Railing Planters Bring Color To Small Outdoor Living Spaces

outdoor living

Railing planters help fix one of the downsides of living in an apartment in a big city (or any city for that matter). The “problem” is… you don’t have the room to make a sizable garden like you would have at a house.

It may seem like a lost cause, but there is, in fact, a way to have a garden in an apartment!

Railing planters are unique gardening aids which can hang from your railing, allowing you to plant many more plants than you usually would be able to. It could be a little difficult to grow upright vegetables… but flowers are a definite option! Read on for more.

Railing planters are the ideal choice when gardening in small, outdoor living areas. These versatile containers help you make better use of limited space and add an attractive touch to any deck, porch, patio, or balcony railing.

When you pick the right planter boxes for your railing, you can enjoy beautiful flowers and/or edible herbs, fruits, and veggies easily and affordably.

The idea of a railing planter is not something new. Essentially it follows the same principles as what we know as a window box planter except fastened to the horizontal rail. Many a DIY deck builder has taken the steps to incorporate a deck rail planter box right into the design of their wood deck railing.

In this article, we will discuss the various options available in railing planters and provide some sound information to help you enjoy success with this easy and interesting forms of gardening. Read on to learn more.


Points to Consider Before Attaching a Planter to Your Railing

Whether you own your home or are renting, you will surely want to avoid damaging your railings. Whether you have metal, wood, or plastic railings, keep in mind that bare metal brackets can cause damage by scraping. That’s why it’s smart to look for or design your planters with rubber or plastic-coated brackets.

Be sure to provide ample space between the base of your porch or deck garden planter and the surface of your railing for good air circulation. If water sits on wood, plastic, resin, or metal for extended periods of time, staining, rotting, and/or rust will ensue.

It’s also smart to add drain holes to the sides of your planters near the base to prevent water draining out of the bottom and collecting on top of your railing. With clever positioning of drain holes, you can use water that drains from one plant to water the plants directly beneath it.

You must also be very certain that your railing planters are secure. This is especially true if you are gardening on a balcony! You don’t want your garden to come crashing down due to a slight bump or a high wind. Take great care to attach your planters securely to avoid property damage and possible injury.


 How To Secure Planter Baskets to Balcony Railings – 5 Ways

There are several different ways to prevent your rail planters from hurtling to the ground. Each method has its pros and cons. Some are well-suited to one application and not suited at all to another. Here are 5 ideas.

#1 Tie It

It is possible to attach a planter to a railing using a chain or a rope, but this is probably the least desirable option in any situation. To do this, you would simply wrap the rope or chain in such a way that it encircles each end of the planter securely. You can use eye hooks screwed into the railing to secure the rope or chain.

While this method may work for lightweight planters and might be a good stop-gap measure, there are a few reasons not to do this as a permanent solution. For one thing, it’s rather unsightly. If you attach your planter to your railing with rope or chain, it will not improve the appearance of your home. If you are renting an apartment, neighbors and management may complain.

For another, rope or chain can eventually dig into your wood deck rails as well as metal or steel rails causing significant damage (as can screwing eye hooks into the side of the railing.)

Lastly, it is not especially secure. Winds and jostling are bound to loosen your fasteners, and before you know it, your railing garden will go crashing to the ground. If you plan to use this method at all, you should consider it only a temporary measure to be used until you can devise something more attractive and sensible.

#2 – Screws:

For semi-permanent installation, you can just screw the planter to the railing. You should add feet to a flat-bottomed wooden, metal, or plastic/resin planter box to provide air space, and then drill a couple of pilot holes through both the base of the box and the feet to attach the planter to the top of the railing.

You can also use screws to attach wooden, metal, plastic, or resin planters to the sides of railings. Be sure to drill pilot holes first to prevent splitting the material as you work.

With metal, plastic, or resin planters, it’s a good idea to use washers equipped with rubber rings to add extra support and security. This will help minimize wear and tear due to wind, weather, and the sheer force of gravity.

#3 – Brackets:

If you want to avoid damage to your railing and/or you need to move your planters from time-to-time, brackets can be very useful. Metal brackets may be “L” shaped to hang plants on one side of the railing, or they may straddle the railing to hang plants on both sides.

Some brackets provide for planters to be attached using screws. Others simply have hooks that allow you to attach, remove, and interchange planters with ease. Brackets made of powder-coated steel resist rusting and wear.

Planter Railing Brackets at Amazon:

#4 – Straddle:

By far the best and easiest alternatives for railing planters are prefab straddle containers like the Bloem Modica Deck Rail Planter. These boxes are specially designed to straddle a standard-sized railing securely. They already have properly drilled drainage holes and built-in air circulation space.

They come in a variety of attractive colors, sizes, shapes, and styles, and you can move them about and rearrange them as you wish. If you move, just pack them up, and take them with you.

These planters are typically made of heavy-duty plastic that should last forever with proper care, so they are well worth the reasonable price you can expect to pay.

#5 – DIY Straddle Style Planter:

If you are handy, you can build a 3-bin railing planter using outdoor quality plywood. This unique design provides three generous planting spaces: One rests on the rail, and two others provide ample planting space on each side of the rail.

This planter simply sits securely on the rail without attachment. You will not need to drill any holes to put it in place. Remember to add footing under the center planter to provide air circulation and help prevent railing damage. Place drainage holes on the low sides of the center planter so that it will drain into the two side planters.

To see the interesting, original design, visit A Garden Of My Own


What’s the Best Material for Railing Planters?

You will find planters available in plastic, resin, wood, metal, and basket styles that you can line with coco coir. These have pros and cons depending upon your setting and the type of plants you wish to grow.

Baskets lined with coco coir provide a lot of air circulation for the roots. This is ideal for decorative plantings of succulents or even bromeliads. Other types of plants will need to be checked very frequently and watered very regularly as these planters do not hold water at all! They are also subject to drying out from wind. Check out this 30 inch Window/Deck Planter

Metal can be attractive, but can leak into the soil and may be harmful to your plants. Additionally, it can wear and rust badly, and can become scalding hot when exposed to the sun. If you are going to use metal containers, be sure to also use planter box liners and place these planters in shady locations. Metal bucket planters like these are colorful and versatile.

Wood is a classic choice that is always attractive and is typically safe for plants. You must be sure to choose durable, outdoor quality wood or your planters will deteriorate rapidly.

Hardwoods such as cedar, eucalyptus, and Brazilian walnut (aka Ipe wood) are good choices. Outdoor treated plywood can be a suitable choice, but you must be sure it is not treated with anything that would be toxic to you if you are growing veggies. This 20″ Rectangular Rustic Wood Planter has a  Plastic Liner.

Plastic and resin are durable, colorful, versatile, and do not become dangerously hot in the sunshine. Although these materials are not a very ecologically sound option, you can mitigate the environmental impact of your choice.

If you buy with care by choosing planters made of recycled plastic products, and then follow up by taking good care of your purchases so that they will last a long time, you can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of plastic rail planters. If/when your planters do break or degrade, be sure to turn them in for recycling so that they do not end up in the ocean or cluttering up the landfill for all eternity.

Bloem plastic planters like their Deck Rail Planterare durable, versatile, and made in the USA! [source]

DIY Planters! If you are crafty, you can make different styles of planters for use on your railings and throughout your home and garden with hypertufa. This is a lightweight, durable DIY concrete-like substance that you can easily mix up to form into any kind of planting container you want. Hypertufa containers are attractive and extraordinarily durable.

Upcycled Household Items Make Charming Rail Planters

If you are strapped for money or simply want to reduce the amount of garbage you toss out, there are a lot of household items you can use as railing planters. Here are a few smart ideas that can save you money and add creative interest to your railing garden.

Large yogurt containers can be painted or otherwise decorated to make attractive planters for herbs, succulents, and small flowering plants. Just drill a few holes in the bottom for drainage, decorate, and plant away. These mini-railing planters are handy because they fit nicely on the typical railing.

They come with their own drip saucer (the lid), can be moved about easily to prevent damage to the railing, and if they fall, they won’t do much harm. You can also drill 3 or 4 holes near the rim and thread durable string or wire through to make a hanging planter. Hang these mini-planters between the slats of your railing to even further increase your growing space.

Gallon milk jugs can make very nice railing planters since you can use the handles to secure the jugs to the inside of your railing. To do this, you will need a dowel or steel rod slim enough to slip through the handles.

You can secure this pole to the inner side of your deck railing using hooks that are large enough to accommodate the diameter of the pole. You’ll need to affix these hooks every two or three feet to support the weight of your milk jug planters.

To make each individual planter, cut out the upper area of the jug where the spout is located. Remove this area in such a way as to leave the handle intact while opening the greatest surface area in the top of the jug. There is usually a ridge around the top area that can act as a guide. Remember to drill several drain holes in the bottom of each jug.

Once you have enough milk jugs to fill your space, plant them as you wish and slide them onto your supporting dowel or rod. Put the rod in place using the hooks you have installed. This arrangement can be moved, altered, and rearranged as you wish.

Make small, individual planters using creative cast-offs such as colorful rubber boots. A single screw with a washer driven through the upper back portion of the boot’s shaft will secure it to the side of a wooden railing. A row of brightly colored rubber boots planted with bright flowers, herbs, and veggies is a charming sight. Remember to drill a few holes in the soles for good drainage!

Stray kitchenware such as cups, mugs, and bowls can make suitable mini-planters for small succulents and bromeliads, which can live outdoors in warm weather. Because these containers don’t have drainage holes, it is not a good idea to use them for plants that need a lot of water.

Instead, layer pea gravel, activated carbon, and a sandy planting mixture to accommodate small succulents. Water sparingly to prevent root rot.

If you have a shady, sheltered outdoor area, you can use these containers for growing bromeliad plants; simply fill the container with decorative moss and place the air plant artfully. Mist it daily. Remove the bromeliad and soak it in filtered water about once a month to give it a good drink. In wintertime, bring it indoors.


Special Care Tips for Your Railing Planter Garden

Evaluate your environment. Determine how much sun, wind, and rain your balcony, porch, patio, or deck receives and plan accordingly.

Evaluate The Lighting

If the area gets a punishing amount of hot sun, you will need to provide some shade, even for sun-loving plants like tomatoes. Harsh, scorching sun is unpleasant and dangerous for your plants and for you. Umbrellas and shade sails can help control the amount of sun your outdoor living area receives.

A trellis covered with rugged, sun-loving climbing plants can provide natural shade. Examples include ivy, grapes, honeysuckles, and climbing roses. These can all do well with hot sun once established, but you will need to provide them with a bit of protection while they get established.

If you have a hot, sunny environment, be sure to choose your plants and planters accordingly. Choose heat and sun-loving plants and keep an eye on them for signs of overheating and scorching.

Understand that you will need to take extra care to be certain your plants get enough water. This is where adding a spaghetti tube drip irrigation system is a smart move. Add a thick layer of mulch to the surface of your pots to help conserve moisture. Avoid use of metal containers or dark-colored containers in an extremely sunny setting as these can heat up dangerously.

On the flip side, if your outdoor living area is shady, you will need to choose shade tolerant plants or plants which thrive in the shade. In this sort of setting, you can make good use of attractive metal railing planters and/or coco coir-lined baskets.

If you are bound and determined to grow food crops such as tomatoes in a shady setting, try planting trailing vines (e.g. cherry tomatoes) in hanging or upside-down planters you can moved to catch more sun elsewhere.

Tips On Watering Plants In Railing Planters

You should water sparingly to prevent root damage caused by water logging and to prevent mess and trouble. If you live on an upper floor of an apartment building, your neighbors below will not be happy if you over water and they end up with dirty plant water pouring onto their balcony.

To prevent this problem, there are a few things you can do.

  1. Be sure to water your plants regularly to prevent the soil from drying out. Very dry soil does not absorb moisture well and water will just run right through.
  2. Wherever possible, position your garden in such a way that plants needing less water are below those needing more generous watering. When you do this, the runoff from the upper plants can be caught by the plants in the lower level.
  3. Position drip trays below your plants to catch runoff water.
  4. Keep a thick layer of mulch on the surface of all your plantings so that water will not evaporate too quickly.

5.. Check the soil regularly by poking it with your finger. If the top inch feels dry, you should water moderately.

  1. Take special care to keep your plants well-watered when it is windy or very sunny out. You may wish to move them off the railing during this kind of weather to give them some protection from the elements.

Personally, instead of planting directly in the railing planter I like to use them as “plant holders.” By doing this you can use the 5 gallon bucket method of watering!

Get yourself a 5 gallon bucket and fill it with about 3 gallons of water. I like to add about a tablespoon of water soluble fertilizer as well. Then take each plant and submerge the entire rootball in the bucket and allow all the air pockets to become filled with water.

Allow the water to drain off and replace the plant back into the plant holder.

Planting Your “Horizontal Rail” Garden

Your railing garden is a captive audience. If your plants cannot get what they need from the soil in their pots, they don’t have the option of spreading their roots in search of better nutrition. Be sure to begin your garden using a high-quality container mix like this. Augment this with aged compost and water-saving crystals.

Be sure to provide a layer of drainage material such as coarse gravel or Styrofoam peanuts in the bottom of your planters. This will help prevent root rot. Styrofoam is really the better choice in this instance because it is lightweight. Repurposing it in your planters will help keep it out of our landfills and waterways if you dispose of it properly when the time comes.

Once you have planted your garden, give it a good watering, and then top it off with a thick layer of mulch to help hold the moisture in.

Fertilizing Your Plants

Container plants tend to use up their resources quickly. Choose a good, all-purpose container plant slow-release fertilizer to ensure your plants are getting the nourishment they need to survive and thrive. Follow packaging instructions carefully. Or as suggested above apply liquid water-soluble fertilizer and fertilize when you water your plants.


What Are Some of The Best Choices in Plants for Railing Gardening?

Because of limited space, you don’t want plants that tend to run rampant. Major ramblers such as melon and squash are not good candidates for a railing garden or any container garden.

Some of the best plants you can choose are:

Cruciferous veggies: Broccoli, cabbage, kale, and cauliflower can do well. Naturally, you may only be able to grow one specimen per pot, but these can add interest to your garden and flavor to your table. [source]

Alliums: Onions, garlic, shallots, and leeks grow well in pots. They have pretty flowers and add flavor and nutrition to your daily diet.

Trailing plants: Peas and beans can be grown in a railing garden as trailing or climbing vines. Some produce very pretty flowers followed by tasty edibles.

Chili pepper plants tend to stay smallish, so they can do well in a railing garden. Chilis are flavorful and extremely good for you in terms of improving circulation and keeping inflammation (e.g. arthritis pain) at bay.

Strawberries do well as railing plants.

Leaf lettuces of all types are excellent choices in railing planters. Butter lettuce, romaine, red leaf, and others are colorful and flavorful. Rather than waiting for whole heads to develop before harvesting, plant densely and harvest on a regular basis by trimming leaves. This will allow you to reap a tremendous yield of fresh lettuce throughout the growing season from just a few plants.

Most herbs do well in small pots or planters on railings or windowsills. Harvest them on an ongoing basis to keep growth under control and enjoy fresh herbs daily. [source]

Small flowers such as marigolds, pansies, petunias, dwarf zinnia, geraniums, and the like all flourish in railing planters. Don’t forget the million bells plant for lots of flowers.

Shady, sheltered porch, balcony, and deck settings make an ideal warm weather home for ornamental succulents (aloes, jade plant, hen & chicks, ice plant, etc.) and even bromeliads (air plants). In wintertime, move these indoors to brighten your bathroom setting!


Expand Your Growing Area and Improve Your Home and Your Life!

If nothing else, having an attractive porch, deck, or balcony railing planter display can really increase the curb appeal of your home by transforming it into a welcoming and attractive destination.

Food gardening with containers is a satisfying pursuit, and you are sure to be surprised by how much food you can produce in a limited space. When you make the most of what you have by using your railing space to grow food, you can save a great deal of money and improve the quality of your diet.

A railing planter garden can give you one-third more planting space. Consider that if you have planters on the surface of your deck, patio, balcony, or porch, and hanging plants above, you still have lots of empty space on the railing. Adding planters to this area expands your gardening possibilities and adds to your privacy in your outdoor setting. [source]

Another good reason to plant on your railing is accessibility. The top of a porch railing is just the right height for easy access without reaching, stooping, or bending. Adding planters to the railing makes gardening accessible to seniors and others who may have mobility issues. Railing gardening is a great way to add interest and activity to every day and expand and improve quality of life.


Closing Thoughts

The focus of this article has been on railing planters themselves and some of the different planters types and materials available.

From years as a commercial plant grower I understand how topics can cause all types of different discussions.

For example, attaching a deck railing planter in a backyard is much different and requires much less “attention to detail” than attaching a balcony planter to a steel rail 20 stories in the air at a condo.

As you move up in the air, care takes on a different aspects as well. Dealing with more wind, more heat from concrete and what happens with excess water, all become something to consider.

Plants and garden planters can add some much to a landscape and patioscape. This includes attaching planters to the railing of a rooftop balcony or a deck at ground level.

h/t: Gardeners

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Greater Pocono Home & Outdoor Living Show

outdoor living

Whether you’re looking to remodel, revamp or just get your home ready for spring, an event hitting the Poconos this weekend could do the trick! The Greater Pocono Home & Outdoor Living Show runs this Saturday, March 17, and Sunday, March 18, at Kalahari Resort and Convention Center nea…

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The Trex Blog – Nine Outdoor Living Resolutions For 2018

outdoor living

It’s that time of year again to set goals that clean up bad habits and create new attitudes. But with more than half of all New Year’s resolutions failing, we suggest setting some that you’ll want to keep – goals to up your joy and happiness by simply spending more time outdoors.

We have a few resolutions we think might do the trick.

2. Fuel the passion within. Relaxation comes in the form of comfy blankets, mugs of hot chocolate, gathered around a roaring fire pit. Our top 10 fireside decks inspire you to aspire.

3. Pencil in some “me” time. Follow Trex on Instagram and let the beauty of our outdoor images soak your thoughts and erase the day’s hard moments.

4. Embrace the unknown. Knowledge is power and our cost calculator provides just the numbers you need to answer questions and move you closer to the outdoor space of your dreams.

5. Be kind to your skin. Enjoy your outdoor retreat while staying protected from the UV rays with the perfect amount of shade provided by a Trex® Pergola™.

7. Nurture your green thumb. Satisfy your need to be one with nature and plant a cascade of color in our beautiful made in part with eco-friendly recycled material.

8. Get messy every now and then. Our low-maintenance decking lets you unleash your creativity and then follow it up with peace-of-mind, easy cleanup.

9. Recycle, recycle, recycle. There’s no better resolution than one that makes positive impact on our planet. Gather your plastic waste, donate to our film recycling program and know you’ve done your part to protect our world for years to come.

This content was originally published here.

The art of outdoor living

outdoor living

Why live your life inside, shut away from the beauty of the outside world, when you could live your life outdoors instead? When you create an outdoor space for your home, it doesn’t only have to be an area where you grow a few flowers or occasionally sit out in the sun. There’s so much you can do with your outdoor space to promote outdoor living and create the perfect place to relax, socialize, eat and drink, and more in all weathers. Successful outdoor living requires careful thought about how to set up your space so that it works for you and suits your tastes.

Creating All-weather Spaces

Outdoor living shouldn’t just be for when it’s warm and the sun is shining. If you want to make the most of your outdoor spaces, you can think about how to make them more suitable for a range of weather conditions, whether it’s the most beautiful summer’s day or the middle of winter. Adding any kind of cover to your space will help to make it more suitable for rain and snow, and provide you with shade when the sun is out too. You might also think about adding some things to keep the space warm, such as a fireplace or some outdoor heaters. Water management is also essential if you want to avoid the buildup of stagnant water. Techo-Bloc permeable paving helps to direct water into the ground or into temporary storage in the base structure.

Mixing Socializing and Solitude

Creating the perfect place to socialize is an important part of outdoor living, but you probably want somewhere you can find peace and tranquility too. If you want to create the perfect place for socializing, you should start by considering paving such as a patio or elevated patio that will set you up with an even and attractive surface to work with. One of the ways to create a space that works for both socializing and getting some peace and quiet is to think about different seating options and perhaps creating different zones within your outdoor space. You could have anything from stone benches to sofas and dining spaces.

Eating and Entertainment

Eating outside is one of the great pleasures of outdoor living. And not only can you eat outside but you can cook outdoors too. An outdoor kitchen is definitely something you should consider, whether it means installing a wood fired oven or barbecue, or having a full kitchen space. Our products, including the Grill Island and Forno pizza oven can get you set up with essential and stylish appliances. Combining your cooking area with a kitchen garden is a great idea too. When it comes to other types of entertainment, think about adding technology to your space. Weatherproof televisions or sound systems can be fantastic additions.

Flow Between Indoor and Outdoor

To enhance the feeling of living outdoors even more, creating a smooth flow between indoors and outdoors is a good idea. Using plenty of glass and perhaps bi-folding doors to open up the indoors to outside can help to increase the natural flow. Match up things like flooring, colors and even furniture too so that your outdoor space is in keeping with the style of the rest of your home.

For fun outdoor living, you need the perfect space. Think about how you want to use your outdoor space to get it right.

NEED HELP TO START YOUR PROJECT? 
DOWNLOAD OUR FREE BACKYARD PLANNING GUIDE!

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On the Street Where You Live: Residential Streets as Outdoor Living Rooms

outdoor living

On the Street Where You Live: Residential Streets as Outdoor Living Rooms

A street in Saint Paul’s Cathedral Hill.

“On the Street Where You Live” is a song by Frederick Loewe with lyrics by Jay Alan Lerner, from the 1956 Broadway musical “My Fair Lady.”

Considered in another context, we recognize almost all of us live in places facing a street functioning in a practical role providing a means of travel to connect ourselves with the world around us. But for the purposes of this writing, for many of us in city neighborhoods, the street is where we live and the street, to some extent, defines who we are. Our streets form our communities where we mingle with our neighbors and share various collective values. We take for granted that these roles are our variation of citizenry. Put another way, our residential streets have become our outdoor living rooms. In American neighborhoods the preeminent form of public space is streets. We consider what is outside the street’s pavement to be the domain of aligned properties that often share a community-developed architectural code. Among these streets, people have gained generalized parity with cars, despite the fact that streets’ primary role is to enable cars to perform their primary role in transportation. When streets were originally platted in the late 19th century, vehicular movement was their almost exclusive function, with public sidewalks and boulevards very ancillary components determined by street engineering.

Cities are becoming more attractive for various middle class domains. In the decades following the 1950s, de-industrialization has made more urban areas attractive. Smoke stacks and railroad trackage have largely disappeared from nearby residential neighborhoods. The move from urban to suburban has been reversing in the last several decades. Are there lilac trees in the heart of town? Can you hear a lark in any other part of town? Does enchantment pour out of every door? No, it’s just on the street where you live.

Today, the street where we live has economic conditions. On one hand, homeowners are being handed massive public subsidies: the mortgage interest tax deduction and capital gains tax exclusion when the property is sold. With wider public consequences, various statistics state the cost of buying a home today is increasingly unaffordable to many potential homebuyers. A concern should be the long-term ability of millennials to buy a house.

The desire of many urban home owners to find the right house has been accompanied, as well as complicated, by city planning regulations. Zoning was a response in the early twentieth century to the detrimental effects of industrial pollution. While it isolated factories from their noisy and dangerous activities; the car traffic and parking spaces in residential areas also increased, to which zoning has devoted considerable effort for enacting regulations. Many urban observers accept zoning while calling it in many ways an imperfect instrument.

Perhaps the most significant measure of livability in Minneapolis and Saint Paul comes from the effect of the residential property platting. In a recent Streets.mn article, Bill Lindeke states, ”…nothing can match traditional grid-based urban density when it comes to generating tax-base for a city. These differences are huge and often underestimated because of how we think about land value.”

Compared to cities in the eastern regions of the nation, lot sizes in Minneapolis and Saint Paul are somewhat larger, resulting in more outdoor space around houses, giving light and air, and complementing trees on properties and in boulevards to create pleasant cityscapes. It is this notable ambiance that many realtors proudly advertise when they promise to find us the right homes in our urban communities — on the street where we live.

Homes on Saint Paul’s West Side.

streets.mn welcomes opinions from many perspectives. Please refrain from attacking or disparaging others in your comments. streets.mn sees debate as a learning opportunity. Please share your perspective in a respectful manner. View our full comment policy to learn more.

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Add More Shade to Your Outdoor Living Room

outdoor living

Outdoor Shade Structures

Many Arizona residents love the state for its abundant sunshine, but when June, July and August roll around, they’d like a little more shade and a little less sun.

“It can be very hot here in the summer, but it gets more tolerable when you add shade, even if it’s 100 degrees outside,” says Tom Booth of Booth Built Patio Products, a Phoenix area company that specializes in installing shade structures.

After living in a home for a couple of years, homeowners decide they want more shade than the builder of the house originally provided with the typical covered patio. They yearn for a little shelter in the morning when they’re outdoors sipping their coffee or in the early evening so they can dine outside and savor the blue and magenta sunset along with their grilled steak or salmon.

According to Booth, the most popular idea for providing that shade is often adding an open-lattice pergola with overhead slats that throw shade but don’t greatly restrict natural light inside a home.

The Latin word “pergola” traditionally referred to an outdoor structure of columns supporting a roof of rafters and beams. Sometimes it could be a latticed, free-standing roof covered with vines and plants. Today’s pergolas often have different shapes and designs but are often attached to the existing roof of a house or an existing covered patio. In the Southwest, we might call that pergola a ramada or a cabana.

So here are a few questions and answers if pergolas, ramadas and similar structures sound appealing to you:

What material can a pergola be made from?

Traditionally, they were made of masonry or wood. These days you can often buy inexpensive do-it-yourself pergola kits containing materials made of wood in big-box stores. But in the Arizona sunshine, wood likely will need repainting every year. Wood plus plastic composite materials like Trex may last longer but are more expensive. Booth uses an aluminum product — textured to look like wood and that will last for years and years.

Do you have to have a building permit for a pergola?

In most cases, you will need one from your local planning department even though the structure might be very small and doesn’t have any solid walls. After all, you might want to add electricity to a pergola or ramada for lights, fans or a sound system. A pergola also must conform to rules for setbacks from lot lines and similar regulations.

“Any time some structure like a pergola is attached to your home, you’re probably going to need a permit,” Booth says.

Can you build a pergola yourself?

If you’re really experienced, maybe so, but it can be tricky. You might need do some design work to fit your landscaping. Or you might have to extend some paving from a patio and put in footings to support columns. The planning department permit requirements might make the job more complicated. However, pergola kits do include precut lumber or structural parts and hardware, in addition to instructions.

Can a pergola be used as a roof and shelter for an outdoor kitchen?

That’s possible, but don’t put in that outdoor kitchen located too far away from your house. In our experience the closer the kitchen is, the more likely you will use it. If you’re going to supply water, gas or electricity to a pergola, you may need assistance from an electrician or plumber. You may also want to install lighting, a misting system and a sound system. Another use for a pergola is next to a swimming pool to provide shelter and shade between laps.

Are there other small structures you might add to a sunny yard to provide more shade?

Think about trellises of wood, metal or plastic. Trellises, of course, are lattices often used as an artistic design element for gardens. But if you put a trellis in front of a wall of the house that gets a lot of intense sun, it can create shade to cool that wall, especially if you cover it with vines. Build the trellis a foot or two away from the wall so that it won’t interfere with future repainting and so that vines won’t cover the wall itself. Latticed arbors can also provide shade on walkways in a yard. But remember, it’s not good to have too much water sprinkling close to your house.

Still, if you’re yearning for a little more summertime shade on your patio, a pergola or ramada might be exactly what you want.

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Patio Furniture: 10 Favorite Rattan Armchairs for Outdoor Living

outdoor living

A comfortable rattan chair on a patio, deck, or balcony has a lot of power to sway you. Give into it.

Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe understood the attraction of well-designed chair, “A chair is a very difficult object. A skyscraper is almost easier. That is why Chippendale is famous.”

Things to do in a rattan armchair: Put your feet up. Close your eyes. Feel the breeze on your face. Here are 10 of our favorite rattan armchairs—many designed to do double duty at an outdoor dining table—to get you started:

A Sunwashed Riviera Armchair available in four colors (including Natural as shown) is $358 at Serena & Lily.

Above: A Sunwashed Riviera Armchair available in four colors (including Natural as shown) is $358 at Serena & Lily.
A Broste Copenhagen Ulla Armchair made of natural rattan is €319.95 from Living and Company.

Above: A Broste Copenhagen Ulla Armchair made of natural rattan is €319.95 from Living and Company.
From Denmark-based Bloomingville, a set of two Hubsch Rattan Chairs in natural is €375 from Living and Company.

Above: From Denmark-based Bloomingville, a set of two Hubsch Rattan Chairs in natural is €375 from Living and Company.
A Brigitte Rattan Armchair is $195 from Kok Maison.

Above: A Brigitte Rattan Armchair is $195 from Kok Maison.
A taupe gray Piano Armchair is $425 from One Kings Lane.

Above: A taupe gray Piano Armchair is $425 from One Kings Lane.
A Venice Rattan Chair with a frame that was steamed and bent into shape by hand is $498 from Serena & Lily.

Above: A Venice Rattan Chair with a frame that was steamed and bent into shape by hand is $498 from Serena & Lily.
Handmade of natural fiber, a rattan Albacken Armchair is $79 from Ikea.

Above: Handmade of natural fiber, a rattan Albacken Armchair is $79 from Ikea.
A rattan Woven Malawi Chair is made with bamboo and has a solid blue gum tree wood frame; it is $399 from CB2.

Above: A rattan Woven Malawi Chair is made with bamboo and has a solid blue gum tree wood frame; it is $399 from CB2.
A stackable, woven Agen Armchair with a bamboo frame is $79 from Ikea.

Above: A stackable, woven Agen Armchair with a bamboo frame is $79 from Ikea.
Made of rattan, a Bagatelle Armchair “is a tribute to belle époque—the beautiful era—that took place in the last century, during which gardens, parks, and cafes are adorned by furniture in the same design language as these beautiful armchairs,” notes retailer Artilleriet. It is 2,550 SEK (about $275 US).

Above: Made of rattan, a Bagatelle Armchair “is a tribute to belle époque—the beautiful era—that took place in the last century, during which gardens, parks, and cafes are adorned by furniture in the same design language as these beautiful armchairs,” notes retailer Artilleriet. It is 2,550 SEK (about $275 US).

This content was originally published here.

Dreaming About Spring at the Suburban Indy Home & Outdoor Living Spring Show

outdoor living

Are you in need of some home and garden inspiration? It’s not too early to start planning your garden and home improvements now. Head to Grand Park Events Center in Westfield for the Suburban Indy Home & Outdoor Living Spring Show, which is happening Feb. 8 through Feb. 11. Browse from over 200 exhibitors and connect with local, suburban business to discuss landscape, home improvements and home building needs, as well as sample and purchase local food and shop from local artists. You can also check out some local garden businesses to get ideas for your garden (gardening season isn’t that far away!), and see what the trends are for the spring.

The main area is where you can find vendors for all areas of home improvement, including roofing, flooring, deck repair, painting and kitchen remodels. There are also vendors who sell the more fun stuff, like ponds and waterfalls, hummingbird feeders and outdoor fire pits. All around the center are gazebos, mini rooms and patio displays that you can walk into and sit down. You can really get a sense of what your remodeled home or garden would look like! It’s nice to dream, if only for a few minutes.

The Neighborhoods Marketplace, which is situated around the main area, is great to browse and see local artists and vendors showcasing their art and unique, handmade, artisan products. It’s also a good place to much on samples of delicious, Indiana-made food and treats. On our visit, we picked up some samples of flavored popcorn, fudge (yum, pumpkin spice fudge) and beef jerky.

The last day of the home show (Feb. 11) is Kid’s Day, and will include an all-day schedule of fun for little ones. Families can enjoy performances and meet-and-greets by princesses and superheroes (think Spider-Man, Batgirl and Wonder Woman). There will also be magic shows, crafts, and face painting. Kids 12 and under are free to all days of the show, including on Kid’s Day.

One of the nice things about visiting the Suburban Indy home show is that 10% of the price of your ticket benefits the Boys & Girls Club of Noblesville. The money that is raised will go toward providing science kits and scholarships to attend camp. Your ticket is a win-win for everyone: You get some ideas for your home, and kids in need get a helping hand!

The Suburban Indy Home & Outdoor Living Spring Show is held at Grand Park Events Center (19000 Grand Park Blvd., Westfield). The show runs from Feb. 8-11, 2018, and show hours are Thursday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $10 when purchased at the door. Tickets purchased online are $5 and buy one get one free. Kids 12 and under are free. For more info and to purchase tickets, visit https://suburbanindyshows.com/spring. Use the PROMO CODE: Indyschild, for a 20% discount!


Nicole Sipe is a freelance writer and editor in Indianapolis. A Southern California native, she enjoys exploring Indy with her husband and two sons.

The post Dreaming About Spring at the Suburban Indy Home & Outdoor Living Spring Show appeared first on Indy’s Child Parenting Magazine.

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Multislide doors create indoor-outdoor living – Las Vegas Review-Journal

outdoor living

With the newest Toll Brothers community in The Cliffs in Summerlin, homeowners are getting a front-row seat to its namesake at Granite Heights.

The private gated community is at its closest point to the Spring Mountains with a background of picturesque cliffs and ridgelines along with views of the Strip.

It’s the essence of indoor and outdoor living with three, one-story models with open floor plans designed for entertaining.

Michele Tancredi, the sales manager for Granite Heights, said The Cliffs is taking shape on the area’s terraced landscape, which she said has set the tone for the village’s look blending with the environment.

“It’s an exclusive, beautiful community and enclave of homes up against the Spring Mountains, and it’s quite spectacular,” Tancredi said. “It’s a nice location. It’s 10.5 miles from the airport and the same distance to the center of the Strip. You have Bishop Gorman here, which is a pretty sought-after school and Downtown Summerlin nearby.”

Granite Heights opened a year ago as part of a sister community and has 85 lots with base homes prices starting at $803,995. Some of the homes exceed $1 million for upgrades that can include design and structural options.

The sister community is Ironwood, a single-story enclave of 77 lots that’s just below Granite Heights.

While Ironwood has homes between 2,500 and 2,800 square feet and has prices in the $500,000s, Granite Heights has larger homes between 3,156 and 3,291 square feet with a three-car garage as standard.

The models at Granite Heights offer three to five bedrooms and from three to five baths. Ceiling heights ranges from 10 feet to 16 feet.

“They all have private courtyards because indoor-outdoor living is what we’re going for with these designs,” Tancredi said. “These are brand new plans for Toll, and we’re proud to roll them out. The trend is modern contemporary at the moment, and these homes were thoughtfully designed keeping in mind that we’re at the base of the Spring Mountains.

Just being nestled and cocooned in this beautiful enclave is something that lends itself to these plans.”

The three models are single-story as part of a theme of open flow and multislide pocket doors provide that indoor/outdoor living experience, and private courtyards are an extension of the living space and giving a sanctuary feel, Tancredi said.

“Our homes suit everyone’s needs,” Tancredi said. “We’re family-suited. If you’re family of four, five or six, we can accommodate those needs and if you’re coming in from out of town it’s a second home for you, we can accommodate that as well. Our homes are very transitional in that sense.”

The largest of the three models at 3,291 square feet is the Quartz floor plan. It is modeled as three bedrooms, but can have four bedrooms or a pocket office option.

It features expansive sliding glass doors that open up the great room to a covered patio. The master bedroom features a master bath and king-sized walk-in closet, while secondary bedrooms each include walk-in closets and full baths.

A gourmet kitchen has a waterfall island opening to the wet bar.

“The Quartz plan is open and thoughtfully designed,” Tancredi said. “The gourmet kitchen is very special about this plan. You have a really large open island here and state-of- the-art built-in appliances. We feature high-end finishes in our homes, and you have lot of beautiful cabinetry. It lends itself to family gatherings and entertaining. The wet bar is something you can choose for home, and if you don’t, you can have a secondary dining area almost the same size as the formal dining area. There’s really multiple choices of entertaining spots around the house. Even outside in covered (patio), you can have your flat-panel screen mounted to watch Sunday football games or music playing out there for a barbecue with family and friends.”

There are multislide pocket doors that are structurally engineered and designed for the house inside a pocket of the interior of the home. There’s a complete and open space as the doors disappear into the wall.

The Quartz is the lone model with a corner pocket door with two sides opening instead of one in the other models, Tancredi said.

“It’s a forward contemporary look,” Tancredi said. “The thought is to open up the indoor and outdoor flow. In Las Vegas, we have sunshine nine to 12 months a year and temperatures cool down in the wintertime, but at least eight months a year these doors are open and people are enjoying indoor and outdoor living.”

The Topaz floor plan spans 3,238 square feet for three to five bedrooms and features an impressive sliding door system that unifies the main living areas with outdoor living spaces, including a covered patio. The master bedroom is complete with a sitting area, dual walk-in closets, a luxurious master bath and covered patio access.

A guest suite overlooks the interior courtyard that can also be a sitting room, workout room, bedroom or office, Tancredi said.

The Onyx floor plan, the smallest of three, is centered around an intimate entry courtyard and offers a den that functions well as a home office, Tancredi said. It spans 3,156 square feet with access to a covered patio, he said. It has three to five bedrooms. There is an option for a multigenerational living area and a courtyard-entry casita with a kitchenette.

“So many people right now have parents who are coming to live or live-in help or older kids coming and going,” Tancredi said. “It has its own living room and attached to bedroom with walk-in closet and full bath.

The cool thing is that it has a sink. You can add some appliances with a refrigerator and dishwasher, and there’s cabinetry. It is really important for families right now.”

The model homes show what people have the ability to do on their own after they close the sale. There could be a spa, barbecue, bar, sitting area and fire pit.

This content was originally published here.

Indoor/outdoor living abounds at foot of Mount Tamalpais in Mill Valley

outdoor living

Twice a week, The Chronicle features a home on the market that caught our eye for its architecture, history or character. More photos: www.sfgate.com/columns/walkthrough Address: 880 Edgewood Ave., Mill Valley Asking price: $4.75 million Description: Set on a 7.24-acre double lot 20 minutes from Stinson Beach, this three-bedroom contemporary home with dramatic proportions is perfect for an indoor/outdoor lifestyle. A 17-foot ceiling crowns a living room that opens to a tile patio with a gas fire pit.

This content was originally published here.

Outdoor Living and Prepping Skills

outdoor living

Outdoor Living and Prepping Skills

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We all need to spend more time outside. There is a nationwide Vitamin D deficiency and that is because we get most of it from the big yellow ball in the sky.

Fluorescent lights don’t make Vitamin D but we spend all our time under those. There have actually been studies about the damaging effects of those lights on our minds and bodies.

Its the reality of how we live.

Now more than ever people are looking to figure out how they can spend more time outside. What can be done to assure they have more time to be under that sun in an enjoyable way. Much of it has to do with the idea of outdoor living. Creating outdoor living spaces or just getting out and camping more often.

Outdoor Living Spaces

When you spend time outside cooking over a fire or looking around nature you can easily start to bolster your prepping skills. This is very easy. Mastering fire just means that you can start playing with different fire starting methods. Trade in the matches for a flint and steel. See what you got.

You can also take note of the trees and plants that are in your area. These could be food, medicine our both!

Camping is a test of your outdoor survival skills, if you do it right. You are going to want to have some comfort items for when you camp but you should mostly focus on living light and using nature to teach you. From land navigation to bushcrafting the camping life gives you all the options.

The time has come for humans to take back their planet and start spending more time outdoors. We need to value our wild places. If we do not put serious value in these wild places they will disappear. They will go to the highest bidder.

After watching recent events unfold and speaking to family and friends, my wife and I decided to start prepping. Preparedness is a big part of our lives now and I would be honored to share some knowledge with you. Here at SHTF Prepping & Homesteading Central we gather the best prepping, survival, homesteading and DIY articles from around the web.
– “Those who prepare today will survive tomorrow.”

Permanent link to this article: https://www.shtfpreparedness.com/outdoor-living-and-prepping-skills/

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