Wednesday, May 23, 2007

How to Prepare Your Outdoor Living Space for Summer

(ARA) - Memorial Day and Labor Day are traditionally viewed as the unofficial beginning and end of summer. Between holidays, life shifts outdoors as many homeowners make the most of the season. To enjoy as much time outside as possible, homeowners are increasingly taking advantage of their decks and patios to create true outdoor living spaces.

Now more than ever, homeowners view their outdoor living areas as extensions of the home rather than as separate, rarely-used spaces. As the outdoor living trend continues to grow, homeowners are expanding the look and feel of their home’s interior, including the design, furnishings and entertainment features, outside.

The evolving outdoor living trend also enables homeowners to enhance one of the most valuable investments they have -- their homes. By creating yard space, and adding or upgrading deck and patio spaces, many are seeing a return on their remodeling and renovation investments.

No matter how you choose to embrace the outdoor living lifestyle, there are a few things you can do to prepare for and make the most of your summer. For those who already have an outdoor living space, like a deck, it’s time to prepare for the season.

Beyond cleaning, organizing and sprucing up, you should also evaluate your deck or patio’s overall condition and determine whether or not you need a replacement -- or even an upgrade. A few things to consider are: the condition of the current material, the size of your space and if it meets your needs, the amount of maintenance your current deck or patio requires and whether or not you have the time it takes. If you decide that you need a new deck or an upgrade, start planning now.

If you’re already planning to build a new deck, first decide what material you prefer -- composite decking, wood or other materials. Many homeowners are opting for composite decks because high-quality composites offer the look of real wood, but don’t require a lot of maintenance. Because it doesn’t require sanding, painting or staining, composite decking enables homeowners to spend more time actually enjoying their decks instead of caring for them. In fact, according to a recent consumer survey conducted by national research firm Synovate for TAMKO Building Products, four out of five homeowners prefer decking materials that: don’t need to be painted, stained or sanded; don’t cause splinters; have a warranty of 25 years or more and are slip-resistant. Composite decking materials, like EverGrain and Elements from TAMKO, have all of these features as well as a true-to-life grain. For additional information about composite decking materials, a deck building checklist and more decking ideas, visit

If you’re starting from scratch to prepare your outdoor living space, begin by determining desired uses for the space. For example, do you want it to be functional for entertaining often or more for relaxation? Once you determine desired uses, you can begin to create a space that suits your lifestyle. For ideas, check out magazines, home and garden TV shows, home d├ęcor catalogues and friends’ projects. Keep an ideas folder of designs, fabrics and looks that you like and then take your time finding just the right combination for your outdoor living space.

So you can enjoy your outdoor living space as much as possible this summer, make sure your chosen materials and features suit your lifestyle and tastes. And as with many things, a little up-front planning and care will ensure that your outdoor living space will be an increasingly important and enjoyable part of your home for many years.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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