Monday, June 11, 2007

Five Simple Summer Spruce Ups for Outdoors

(ARA) – Summer is finally here and you plan to spend every spare minute wearing a permanent indentation in the cushion of the patio chaise. But before you kick back and enjoy the lazy days of summer, you know you need to do something to spruce up the outside of your home.

First decide how much time and money you want to invest. Some outdoor improvements offer big bang for not much buck; others may cost more but can still be accomplished with a relatively modest investment of time. Here are five simple summer spruce ups that can add up to greater outdoor enjoyment without emptying your wallet.

1. Get fresh with your patio or deck. If your deck is looking drab and your patio pallid, it may be time for a power wash and a coat of paint or stain. Simply removing winter dirt and debris will make your outdoor living space look newer and more appealing. Putting a new finish on your existing deck or adding color to your patio with a concrete stain can make your environment feel fresh and updated.
2. Water, water everywhere … Adding a water feature is a great way to introduce motion and emotion to your outdoor environment. Want to add some fun to an outdoor party? Consider a mirthful fountain, the kind you can buy at many home improvement stores that you simply add water to and plug in. For a more peaceful effect, place a shallow birdbath in your back yard. For the ambitious (and adventurous), do-it-yourself fish pond, waterfall and even streambed kits are available online and from many home improvement stores.
3. Mount a mural. A flat exterior wall, architectural niche or sliding glass door – you can place a mural on virtually any smooth outdoor surface. Not only will the decoration spice up your outdoor décor, a mural can act as a conversation piece for al fresco gatherings and create continuity between your interior and exterior design. Wallpaper mural leader Environmental Graphics offers a variety of wallpaper murals, many of which are durable for outdoor use, at www.muralsyourway.com. The murals, which range in theme from city skylines to tropical beaches and underwater scenes, are as easy to install as wallpaper. Sizes can be customized and the company provides detailed instructions on how to install the murals in virtually any setting.
4. Rock on. When it comes to outdoor design, rock may be considered the ultimate homage to Mother Earth. Landscapers use rock to create decorative effects. On the practical side, adding stone or rock to certain areas can aid in drainage. Also, it’s a great way to avoid mowing a troublesome spot in the lawn. If you’re feeling ambitious, try creating your own rock garden. If your aspirations and needs are a bit more modest, consider adding some colorful stone touches – such as a glass fishbowl filled with polished river stones – around your patio or deck.
5. Refurbish outdoor furniture. Bright, fresh cushions and finishes on patio furniture elevate the impact of your outdoor décor. If a new patio set isn’t in the budget right now, it’s easy to breathe new life into an old set. Clean cushions with a good quality upholstery cleaner, or, if they’re stained and worn beyond hope, visit your local home goods store to pick up some replacements. Refresh finishes with a coat of spray paint. Many manufacturers now offer paints that will mimic finishes popular in outdoor furnishings today.

A few simple spruce ups can go a long way towards improving the appearance – and your enjoyment – of your outdoor living environment. And get you into that chaise lounge that much sooner.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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