Outdoor Living Trends In 2016

shutterstock_72658555Outdoor living space has become increasingly popular with homeowners, as people seek to add more usable space and add value to their properties. From decks to patios to gardens, there are many ways to transform an outside area and make it the perfect spot for relaxing and entertaining. Here are some hot outdoor living trends to look out for in 2016:

Fire Features. Fire features are becoming a must-have item for outdoor areas, serving as a focal point and a source of warmth and light in the evenings. From gas fire pits to traditional wood burning fireplaces, homeowners are seeking to create ambiance and add style. Fire features can be purchased and installed right out of the box, or they can be custom made to fit a specific area or achieve a certain look.

High Quality Furnishings. In order to make an outdoor living area a true extension of the home, it needs comfortable furniture. Homeowners should invest in quality furnishings that add style and comfort, allowing them to create a true living and dining space that the family can enjoy throughout the year. Ample seating also makes entertaining a breeze, giving guests plenty of spots to sit down and relax.

Edible Landscaping. With a beautiful patio or deck, it makes sense that homeowners would want the surrounding landscaping to look great, as well. However, maintaining the landscaping can be both costly and time consuming. One popular trend is edible landscaping, where gardens filled with herbs, vegetables, and other produce are combined with more traditional gardens of flora and fauna. Plant beds are both practical and convenient. Growing fresh herbs is a great way to add fragrance to outdoor areas, and they can also be grown in stylish pots and planters. Edible landscaping is low maintenance, making it an obvious choice for busy families.

Creating a comfortable, functional outdoor living area continues to be important for homeowners. From fire pits to fresh foods to stylish furnishings, there are many great ways to enhance outdoor spaces. These 2016 trends are likely to continue being popular with patio lovers for a long time to come.

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Winter Is Perfect For Landscape Redesign

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 10.49.06 AMWinter is the perfect time for landscape redesign. Plants are in a dormant state, watering concerns are low or absent, and cooler temperatures are an optimum for building and re-shaping home or commercial landscaping features.

The absence of summer time foliage also makes seeing the possibilities for a new design easier. Winter is also the best time for planting most perennials like trees, shrubs, and bulbs. Here are some tips for homeowners who are considering making changes in their landscape this winter.

Start Early: Planning a landscape takes time. Envisioning, measuring, estimating, scheduling, and actually starting work are separate phases of landscape redesign.

Landscaping includes both fixed ‘hardscape’ features like patios, retaining walls, planter boxes, and stone walkways, as well as the ‘softscape’ features of the soil and plants themselves. Irrigation lines and electrical hook-ups are other considerations needing careful attention in the design phase.

Taking your time and not rushing in the planning stage is the only way of addressing all of these aspects of a new landscape and creating the best design to match your vision and your budget.

Look Around: There are almost unlimited possibilities when redesigning a landscape, and looking at other designs online or in the neighborhood is a great way of getting ideas. Even if you have a firm image in your mind already, checking out what others have done may bring you some surprising inspirations.

Make a Drawing: Making a drawing can be helpful in assuring that the details of your vision are realistic. Big planter boxes or a wide patio may sound right, but measuring the area and making a scale drawing is the only way of ensuring that everything will really fit in a given space. Making your own drawing also makes it easier when communicating your vision to your landscaping contractor.

There are a number of apps for making drawing for a landscape redesign, like Google Sketchup, if you do not like the pencil and paper approach. Whatever drawing medium you use, make your drawing to scale, like one-half inch equals one foot, and begin by drawing ‘hardscaping’ features, like buildings, driveways, and existing plantings that will remain.

If you first make multiple copies of your drawing of hardscape features, you can then sketch out multiple designs and layers on separate pages of the copies. Using different colored pencils for each new type of feature — tree, shrub, gravel walkway, stone path — is one way of making your design ideas stand out on the page.

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5 Top Patio Furniture Brands For Winter

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 9.31.16 AMWinter might not be the time you usually think about patio furniture, but top quality brands of seasonal furniture make enjoying your patio in cold weather fun, easy, and comfortable.

Seasonal outdoor furnishings from these top 5 manufacturers provide all the options you need for the style you want in matching your patio design, the comfort you need for the winter season, and the weather-resistance required for withstanding winter storms and summer heat.

Here are 5 top patio furniture brands with scores of design collections for winterizing your patio.

Brown Jordan. Brown Jordan is one of the most prestigious brands of seasonal patio furniture on the market. In business since 1945 in Pasadena, California, Brown Jordan produces over 40 design collections of impeccable built, all-weather furniture in contemporary, traditional, and transitional styles.

Gloster. This British company is known the world over for their high quality teak outdoor furnishings. Elegant and completely weather-resistant, wood for this furniture collection is directly sourced from Indonesian timber harvesters. Besides teak, Gloster also produces patio furniture in aluminum, stainless steel, and woven designs, for both outdoor and indoor use.

Woodland. Another standard in seasonal furniture, Woodland outdoor furnishings are augmented with the highest quality aluminum metal parts, coated with a corrosion and scratch resistant powder finish. In business for 140 years, the frames of Woodland furnishings have a characteristic baked, gloss finish on a metal base, giving it outstanding winter resilience and a sleek, clean look.

Forever Patio. This seasonal furniture manufacturer is popular with many homeowners, given their large collection of durable and reasonably priced offerings. Supplying everything from intimate dining tables, chaise lounges, swivel chairs, and bar tables, Forever Patio is an excellent source of mid-range outdoor furniture for every season, including winter.

Harmonia Living. Another California based outdoor, seasonal furniture company, Harmonia Living was started in 2007 with the goal of creating mid-priced, high quality patio furnishings for homes and businesses. Many designs in the collections are wicker, but use a high density polyethylene material in place of less durable, traditional materials for the frame. Seats are built with Sunbrella fabric over a Dacron wrapped foam cushion designed for long-lasting, winter use.

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How To Use Your Patio For Holiday Parties

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 11.30.43 AMHaving family and friends over for holiday parties is a great way to enjoy the season. However, you don’t have to stay cooped up indoors when you have a beautiful outdoor living area. Here’s a few tips on how to use your patio over the holidays:

Creating a Cozy Atmosphere. While it may be cold outside during the winter holidays, there are still many guests who enjoy taking some time outdoors on the patio. Create a cozy and inviting atmosphere by utilizing a heat source. There are several great options that will not only keep the temperature warmer, but also serve as a decorative feature and focal point. You can use a simple fire pit, install an attractive outdoor fireplace, or even use a sleek heat lamp. Leave some warm fleece and flannel blankets around on seats so that guests can grab one and warm up.

Warm Drinks and Hearty Dishes. Food and drinks for an outdoor gathering in the winter should be warm and hearty. Not only should they fill guests up, but they should help to keep them warm. Set up a small bar with liquors like whiskey and Irish cream. You can also set out labeled thermoses with hot chocolate and coffee. For food options, stick to soups, chili, and cheese and chocolate fondues. If you have a fire pit or fireplace lit, be sure to have marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate so that guests can make s’mores.

Maintaining The Landscaping In The Winter. One of the nice things about the winter season is that you don’t have to spend a lot of time tending to your property’s landscaping. The colder temperatures give you the chance to take a break from mowing the lawn, but you still want to maintain the overall look and quality of your property. Don’t completely ignore the landscaping, but rather, add plant life that will bring the right colors and textures to the season. It will help add charm to your patio area and add beauty.

Throwing holiday parties on the patio allows your guests to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. By focusing on their comfort, you can create a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

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