mess up though, and you’re likely stuck with the mistakes for just as long.

There are many ways you can go with a patio for your backyard. Think about the types of activities that you are likely going to want to have there, and try to design a patio that will facilitate those activities while also providing an aesthetic addition to your yard. Remember that the relative position to other features in your yard, as well as to your house, will affect how the patio is used and how it will perform. For instance, if you have a large shade tree, you could position the patio to take advantage of the shade it provides. However, you need to be careful about doing so because the roots of the tree can wreck havoc on even reinforced concrete. Even if it doesn’t break up the concrete, it could still lift and tilt the pad. So make sure you properly think through the position of your backyard patio. It could save you thousands of dollars and a lot of headaches.

All too often these types of patios end up being a dull gray slab of concrete, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Even with little extra expense you can brighten things up with a splash of color, or even create a real work of art for your backyard. There are dyes that can be added to the concrete before it is poured, that will help to keep your patio from looking like every other one on the block. Also there are methods which are somewhat more involved, but not really that expensive, that can help create a really beautiful look for your concrete patio. One of these is to use concrete acid stains, which can mimic the look of tile or natural stone (cut and polished) depending on how it is used. This can be a very inexpensive way to make for a very expensive looking patio.

Of course there are other materials that can be used as well. Concrete may be the easiest to work though. Pavers aren’t much more difficult, and by using them you can work at your own pace, rather than at the pace set by the material. Beautiful and intricate patterns can be created very easily using multi-colored pavers. The toughest part of the whole project is preparing a proper base for the pavers to lie on. With concrete you can simply finish the surface and any abnormalities about the base are simply filled in. With pavers though, at least those that aren’t being mortared in, any abnormalities in the base are going to affect the height and inclination of the surface of the paver, and so you need to have it just about perfect before you start laying pavers.

If you are a bit turned off of pavers because of their price, there are some good options that can help you cut down on the costs somewhat. When talking about stone pavers for instance, you can look for stones from local quarries, which will have lower transportation costs. This can be a significant portion of the overall price given how heavy and how far that stone often is shipped. Another possibility is to use reclaimed pavers from previous installations. These pavers have been weathered and in some cases damaged (chips, cracks, stains) so make sure you get ones that have the right look. In many cases the weathering effect makes the pavers more beautiful and fit in better with the rest of the landscaping, but this doesn’t hold true for all installations.

Other Ideas for Backyard Features to Incorporate in Your Patio

Some backyard fire pit ideas center around including the fire pit directly in the patio itself. This can be an interesting option, and done properly can add a lot of value to your patio. At the same time though, you have to be cautious about where you place such a feature. Remember that there will be lots of times when you aren’t using your fire pit, but would like to use your patio. At such times the fire pit could be getting in the way of the other activities. One way to reduce this is to create a fire pit in such a way as it provides dual purpose functionality. For instance, if your fire pit has a raised edge, why not make it so that that edge can be used as seating when the fire pit is not in use. By widening out the top enough this can be rather easy to do.

Another way to really increase the value of your patio would be to add lighting to it. Backyard lighting ideas that are implemented properly can make it so you and your family can better enjoy your patio and other lawn features at night as well as in the day. It also reduces the risks of accidents when stumbling around in the dark at night.

Awnings for Decks – Is Cloth or Metal Right for You?

The right awnings for decks can make a huge difference in the livability of your home and yard. By creating a gentle transition between the indoors and out, you make sure that there’s an environment for every taste and time of year.

Awnings have some advantages over other types of shade structures. A pergola for instance doesn’t provide the protection from the sun and rain like an awning can. While the pergola has it’s own strengths, such as creating a beautiful eye-catching feature for your home, and demarcating a more open outdoor area, in most cases awnings have an advantage over sheer functionality.

This functionality is most prevailent when dealing with retractable deck awnings. Other types of deck and patio awnings provide a steady level of protection, even though the weather is never going to be the same. With an adjustable awning for your deck, you can ensure that when you want the sky to be open it’s open, and when you need the shelter from the elements you can have that too. It’s the best of both worlds!

Types of Awnings for Decks

Most awnings that are used on decks are going to attach to the wall of the house. Because of this, many times you can mimic some of the same energy saving effects as window awnings for homes can provide. This is due to the ability to block the warming rays of the sun from entering through windows. This means less load on your air conditioning in the summer months.

Fabric Awnings for Decks

An Awning Covers a Poolside Patio Set

A Beautiful Awning Completes a Pool Patio

How you go about blocking that sunlight can make for a lot of interesting decisions though. Lightweight fabrics are great at giving you a cheap and easy means to provide some shade. However, they will wear out more quickly and need to be replaced more often. This can add up to more work over time. Also you will have to take the awning down over the winter, as these shade cloth fabrics can’t stand up to heavy snow or icicles.

One of the main benefits with fabric awnings is how they allow hot air to pass through the canopy. As this heated air wants to go up, it can get trapped underneath the awning if not allowed through. This benefit is less on fabrics which have been coated.

Canvas Awnings

Canvas is one of the more popular materials for awnings. It is a relatively durable fabric that has a nice natural look and feel to it. Canvas comes in many different weights, and so provides a good range of options for how much shade you want to provide. Lighter weight fabrics can be more like shade sails, diffusing the light more than blocking it. Heavier canvas materials can provide more shade for a cooler environment below.

The problems with canvas come from damage from UV rays and moisture. Both of these environmental pressures can cause damage to your awnings if they aren’t protected properly. UV light will cause canvas to become hard and brittle over time, and can lead to cracks. Moisture can cause mold and rot, especially when the awning is rolled up or in storage.

Fabric Awning Shading a Deck

Shaded Patio Courtesy of a Fabric Awning

Retractable Awnings for Decks

Awnings are great to have around when the sun is too hot to be comfortable out on the deck. However, sometimes you want that warmth from the sun and an awning might just be getting in the way. Rather than having to take down the awning and put it up when the need arises, retractable awnings allow you to easily adapt to the weather.

Manual Awnings

The least expensive and simplest retractable awnings are those that are manual. These generally are just roll-up awnings, though sometimes there is a crank you can turn to extend the awning along tracks.

Electric Motorized Awnings

Retractable awnings which have motors can be pretty expensive. They are also more difficult to install as you have to connect the awning to the electrical system. The benefits of electric awnings are that you can adjust to the weather with just the push of a button. This can lead to spending more time outdoors since it’s so easy to ensure that you’ll be comfortable on your deck!

Metal Awnings for Decks

More durable metal awnings for decks can make for a much longer term hassle free shade structure. They can provide shelter year round, as they are able to stand up to the harsher weather conditions throughout the winter.

The main problems with metal awnings are related to venting hot air and potentially corrosion. Using metals which are corrosion resistant is a good idea for any outdoor structure.

Aluminum Awnings

Unlike a lot of other metals, aluminum makes for a great awning material. It is very strong for it’s weight, which makes more lithe and open structures possible. At the same time it offers great resistance to damage from ultraviolet light or water. It is truely an all weather material and can help you avoid a lot of the hassles that would be involved with keeping steel awnings protected from rusting.