By Alek. Patio. Published at Saturday, September 15th, 2018 - 18:14:28 PM.
Natural Stone Patios - The Best Way to Set Landscape and Swimming Pool Areas in Stone Swimming pool and other backyard patios can be largely overlooked when it comes to landscape and swimming pool designs. To the average homeowner, swimming pool patios and dining patios are valued but seriously underestimated in terms of their power to really define an outdoor living space. Natural stone works great for patios, considering it lasts longer than pavers and does not fade in color or become slippery like stamped concrete. In general, natural stone patios provide a number of opportunities to transform the most functional aspect of a landscape and swimming pool into an art-form that enhances the overall ambience. The choice of stone is the first task in defining your outdoor living space with a patio. Swimming pool patios should stay relatively cool in the hot sun, keeping in mind that you will have to walk barefoot on this surface. A grey Tennessee Crab Orchard is a popular choice for pool patios because it stays relatively cool in the sun. The color is also rather neutral, allowing the adjacent pool and landscape to really show off. For dining patios, a more formal natural stone can be utilized. Bluestone works perfectly for formal patios. Sandstone also brings formality, yet remains somewhat neutral in doing so. Pool patios can also feature these more formal stones as well. A sandstone swimming pool patio with bluestone accents can really highlight a formal swimming pool and landscape. After you choose the stone for your pool or dining patio, the next task is to determine the pattern. Around natural pools, especially pools with waterfalls, natural stone set in irregular patterns works beautifully; the natural stone patio, set in an irregular pattern, can enhance the rugged look of the pool. For formal pools, the patio can utilize the same stone and set it in a regular, geometric pattern. Any stone patio pattern can be slightly modified for a custom design. In a very subtle way, an altered pattern can offer a frame for patio furniture, for example. Finally, with the stone and pattern set, finishing touches can be applied. Small accents in any patio can tie the entire yard together. For example, a sandstone outdoor living room patio can lie adjacent to the bluestone dining patio. A slight bluestone accent in the outdoor living room can blend it with the dining patio, while still allowing it to distinguish itself as a separate outdoor "room." Accents can also blend the patio with aspects of the home and other architectural elements of the back yard. Brick can even be scattered about a natural stone patio for sharp, distinct color and contrast. To summarize, upgrading to a natural stone patio can take your swimming pool and landscape to the next level of design and style. First choose the stone for your swimming pool or dining patio. Choose a stone that fits the style of the backyard area, while paying close attention to the functional needs of the surface. Next, decide on a pattern for the stone. Remember, regular fits formal, irregular for natural. Finally, get creative. Ask your swimming pool and landscape design company to spice things up by using a combination of materials to create accents that bring unique style to the patio design. Detail, color, and creative subtleties make for the most definitive, eye-catching natural stone patios.
Patio Furniture - What Are the Best Patio Furniture Materials For You? Choosing patio furniture can be a little overwhelming because there are several material types and hundreds or possibly thousands of styles made from those materials. The type of materials that you choose should depend on your personal preference but also on the climate where you live, whether your patio is covered or uncovered, your budget and several other factors. By keeping in mind your priorities and carefully thinking things through, selecting the right patio furniture be straightforward and easy. When you are choosing new furniture the first thing that you need to do is pick a type of material. The most common materials are wood, wicker and rattan, metal, and plastic. Wood Wooden patio furniture is very popular and lasting. In general, wooden patio furniture can stand up to the elements like very hot sun or summer storms pretty well. However, if you decide to use wooden patio furniture you should treat it with a water resistant coating to protect it from drying out in the sun or becoming damaged from being out in the rain. It is a good choice if you do a lot of entertaining because its very strong and rigid, thus can accommodate people of all different sizes. Its also simple to change the look of wooden patio furniture with just a new coat of paint in the color of your choice. Good quality wooden patio furniture can be expensive but if you carry out regular maintenance of painting or protective coating on the wood every few years, the furniture will inevitably last for a long time. Wicker and Rattan If you like to change the decor of your patio frequently and dont want to have to buy new furniture every time then wicker & rattan patio furniture would be a good and decent choice for you. Wicker and rattan is the second most popular type of furniture that is made from natural materials. Both wicker and rattan furniture is durable, light weight and to a certain extent - flexible, making it great for patio furniture that needs to be brought indoors or moved frequently. Wicker is actually not a material by itself. Wicker is the end result of weaving rattan with other materials, usually bamboo slats, to make furniture. Rattan (originated from a Malay word - Rotan) is technically a tree, although it grows like a vine along the ground. They are usually found in the tropical regions of Africa, Asia and Australia. The rattan vines are cut and peeled, then steamed to make them pliable, and then they are used as rattan weaving materials. Rattan furniture can be made of stripes of Rattan that are woven together when the wood is wet. It can also be strips of Bamboo or other materials woven around straight rattan slats. Rattan easily accepts paints and stains like many other kinds of wood, so it is available in many colors and it can be worked into many styles. Both rattan and wicker furniture is a less expensive alternative to hardwood, if you want to have furniture that is made from natural sources. These types of patio furniture dont require a lot of maintenance and can be used in or outdoors all year long. Its also possible to change the outlook of Wicker or Rattan furniture by giving the furniture a new coat of color. So, if youre inclined to change the decor of your patio frequently without buying new patio furniture every time, then wicker or rattan furniture would be the best choice for you. Metal Metal patio furniture is often a more economical choice compared to hard wood type especially for people who want the stability of wood but wouldnt want to spend too much. Metal furniture is also great for people that want furniture that has low maintenance costs because most metal furniture doesnt require the kind of maintenance that wooden furniture does. There are three main types of metal patio furniture that you can purchase. They are wrought iron, aluminum and tubular metal. Wrought iron is probably one of the most expensive types in the range. Wrought iron furniture is incredibly popular because its stylish and adds a very classic feel to a patio but its also popular because of its durability. Wrought iron furniture is heavy and requires little upkeep. For instance, just a simple new coat of paint every year or so will keep wrought iron furniture looking beautiful for years. Furthermore, wrought iron patio furniture is sturdy so that it can be comfortable and safe for people of all sizes. It is also heavy which is good in that it wont be blown away in strong winds but not to a point that it is too difficult to move. Aluminum is often used commercially because its so easy to maintain, light-weight and tough. Hotels, public pools, restaurants, resorts, and other types of businesses that deal with the public often use aluminum patio furniture for their outdoor patios. Aluminum is a very much lighter metal than wrought iron so if you will frequently need to move your furniture, aluminum may be a better choice. Most if not all outdoor bars and bistros will quite definitely choose aluminum furniture because of its weight & maintenance cost. Aluminum furniture can be a bit pricey for some people but the cost is negligible over time as aluminum patio furniture will last for a long time. Tubular metal patio furniture is the least expensive type and easily found at discount stores. It has some of the durability that other types of metal patio furniture have although it is not as strong as aluminum or wrought iron. Tubular metal doesnt require a lot of maintenance and can lasts for a long time. It can though become bent and damaged and can never quite be bent back into its original shape. It is also light enough to easily be blown away in strong winds. Plastic or PVC Patio Furniture Plastic or PVC patio furniture is the cheapest option and can be easily found at discount/bargain stores. Stackable Plastic or PVC patio furniture can be found at any discount store, sometimes even at the grocery store. They are easy to maintain because all you need to do for cleaning is simply to wipe the dirt off. It stands up well to any natural elements except strong winds and usually will only last for one season. They are not very sturdy and can break easily. There is a high possibility it becomes a safety issue if you have little children using it frequently because it tends to tip over or break. They also tends to crack and splinter very easily, which is dangerous even to adults. If you are looking for some cheap, quick patio furniture then plastic is the best choice but dont expect them to last.
Create Beauty For Your Patio And Sanity For You Everyone wants their home to look clean and tidy but everyone enjoys the long hours of sweeping and mopping. This is probably the reason why the patio is known to be the dirtiest place in our home. Some would even be thrilled if the house is not blessed with a patio, so that they wouldnt need to spare some time cleaning it too. However much we loathe the fact of having to maintain a patio, we cannot deny the aesthetical value a patio brings to a home. Owning a well kept patio can lead to full utilization of this part of the house such as making it a place to have your afternoon tea party or just a little get together with friends and family. It is also a place where you can escape from the noisy children and unwind as well as enjoy the fresh air. Therefore, dont neglect your patio in your house cleaning routine or you will definitely miss utilizing your patio and the wonderful time you can spend there. Common sense will tell you that in decorating a patio, one would have to take a few things into consideration. One of the most important one is that any furniture you put out in the patio will be exposed to the weather. You would want to buy items that are durable enough to withstand the harsh weather. Your patio can also be attracted to the patio since it is in the outdoor and there is no means to stop them from going there. Therefore, youd have to attend to the occasional animal droppings, furs and feathers. Choosing sensible decorations is crucial to ensure a sound mind. Choosing the Right Furniture The size of your patio should be the source of inspiration when selecting your furniture. The sizes range from small, medium to large. A small patio is the ones that would normally accommodate not more than 3 people. A medium size patio would be able to accommodate a few more people than the small size patio while a large patio can fit almost 30 persons at a time. As most of todays have middle size patio, a minimalist approach should be opted when you want to decorate the patio. What is a minimalist approach? Well, basically, this approach advocates the idea of decorating a small space with minimal furniture and decorative items, as so to save space and to make the space look bigger than its original size. Hence, when choosing furniture for a patio, one should only consider purchasing a set of simple yet elegant looking settee or chairs, a medium-length table or/and coffee tables. One could also get a hammock to spice up the ambience a bit as well as a colorful market umbrella, which could double as a shelter during the hot sun or heavy rain. Choosing the right cushions A patio is not complete without a patio cushion. Many manufacturers have produced many varieties of cushions to suit the diverse taste of todays customers. You can find cushions styles such as Cartridge Style
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!
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