By Alek. Patio. Published at Wednesday, September 26th, 2018 - 19:29:28 PM.
How to Create the Perfect Patio Experience By taking time to plan and design your patio, you can create an area where all the different features combine to produce a unique space that possesses character, comfort and charm. In effect, transforming a popular garden feature into an outside room. To create the perfect patio for your garden, consider the size and position of the patio area carefully. Most people prefer the patio to be close to the house but you may wish to choose a location in a sunnier part of the garden or a position offering a better view. By placing the patio near to trees and shrubbery, you create a naturally sheltered area similar to an arbour. But this type of location can bring problems. Firstly excavating the footings for the patio may cause damage to the roots of the trees and shrubs that were the chief attraction of that particular location. Close proximity to trees and shrubs will almost definitely result in the unsightly problem of leaf mould forming on the patio creating a slippery and hazardous surface. For a patio that complements the house and garden, proportions are all-important. When deciding on the size of the patio, you must also think practically about how it will be used. If you want to put a table and chairs on it, you will probably need at least 3m x 3m but to accommodate sunloungers and possibly barbeques a larger space may be required. So its worthwhile deciding on the type of patio furniture you will be using at this early stage. Shape is another important factor in your patio planning. Dont be constrained by the traditional rectangular template - a curved patio is often more space efficient and can blend more harmoniously with the rest of the garden. Experiment with shapes and geometric patterns to highlight garden features or mirror flowerbeds. Mark out the patio area with a hosepipe or string line to help you visualise the space. Once you have decided on the shape and size of your patio there is another important feature of the design to consider that many people overlook - colour. The variety of stone available to the patio builder is matched, if not surpassed, by the rich diversity of colours in which stone paving materials now come. A quick glance at any paving stone suppliers catalogue or website will vividly illustrate this. We will look at the colours available later, but at this stage it is a good idea to consider whether you want the colour of the patio to complement or contrast with the colour of the walls of your house. Then there are the questions of patterned or plain and mix or match? Are you going to use stone of the same colour or do want to create a pattern on the patio surface? Matching different materials is yet another option worth considering. A patio constructed of two different types of stone can be very effective, as can the inclusion of an area of decorative gravel in the design. But if the mix and match approach appeals to you take care, for not all materials will work well together. As with so much connected with design, personal taste plays a significant and overriding role. Nevertheless, it is a generally accepted rule that natural stone does not work well with reconstructed materials. The patios perimeter also offers the opportunity for other design elements that can enhance its overall appearance. Firstly, you may want to build a low ornamental wall around the perimeter of your patio. Once again it is at the design stage where you should be looking into the height of the wall, the type and colour of the brick you are going to use and whether the top of the wall will be finished with coping or incorporate areas for planting. Another option worth considering is having contrasting edging at the patios perimeter, which can be in terms of both colour and material. A patio constructed of slabs can be given an elegant block edging, providing a simple but effective counterpoint to the main patio area. Whatever design you are looking for, it is advisable to produce scale drawings to visualise the finished patio. Scale drawings can also assist in calculating the quantity of materials needed. Patio slabs Stone slabs or flags come in many shapes, sizes and colours. The main types of stone are natural stone and reconstructed stone. Natural stone is what its name implies and is the more expensive of the two; but natural stone slabs can vary in size and thickness and consequently will require a higher degree of expertise to lay. Reconstructed stone slabs - sometimes described as reconstituted or artificial stone - are concrete units where a specific concrete mix has been designed to resemble natural stone. A wide range of natural stones can be imitated including Bath stone, Portland stone, Stainton stone and red terracotta. A word of caution on reconstructed stone slabs. Although they are the less expensive option, the quality can vary greatly and the cheapest stone slab often bears little resemblance to the natural stone it is trying to imitate. So its advisable to look around to find the best supplier. Traditionally the most popular stone for building patios has been sandstone, as it comes in a wide range of attractive colours and textures. But there are other interesting and decorative alternatives. Travertine is a hardwearing stone common to southern Europe. The largest building in the world constructed predominently of travertine is the Colosseum in Rome. A noticeable feature of travertine stone is its naturally pitted surface that is excellent for simple, rustic designs. But its the colours of travertine stone that make it so attractive to patio builders. In addition to grey, beige and white there are rich browns, reds and golds that are ideal for creating a patio with a Mediterrannean appearance. Another stone favoured by professional patio builders is granite. The reputation granite has for toughness and durability often overshadows its natural beauty. Natural granite slabs are usually dark and silver grey, or pink. But its beauty is heightened in the sun as it sparkles and glints providing a glamorous sophistication. When looking at the variety of stone available you will soon discover that patio slabs can come with different finishes offering another dimension to patio design. These finishes are produced by specific operations: acid-etched, smooth or coarse ground, grit or sand-blasted, rubbed or polished, giving the stone a different appearance and character. A riven surface refers to stone that has the appearance of having split away from the main rock mass resulting in a rough, textured appearance. Tumbled stone has a distressed look marked by rounded edges and a well-worn quality. Polished stone has a smooth surface imparting a refined elegance, while in stark contrast slabs that have been shot-blast have a coarse, roughened surface. Block paving and setts? Although the patio slab or flag is the most popular stone material for building patios other materials are available, namely block paving and setts. Block paving comprises of rectangular shaped blocks similar to bricks. The most common size for block pavers is 200mm x 100mm with a depth of around between 50mm. They can either be made of concrete or clay and come in a wide selection of colours. Clay paving blocks are more expensive than the concrete variety but both can be tumbled or polished Paving blocks are usually laid in one of three patterns: herringbone, stretcher bond and basketweave. Whatever stone material you decide to use, accurate plans will help you estimate the quantity of materials needed and get quotes. Remember to check that there are no underground pipes and cables in the area. If the patio is to butt onto an exterior house wall, it must be below the damp proof course.
How to Create a Comfortable a Patio Garden If you enjoy sitting out on your outdoor patio, enjoying those warm summer nights or cool fall days, you might want to consider adding a little more character to your surroundings by creating a patio garden. Patio gardens have become very popular and are not that difficult to create. All you will need is, of course, a patio, potting soil, flowers and plants, rocks or shipping peanuts, water features, flower pots, planters and other accessories you may wish to add to your backyard patio garden. The first step toward creating your patio garden is to record on paper how much sun hits this area at different times of the day. You will need to keep track of this for several days in a row in order to get an accurate idea. The second step is to survey your outdoor patio and determine how you will be able to use this space. If you have a large backyard patio, you will able to use larger pots that are placed strategically along it in different locations. If your patio is relatively small, hanging baskets will work nicely and beautifully. You may even choose to use both, hanging the baskets along the outside, provided you have a cover over your patio, and placing the pots in various locations on the patio. What are the suitable patio plants for my patio garden? Based on the amount of available space, you can choose a wide variety of flower pots and potting soil. You can purchase these items from your local discount store or home depot. You will be surprise that choosing pots of varying shapes, colors and sizes can make a garden that much more interesting. Next, place the pots on your patio, arranging them while they are still empty. You may even want to move them around until the look is one you desire. Now it is time to decide what types of plants and flowers you will grow. This will most likely be based on how much sun your patio area receives since some plants and flowers require shade and others need full or partial sunlight. If you are unsure of what types to plant, consult with someone who works at your local gardening store. If you are creating a vibrant patio garden, bright colors may be used. If, on the other hand, you are going for a more soothing effect, you may choose paler colors. You may refer to our patio plants section to see some examples and pictures of some common patio plants. Once you have chosen the plants and flowers, it is time to take them home and replant them. Be sure to carefully follow the instructions included with them and please seek the assistance of a gardening professional if you are unsure. When you have planted your purchases, you might want to consider adding patio accessories and decorate your new patio garden with some simple patio ideas. Furniture, wind chimes, special patio string lights, fountains all make great accessories. Again, the accessories you choose will depend on the amount of space your patio takes up and how much you want to use on your new patio garden.
Sealing Your Patio Pavers - 11 Keys to Successfully Sealing Your Patio When my neighbor first decided to install a paver-block patio behind his home, he chose paver stones for several good reasons. He thought they would last longer than other materials like wood, or poured concrete, he thought they had a really "rich" elegant look to them and most of all, he thought that they would be maintenance free. Well, he almost had it right. They do look great and theyre incredibly durable, but it wasnt long before he learned that they arent completely maintenance free. After several seasons of rain, snow and sun, the patio just didnt look as good as it first did when he had it installed. The sun was beginning to fade the color in some areas, the sand between the stones had been washed away by the rains and weeds had started growing in the gaps between the pavers. He even began to see ant colonies beginning to form using his precious paver sand as their new home. Well, the solution to his problem was fairly simple. It was time to clean the patio up and seal it for protection. And though he was somewhat reluctant at first to attempt this project on his own, once I began to walk him through the various steps, he decided it didnt sound that tough and he ought to be able to seal his patio himself. I concurred. "Just observe these simple 11 keys", I told him, "and when youre done your patio will look like it was done by the Pros!" 1. First, take your time With every project that I undertake, I cant stress this point enough. From the beginning to the end, with every step in between, take your time. When you rush a project through you make mistakes, and mistakes are what the pros are able to avoid. Sometimes its just a matter of cleaning the surface a little better, or rinsing things off a little more. Maybe its allowing a little more time between coats for your sealer to dry or waiting a few more hours before re-installing your patio furniture. With every step of the process, take your time. The chances are much better that when the work is all done and the tools have been stored, youll look at the finished result and be satisfied that it turned out just as you had hoped it would. 2. Acids can be great cleaners Often times when you inspect the patio, prior to washing youll notice stains. Leaves that have remained on the patio can leave tannin stains. Iron furniture that sits on the patio will most likely leave rust stains. Whatever stains you find need to be removed prior to sealing or they will be sealed in and become permanent, so now is the time to work on them. The simplest way to get the stains out is by using an acid cleaner. Conventional muriatic acid works well and its cheap, but I hate it. If you get it on your skin it burns and the vapors from it are just terrible. Instead, I use a "safer" cleaner, such as Defy Safer Masonry Cleaner. For severe stains, I simply pour a little cleaner at full strength on the stain and give it a few minutes to work before rinsing. If the whole patio is fairly dirty, dilute the cleaner 4:1 (four parts water to one part cleaner) and using a garden-type pump up sprayer, spray the entire surface with cleaner. Allow the cleaner to remain wet on the surface for 5 minutes or so, and then begin the rinsing process using a power washer. 3. Clean, clean and then clean some more In regard to the prep work, sealing you patio isnt much different than staining your deck or painting your house. Much of the quality of the job comes down to how well you prepare the surface. Patios that have weathered will often times have mildew, moss and algae growing on the stones and in the sand between the joints. Weeds that have begun to grow as well as any other foreign debris need to be removed, and for a patio that means a good cleaning. The easiest way to clean things off is with a power washer. Make certain that you select a washer with enough power to do the job. I try to never use anything rated less than 2400 p.s.i. Select a tip that will fan the water out slightly, 15° or so. Also, always work in sections. Patios should be constructed so that water runs away from the home. So begin working near the house or the high side of the slope of the patio. Rinse debris down the patios natural flow, away from the house. Youll loose some of the sand between the joints during the cleaning process and thats ok. Well replace the sand once the patio is cleaned up. Just be careful not to blow out more sand than is necessary while doing your cleaning. 4. Now this ones on the "level" With the patio now cleaned, look around and inspect the condition of the pavers. Over time, paver stones can settle or shift, making them unlevel. If you have some bricks that are out of place, using a screwdriver and a stiff putty knife, pry the uneven stones out. Once removed, you can add a little sand, smooth it out with the blade of your putty knife, and re-install the bricks. A couple of taps with a rubber mallet to make things perfect and voila, the bricks are level once again. 5. Its time to fill this joint The last remaining step in getting the patio ready to seal is to re-grout the joints between the stones with fresh sand. This step isnt hard, but it does take a little time so be patient. To do this, I use a fine grade of run-of-the-mill play box sand. Pour a small amount on the patio and begin sweeping it into the joints using a push-broom. Sweep in both directions; back-to-front and left-to-right to insure the joints get completely filled. As the sand gets used up by filling the joints pour a little more onto the patio and keep sweeping. 6. Break time This is the part youre going to love. Go take a break! Remember when we started I said to take your time? Well now its very important that you take your time. After all of the cleaning that we did, the ground under those pavers is soaking wet and needs to dry out. Give the patio a couple of good, hot sunny days to dry out before applying any sealer. If you dont, you could end up trapping moisture under the sealer and the whole project will turn a milky-white color...yuck! 7. Take a look at Waterborne Sealers Its time to pick out your sealer now and the choices are solvent-based products or water-based products. I hate solvents! "Why?" you ask. Heres why: 1. Theyre bad for our environment. 2. If they get on my grass or flowers, they kill them. 3. They smell terrible. 4. Everything has to be cleaned up with messy solvents. Water-base sealers are a much better choice. Besides being both easy to use and easy on the environment, they offer another amazing advantage. They "stabilize" the sand. When cured, water-based sealers such as Defys Epoxy Fortified Paver Sealer, will harden the joint sand and lock it into place. This prevents it from washing out during future rains. 8. Read the can, follow directions Every manufacturers product can be little different so always read the directions. It only takes a few minutes but it will ensure that you have all the right information before you get started. Pay attention to details such as how many coats of sealer to apply, how long to wait between coats, how to properly apply the product and how to clean it up. There are any number of variations to these questions and more. Read the label first and youll be likely to get it right the first time. 9. This sprayin stuff is easy Now the fun stuff begins...applying the sealer. To do this, I love to use a garden-type pump up sprayer but Ill warn you in advance, dont buy a cheap one! The better sprayers (they usually cost over $50 bucks) have a metal fan-style spray tip and do a much better job than the inexpensive weed sprayers. When youre looking for a sprayer, the key here is to look for a "fan-style tip". The patio edges can be cut-in using a 4" nylon brush and then youre ready to start spraying. Water-based sealers normally require two coats to be applied. Once youve cut-in the edges, spray the entire patio with the first coat. Then wait for the sealer to dry enough that it can walked on, and do the same thing all over again...two coats! If you get things on too heavy and the sealer starts to puddle, use the brush to get rid of the puddling by simply brushing it out. If you want to see what this process looks like, you can visit defyinfo.com where you can find a streaming video detailing each of the steps that weve taken. 10. MORE is definitely NOT better Ok, if a little is good then a lot must be better, right? No! Remember, were sealing concrete paver stones and these stones are sitting on a bed of sand. When the sand gets wet and then the sun comes out, these pavers need to breathe, meaning they need to let any water vapors pass through them. When too much sealer is applied, the water vapor can no longer pass through, which results in a white "blushing" effect or even potentially peeling. Dont be fooled, I know how great this stuff can look if you really lay it on, how cool that high gloss finish is. But it will blush and peel. Limit your application to two coats and you wont have a problem. 11. How about a little maintenance Ok, great job, now just one more thing. How about a little maintenance? Blow the leaves off when they fall to keep them from staining. Rinse the dirt and debris that seems to just show up over time. And as the weather begins to dull down the finish and the patio loses its luster, simply rinse it off and apply a light maintenance coat. Catch it before the patio gets too weathered and its really that simply. So thats it. Thats everything. Eleven keys to sealing your patio. Go ahead and try these eleven keys for yourself. See what the results are when you set out on your next project to do it like a pro. You might just surprise yourself!
Seven Best Shopping Tips For Buying Outdoor Patio Sets - And Getting Money Back! Practical ideas for buying outdoor patio sets... When shopping online for outdoor patio sets, consider buying a complete patio set package, when you buy separate pieces, you may have a hard time at a later date, to actually find exact match pieces for your original purchase. When you purchase separate pieces at first, trying to save a little money, you may find out later that maybe a package deal would have been a better practical choice. # 1 Shopping Tip - Design your patio space... A practical idea for all patio furniture shoppers is to sit down and design a simple patio area layout, make a drawing of what you would like your patio furniture to consist of, how many people would be using the patio furniture on a regular basis, and how much actual space do you have for the furniture you are thinking of buying. Having a basic vision of how you would like your new outdoor patio area to look is very important, are you able to see your family and friends sitting at your new patio set and relaxing?. # 2 Shopping Tip - Fitting your family, friends and guests to match your patio furniture set... Measure the square footage of the patio area you have, then determine how many patio chairs will be required for the patio area you have, always remember to have a couple of extra chairs, so plan accordingly. Determine what size of table will be the best choice, making sure you have plenty of room to move the chairs around, not having to squeeze or fall over a guest that is relaxing. Most often all dimensions, and product information is described in the details section, of the product of choice page. If you are not sure, email the supplier with your specific questions. # 3 Shopping Tip - Using the internet to find practical patio sets... Shopping and making your purchase online gives you control of what product choices you really want. Never having to put up with sales pitches or being pressured to buy now and save. Most sales people are paid by commission, and never really having your interest in mind. Online purchases are guaranteed, if you are not happy with your product purchase, you have the option of returning it. With credit card payments you always have a way of getting a refund, also available are other secure payment options. # 4 Shopping Tip - Materials of practical choice... This is the big decision, you need to decide on what material your product of choice is made of, do you want recycled plastic which is virtually maintenance-free and available in many colors, this plastic product is available in a natural wood look. Metal patio furniture often comes powder coated, or a sealed coating depending on the manufacturer, also available is aluminum, wrought iron and other metal choices. If choosing wood materials like cedar, pine, teak or other hardwoods some maintenance will be required to keep a fresh look. Many practical colors, styles and textures of patio sets and outdoor furniture is available, this is where you will need to do some research, spending a couple hours on the net will give you a much better idea of what is really practical. # 5 Shopping Tip - Comparison patio sets shopping... By now you have a better idea of what to look for, and how to start the process of finding good deals at fair prices. After you have decided on what style, color and price range for your patio set, it`s time to do some comparison shopping. Search the net for products that are exactly what you want, if you look at different suppliers selections, you can find match products. Keep notes, drink a couple cups of java and enjoy the easy online shopping process. #6 Shopping Tip - Shipping to your door... Most online suppliers have a good reputation, offering low cost shipping or free shipping for most patio furniture orders. When shopping online, go to the suppliers shipping page and see if they offer free shipping, if not email the supplier and ask for free shipping. Many times if your order is $200.00 or more, you may receive free shipping. Many suppliers will have your order shipped to you after final payment is done, normally within 10 business days. The real benefit buying online is that you can order your product, and never have ask a neighbor or friend for the use of their truck to haul the furniture you ordered. #7 Shopping Tip - Saving Money by Thinking... Saving money is very important, here are some easy ways to get a better deal. Having already mentioned asking for free shipping, even if the supplier has not offered or will grant your email request for free shipping, you can scan the net and find a supplier that will. Most average patio set orders are approximately $600 and up, this gives you power to find a supplier that will accommodate your request, chances are you can get what you are after. By buying online, consider a savings of approximately $50.00 if you were to purchase your patio set at your local furniture store where you live, do they always deliver for free, it is very doubtful that they would on a average cost patio set order of $600.00, if you live out in the country forget a free delivery. If you do proper research and find exact match or comparable items that you want, you can ask the supplier for a 10% - 15% discount on your order, depending on what size order you place. If you purchased a patio set for $1000.00, your discount at 10% would be $100.00 in your pocket. Check with your local state tax authority, and ask if any sales taxes apply for your online out of state purchase, this could save you another 9%. Shopping online is a smart way of finding great deals at affordable prices.
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