Archive for the 'Lawn and Garden' Category

May 18 2011

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7 Tips for Outdoor Rooms and Enjoyment All Summer Long – The House Plan Shop

House Plans 035H-0034 Covered PatioWhile you might have found the perfect house plan and built your dream home, you may not be quite sure of how to make use of your backyard. One thing is certain, if you love being outside, you’ll want an outdoor room. Below is a list of tips from The House Plan Shop to help you come up with an outdoor living space that is right for you.

 

1.    Divide your space – If you have a large backyard or even a small one, it is important to divide your space. Determine where you want your outdoor room, what portion of the yard will be for the kids to play and the dog to roam, and where do you plan to have a vegetable or flower garden. (Keep in mind your outdoor room does not necessarily have to be the back porch, deck or patio.) Use archways, hedges, fences, gates and shrubbery to define each of the necessary spaces within your backyard.

2.    Consider an outdoor room with a view – Be creative. Your outdoor room does not need to be connected to the home or situated next to the back wall. Try positioning your outdoor room away from the house by building an open-air gazebo or constructing a pergola on a concrete slab. If it is next to the house, orient the living space to the view whether it is the deck looking over the lake or pool or a patio with a view of the golf course.

3.    Dress up your space – Trim your outdoor room with lush plantings such as hostas, evergreens and colorful perennials. Add hanging ferns and container plantings of greenery and flowers to your porch, deck, patio and lanai for more visual appeal. Container plantings are easy to water and move making it easy to spread color throughout your outdoor room.

4.     Add furniture and seating – Make your outdoor room comfortable and inviting by incorporating weatherproof outdoor furnishings and accessories. Anchor the space with an outdoor area rug. Add weatherproof wicker furniture outfitted with thick cushions covered with outdoor fabrics crated to withstand the extremes of the elements including mildew, fading, stains and rot. Choose water-repellent fabric that can sustain freezing conditions.

5.     Consider lighting, privacy and noise – Add privacy to your room and block the view of neighbors’ wandering eyes by adding decorative, folding metal screens. Control sunlight and privacy with bamboo blinds hung from your covered porch, patio or gazebo. These versatile blinds can be raised or lowered to block sun and views. They also help control the noise of your outdoor gatherings as not to disturb the neighbors. Consider installing a soothing water fountain to screen the noise from the street and busy subdivisions. An added bonus: water fountains contribute to a soothing and relaxing atmosphere to your outdoor room.

6.    Build for entertaining – If you plan to entertain in your outdoor room, make sure it is built and furnished for entertaining. Add an outdoor kitchen and bar. This can include everything from a grill or built-in stovetop to a sink, mini-fridge and wine rack. A fully functional kitchen helps keep everyone and everything outside while you are entertaining. There is no need to run in and out of the house as you prepare a meal. With an outdoor cooking station, you can visit with guests, enjoy pleasant weather and prepare a hassle free meal. Consider adding counter with bar stools for snacking and conversation. Create an outdoor dining room beneath your covered porch with a patio table and chairs. Hang a chandelier or lighted ceiling fan above to anchor the space. If you like dining alfresco, make sure you are ready to do so with a group. Include versatile furniture such as benches that can be covered with a cushion and used for extra seating or remove the cushion and use the bench for an extra table when company arrives.

7.    Other elements – Don’t forget to incorporate the things you love. If you’ve always wanted a hot tub, choose a space for it. If your family enjoys sitting by the fire, add an outdoor fireplace or fire pit, perfect for gathering and conversation on a crisp fall evening. If you want a backyard pool, create a sidewalk or pathway connecting your outdoor living area to the pool.

 

If you’re planning to create an outdoor room, carefully consider these ideas and formulate the best plan that will accommodate your family’s needs and wishes.

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Mar 30 2011

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Tips for Adding a Garden Shed to Your Backyard – The House Plan Shop

Shed Plan 028S-0008Spring is here and that means it is time to start gardening, landscaping and taking care of our yards. If you have a green thumb and enjoy landscaping or gardening (vegetables or flowers), you might benefit from building a garden shed in your backyard. They are the perfect addition to your lawn or garden and work well for storing tools and supplies as well as seeds, bulbs, pots and more. If you think you might benefit from building a lawn and garden shed, the following tips will help you get started.

 

  1. Determine how you will use the garden shed. Do you need it to store items like the lawn mower, rakes, leaf blower, sprinklers and hoses during the off season, and DIY tools? Do you need extra space to store other seasonal items like patio furniture during the winter? Will you store other items inside that you don’t want to keep in your home or garage like paint cans, fertilizer and oil containers? Will you use the garden shed for planting and potting plants? Drying seeds and storing bulbs? Do you simply want a peaceful place where you can enjoy your gardening hobby?
  2. Decide what size garden shed will accommodate your needs. If you have minimal space or a small lot, your lot may dictate the size of the garden shed. However, if space is not an issue, knowing how you plan to use the shed (see # 1) will help you determine what size garden shed you will need.
  3. What type of shed access will you need? A single door? An overhead garage door making it easy to access the riding mower? Double doors so you can easily move or access large items?
  4. Consider your budget. If you are working with a tight budget make sure you stick to it. Check various lumberyards for deals on building materials to keep from overspending. If you have a generous budget, keep an open mind about adding potential special features that you may find particularly handy like lighting, a workbench, planning table or utility sink.
  5. Determine your electrical needs. If you plan to spend a lot of time in your garden shed, you may want to install overhead or task lighting. If you’ll only be in the shed a few minutes at a time, perhaps a couple of windows will provide enough lighting. Also, think about any power tools you may have that require you to charge batteries or need electricity. Plan to install electrical outlets accordingly.
  6. Take time to research local building codes. Before buying a garden shed plan ask your local building department what building codes you must follow. Some municipalities have height and size restrictions. Others must follow building codes based on local weather and climate conditions. It is important to know what your building department requires and what your limitations might be ahead of time.
  7. Choose a garden shed plan in the size that accommodates your needs, local requirements and budget. Also, find a style that blends nicely with your home and other surrounding homes, especially if you live in a neighborhood.

 

If you are considering building a backyard garden shed, The House Plan Shop recommends these helpful tips to help you get started on your project.

 

If you’d like to browse garden shed plans, please visit our sister site, The Garage Plan Shop, to view our shed floor plans.

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Sep 15 2010

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Add Value to your House: Build a Deck – The House Plan Shop

DeckWant a way to add value to your home and actually enjoy it? Consider building a deck. A deck is a very versatile addition to any house. It can be used for grilling and outdoor dining, entertaining friends, stargazing, observing nature and just plain relaxing! Furthermore, a deck can be covered providing shade or it can be open for those who love the sun. You may wish to hire an experienced professional such as a builder, contractor, carpenter or remodeler to build a custom deck for you, or you might decide to tackle the project on your own. Either way, building a deck can be rewarding. Working with a professional will ensure custom touches that you might not be able to create, build or accomplish on your own, while building the deck yourself can be rewarding and offer the satisfaction of completing the job. If you do decide to build the deck on your own, consider purchasing a woodworking or deck plan. They are available online in a variety of sizes ranging from a basic platform with railing to more detailed deck designs that might include built-in wooded benches for seating, plant shelves, a built-in barbecue area or even a hot tub. No matter which route you take, you’ll be pleased with the new deck you can enjoy year-round and feel confident that you have just added value to your home.

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