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.


This content was originally published here.

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 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. welcomes opinions from many perspectives. Please refrain from attacking or disparaging others in your comments. 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

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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

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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 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

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Twice a week, The Chronicle features a home on the market that caught our eye for its architecture, history or character. More photos: 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

Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that if you choose to make a purchase SHTFPreparedness may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

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.”

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Tour a 4-Season English Garden Designed for Outdoor Living (16 photos)

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“After” photos by John Glover and Aralia Design

Garden at a Glance
Who lives here: Frankie and John Sheekey and their two children, ages 7 and 8
Location: Essex County, England
Lot size: About one-quarter acre (940 square meters)
Designer: Patricia Fox of Aralia Design

Before: The yard behind the family’s renovated 14th-century home was not always a place of such bucolic charm. “It was previously a very neglected and overgrown area,” Frankie says. Shrubs were overgrown, planting beds had large empty patches that became home to weeds and a pond held stagnant water. There was also an exposed oil tank. Without screening plants, the neighboring house seemed to encroach on the courtyard.

An outdoor upgrade was one of their top priorities when the Sheekeys moved in, and it wasn’t long before they reached out to landscape designer Patricia Fox to help them reimagine the space. Carving out privacy was a main goal from the start, as was creating a low-maintenance garden with year-round interest. “We wanted it to be a joy to look out on [the garden] all year-round,” Frankie says.

After: Fox proposed a complete landscape redesign, including bringing in pleached trees to address the need for more privacy and dividing the flat, open space into multiple outdoor rooms: one for dining, a second for relaxing by a fire feature and a third close to the house for cooking.

Fast-forward past planning and installation and the family now enjoys a dynamic courtyard garden where they entertain friends, eat dinners outside in the summer, barbecue year-round and share their love of nature with their children.

Given that the garden surrounds a 14th-century house (Grade II listing), it was important that any new components tie in with the existing building materials and overall formality of the home. “We stuck to traditional-style materials like Cotswold stone, oak and Jura limestone to give an aged yet modern effect,” Fox says. “The design itself pulled all these elements together in a contemporary way but felt in keeping with the architecture.”

Pleached European hornbeam trees (Carpinus betulus, USDA zones 4 to 8; find your zone) and rows of lavender reflect a traditional, formal planting design. In other areas of the garden, the introduction of ornamental grasses and freeform perennials planted in clumps and swaths, rather than orderly rows, gives the garden a natural meadow-like feel, in line with a more contemporary aesthetic.

Outdoor dining room: A solid oak pergola planted with wisteria vines encloses the outdoor dining room, providing light shade for the eating area and a structural feature for the backyard. As the vines mature, they will eventually blanket the pergola in lush foliage and fragrant springtime blooms. “The oak pergola was a very bold statement,” Fox says. “We wanted to make a real wow feature, while at the same time framing views out to the wider garden.”

The pergola measures 17 feet (5.3 meters) long, 16 feet (5 meters) wide and 7 feet (2.2 meters) tall, providing ample room for a table to seat six to eight people on the Jura Beige limestone patio or host a larger party with cocktail tables. The solid oak beams sit in metal sleeves that act as a protection against water damage and as a contemporary architectural feature of the design.

The pergola opens to a lower slope of the garden, directing one’s gaze down to a lawn with mounded grass terraces.

A zigzag pathway of warm-toned Cotswold gravel and rectangular Jura Beige limestone pavers links the outdoor dining space to a more casual lounge.

The metal-edged walkway winds between beds planted with evergreen boxwoods, arching giant feather grass (Stipa gigantea, zones 5 to 10), chartreuse Mediterranean spurge (Euphorbia characias ssp. wulfenii, zones 6 to 8) bearded iris (Iris ‘Sultan’s Palace’, zones 3 to 10) and English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’, zones 5 to 9).

Backyard lounge: The curved lounge abuts a neighbor’s garage, now covered in a white-flowering climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala ssp. petiolaris, zones 4 to 8). What was once an eyesore for the courtyard now enhances the design.

The lounge overlooks the garden and is the perfect spot to take in the space or keep an eye on children. In the evening the couple can light the freestanding chiminea fire feature to cast a flickering glow and create warmth.

Cotswold gravel forms a compacted floor beneath the seating area and provides a warm tone that ties in with the surrounding grasses.

The material selection and installation technique reduce the gravel’s movement. The Cotswold gravel used here is more angular than traditional pea shingle, making it better at locking in place. Fox’s team used a geotextile membrane beneath the gravel on the path and patio to help form a secure base and then tamped the gravel down to compact it.

Terrace adjacent to house: The third terrace, just off the kitchen and living room, features a grill (not pictured) as well as a pair of chaise lounges set at the opposite end. The reclined seats provide yet another area to tempt the family to get outside and enjoy their backyard.

Large windows in the family room and open kitchen look out onto this courtyard, making the garden very much a part of the home’s interior. “I often work in the summer with the doors flung open to the sunshine and the soft breeze, being distracted by watching the butterflies and bees on the flowers,” Frankie says.

Plantings: Ornamental trees, shrubs, grasses and perennials fill planting beds and provide year-round interest. “It has evergreen structure throughout the year,” Fox says, “but the herbaceous planting provides seasonal color from spring to autumn, with bronzing of the grasses as the summer moves into autumn.”

Flowering perennials and bulbous plants, such as four different types of allium, add color from spring to fall and attract bees, butterflies and other pollinators.

The mix of shrubs and perennials provides year-round interest and requires far less maintenance than planting designs centered around annuals that need to be replaced every season. To keep beds looking neat, the grasses, perennials and box are trimmed back twice a year. All beds are set on timed soaker hoses for irrigation.

Apples and two types of feeders strung on a wire hang from the pleached trees, attracting seed- and fruit-eating wild birds.

The garden has become an integral part of the Sheekey family’s lifestyle — a place for relaxing at the end of the day or hosting friends on the weekend. For the couple’s children, the garden acts as both a play space and an open-air classroom for learning about the natural world. “We enjoy bird watching as a family and raise butterflies during the summer from kits. We have bug hotels in the garden, bird boxes, bat boxes and we also are lucky enough to have a resident hedgehog,” Frankie says.

When asked if the prickly fellow had a name, Frankie says, “The kids couldn’t agree. One called him Mr. Prickles, and the other Boris, so he’s called Mr. B. Prickles.”

This content was originally published here.

Virtual Tour of the Outdoor Spaces of the HGTV® Dream Home 2019 – Outdoor Living by Belgard

outdoor living

As a proud sponsor of the HGTV® Dream Home 2019, Belgard is excited to offer you this virtual tour of the spectacular views and inviting outdoor living spaces of this fabulous mountainside retreat. Plus, beginning at 9:00 am EST on December 28, you can click the link below to enter for a chance to win this amazing home!

Located in the picturesque outdoor paradise of Whitefish, Montana, this year’s HGTV Dream Home was designed to take advantage of the dramatic mountainside views. With an abundance of picture windows and stack-back folding glass walls, this modern mountain lodge offers contemporary indoor-outdoor flow that allows the breathtaking outdoor living areas to be a seamless continuation of the indoor environment.

Outdoor Living Virtual Tour Video

Created by the Belgard Design Studio, this animated photorealistic video will take you on a virtual tour of the pre-construction outdoor living design with an aerial fly-through of the home’s expansive outdoor living room, dining area and porches.

Outdoor Living Photo Tour

Next, peruse images and design commentary of the home’s completed outdoor living spaces.

Outdoor Living Room

The outdoor living room and patio were positioned at an offset angle so as to not interrupt the panoramic skyline of Glacier National Park. The design is anchored by a Bordeaux™ Series Outdoor Fireplace with matching wood boxes. The stacked-stone look of the Bordeaux pieces blends well with the natural environment, adding a rustic elegance to the design. Avalon Slate pavers are laid in a contemporary ashlar pattern to add a modern touch, and feature a slate-like texture and color blend that mimics tones found in the surrounding mountainscape. Wicker sofas, additional bench seating and rustic accessories enhance the eclectic look.

Grill Island and Dining Area

The outdoor living room patio steps down to the dining area to create two distinct outdoor rooms. A Bordeaux™ Series Grill Island coordinates with the stacked-stone look of the adjacent outdoor fireplace. The grill island is positioned to allow the outdoor chef to take in the lovely view of Whitefish Lake during meal prep. The ample patio allows for additional gathering space for entertaining larger groups. Rustic wooden dining furniture lends a classic touch to the space.

Built-In Seat Wall

The chiseled-stone look of Tandem® Modular Grid coordinates with the tones and textures of the paver field, providing the framework for post columns and a built-in bench seat at the foot of the dining area. The seat wall and columns not only add a sophisticated touch to the porch, but provide permanent seating. Throw pillows soften the look, add a touch of comfort and help tie the design together.

Indoor-Outdoor Flow

Every first floor room facing the back of the home features folding glass doors that act as picture windows during the winter months and open to create seamless indoor-outdoor living during the milder months. The kitchen window also features bar seating for indoor-outdoor entertaining. The porch is divided into distinct conversation zones, including a Scandanavian-style hot tub and a cozy private sitting area off of the master bedroom.

Striking Entryway

In addition to the backyard, Belgard also provided Noon Porcelain Pavers for the home’s dramatic entryway. The eclectic design of the entry sets the architectural tone for home’s contemporary/rustic design theme. Stone veneer provides a classic mountain look, but with contemporary color blends. The front door, beams and light fixture offer classic touches that are offset by the landing’s contemporary paver design. Planters add pops of color and a finishing touch to the eclectic look.

All photographs provided by HGTV.

This content was originally published here.

5 Outdoor Living Spaces That Keep True to Nature

outdoor living

Bringing living spaces outside has gotten more and more popular over the years. It’s a great way to blend nature and the modern comforts of home. However, some spaces focus on those modern comforts so much that outdoor elements are all but lost. If you prefer a more organic theme in your outdoor living spaces, we’ve compiled some easy ways to achieve a relaxing vibe outside that doesn’t compromise on nature.

Outdoor Living Spaces Tree Design

A natural tree design keeps an outdoor space grounded. Image: Peters Billiards

Tree design

This highly creative outdoor living space keeps it natural by incorporating a bare tree design. The tree doubles as a place to hang lanterns, adding to the rustic vibe of the space. Floor lanterns contribute to that ambient lighting. Small touches like the plants on the table add splashes of color. Additionally, a light color scheme in the wood flooring, outdoor furniture and roof matches the bare tree and helps it stand out.

Outdoor Living Spaces Fire Pit Plant Life

Surround sitting areas with plant life for a natural accent. Image: Aspen Falls Landscape & Construction

Lining with plant life

Another idea for outdoor living spaces is to surround the space with plant life. That’s what the fire pit area does in the photo above, and the result is breathtaking. People can sit and enjoy the elemental feel of the fire while still being surrounded by gorgeous plant life.

Without the plant life, the stonework alone would have made the space look too bare and modern. This concept also applies to outdoor eating areas, sitting areas and outdoor kitchens; surrounding these areas with plant life brings them that much closer to nature.

Outdoor Living Spaces Winding Bench

Bright colors bring an artsy aesthetic outside. Image: Harold Leidner Landscape Architects

Winding garden seating areas

Everything about the space above screams “fun and artsy.” It shows how you can work a comfy seating area right into the surrounding plant life. The winding design makes the bench seem like it’s part of the garden itself; as a bonus, it also creates visual interest.

What makes the space pop are the bright footstools, cushion piping and throw pillows. These elements allow for a human touch amid the natural landscape, blending the indoors and outdoors. Yet the colors on the throw pillows aren’t out of place: They match other elements in the space, like the pink plants, yellow flowerpot and greenery itself.

Outdoor Living Spaces Water Feature

Water features create a relaxing vibe. Image: Clearwater Summit Group

Atmospheric water features for outdoor living spaces

A great way to keep things looking natural in outdoor living spaces is to place a water feature right by an outdoor seating area. Gazebos or dining spaces become instantly more relaxing if they overlook a water feature.

Surrounding your water feature with trees and other plant life makes the water feature look like it’s part of the scenery, which helps the area look even more natural.

Outdoor Living Spaces Rustic Walkway

Keep your walkways looking natural by using rustic textures. Image: ACM Design Architecture & Interiors

Natural material walkways

An often-overlooked part of outdoor living spaces are the walkways to get from the home to the space itself, but these can also contribute to your natural vibe. Realistic log railings are one way to help the walkway look like it’s not intruding on the surrounding natural space. You might also consider a design like this when lining the outdoor living space itself.

Rustic stone stairways are another easy way to add to the natural feel, particularly if you complement them with stone accent pieces. And don’t forget about lighting: Lighting may be used to accent your stairs or walkway, and they keep things safe at night.

Have you been searching for ways to merge modern sensibilities with an organic, natural vibe? Maybe one of the ideas above appeals to you. If you’re ready to revamp your outdoor living space, we’d love to hear your plans below.

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This content was originally published here.

All-out outdoor living at 1.8-acre Springfield home

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Kelly Fenley @KFenleyRGKelly Lyon @KLyonRG

What’s better than a scrumptious garden with ornate fence, trellised apples, fruit bushes and all kinds of vegetables in raised beds?

How about a 40-foot-long heated swimming pool right next to it.

And what’s better than a swimming pool with scrumptious garden to one side?

How about cute little structures, most of rustic wood, on the other three? Huts for chickens, playhouse for grandkids, arbor for outdoor dining, greenhouse for plant starts and winter lettuce.

It’s like whenever Lisa Bedortha steps outdoors — where she loves to be, even on the rainiest days — you never know what’s going to happen next.

She and her husband, Paul, bought their spacious ranch-style home on 1.8 acres in suburban Springfield about 14 years ago. Since then Lisa has recreated the grounds into one realm or another of imaginative outdoor living, gardening, fun zones and hobby farming.

With a laugh she admits that curious neighbors actually do wander over from time to time and ask, “What are you building today, Lisa?”

Contractors may help bring her projects to life, but she’s the head thinker, tinkerer, designer and groundskeeper of this multimedia landscape. Her creations range from cultured to hillbilly.

“My love is wood, metal and rust. And concrete,” discloses the active grandmother of nine.

In a lighthearted jab, Paul, a commercial Realtor, calls Lisa’s landscape “the money pit.” But Lisa doesn’t miss a beat. “No,” she counters, “it’s the happy money pit.”

Field of dreams

After the Bedorthas bought their home in 2004, Lisa had a blank slate for outdoor living and gardening ideas.

Her ground zero was the home’s sprawling, grassy backyard, bordered by a little creek and tall native oak trees. “This was really nothing, and the deck was bad,” Paul says of the backyard. “She wanted a big project, I think, and this is what she did.”

As in, a cultured, picturesque patio with country and French themes.

Tall pergolas with white columns and brick bases stand guard over more than 2,000 square feet of stained and brushed concrete. In the center, white Adirondeck chairs, made from recycled milk jugs, encircle a metal firepit. “We’ve made a lot of s’mores here,” Lisa says.

Topiary, including boxwood and lavender, nestle inside decorative concrete statuary, and a perennial garden honors the memory of Paul’s late mother.

The Bedorthas’ son, Levi, and his wife, Kelsey, indeed got married on the patio. Lisa treasures that day as her “biggest gift here.”

“Farm” makes a splash

If the Bedorthas’ backyard patio is French country, the newer, westside landscape zone, entered through an arched laurel hedge, is “Splash Mountain.”

Here’s where the sports pool runs right next to Lisa’s fenced raised-beds garden with fruits and vegetables, and where outbuildings like chicken huts and pool house look like rustic, cedar-clad mini-cabins with metal roofs.

“I like to call this my old farm,” Lisa muses.

Lisa built her raised-bed garden first, then, four years ago, she and Paul hired Northwest Pool & Spa to construct the swim pool right alongside it. Far from incompatible, the two spaces fit hand and glove, especially when grandchildren visit.

“This is so nice,” Lisa says. “I can work out here (in the garden) and watch them swim. And it’s a snack place, because they come in here all the time and eat the apples and the blueberries. They pick the carrots and wash them off. So yeah, it’s been great having the garden by the pool.”

Lost Creek Industries milled board-and-batten cedar siding for both the pool house and what Paul calls the farm zone’s “chicken Hilton,” or combination nesting/foraging huts joined by a cute passage just big enough for the hens.

Inside the pool house, pumps, filters and sanitation equipment — mostly UV lighting treatment, along with trace injections of chlorine — keep the circulating pool water clean and healthy.

Outside the pool house, affixed to one of its exterior walls and fenced in for privacy, an outdoor shower plays to the rustic theme with old-fashioned sprayhead and rusty metal soapdish.

Chickens may be cooped up in “the farm,” but grandkids get the run of it. They swim at midnight and celebrate birthdays on the pool’s wide concrete surround. They hunt for tadpoles and frogs in the creek, swing beneath a big oak tree in the meadow-size front yard.

Their play cottage, also by the pool, includes a stereo, fridge and ice maker. Made of salvage materials by Marv and Kathy Colby of Eugene, the vintage playhouse also stores food for outdoor meals underneath an adjacent arbor with concrete patio.

Best part of all

Making memories for family more than rewards Paul and Lisa for their outdoor investments. Grown children Levi, Candace and Bridgette often come with their families.

“That’s like my dream, the kids having this and the memories,” Lisa says. “It’s so important, the time we spend with them. I didn’t really have that growing up, so it means a lot to me.”

She handles most of the property’s groundskeeping, rain or shine.

“I love being outside,” she allows. “I don’t care if it’s pouring down rain, I’ll be out here working in the yard … when you’re out here in the rain, it’s actually really peaceful.”

Perhaps just the right time to plan another project.

Home & Garden editor Kelly Fenley can be contacted at Follow him on Twitter: @KFenleyRG.

This content was originally published here.