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Sometimes, Vinyl Is Just Better

April 24th, 2010

vinyl picket fenceHomeowners who are busy (or lazy–we don’t judge!) love vinyl fences. Compared to wood, they’re a cinch to care for. Now, don’t get us wrong. We highly recommend the beauty (and smell) of a natural cedar fence. In most cases, the choice between wood and vinyl really depends on the homeowner’s priorities.

But sometimes… Sometimes a vinyl fence is just plain better. Don’t believe us? Here are four situations in which we believe vinyl fencing outperforms wood:

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Save Water Without Losing Your Lawn

April 22nd, 2010

lattice top cedar fence with landscapingA lush, landscaped yard is a mark of pride for many homeowners. Whether they choose to enclose it within a six-foot privacy fence or leave it open to show off their hard work, nursing grass and plants through the hottest days of the year is one of the major summer tasks homeowners face.

With so much attention on water conservation these days, and with many state or local governments placing restrictions on lawn watering, maintaining a green lawn (and not feeling guilty about it) has become increasingly difficult. Here are some Earth Day tips to help you keep your landscape green and thriving all summer: Read the rest of this entry »

Five Steps to a Deck You Won’t Want to Leave

April 21st, 2010

cedar deck benchesAn inviting cedar deck on a sunny day can quickly become the most alluring room of your house, but many homeowners don’t put a lot of time or effort into decorating the outdoors. Often, they buy a patio set, put out some tiki torches and call it done.

Don’t make the mistake of failing to tap into your deck’s full potential. Follow these five steps to make the deck your favorite room in the house:

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Make Your Deck Green With Eco-Friendly Deck Furniture

April 20th, 2010

weststar composite deckingRelaxing outdoors on your cedar or composite deck and enjoying the greenery of your backyard helps you connect with nature. In honor of Earth Day 2010 this week, you can make that connection even more meaningful by thoughtfully choosing deck furniture that’s healthy for the environment.

Eco-friendly deck furniture has blossomed into an entire market, with chairs and tables made from sustainably produced, recycled or salvaged materials. If you’re looking for something new, options range from FSC-certified wood furniture purchased from large retailers such as Pottery Barn to one-of-a-kind pieces crafted by local artisans from reclaimed materials. Or you can do the salvaging yourself, in which case your imagination–rather than your budget–is the limit.

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Give Your Deck a Spring Cleaning

April 16th, 2010

port orford cedar deckThe spring sun may be calling you outdoors, but if you’re like many homeowners, a winter’s worth of moisture and grime has probably made your deck an uninviting place to be. Follow these tips to spruce up your cedar deck for spring:

Surface cleaning Read the rest of this entry »

Six Tips for Building an Outdoor Kitchen

April 15th, 2010

outdoor kitchenWhen spring and summer hit, there’s no more pleasant place to do your cooking than outdoors on the grill. But many backyard chefs become frustrated with having to run in and out of doors for plates, utensils and other necessities.

The trend in backyard design lately has been to turn decks and patios into outdoor living spaces such as living rooms and, yes, kitchens. Here are six things to keep in mind when transforming your deck into an outdoor kitchen:

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Wood Vs. Composite: Which is Better?

April 2nd, 2010

weststar composite deckingWhen it comes to decking material, cedar has always gotten the gold star. But advances in durable composite decking, a low-maintenance material made from wood fibers encased in plastic, have made it increasingly popular among homeowners. For many consumers, choosing between the two can be difficult.

Appearance Read the rest of this entry »

Is Your Deck Safe?

March 26th, 2010

cedar deckAfter a winter’s worth of cold and rainy weather, your deck could probably use a little TLC. If you’re like many homeowners and you purchased a house with a deck already attached, you may not have a clear idea how old it is or how it was constructed. With around 40 million decks in the United States that are more than 20 years old, it’s important to stay on top of making sure your deck is structurally sound.

As you begin sprucing up your backyard for the coming spring, include a deck inspection to look for any safety issues or needed repairs. Here’s a checklist from the North American Deck and Railing Association to help ensure your deck remains barefoot-friendly and accident-free: Read the rest of this entry »

Before You Build: Know Where to Draw the Line

March 23rd, 2010

good neighbor fenceKnowing your property line is critical before starting a fence or deck project. It may seem like a hassle, but identifying where your land ends and your neighbor’s begins is can save you money, time and stress in the long run. Here are seven things you should know about locating your property line:

  • If your neighbors recently had their land surveyed, you may be able to save time by referring to their findings.
  • If you want to locate the property lines yourself, try contacting the original developer of your house, or the company that issued the title to your house, and asking if you can review the original land boundary documents.
  • If your land was surveyed not too long ago, you can use a metal detector to try and find the metal marking pins placed underground. However, this method should be used for purely informative purposes and shouldn’t be relied upon as a definitive way to find your property line.
  • The safest way to definitively locate land boundaries is to hire a surveyor, which can be easily found in any phone book or online directory.
  • The professional who surveys your land is responsible for any resulting disputes, leaving you out of any lawsuits or legal wrangling. Even if the survey you commission is found to be in error, you still aren’t liable for any resulting legal issues.
  • Property lines can be tricky. Sometimes, because of how the land was parceled out or other circumstances, the actual lines can be crooked.
  • If you’re planning a project for spring or summer, clear up any property line concerns well in advance. Neighbors who may turn a blind eye in winter tend to pay more attention to property lines in warmer months.

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Create Your Own ‘Staycation’ Destination

March 19th, 2010

composite deck outdoor living spaceEveryone’s buzzing about “staycations,” the big trend in recreation this summer.

It’s true that as the economy has caused travel budgets to shrink, homeowners are increasingly choosing to spend their money at home, creating outdoor living spaces to replace weekend and summer getaways. Demand for products such as grills, outdoor heaters, and outdoor furniture and accessories is expected to increase almost four percent annually during the next three years, according to market research firm The Freedonia Group.

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