This Old House: Planning and Ideas

Southern Living: Home and Garden

Monday, July 20, 2009

How to Build Your Own Brick Fire Pit


It's exciting to cook outdoors now and then. Also, not only is it a pleasant change of pace to standard kitchen food preparation, there is something about cooking outdoors whjich makes the food taste even better.

Sure there is the easy way to do this with a simple store bought BBQ or hibachi, but to truly get a unique experience, a great taste and make the best culinary experience possible you should really consider trying to build a brick fire pit. This really is the best option for outdoor cooking.

And it's easy to build our own brick fire pit. So set an apt day to do some simple masonry work with the family and follow these seven easy steps.

1. First, we choose a site in our backyard for our brick fire pit. It should be a safe distance from the walls of the house, from the roof, from windows, and from trees. The site should be easy to drain.

2. Dig the pad. It should be 2 to 4 inches deep. As to its size, we decide according to our preferred dimension. Level the pad base of our brick fire pit.

3. We make the forms using 2 by 4 feet woods and screw them together. Screwing makes them easy to disassemble. Then we prepare quick-set cement according to specified mix proportions as indicated on the bag and pour into the pad foundation of our brick fire pit. Then set steel bars in a latus pattern into the concrete before it sets, put a key mark in the concrete and ready the brick fire pit wall plan.

4. Prepare the cement mortar. The usual proportion is 3:1, or 3 parts of sand to 1 part of cement. A stronger ratio is 2:1. The idea is to have a consistency easy to work with-like soft ice cream. Take care not to have it too watery. Mortar for our brick fire pit should be mixed well to attain a balance of components.

5. Build the brick fire pit wall. To lay the bricks, put enough mortar on our key mark including the underside and ends of the bricks. The bricks should steadily rest on the mortar. Adjust until they are standing upright and sturdily on the mortar. Do this level by level with the aid of a string for alignment.

6. The string should be perfectly horizontal and the top edge of the bricks parallel to it. We may also use a Leveler for this purpose. A brick should be on top another in an overlapping (not directly over) manner. Overlap should be half the brick size. This strengthens our brick fire pit.

7. For metal grills, insert them within the brick fire pit walls at a desired height. The top of the wall may be capped with special bricks or stones.

So there we have it. A day after the brick fire pit is constructed it's ready for use. We can start enjoying outdoor grills with the family and friends.

John Grant is a the author for a how to site where he is writing articles about how to build a brick fire pit.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=John_Grant

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Outdoor Fireplace Plans Made Simple


The outdoor fireplace trend is really catching on these days with everyone getting one for the backyard or lawn or some other outdoor place. And it makes a lot of sense too, because unless it is storming, raining or snowing outside, why should we just sit inside our homes instead of enjoying some time outside in the fresh air. Outdoor fireplaces give you that freedom to gather outdoors with your friends and family and make it a fun day or night out.

Building or purchasing an outdoor fireplace is not very complicated, all you need is a bit of planning and some basic understanding of fireplaces are meant to work. There are popular designs all around for you to choose from and depending on what you decide to get, it can serve you for a lifetime and more.

When you are building fireplaces, you will need to follow the local established rules. These are mainly rules regarding smoke dissemination and the usage of the right kind of firebricks. You can go for the ever-popular Mexican styled chimney fireplaces called Chimineas. These are marked by their typical shape - the ire chamber at the bottom and a chimney attached at the top of the chamber. They come in all different shapes and materials.

To make something like this out of firebricks, you have to first make a bowl like burning chamber that will let up at the top. At the top you can build a stack and make it the chimney. This sort of a design really helps with the airflow in the chamber and helps the fuel, which is usually wood, burn faster. With the chimney at the top, you do not have to worry about redirecting the smoke or any such hassles when you are just starting the fire.

Chimineas are also available ready-to-use at a lot of places. They are made out of terracotta, cast-iron, cast-aluminum and even copper. Although copper is a much better conductor heat, cast-iron Chimineas can actually last you a very long time, an entire lifetime in fact. This actually goes for all types of heavy outdoor fireplaces that are made out of cast-iron.

Other than the built and readymade Chiminea styled fireplaces, there are also other options available. These are mainly the fire-pit and fire-bowl styled fireplaces. Whilst the last two types were not portable, these usually very portable. Some of them that are meant to stay off the ground and stand on legs have a wheelbarrow type design to move them around.

Others are usually meant to be kept directly on the ground and can be easily moves around. Both these types have a bowl inside which the fire can be lit and they have lids that can cover the fire so that so embers or sparks fly out. The downside is that they are not too efficient in burning the fuel and dissipating the smoke. The upside is that they look pretty good, some of them can be used for cooking on open fire and they are also very cheap to get.

Article Directory: http://www.articledashboard.com

For Outdoor Fireplace Plans, visit Fireplaces A to Z.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Building a Concrete Patio in Your Backyard


If you want to enjoy the outdoor spaces of your house, then building a concrete patio would serve the purpose very well. If care is taken to construct the patio without any flaws, then such a place can be used to great advantage and help the family in having a great time.

In today's world where there is a very high demand for the casual style of living, a backyard patio is an extremely valuable feature of the house. You can build your patio in such a manner that it blends with the ambience of your house and stands out as a place to relax, unwind and de-stress yourselves. If you are the partying kind, then this will be the perfect place for you to entertain your friends and family. Having intimate barbecues is also possible in the backyard patio and if you adorn it with comfortable chairs and tables, it will be the place where the majority of the family is heading towards most of the time.

The material for a modern patio that will give you least trouble along with presenting an aesthetic appearance is decorative concrete. This looks very similar to actual stone and the designs that are available in this material can even better the look provided by natural stone, flagstone, bricks, slate etc. There used to be a time when people preferred stone patios but today the scenario has changed due to factors like cost and minimal usage of stone which makes the use of decorative concrete much more feasible and beautiful. The greatest advantage with decorative concrete is that it will give a very natural look to the patio and you will feel entirely at home because of this material.

Another reason for the popularity of concrete patio is that installation is relatively simple as concrete can be easily molded into the shape that you desire. In addition, the gigantic proportions of concrete works as well as single stone blocks that are laid for constructing the patio. With concrete, you also have the option of a huge variety of shades and the flexibility of having stunning textures and surface designs that make the whole patio very artistic.

All you need to remember is that the thickness of your concrete slab should not be less than 4 inches. Before you plan to build the patio, the backyard has to be readied so that pouring the concrete onto the ground will not present any problems. Since concrete needs a base, the ground should be dug up to 6 inches and filled with crushed stone or gravel. After this, further strength has to be imparted to the base with the help of iron that is placed in the form of rocks below the gravel. Once the concrete is poured, it will take four or five days for it to be completely set and fulfill its function as a patio.

Adam Peters is the author of more resources published online. For additional information on wood deck rails have a look at his web http://www.deck-porch-railings.com/wood-deck-railings.html
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Adam_Peters

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tips on Choosing the Best Deck Materials


Decks are significant components of outdoor living. An outdoor is an ideal place to entertain visitors for meals, a few drinks or outdoor parties. Outdoor also provide a quiet environment to have a conversation, to study or to sit and relax. A deck is a great spot to imbibe hot drinks on cool nights or cold drinks when the weather is very hot.

An outdoor has many uses. Its varies in different designs and styles. When you are planning to build your own deck, you have to decide on different variables. The are many types of decks such as pool, low backyard, high, spa and rectangular decks as well as octagonal, splash pool and wooden deck. There are also roofed decks, decks with sub umbrellas or a gazebo, decks with structures on them like arbors, cabin and other item to make your deck a beautiful one for a quiet relaxation.

Rectangular decks are the most usual systems. It is also the easiest to build. There are numerous applications for rectangular such as tiered, sundecks and patios systems. The octagonal decks are a perfect addition to several outdoor spaces. This is great for hot tub, beach and barbeque decks areas. Splash pool plans are a great addition for many above-the-ground pools. This is an inexpensive way to turn your garden into a family reception.

There are several ways to construct a deck. Some start with the posts cemented onto the ground. If your deck is not high off the ground, you can dry pack the posts combined to the wall. Keep the hole larger than the post and pour the blend into the hole. Then, pack the post down as hard as you can. It will blend with the moisture in the ground and provide the concrete the exact blend it needs. Another recommendation of experts is to use deck screws instead of nails because it does not back out from the heat.

When throwing a neighborhood party or entertaining friends and family, decks are one of the most adaptable places for this. Seats around the borders of the deck allow space for plenty of visitors. If there are numerous levels of your deck, you can essentially have two functions going on at the same time.

Steps on choosing the best deck materials:

The first step is to look for different materials. Woods are the most common and popular. However, each type has their pros and cons. Wood does not require regular maintenance but it is more susceptible to splintering, warping and rotting.

There are many different types of wood deck materials to choose from. Each has its own aesthetic quality. Hence, composite deck materials are a combination of waste wood products and plastic. It will not splinter or rot as well. It is also not prone to paints or stains. These composite deck materials are significant to install according to the manufacturer instructions.

The second step is to analyze your budget because all your options in deck materials come in wide range of costs. Classic options like pressure-treated lumber are deemed as the cheapest of various types of deck materials. Other woods like redwood and cedar are essentially resistant to rot but they are higher in price. Plastic and composite deck materials are more expensive, with the cost ranging from one to three US dollars per linear foot.

For more information on Deck Designs Colorado and Deck Designs New Mexico, please visit our website.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=David_Urmann

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fire Pits - Fun In Your Backyard


Have you ever considered adding a fire pit to your backyard? A fire pit can be great fun in summer, particularly on those nights when it starts to get a little chilly. It's a great excuse to having friends and family around, so that you can enjoy the great outdoors in comfort.

In the past many people built their own fire pit, but nowadays there are so many options available for purchase that there's no need to put yourself to so much trouble. Home shops generally stock fire pits, and some designers specialize in producing unique fire pit designs. Fire pits are available in all sorts of materials and designs, everything from traditional to modern, so you're sure to find something that matches your outdoor decor.

There are also portable fire pits available, which can be great if you like to spend time going on picnics or camping. With the right cooking device, a portable fire pit can be used both for warmth and to prepare a meal.

Some people prefer a wood fire pit, probably because it reminds them of long summer evenings with their parents or grandparents, but there are also gas fire pits available. Gas can be much simpler, as there's no need to source firewood. Many fire pits have mesh sides, which make it easier to watch the flames inside, as well as allowing the warmth to escape. There are also other accessories available to make it easier to clean and enjoy your fire pit.

If you enjoy being outside, then a fire pit will be a fun and practical addition to your backyard. It can generate enough heat to keep you comfortable when the night turns chilly, and nearly everybody enjoys watching the flickering of flames. A fire pit can also be more practical when you’re out and about. So buy yourself a fire pit, and start planning some parties with family and friends to celebrate your new purchase. You'll soon find that you have such a great time, you might find it hard to make your visitors go home!

If you want to read more about fire pits, click over to Josh's site at http://www.infoaboutfirepits.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Josh_Walker

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Patio Fire Pits


The long summer evenings mean we have even more time to enjoy our outdoor spaces, and if you have your own veranda to relax on then you will find it easy to spend more and more time outside in the fresh air.

Of course this kind of area is just the beginning of how to enjoy your garden. It takes a few finishing touches to really make it desirable and more stunning to the eye. One great example of how to make the most of your patio area or veranda is by adding a fire pit to your overall design.

Fire pits are exactly what they sound like – a manmade pit in which you can build a roaring fire to keep you warm during the late summer evenings. But instead of being built on the ground they are now designed in a modern way, using materials such as stainless steel and cast iron to create a free standing structure that can be placed wherever you wish.

Styles vary considerably, ranging from ultra modern designs to more basic fire pits are more traditional in appearance. Some of them also have built in grills which allow you to use them as a simple kind of barbecue – and there is nothing quite like tasting a burger cooked over a flaming fire pit!

A fire pit will make your outdoor patio even more user friendly than it is at the moment. They give off a lot of heat, enabling you to stay outdoors far longer into the evening than you may be able to do otherwise. You might also want to light it during the day if it is a bit chilly and you still want to sit outside for a while.

Many fire pits have mesh covers that sit over the top, but even those that do still get very hot while in use (and for some time after the flames are put out). This means you need to be particularly careful if there are any children playing nearby. It can be a good idea to situate the fire pit well away from any play area, or anywhere too close to a doorway or step where an accident is more likely to occur.

Fire pits are very safe provided they are located in the right place and used properly, but it is always advisable to follow a few simple rules to ensure that nothing untoward occurs. For example make sure you don’t place it too close to any other structure, otherwise there is a risk of scorching and burning. Another point to bear in mind is that while the wood inside the pit is burning, none of it should be hanging over the edge of the pit itself. It should all be sitting safely inside it.

One final point is to make sure your plants are safe. It’s easy to forget the presence of hanging baskets containing flowers that trail down outside of them. Even if they don’t actually burn, many flowers don’t enjoy extreme heat like this and you may end up losing some of them if the fire pit is too close by.

Install-a-Veranda is Australia's leading supplier and installer of verandas, patios, pergolas and carports. For a free consultation please visit Patios.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Fire Pit Ideas For Your Back Yard Design

On a cold fall afternoon or on a cool evening summer evening, sitting around on your back yard with a fire pit is definitely full of fun. You can do what you want their with your family or with your love ones. Indeed, you can grill some food their to enjoy the life of doing a picnic while inside your territory. This way your fire pit will no longer just be just an ordinary furniture in your back yard, but will really become part of the scenery in your place, just like having an attractive fire pits, whether it is a gas, wood generated, patio fire pit, etc. Hence, your design will become fully part of your living area.

There are a lot of models or styles, if you may, that you may explore using when you are designing your back yard or your outdoor area. For you to only spend less cost for your fire pit, you may, of course, take advantage of the patio furniture that you already have in your back yard, and all you have to do is to place it around the fire pit, which you think and see that will be a good layout.

To give you some ideas of a good layout in your back yard, you may try considering placing garden benches around the fire pit because their presence will look attractive. You have to choose, of course, benches that would match up the color or design of your fire pit. Stone benches or iron benches will actually suffice. It will definitely suit in with the fire pit you have in your back yard. Having these things in your back yard will surely make your territory look great.

Director chairs, swings, sling chairs, etc, are all some attractive seating alternatives you may place around your fire pit. If you feel like seating there as a director, you may place a director chair there, and for sure it will invite you more to keep coming back there during your free time. Benches that are made for a family setting are also good to place there especially when your family love to stay outdoor during your free time. Of course, aside from chairs, you also need side tables where you could place your food or other things that you may bring in while you are outdoor.

For many more fire pit ideas, please visit http://onlyfirepits.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jessie_James_Marcellones

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Patio Fire Pits - Choosing Which Type to Have in Your Landscape

Patio fire pits are a popular outdoor feature in recent years. If you think you might enjoy the atmosphere of sitting outside with a cozy fire glowing, you might consider adding a fire pit to your landscape design. The enjoyment is enhanced if nice seating is located near it to enjoy the view, warmth and general ambiance.

Fire pits can be built in or portable. They can be wood burning for a true rustic experience, or they can be operated by gas.

The gas method can be either natural gas or propane. If natural gas is used, a gas line must be installed. Using a propane tank is more simple, as a flexible connection is supplied between the tank and the fire pit.

Built in fire pits are typically wood burning. Walls are built around it which have a few purposes. The walls are often stone or brick. Both the wall itself and stone or brick help with heat retention. Walls also can help to prevent sparks from escaping. Lastly, walls can serve as seat walls, where you can sit close to the fire. For seating, the walls should be between eighteen and twenty four inches high. They should be between twelve and eighteen inches deep.

Portable fire pits (if using wood or a propane gas tank) can be moved, which is a nice feature. It can be used in another location. For example, perhaps it is usually kept on your patio and you are having a pool party and want to use it there for the evening? It can also be removed from the patio in the heat of the summer, when it will not often be used, so that more useable patio space is available. If it is very hot, you won't be using it. The option of taking it away is a nice one. You won't have to have something there that does not function.

Fire pits can be purchased in various materials, although copper and steel are common. Copper ones will develop their own natural patina over time and are quite beautiful. You will find many that are raised with metal legs. Some are so attractive that they can become a focal point in your landscape. There are some that are enclosed with glass for safety. Wood burning portable fire pits often have screens to contain any sparks.

Fire pits can be used on patios, pool decking, lawn areas and even decks. When using one on a deck, special kinds must be purchased, approved for safety due to the wood decking in the area. I came across one that is enclosed with glass panels.

When locating a fire pit, place it in an area that can become a separate place for conversation or just quiet seclusion. The most common place to locate one is a patio, since this is usually the sitting area on your property. Add some furniture near it. Attractive benches, chaise lounges, outdoor sofas and the like work well. If it is visual from a dining table, even better!

Susan Schlenger is a Landscape Designer with a degree in Landscape Architecture. You can read more about Patio Fire Pits at her website.

You might also be interested in learning about Outdoor Living Rooms.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Susan_Schlenger

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Why Ipe Wood Decking? – Get The Best In Tropical Hardwood

Ipe wood decking brings you the best tropical hardwood you can have for a beautiful long lasting deck. This is the best wood for decking that you will find anywhere in the world and is one of the reasons that most homeowners in California prefer to use it when building decks. The dense wood that Ipe uses in its decking has excellent durability properties and performs well in all environments, regardless of extremes of weather. Once you see the selections of Ipe wood decking, you will be automatically sold on the product and nothing else will do.

Ipe decking is rated very highly for being resistant to rot and decay. Ipe wood decking has also been rigorously tested and has a high fire resistance rating without needing any additional treatment. With Ipe decking, California residents enjoy the look and feel of real wood on the decks of their homes and the lasting natural beauty that it brings. You can get the Ipe boards in lengths of 6 feet to 20 feet, although if you need planks longer than that for your decking, you can place a special order for them.

With Ipe wood decking, you get the magnificent look of tropical hardwood. There are natural variations of color throughout the wood of Ipe decking and very few knots. You can stain this wood, but when they install Ipe decking, California residents like to leave it natural. Under the California sunshine, Ipe wood turns a beautiful silver color when you let it age naturally. The same thing applies to the aging process of the wood in any location.

Just as with composite decking, when you install Ipe wood decking, you will have little or no maintenance. The tropical wood of Ipe decking will not splinter and is resistant to shrinkage, cupping and twisting. In order to fasten the Ipe decking, California experts recommend using stainless steel screws. This is because when the Ipe wood is screwed to the frame, the screws will not work loose or pop up. Since the stainless steel is resistant to corrosion, you will never have to worry about rust developing around the heads of the screws on the decking.

Ipe wood decking is one of the strongest materials you can choose as your decking material. It is able to withstand heavy loads and will keep its natural beauty year after year. At various times of the year, Ipe retailers have sales events in California and other locations. You can also get great prices on Ipe wood decking when you check online. In addition to having an elegant deck, you can realize exceptional savings.

To find out more about Decking visit Peter's Website The Decking Guide and find out about IPE Decking and more, including Wood Decking, Composite Decking, Trex Decking and Pool Decking.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Peter_Leigh

Friday, July 10, 2009

Building a Patio or Deck

This time of year with the changing of seasons it is one of the best times to build an outdoor patio or add a deck to your home. Spring is the perfect weather for being outside with a major project at hand. You won't have to worry about being too hot or too cold. You can just enjoy the work and make a nice outdoor living space to relax on during the summer when months are too hot to do much of any thing. You can just enjoy the outdoors with a comfortable hammock or a beautiful set of Teak outdoor furnishings what ever you prefer.

Measuring the space available for the patio should be one the first things that you do. You will want to make sure you purchase enough materials the first time so that you do not have to run back to the store every five minutes for one more piece of wood or one extra patio paver.

Measure twice before you began to purchase your material. If you are using patio pavers you want to know the measurements of one that you plan to use because they come in so many different sizes and styles.

Once you have all the materials, you will want to mark out the measurements of the patio. You want to make sure the spot you have chosen is completely level. You do not want any wobbly stones to create any safety hazards. I like to place black paper down if I am going to use the patio pavers. This will prevent any grass from growing up through the pavers causing a problem with weeds. If you are planning to build a deck there is a lot more work to be done. You will have to set your post in cement or on cement blocks making sure the heights of all you poles match up to create a level platform. While you are building the frame you will want to continue to check to make sure that everything is still correctly positioned before you add the final deck boards.

The size of the patio or deck you will be building will help you decide on what kind of furniture you wish to purchase. You will want to allow for plenty of room for moving around the furniture so that you are not constantly dealing with moving pieces around. There are many different pieces of outdoor furniture that can accommodate just about any deck or patio. You might just want enough room for a small set or enough to have room for the entire family. There is something to please everyone.

Whether you are seeking a nice set of outdoor garden furniture or some new bedroom furniture you should come see us at FarAway Furniture.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Designer Tips on Decking Construction

Decking has become a popular solution to maximizing outdoor living space. With constant exposure to the environment, decking needs to be able to withstand all external conditions including fire hazards, insect damage, the sun, rain and windy conditions. When designing a deck you must factor in all of the local conditions in your area and select decking materials that will provide superior strength, longevity and dimensional stability.

There are a number of different materials that can be used for a deck's frame and covering.

Lets start with the Frame...

Primarily there are two choices for decking frames - steel of timber. Most steel frames comprise of colorbond steel bearers, joints and reinforced steel posts. Steel frame decking is quick to install and ideal for using in fire hazard areas. Timber frames can include timber for bearers, joists and posts or a combination of timber frame with steel posts. If selecting a timber frame for your deck then there is a choice of either hardwood or softwood such as treated pine.

Decking Materials

With the deck covering you can use a number of different hardwoods such as Merbau, Tallow wood, Ironbark and more. Hardwood is naturally more durable and resistant to insect damage and is the strongest choice in timber decking. Treated pine can also be used as decking material. The most common sizes of timber boards used for decking construction are 70mm, 90mm and 140mm.

An alternative to timber decking is 'compressed fibro sheeting' which then gets tiled over. The compressed fibro sheeting with tiles is one of my favorites because the finished product looks like a concrete slab but without the high costs. This method works best with steel frames and posts as they allow much less movement than timber. A compressed fibro deck if built correctly will last for over 30 years.

Handrails

There are many styles of handrails to complement your deck including tubular (pool fence type), stainless steel wires, glass or timber. The most popular style tends to be tubular because it is cost effective, looks great and is maintenance free.

Stairs

If your deck is elevated or requires stair access then just like deck construction, there are a number of different materials available for stairs. Including a steel welded stringer with timber treads, or a full set of hardwood or treated pine stairs.

Timber decking is ideal for sloping blocks, to cover old concrete patios or as an alternative to paving. Timber decking can be built at the same level as your existing floors to facilitate a smooth transition from indoors to outdoors. When designing a timber or steel frame deck remember that north facing decks are the best positioned to receive the winter sun and summer shade.

Tip Don't forget to protect timber decks with a quality timber finish such as decking oil or timber stain.

Greg Jacobs is a leading designer of pergolas, patios and outdoor entertaining structures and is the founding director of Pergola Land a successful Pergola Company based in Sydney, Australia. Greg and his team at Pergola Land (www.pergolaland.com.au) have been designing and constructing top quality pergolas, patios and carports for Australian customers for the past 10 years. Pergola Land specialize in customized pergolas, patios, carports, sail shades, opening roofs, privacy screens, awnings and decking.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

How To Choose an Outdoor Fire Pit

It always pleasurable for all the family to assemble together and chill out al fresco on balmy summer evenings but what do you do in the fall or spring when evenings are chilly but you still want to be outdoors? You could put up a backyard fireplace but this can be quite a considerable job and you can’t take it with you if you move. One solution could be to use an outdoor fire pit. Fire pits produce the look and warmth of a campfire to your deck or garden but in a very controlled and protected way. Additionally a lot of fire pits are transportable, so you can take them on trips or if you move address, or move them around on your terrace or backyard to a more suitable point.

Fire Pit Styles & Designs

Fire pits can be purchased in a diversity of distinct styles including a fire bowl design, camping rings, chimney style or tabletop fire pits. Also they come in a range of sizes from about 25 inches in diameter, medium up to 35 inches, and extremely large up to 50 inches which are just about as big as a patio table! Of course your finances and the area where you are going to position your fire pit will determine which size you should buy. Low-cost fire pits for approximately $99 are obtainable but they may not survive for any length of time, two or three seasons at the most. Metal in these economical models tends to be thin and prone to rusting and often screens are not very well-made and can disintegrate. At the other extreme there are fire pits powered by gas from roughly $500 to more than $2500 which will keep going for many years.

Fire Pit Accessories

In addition to your outdoor fire pit you may also want to acquire a number of accessories. As a rule fire pits are supplied with a screen to prevent sparks from being a danger but they often become twisted and broken down through use. An added accessory that is functional is a grill so you can cook on your fire pit! If you are going to leave it outside then you certainly must have a fire pit cover to shield it from the elements. Some also come with tables.

Fire Pit Safety

At all times study the manufacturers directions before you make use of your fire pit. It is not a good proposal to use an outside fire pit on a wood deck, a cement or tile floor or outside on the ground is much safer. You ought to also make certain you don’t use it near to anything that is inflammable such as fences, trees or other wooden items. Piled up dry grass or other dried plant material is also flammable so be cautious if you have just mowed the lawn!

Fire Pit Portability

When you choose the type of outdoor fire pit to buy consider if you want it to be portable. Some of the outdoor gas fire pits are weighty and not really effortless to move. Smaller, lighter fire pits can be transported around or taken with you on trips or to the beach

For more information and some good deals on fire pits visit Outdoor Fire Pits or Outdoor Gas Fire Pits.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Furnish Your Backyard With Modern Outdoor Furniture

As you want to spend leisure time outside your home with your family and friends, there will be no other place that can give you a comforting ambiance than having a well furnish backyard. Balconies, backyards and deck can be the focal point of your house extension. Having a good and appealing indoor furniture, it will not be hard on your part to think of the furniture that you can have as your outdoor furniture.
An outdoor wicker deep seat sets are the latest trend in complementing your backyard. The wicker is made of poly resin which is very durable under the different weather elements. Wicker sectional has been very popular as modular pieces can meet the customer’s needs. Many people are choosing intimate wicker deep seating to set in entertaining with style and comfort.

Cast aluminum is rust free and can be left outdoor for all year round. This material is far from that plastic furniture that bleached with the sunlight. Cast aluminum is clearly the choice of most people because of its durability with the test of weather and proven to be long lasting.

Sunbrella fabrics are the most sought after outdoor fabric perfect for any cushion. These fabrics are mildew resistant and can protect you from UV rays. . The fabrics of your sunbrella come in different color without worrying to fade quickly. Cushions are can be left outdoor and can withstand to any elements. Sunbrella has hundreds of designed fabrics to choose from, it will depend on you which you want you want as your outdoor furniture.

Now there is newly introduce reticulated cushion foam. This foam provides drain ability while maintaining its form and comfort. It can avoid the traditional problem with moisture being stuck in the foam after the rainfall. It is manufactured with virtually emission free VPF technology that is proven to be environmentally friendly way to produce polyurethane foams worldwide. With this environmentally friendly and durable, it gives the outdoor furniture cushion a longer life span.

Most people stay with the indoor fireplace every chilling night, what if you want to stay outside your home? Now there are outdoor fireplace that are available in electric, natural gas and ethanol. This has the ability to provide warm to the grand areas and are greatly fit the area as you do the furnishing of the space.

As you list all the needed outdoor furniture you will come up with endless listing. Having outdoor furniture that is durable to any type of weather is the best thing to consider in furnishing your backyard. And with the latest design trends and durability you will end up having a well organized patio where you can spend your leisure time.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Picking The Perfect Patio Furniture

As we spend increasing amounts of time at work, many people have less opportunity for play. Creating a pleasant environment right at home with your patio furniture affords the perfect place to unwind. The simple pleasure of hosting a barbeque, watching a sunset or relaxing on your new patio furniture can serve as a fantastic escape and inject some much needed peace into your busy life.

With this in mind, you should pick patio or deck furniture that you will truly enjoy. As an extension of your home, your patio furniture needs to be held to the same standards of selection as your living or kitchen furniture. The patio is generally immediately off of a main room and can be viewed from the home. For this reason, try to pick patio furniture that will blend with your tastes and existing d├ęcor. The major difference, of course, is that your patio furniture is subjected to more extreme conditions than your settee. Muddy shoes and shedding cats are no match for sleet and snow. The following criteria can aid in your decision making process.

First, you must think about the purpose of your purchase. Do you want a small table and chairs for quiet reflection? Do you enjoy entertaining and hope to invite twenty of your friends on a summer afternoon? Will the eager grandchildren frequently climb on the patio furniture? It is important to consider how you use your patio and what expectations you have for your patio furniture before making any purchases.

The location of your patio is another key in the selection process of porch swings are a whimsical way to relax and create serenity. Novelty chairs, like Adirondacks and rocking chairs, liven up a patio while providing extra space for relaxing.

There’s no need to fly to Paris for a week in order to get away; you can get all of that enjoyment right in your own backyard with the right patio furniture. Follow these guidelines and you should be relaxing shortly with all of the essentials for a beautiful, perfect patio.

Get great tips for furnishing every room of your house. Leah Perry provides insightful advice on purchasing the right patio furniture, caring for your cedar furniture, and much more. Review hundreds of creative ideas at www.PatioandHomeFurniture.com.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Types of Backyard Fire Pits

Having a backyard fire pit is an idea that has been around for years. Backyard fire pits have definitely evolved from the original hole in the ground type. They are now decorative accessories that create an outdoor living area that you can share with family and friends. There are many options available for you to choose from and produce the ultimate warming glow of firelight in your backyard.

Metal Fire Pits

The basic model for a metal fire pit is a large steel ring with decorative cutouts for ventilation and flame viewing. The steel rings can be purchased at most home and garden centers for less than $100. The ring is placed on the ground or in an area that has either sand or stone and the fire is built in the center of the ring. The ring is designed to contain the fire. You could also choose a metal bowl that sets on legs. The bowls are approximately 2 to 3 feet in diameter and are made from copper, steel or aluminum. A metal bowl backyard fire pit ranges from $100 to $500 and can be set anywhere on the patio or lawn. Be aware that the metal bowls will get extremely hot and models with shorter legs could pose a fire hazard if set on a surface that is flammable, such as a wood deck or dry grass. Some of the metal bowl models will come with grills for cooking or wire mesh screens to keep the burning embers from flying around and inside the bowl.

Masonry and Stone

If you want a more permanent, formal backyard fire pit than you might want to consider going with a stone or masonry pit. These fire pits can be as small or as large as you desire or what your backyard area can comfortably support. The fires that you have in these fire pits should never be more than 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet high. You'll want to check and see if there are any specific building or fire codes that you need to conform to prior to building a permanent fire pit. Because brick, concrete block, slate or sandstone is a porous material they can get hot enough for moisture inside the material to cause them to crack or even in extreme cases, explode. You can prevent this from happening by using granite or other nonporous rock to construct stone backyard fire pits or make an inner ring of firebrick that is several feet inside the brick or masonry outer ring.

Gas Fire Pits

You should consider a gas fire pit, which is like a gas barbeque or grill, and runs on either propane or natural gas. Most gas backyard fire pit kits will come with faux logs, lava rocks and sometimes even decorative colored glass. You should avoid inexpensive backyard fire pit gas models that have nothing more than metal tubes with holes for the flames. Typically these types of gas fire pits are not UL-approved and could cause you problems. The nice thing about gas fire pits is that they don't need as much clearance from flammable surfaces as the open flame fire pits and they can usually be used in suburban or urban areas where wood fire are restricted. Backyard fire pits that are gas can be turn on and off instantly. Clean up is also minimal because gas fire pits don't produce ash or embers. There are so many different styles to choose from that you surely can find one model that fits into the backyard fire pit design you have in mind. The disadvantages of a gas fire pit is that you can't cook on them, you typically have to have quite a bit of gas to get the same affect as a wood fire and they are generally more expensive. A gas backyard fire pit can cost between several hundred to several thousand dollars and doesn't quite have the same effect or smell as a wood fire.

Regardless of which style of backyard fire pit you decide to go with, there is no denying the effect of a crackling fire in the great outdoors. It is not only beautiful but there is no way to wind down from a long day than to gaze into a glowing ember, cozy within the warmth of a backyard fire pit.

Jayme Hanson operates an information site about Best Landscaping Ideas. Articles include information on Container Plant Ideas, Small Backyard Designs and Patio Deck Ideas.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Simple Deck Designs

There are several different styles and shapes to a deck design that can easily be incorporated to add a great deal of enjoyment to the outdoor living area. The simplest type of deck design that can be built is a concrete deck or patio design that leads off the back off the house or from a set of deck stairs and steps. Concrete decks are best suited for those houses which are level with the ground as you walk out to the backyard. Of course the only problem with a concrete deck is that it does not offer a great appeal to the eye and does not add much to the look of the backyard landscaping design.

Instead, many home landscaping owners who would really like a deck that adds value and character to their home, spend time and money investing in a wooden deck. Depending on how far your house is set above or below the ground, a concrete slab can be placed there to bring the deck up to level or deck stairs and steps can be added to bring the deck down to the house level. Wooden decks also offer the opportunity for expansion later on, if you or a future homeowner should decide to make the deck wrap around to another part of the house, or to extend further out into the yard.

Before you get started with big landscaping plans for your wooden deck, it is best to check with your city or county zoning laws. Most counties will have rules and regulations regarding how large of a deck you can create, what the dimensions need to be and if there are any other regulations such as attaching the deck to the house or having a freestanding deck. Keep in mind that you will most likely have to require a building permit for your deck, which will result in additional charges before you can get started building your dream deck or even add on a small deck railing.

Of course the easiest solution to building a wooden deck would be to hire someone to do the work for you. Unfortunately prices for building a deck can start out at $500-$1000 for a small deck design but can escalate to a few thousand dollars or more for an elaborate deck with multiple seating areas and a deck railing or deck stairs and steps. Keep in mind that hiring a professional to do the job usually means getting quality work and having the deck finished in a matter of days. On the other hand, if you have at least an entry level knowledge of carpentry, have extra time available during the spring and summer months and would like to take on the project yourself, there are many knowledgeable sources available that can help you through your successful landscaping ideas. One of the first decisions you need to make before starting a do-it-yourself deck project is to determine whether or not you will add a freestanding or attached deck. Often those who choose to do it yourself will choose a freestanding deck because they do not want to deal with the matter of attaching the deck to the vinyl siding or the brick sides of the house, although an attached deck offers easier access from the house.

Another important decision will be talking to hardware stores to determine what type of wood will work well outdoors and be able to withstand possible rain, snow, sleet, or even windy conditions throughout the years. Of course, no matter what deck design you select, you will need to varnish, stain and put a finish on the wood to protect it from the outdoor elements, but there are some types of wood that will do better outdoors than others. Along with determining what type of wood to use, you will also want to research landscaping software programs, landscape articles or deck design books to have an actual plan or design in mind before you begin cutting and nailing boards together. This will help you to visualize the project before you get started and will give you something to help keep you on track as you go through the summer working on your deck project.

For more landscaping advice, tips, and information visit http://www.greatlandscapingideas.com/

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How To Build A Fire Pit – Tutorial

Most of you will already know that a fire pit is just a small pit that you start your very own fire in and sit around enjoying it with friends and family. Fire pits are not a new phenomena and have been enjoyed by families for centuries the world over. There is no denying that a fire pit is great for any family or social gathering, you can all sit around and chat with the warmth and radiance emanating from the fire pit. Not only that, you can even use your fire pit for cooking, when camping with friends or family.

However, how do you go about creating the perfect fire pit? That is probably one of the most asked questions whenever anyone is contemplating how to build a fire pit. The key is to learn the basics about how to build a fire pit and the rest will come naturally. When searching for the perfect place to build your fire pit, look for areas that are not surrounded by other combustible materials that could easily set alight. Look for an area where you can build your fire pit in an open space so you can take full advantage of what the fire pit has to offer.

You need to be sure that wherever you choose to build your fire pit you have found the most idyllic and safe position. Now you can really start considering how to build your fire pit. Next, you need to decide upon how wide you want your fire pit to be, this will all depend on the size of the fire you are trying to create. Make sure you do not decide upon a fire pit that is too big otherwise it will create many problems for you. Most times, it is sufficient to make your fire pit with a circumference of around one to two feet.

With the size selection and measuring out of the way you can start building your fire pit. You will need some marking equipment and some digging equipment. Firstly mark out the shape of you fire pit then start digging away at the dirt and make sure that you go deep enough to accommodate the fuel source you are going to use. With this done you can now get some brick pavers to surround your fire pit this is just for added safety.

Now it is time to get the fire pit ready for use. Add some pea gravel and sand into the fire pit hole. This will form the basis of your fire pit. Let this settle overnight and then tomorrow you can get started on concreting the foundations around your fire pit to give the fire pit the permanency that you are looking for. It is that simple, and to think it was only yesterday that you were wondering how to build a fire pit. Now you have your very own fire pit and you can tell your friends how to build a fire pit for themselves.

Learn how to build a fire pit. Shop the largest selection of fire pits online at http://www.premiumfirepits.com


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Basic Deck Building

If you want to learn basic deck building, there are three steps you need to know. They are plan, build, and trim. I will explain these concepts in this article and show you how to build that deck you always wanted.

The first step in basic deck building is to plan. Determine where the deck is to be located and what the finished product will look like. Take measurements to determine the exact size you want, where the steps are going to be, if there are any doors to consider and where you want the railing to go. Now decide where and how everything will fit together.

Draw a plan showing dimensions, including the details such as the direction the deck boards will run. Is the new deck to be attached to the existing house or not? It is much easier if it is not attached. There will be fewer problems in the future.

Now plan the foundation, including supports. If you have any questions about how to size the support beams, someone at your local lumberyard with access to span tables can assist with the answers. ALWAYS make the beams large enough to support the load you anticipate.

The second step in basic deck building is to build the deck. Dig the holes for the support posts. Be sure to measure carefully as the posts are difficult to move after the concrete has set. Place the header joist at the ends and connect the joist to them either with joist hangers or by nailing through the header joist.

Make sure everything is square and level. Nail the deck boards to the joist, keeping them 1/8 inch apart. Start at the outside edge and work toward the house. Always get the first deck board straight and fit all other deck boards to it.

Nail every deck board with two nails at every joist to help keep things straight and keep the boards from cupping and warping. Cut the ends of the deck boards even with each other by using a chalk line to determine a straight line. The floor now is complete.

To make the railing, take the support post and trim them to a height of 35 inches or whatever the local requirements are in your area. Cut two supports to fit horizontally between the posts. Now cut balusters to fit from top to bottom. Nail the balusters into the previously cut support pieces 3 ½ inches apart. Stand them up and toe nail into the post.

Cap off with a clean (no knots) deck board on top of the post. Cut the corners at a 45 degree angle for a finished look. The third and final step in basic deck building is to trim. Put some lattice around the bottom to keep critters and children out. Stain or wood sealer should be applied after the deck has cured.

If you follow these basic instructions of plan, build, and trim, you should be able to build a wood deck at your home. Check to determine if permits are required. If they are required, the building inspector will make sure you are in compliance with local building codes.

For more in depth instructions on basic deck building, including diagrams, please visit http://www.single-family-home-remodeling.com/deck-building.html today.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Building Decks: Essential Elements That You Should Know

For many homeowners, extending the living space is one of the best ways to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors and at the same take advantage of an extra space for entertaining friends and family members. Decks are among the popular choices these days, as it effectively gives the home exterior a more interesting and welcoming dimension, and allow homeowners to simply laze around and spend the day in comfortable leisure, especially during spring and summer seasons.

However, before you make plans on building decks, there are a handful of considerations that you need to carefully take into account. To help you in making the necessary decisions, there are the important factors in building decks:

Location – ask yourself, where should your decks be constructed? One common characteristic of a sound is when the design is stylishly blended with the rest of the backyard environment, all without being overly visible and obtrusive. If you are lucky enough to have a wonderful view in your yard, then make sure to take advantage of this and showcase its beauty through the strategic placement of your decks. If you have some privacy issues with your neighbors, or want to avoid the traffic noise, then make sure to take all these factors in consideration of your location to eliminate possible problems in the future.

Construction - another important aspect that you need to deliberate on is to whether to have the deck directly connected to your home or not. To help you decide, you need to consider the possible amount of traffic in the said area. This is especially critical when decks are directly connected with the living, as people who walk in an out may disrupt people in the living room, or soil the flooring systems. Some people prefer connecting decks to the kitchen for easier access and enhanced convenience. You can also consider making two connecting doors that will lead to different rooms in the house for a more efficient solution in managing house traffic.

Usage - ask yourself what is the primary reason for building a deck. If you have a rather limited space or if are not really fond of throwing large parties, then a smaller sized deck would be a more practical option for you. Build a deck that would best suit your needs, in consideration to the size of your family, house dimension, as well as the land area of your property.

So now that you know the important elements to consider in building decks, you can now go ahead and make all the necessary plans in stylishly extending your living space.

Get more information about Patio Decks and Home Improvement at ArticleZone.com.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Benefits of a PreMade Fire Pit Patio

DIYers, landscapers, and landscape architects now have a unique and innovative outdoor living item to quickly and affordably enhance their fire pit areas and outdoor living projects. The pre-made fire pit patio. Recently premiered at the Backyard Living Expo, held in Orlando, FL, the response to pre-made fire pit patio was simply overwhelming.

Pre-made fire pits, also known as “pre-cast” fire pits, are produced year-round indoors, under controlled conditions, to ensure the highest quality and consistent product strength.

Each pre-cast fire pit is 10-1/2 feet in diameter, 1-1/2 inches thick, made of reinforced 5,000 PSI concrete, and is cut into eight segments. The 8 segments fit onto one pallet. The standard pallet size is 48" x 48" and approximately 26 inches high. Estimated weight of the pre-made patios is 1550 lbs.

Make the most out of your outdoor living area with this unique and affordable outdoor flooring makeover. The pre-made patio’s patented construction and design will serve you for years to come.

“Pre-Cast” Fire Pit Patio Benefits:

1) Overall costs for these patios will be lower than comparable “poured
in place” concrete patios.

2) Requires less labor and reduced skill levels.

3) Overall faster install time.

4) Can be installed in virtually any weather, year-round.

5) Does not require permits as with permanently installed concrete.

6) Existing landscaping is not destroyed upon installation.

7) No heavy equipment required.

8) Can be easily removed and relocated.

9) Can be installed in inaccessible locations.

Each segment of the pre-made patio can be easily handled by two people and no special tools are required for installation, just ordinary garden tools.

Environmental Benefits:

* Reduced fire hazard from sparks and stray cinders.

* Eliminates erosion around existing fire pits.

* Guests will be drawn to the fire pit area, saving surrounding landscaping.

* Fire pits can be easily relocated, as this product is modular.

* Increased accessibility for handicapped or physically challenged guests.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Modular Outdoor Flooring Deck Tiles


Instantly transform your existing deck, patio or balcony with modular Granite, Slate, Ceramic and Exotic South American Ipe/Brazilian Walnut Decking Tiles for your outdoor living spaces.

No tools required! No nails, screws or adhesives!

Applications:

Concrete Patios, Existing Decks, Balconies, Roof Decks, Sun Rooms, Lanias, Screened In Porches, Basements, Boat Docks, Trade Show Flooring

Place around Hot Tubs, Pools and Spas! Great for Condominium and Apartment Owners!

Design and install your new deck in just hours, as seen on HGTV!