Tips for Upgrading Your Outdoor Patio

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Outdoor Living

We spend a lot of time and investments in improving our homes. If we expect guests or company, we will straighten up and make our kitchens and living rooms more welcoming and inviting to our guests; however, with warm weather here, you may be spending more time outdoors. It is easy for our patios to become neglected and outdated, yet these are the perfect areas to invite friends and family. Styles are changing, and it is time to upgrade your patio. Currently, many people aspire for their patio to look like a resort. To help you embrace the relaxing resort lifestyle, here are the three key elements to keep in mind for achieving that dream oasis look:

Patio

Before investing in the aesthetics of the patio, make sure your patio is up to par. Repair all crack, chips, and age damage that you may have, and remove all weeds and overgrown shrubs. You will want a clean slate before beginning your patio upgrades. You may even decide to tile your patio or install composite deck tiles–this can really enhance the space and show you care.

Furniture/Lighting

The furniture and lighting you add to your patio can create the overall ambiance. Try to find patio furniture that follows a theme–this can help your patio feel connected and balanced. Your patio can have more than just chairs, so consider adding any of these to really help give your patio a more resort getaway sensation:

  • Umbrellas
  • Barstools
  • Chairs
  • Hanging Lightings
  • Pergola
  • Plants
  • End tables
  • Firepit
  • Gazebo

All these and more can help really influence the space. Look for furniture that complements each other and do not neglect the lighting. Let your party fade away into the night with proper lighting to help set the mood. If you live where bugs may be, remember to invest in tiki lights or other alternatives to monitor pest control.

Entertainment

Finally, consider your patios a source of entertainment–this can be a focal point of the night or just help enhance the atmosphere. You can make this as extravagant or relaxed as you desire. Some activities and entertainment ideas to consider could be as follows:

  • Pool
  • Hot Tub
  • Pizza Oven
  • Grill
  • Outdoor Bar
  • Firepit
  • Speaker for music
  • Television

The list can continue forever. If your property has the privilege of a unique landscape, consider using this to your advantage. Lakes are great for boating and fishing or ad open backyard may be a great place to migrate to a firepit.

Consider upgrading your patio because it can transform the level of entertainment you can have when entertaining. Having this option also allows you to host larger gatherings. Investing in your patio can be a fun way to facilitate the outdoors of your home. Have fun this summer and let your patio be your new hangout.

The Ultimate Spring Checklist for Homeowners

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hints and Advice, Outdoor Living

Chicago winters can be harsh on your home; therefore, it is essential to do an annual spring check-up of your house. Inspecting your home can help prevent any further damage to the structure and save homeowners a lot of money. This weekend, we recommend going outside and examining your house using this checklist to assure your home is in excellent condition.

Examine Your Exterior Siding

First, you will want to take a look at your home’s siding or bricks and check from any chipping or crumbling.

Repaint Siding and Trim

If necessary, you may have to repaint your home’s siding or trim. Experts recommend that you do not just “touch up” the area but repaint the entire section. We do this because paint can fade into different colors over time and it will be more noticeable that you just “touched up” the area than it was before you painted it.

Check Your Roof

It is imperative to check your roofing to avoid future leaking. Call an expert or two to come and look at your roof to ensure it is in good condition for the upcoming seasons.

Get a Chimney Inspection

Chimney inspections can help detect cracks or leaks in the structure that may be unseen from the outside. Also, you should have your chimney cleaned annually.

Clear out Your Gutters and Downspouts

A lot of grime and guck can get stuck in your gutters during the winter season. Clean out your gutters annually and make sure they are lined up with your home. There should not be any gaps or dips between them and the roof.

Look at Your Heating and Air Condition Unit

Check and replace your filters and air purifiers.

Inspect Your Attic

Attics should be examined annually to determine if they have proper ventilation. Homeowners should look for any hindrance in the vents and panels. Also, you should take a look at the attic to see if any leaking is coming from your roof.

Inspecting your home annually can be beneficial for you and your family’s health. Also, it can help save you money in the future by being aware of issues ahead of time. If you are concerned about something in your home, call a company to come out and take a look. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Creating the Ultimate Spring Garden

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Curb Appeal, DIY Projects, Outdoor Living

Spring into a new yard design this year by incorporating some of spring’s trendiest flowers and plants. Every spring, homeowners fall into a routine of planting the same things each year. This year, liven up your yard with bright colors and take on planting that garden you have always talked about, and spring into a new routine!

Plan the Layout

Your garden holds extraordinary potential, and maybe you have the perfect layout already in mind. But if you do not, draw up a layout of how you want your plants, herbs, vegetables and/or flowers to sit in your garden.

Pro Tip: You do not need to section off your flowers from vegetables, they can coexist and actually mix well with one another. Vegetables can actually benefit from certain plants and their shade. For example, lettuce loves the shade; place your taller flowers in front to help the growth of this vegetable.

When Less Is Better

Look for plants that are grown in your area at local nurseries or shops, because these plants will flourish in your yard. Homeowners struggle with choosing their plants because a lot of times they are not native to your area and will ultimately take a lot of extra work. So, create less work for yourself by dressing up your yard in native plants.

Add Personality

Marking your garden’s items is a great way to get creative. Plus, making DIY garden labels creates a fun project!

DIY Garden Labels:

  • Purchase chalkboard signs and write each of the herbs/vegetables you have growing in your garden.
  • Use some old bricks and write the plant names with a permanent marker.
  • Paint some rocks with the names of your plants.
  • Hammer down silverware and engrave the plant’s name onto the utensil.

Also, think about the containers you are keeping your potted plants in and try to purchase some stylish pots. You can even get crafty with your current pots and a can of paint.

Make a Calendar

Timing is everything when it comes to gardening. Making a calendar will help assure your garden grows to its highest potential. Section off the things that should be done in the early, middle, and end of spring.

Do you love to garden? Have any tips you can share with our readers? We would love to hear from you in the comments section.

Charming Ways to Spruce up Your Home’s Exterior

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, DIY Projects, Outdoor Living

As spring is in full bloom, it is time to start taking care of our home’s exterior, and small weekend projects can make a big difference. If you have the opportunity to set aside a couple of hours this week, here are our top picks for exterior home modifications that are cost-effective and time-conscious. Let’s take a look!

Paint Your Front Door

This is a great do-it-yourself project that can really change your entire curb appeal. Simply, start by removing your door then remove your handles and locks so only the part that needs painted remains. Take your door outside where you can paint it. You will want to sand the door to remove old paint or until it feels smooth. Make sure all the dust is off the door before adding your primer. You can now paint your door any color you choose. You can give your home a pop of color with a bright red or blue, or you can even provide a modern look with a dark grey or black. Just make sure your door is completely dry before rehanging it.

Plant Flowers

Some flowers are easier to grow than others. If it is your first garden or flowerbed, you may want to start with easy plants. Consider if you will incorporate a water irrigation system. If you can make a system before planting, you can evade having your life revolve around watering plants during the hot months. Just make sure your plants can be exposed to plenty of sunlight as well. Trees and houses can block some other important sunrays crucial to growing your plants. Flowerbeds can be a fun project to keep up on during the warm months and completely change your home’s curb appeal.

Stain Your Patio Furniture

Pick a day that there will be no rain or intense heat. If you are staining patio furniture on a deck or concrete surface, make sure to tarp the area. Stain can really spruce up your old furniture but be sure to plan ahead because not all woods except stain the same. You will also want to sand with the grain. Apply your first coat and allow it to soak. You can wipe to remove any heavy coating and apply accordingly until you accomplish the level you like.

These simple projects are great for any level of home fixer-uppers. With little tools and a full weekend, you can accomplish wonders in your yard. Which projects are your favorite? We would love to hear from you. Make sure to leave a comment below and subscribe for more content.

Brighten up Your Balcony

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Outdoor Living

So many apartments, studios, and even homes today come with small balconies. A balcony is a great added feature of your home, yet so many people do not give their balcony the same attention they give the indoors. Just because your balcony is small, do not let it stop you from adding your personal touch to it. Here are five ways to spruce up your tiny balcony:
 
Plants
Depending on where you live, your balcony may be your yard. Take advantage of the plot of land you have outdoors by adding a planter and even growing a garden. You can put decorative plants around to give a lively look to your balcony. Tall bamboo can be easily produced and is low maintenance. If your lease allows you, hang a planter with flowers from your balcony. If your balcony cannot get rainy access, remember to water your plants frequently or go with faux plants.
 
Lights
You have a couple different ways to add lighting to your balcony. Candles are fabulous to add and create an outdoor ambiance with their natural, low light emittance. You can also consider using fake candles or build a fake do-it-yourself firepit with Christmas lights wrapped around the logs. Respectively, Christmas lights do not have to be seasonal! Adding white Christmas lights is a great way to turn your balcony into a classy retreat. Outdoor paper lantern lights are also a great way to add character to your outdoor space.
 
Floor Panels
Composite decking board is an easy floor you can install right over your existing balcony. Most renters will not allow you to install glue down turf or other flooring options, but with a floating composite decking floor, you can add an incredible look to your space. There are so many different designs of composite deck flooring to choose from, allowing you to really customize your space. This can make a huge difference to the aesthetic look of your balcony.
 
Curtains
Curtains do not only belong indoors! Adding curtains to your balcony can give you some privacy. You can also use decorative blinds on the outside of your windows to add to your balcony design. If your balcony has a railing, consider installing decorative blinds. Curtains can do wonders for giving your balcony a sophisticated, exclusive feel.
 
Seating
With all this new-found beauty added to your balcony, you are going to want to be outside more. Adding a decorative bench, comfortable seating or whickered chairs can bring quality time outdoors. Outside cushions can make your outdoor oasis more cozy and welcoming. Seats with storage underneath are perfect multifunctioning tools and you can use them to amplify the space you are given.
 
Your balcony should be facilitated as part of your home space. Investing your balcony is a great way to get you to use your outdoor space. Make your balcony welcoming and a place to relax at home with these fun tips. You will be surprised how often you find yourself using your balcony after you finish it.

Four Basic Questions to Ask A Potential Landscape Designer

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Outdoor Living

If you’re considering working with a landscape designer to craft the perfect landscape for your home then it is essential to find the right fit. Professional landscape designers provide a range of services. To prevent hiccups midway through the project, you’ll need to ask the right questions upfront and be thoroughly informed on the details of the services provided.

We’ve compiled a list of important questions you should ask a landscaping professional before you officially hire them.

Know What You Want
Before reaching out to potential candidates, you should know what you want. Create a wishlist of your landscaping needs. Set aside your priorities, desires, and the budget that you’re working with. Figure out what aspects of your landscaping project you can take care of yourself, and what you’ll need to hire an expert for. Having this written down on paper will give you a sense of direction, and you’ll know exactly what your needs are before you contact a professional.

What Services Do They Provide
The first question you should ask a landscape contractor is what type of services they provide or more importantly: are they experienced with the scope of work you require? Most landscape companies generally fall in the following three service categories:

Design – Some landscaping companies only specialize in the designing phase only. This typically includes analysis of the site, a detailed discussion of what the client needs, a design draft, revision based on the client feedback and finally a master plan. The final landscaping plan is handed over to a landscaping company to carry out the building process.

Design and Build – Other landscaping companies offer both design planning as described above and they’ll also create your “perfect” landscape.

Full Service – Many companies will offer full services. They carry out the design, building phase and they oversee further maintenance of your landscape.

Can I view examples of your work?
What type of garden do you want? You should request to see examples of the landscaping professional work to see if they can execute the style you’re interested in. Be sure to check the professional’s credentials.

Do you offer consultations?
Many landscape designers will offer a initial consultation. During the consultation they’ll walk with you around your garden to discuss with your landscaping needs, desires and bounce around some ideas. This is a good opportunity to determine whether the landscaper is a good fit for you.

If you liked what you read, be sure to check back weekly for more ideas and updates or subscribe to our blog so you can get alerts when we post new ones!

Fall Garden Chores

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Outdoor Living

As the seasons begin to change, there are some essential items you will need to check off your garden chore list. If your area has already begun getting cold, you may want to consider starting these chores this weekend. The last thing you want to do is wait until the first snow falls. So grab your gardening gloves and let us get started!

Fall Garden Chores:

Clean your gardening tools. Come next spring, you surely do not want to be pulling out dirty gardening tools. Now is the perfect time to clean and store your tools for next spring. Scrub off the dirt then place them inside of a bucket with soapy, warm water. Let them sit for an hour then dry them off to prevent rusting.

Take potted plants indoors. Before you bring your potted plants inside, you want to make sure that no creepy critters come with the plant. Experts recommend flushing out the soil a couple of time with water. The flushing can be done over the course of twenty minutes. Wait a couple of minutes before beginning the next flushing cycle. Also, remember to take out any dead or faded leaves from the potted plant. Lastly, you will want to add fresh mulch to your soil’s surface.

Reorganize your shed. Things may have gotten messy or misplaced during the summer. Take some time to reorganize everything before you lock it up for the winter months.

Remove gas from equipment. You will want to drain the gasoline from your power equipment before you store them. Also, this would be an excellent time to check their filters and see if they need replaced.

Rake your leaves. As the leaves begin to fall, you will want to start raking to avoid extra work at the end of the season. Although, we do recommend waiting until the end of fall to remove the leaves from your drains. This will prevent you for having to do it twice. But definitely make sure that you do not wait until the first snow. Snow will only make things more complicated.

Decorate. While you are working in your garden, it would be a great time to start decorating. You can go to your local farmer’s market and purchase some pumpkins and squash. You can even make a fun family night out of carving pumpkins together.

Stay warm and happy fall!

Curb Appeal

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Outdoor Living

Your home’s curb appeal will be the first thing that anyone will notice about your house. The inside of your home could be breath-taking, but some people will only see the outside of your house in their lifetime. Impress your neighborhood this summer with an updated look of your front yard. Engage any driver that may pass by your home. Impress them by making them slow down their cars and say “I love that house” with these simple tips:

  1. Focus goes towards front doors.
    Front doors are one of the first features that people recognize in a house. The front door helps hold together your home’s style. If you are looking for an inexpensive way to update your front door, paint the door a bold color. Then you can incorporate the bold color throughout your plants and flowers to help tie it in with the home.

  2. Decorate for the season.
    Depending on the time of year, your front porch has a lot of decorating potential. Decorations will help add a warmth and “homeyness” to your outdoor area. Around Christmas time, hang some lights and add a dark green wreath to your front door. During fall, incorporate some potted mums, bails of hay, and pumpkins around your front porch. There are endless ideas to keep your house festive during each season.

  3. Add life to your yard.
    There is nothing more sad than driving past a house that has a great size for a front yard, but the owners are not using it to its fullest potential. Whether your yard is big or small, plants can add an exceptional amount of beauty to your outdoor space. Remember that with great plants comes great responsibility. You will have to water them, pull weeds, plant new ones, etc. Let the greenery of your house speak for itself when people look at your curb appeal.

  4. Update the little things.
    Your house numbers draw several eyes when people are looking for a particular address. Buy some numbers that stand out and are different from the standard design. You can even consider revamping your current house numbers with a fresh coat of paint.
    Invest in some solid outdoor lighting. Make sure that you have the necessary lighting around your home. Keep areas well lit for your guests and family members who may be leaving during nighttime. Motion-detecting lights help with the safety and security of your property.

The aftermath: Your front yard has never looked so good! You have impressed all your neighbors and your house is the talk of the town. Your new curb appeal has added value in other’s eyes and you achieved it at an inexpensive price.

Bringing the Indoors Outside

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Outdoor Living

We always encourage bringing the outdoors inside your home with plants and succulents, but have you ever thought about bringing the indoors outside? When you are designing your backyard and patio, try incorporating designs that translate into the style of your home’s interior. You may think: how do I do that? We have three tips for creating a continual flow from the inside of your house to the outside of your house.

Tips for Bringing The Indoors Outside:

Understand Your Style.

Before you begin designing your backyard, you need a better understanding of your home’s interior style. Take some time to evaluate your home’s design, patterns, flow and stylistic choices. What are your favorite features of the home? After you have a better understanding, you can begin to plan your exterior’s design. You want to create a continual flow from the home’s interior design to the exterior design without being obvious.

Determine Your Color Scheme.

Your exterior color scheme does not need to be the typical colors found outdoors. You can use a color that you have subtly used throughout your home as your primary color outdoors. If you are having trouble choosing a color, pick a decorative piece to put outside and build a design off of it. For example, if you have a beautiful aqua vase that you want in your exterior design, start with it and begin shaping your designs around it.

Add in Interior Pieces.

There are several features in your home’s interior that will work perfectly in your backyard’s design. Focus on adding items like:

Lighting. String lighting can create a romantic outdoor escape for you and your loved one. Try hanging them from trees in your backyard and connecting them to your house to create an intricate design.

Furniture. A lot of your indoor furniture can translate into your outdoor design. Make sure to choose furniture that can handle your area’s weather like glass or iron.

Decor. Your interior decorative pieces can be used to design your outdoors. Try pulling some items from inside your home to decorate your backyard. Always finish off with fresh flowers to add a nice fragrance.

Did you know you can add flooring outdoors? Porcelain Tile or Outdoor Carpet are great for designing your backyard. If you would like to learn more, call us at 888-TileYou (845-3968) for more information or visit one of our many locations.

Natural Stone for Outdoor Built in Seating

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Outdoor Living

If you have a patio space that needs some extra seating, consider built in seating made out of natural stone. This type of seating is not made entirely of stone. It is framed with wood and the exterior is finished with natural stone. Natural stone seating is a great way to create extra seating that will not be harmed by the natural elements.

This project is a great way to create a custom look. It also looks amazing in an outdoor space. The seating fits in well with your patio space and has the added benefit of being custom just for your home.

As outdoor kitchens become more popular, people are realizing they need more seating to entertain in these outdoor spaces. By creating an outdoor kitchen with ample entertaining space is adding an extension of living space to your home. Outdoor areas are the best place to entertain, given the weather permits. It is worry free. There is no need to worry about spilling drinks or creating a mess. Naturally this will create a more relaxed atmosphere if you can let go of the fear of stains!

This type of space is also nice for children and their parents too. Children can run around while the meal is being prepared and then get as messy as they want.  Parents can relax further knowing their children are busy playing outdoors.

The stone used for this type of seating can be any of a wide variety of natural stone.  We are happy to help you select the best for your home.  When selecting the material to use, keep in mind that you want the stone to be comfortable to sit on. Select stone with smooth surfaces and edges. Having a smooth stone makes the seating more inviting. Feel free to add outdoor cushions that can easily be taken inside after use.

Build the patio custom for the yard and your family’s needs. Then simply create the stone built in seats around that. These types of seating or benches look really great when used in a round or semicircle application.

If you have any questions about the best natural stone for your needs, feel free to ask!  At Century Tile, we are always happy to help!