Archive for the ‘Patios’ Category

Types of Patio Awnings

The typical patio awning has gotten a big makeover in the last few decades. These types of awnings used to just have a metal design and wrought iron columns. While this lasted a long time and provided great shade, it tended to have an oppressive feeling. Plus, if you’ve ever heard the rain hit one of these metal awnings then you know how noisy it can be. This is probably why the trend went more towards pergolas and wooden structures for a while. However, now awnings are back whether in decorative form or to provide shade for your decks and patios.

A wood awning helps to substitute for a pergola’s natural and more airy feel, and can be a good way to get into woodworking projects. Such a wooden awning might mimic a dormer if it has a pitched roof. However, it can be a more simplistic box style awning too. This allows you to bring in beautiful wood tones without having to go through the expense and work of building a deck or installing new garage doors. This is also one of the few ways to do a contemporary style of awning. To choose the awning that’s right for you, a good idea is to look at any existing wooden structures in your yard. Then define the style of exterior you have and choose a complimentary material even if it’s unusual.

The most unconventional material that I’ve come across …

Furniture Trends for Outdoor Patios

Outdoor patios don’t just include a typical lounge chair or cheap barbecue anymore. Instead, you’ll find outdoor kitchens that cost thousands of dollars and pricy outdoor living room setups. It’s much like what you would find indoors. Many of the design trends from interior spaces are also being used to create more of the feeling of an outdoor room instead of just a typical patio.

One functional item that’s been added is actually the use of double furniture. It seems like at parties and barbeques everyone is scrambling for seating. This is why these chairs are oversized so several people can fit in them. Add in ottoman so more people can put their feet up and you can even find entire outdoor sectionals.

Another new furniture idea is the use of console tables. Typically, you would just find this in a living room behind the couch. However, when using it outdoors it allows you to have a makeshift counter or just an extra place to put drinks. It acts as a serving area and a small buffet. If you don’t have a lot of space for side tables then adding it behind your seating area is a pretty smart move.

The other trend is the use of end tables outdoors. It used to be that you would just have one dining table outside. However, with the use of so many outdoor sofas and seating areas that are separate from the …

Patio Shade Cloth – Inexpensive and Efficient Materials

When the hot summer sun is beating down, shade is one of the most valuable commodities for outdoor living.  The comfort that a patio shade cloth can bring to you and your family can make an amazing difference in how much time you spend out enjoying your backyard instead of being stuck inside hugging the air conditioner.

Better yet, you can achieve this rather inexpensively.  The types of products used for patio shading can be very lightweight indeed, which means they don’t use a lot of materials.  Patio shade sails for instance are often not much more than a triangle of woven material, somewhat like a tarp, that is connected to supports using fasteners and cables.  This type of setup can shade a rather large area for only a few dollars investment.

Outdoor Shade Cloth Fabric

The types of fabrics used in patio shading applications can vary quite a bit.  Most are lightweight fabrics which are not completely opaque.  This allows the light in, but diffused enough that it isn’t harsh on your skin or eyes.  Also a benefit of these lightweight fabrics is that they allow hot air to rise, rather than having it trapped or radiated downwards like with aluminum or wood patio covers.

Sometimes heavier knitted materials can be used, which gives a less uniform shade.  Small patterns of light and dark emerge, and this can give a more natural feel to the shade.  If you’ve ever …

Design Ideas for Outdoor Rooms

The concept of outdoor rooms has changed the entire way that people use this space. A patio used to just contain the typical barbecue set and maybe a dining room table. Oftentimes you’d just use it a few times a year. Focusing on new purposes and higher end materials has really enabled people to take back the space.

I love the idea of an outdoor room so much just because there’s been a big emphasis on downsizing homes in this economy. This means that you’re going to need to be able to make use of every square foot. Getting more into outdoor living definitely opens up your entire floor plan. Some people are even building outdoor kitchens. It’s not just for entertaining and instead can add a lot of relaxation to your life instead of just eating in front of the TV every night.

First, consider how you actually live. It’s quite typical to turn these patios into dining spaces. If you entertain a lot or love to barbecue then this can be a very practical use. However, if you’re really limited on square footage indoors, you probably don’t need a second kitchen outdoors. You can create an entire planting area if you love to garden. Add in potting benches or a refurbished hutch for extra storage. It almost acts the way that a bookshelf does indoors. It allows you to put away a lot of your garden tools, even …

Lattice Trellises for Patios

If you want to use lattice screen for your outdoor architecture then go with vinyl versions. You can stick with white versions that will look classic. While that makes it easier to take care of than traditional painted wood versions, it isn’t as easy to paint a PVC material. On the other hand, PVC also has more of a finished appearance without a lot of rough edges. That is on reason why it is better for screens and it’s also lighter weight than wood panels. Some brands like Acurio even come with a 12 year warranty and you probably can’t find the same thing when buying traditional woodwork.

The only negative to using PVC in this manner is that you need to choose the right color to begin with. That usually isn’t a problem with a wood trellis as the wood tones are going to naturally look good in such an application. But it only takes a coat of paint to change those options. Plus, usually it will be covered by plants so it won’t really matter.

If you want a trellis or latticework that gives you privacy or creates more of an enclosed patio effect then color will be more of an important consideration. I’d rather see trellis designs and latticework that is the same color as your pergola. Also pay attention to your existing structure and let that dictate the rest of your design.

Sometimes though you can …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …