Thursday, August 28, 2014

Fast Growing Beautiful Plants for Your Wooden Garden Trellises

Trellises have so many uses in your landscape. Trellises are mostly less expensive than fences and, once they are filled with plants, they perform many of the same functions. When positioned on both sides of an entryway door, on the side of a building or house, or a sturdy post in the garden creates supports for your climbing plants, decorating a specific area. Trellises positioned in front of garbage cans, storage area, utility area, or in the corner of the garden do double duty as screens and decorations. Here are some examples of this:
  • Western Red Cedar Pagoda Arbor by All Things Cedar. Dedicated craftsmen start with the finest interior grown Western Red Cedar available to hand produce this trellis that can be enjoyed for many years. Western Red Cedar fibers contain oils that act as natural preservatives to help the wood resist rot and decay.

  • Wooden Trellis Box by Jordan Manufacturing Company. The Wooden Trellis Box by Jordan Manufacturing Company is a decorative Trellis Box that can be used to display plants and store items in the box. This Trellis box is made of Eucalyptus with an oil base finish. This trellis box comes with wheels for easy mobility.

  • Cedar Arched Arbor by Creekvine Designs. With its latticed sides and beautifully planked dome of solid red cedar, it makes such a sturdy vehicle, that soon it will be overcrowded with gorgeous blossoms striving toward new horizons. This decay-resistant arbor will also withstand the harsh winters, so it will stand strong for a long time.
  • Cedar 2pc. Planter with Trellis by All Things Cedar. The All Things Cedar 2 pc Planter with Trellis is perfect for your backyard or patio. You can just add dirt and you have the perfect setup to grow vines tomato plants or what have you. This is perfect for outdoor areas that could use some color and shade buy has limited space.
You can also use trellises as private areas, screening out unsightly views and reduce noise. The more vines and plants it has, the better is its ability to block out views and noise There are so many vines that grow well on these wood patio accessories. Check out some of them below. Use them as your guide if you are considering getting one, or just changing up the plants of your current one.

Known as a vigorous vine, Jasmine has pale pink or white flowers that bloom from spring to fall. Its fragrant flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds. The vines grow up to a height of 30 feet high and 15 feet wide, and requires frequent pruning to keep its size contained. Jasmine require sun or partial shade, and average soil. It grows as a perennial in USDA Hardiness Zones seven to 10, but will not survive during winter in colder areas.
Cypress Vine
Cypress vine has bright red flowers that bloom from summer to fall. This annual vine can grow up to 20 feet high and features fern-like foliage and a twining habit. The showy flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds. This vine grows in all areas, except where it is cold. The plants require full sun and average soil for it to survive.
Blue Passion Flower
A perennial with unusual purple and white flowers, the fragrant blue passionflower blooms from mid-summer to fall, attractive butterflies. Attractive, edible fruits called maypops might appear during mid-summer. The vines grow to up to 8 feet high and spread up to 6 feet. Blue passionflower grows in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 9, but it will not survive a very cold winter in some parts of Zone 5. The plants require full sun or partial shade, along with an average soil.
People grow the perennial vine actinidia mainly for its kiwi fruit and colorful foliage. The male of this plant possess the best foliage color, while the female plant require a male nearby for it to produce fruit. The foliage hides its tiny, insignificant flowers. The vines can grow up to 20 feet tall in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 8, and require full sun or part shade, along with an average well-drained oil.
Blue Trumpet Vine

Otherwise known as clock vine, sky vine and sky flower, blue trumpet vine has lavender blue flowers that bloom during the late summer and early fall. These vines grow up to 30 feet tall in frost-free areas and up to 8 feet when grown as annuals in colder areas. Blue trumpet vines require a rich, organic soil and partial shade or full sun. The vines grow in USDA Hardiness Zones 10 and 11, but are grown as annuals in colder regions.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Maintaining and Refurbishing Your Wicker Patio Furniture

Wicker patio furniture does not require much cleaning and maintenance and  it is a user-friendly choice for patios, porches and other outdoor spaces. Because wicker is not a material, but a weaving technique, the kind meant for outdoor use is manufactured to be quite hardy. They can usually be left outdoors for long periods of time without deterioration, unless in a place with a very extreme climates.  
Caring for Your Wicker Furniture
In order for you to enjoy your wicker furniture for a longer period of time, you need to properly care for it. Wicker material might not require as much cleaning as other outdoor furniture materials, but this does not mean that you will not take steps to make sure that it looks its best all the time.
  • Brush it every now and then to keep it dust-free. Keeping it clean extends its life as other organic material can collect in the crevices of the weave and cause mildew, leading to mold and decay.
  • When the weather is too cold, it can become stiff, or a bit more elastic when it is very hot. Also, too much moisture can make it sag and cause mildew.
  • A simple solution for extending the lifespan of your wicker furniture is to cover it up or move it to a more protected spot when the temperature is too hot or cold.
  • It is a good idea to inspect the weave from time to time, and if there is any shifting, just move the weave back into place with your fingers.
  • Wicker furniture is usually painted, and the finish can be damaged over time. Touch-up spray paint can be used to fix it. It can also benefit from repainting every now and then.
Refurbishing Your Wicker Furniture
You may need to prolong the life of your wicker furniture, but the time will come when it will look old, shabby and run down. Fortunately, there are things you can do to make repairs. When this happens, it is now time to restore it by using the following tips.
  1. Gather all the tools needed: rubber gloves, scrub brush, toothbrush, detergent, wood glue, primer, paint and sealer.
  2. Take your furniture out to the lawn and rinse and wash thoroughly  with a hose. You might want to turn on each side to wash off a much dirt and old paint as possible.
  3. Rub the surface of every furniture piece with the scrub brush to remove any remaining paint and stains. Use a toothbrush for those hard to reach areas.
  4. If there are traces of mildew, clean with a solution of detergent and water. After this, rinse the pieces with water and wait for them to completely dry.
  5. If there are broken reeds, stick them back together by using the wood glue and allow the glue to dry up. Follow the instructions on the glue you are using.
  6. Now you can repaint your furniture. It is advisable that you use oil paint, not latex, as it is more resistant to the natural elements. Leave the furniture to completely dry.
Buying New Wicker Furniture
If you think that refurbishing your furniture will not work, or you believe that it is time for you to update your outdoor furniture with new wicker furniture.  Here are some great choices for consideraton
Anchor All Weather Wicker Round Dining Set by Alfresco Home
The All Weather Wicker collections are made from high density polyethylene; they are hand woven onto high grade T-5 powder coated tubular frames. These frames are also treated with color, temperature and UV stabilizers. This makes all of these  collections suitable for four season climates.

Enjoy your patio with elegance all year round with the wonderful Atlantic outdoor collection. It has great quality, stylish designs made of aluminum and synthetic wicker. It works great against the effects of air pollution salt air, and mildew growth.
Kingston 24" Barstool Counter Height by Meadow Decor

With this Meadow Décor Kingston counter height stool, you can create a cozy, fashionable setting in your private outdoor living space. These durable cast aluminum stools with American powder coating were designed for comfort and built to last for years.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Important Considerations When Buying Outdoor Wood Furniture

During summer, our patios become an extra room in our homes.. Outdoor wood furniture can be used to give any outside space a natural look, making it fit into the outdoor  environment. The best quality patio wood furniture is made from center-cut heartwood lumber with a consistent grain. Fastenings should be zinc plated, or crafted from corrosion resistant stainless steel. Go with furniture that has screws instead of bolts so that you can tighten the screws when they come loose. Here are some examples to get you started:
This set includes an oval extension table with 4 teak dining chairs, made from genuine Teak and finished with a light teak oil. It also has a 2 inch umbrella hole with solid brass fittings and conveniently designed lower pole catch eliminating the need for an umbrella base or pole weight.

The Luxe Modular Seating Collection exhibits classic elegance with intricate detailing that provides modern comfort. The modular style provides flexibility to accommodate any décor. Built with extra thick Grade A Teak and Sunbrella cushions to last for generations.

Patio wood furniture is available in numerous types. To choose the best furniture that’s perfect for your patio and pocket, you need to know the main characteristics of these different wood types. Also, you need to look into factors like weather and sun exposure, durability, space available, storage areas, and comfort level. You might want to think about care and maintenance, along with the furniture’s cost and how it aligns with your budget.
Weather Conditions
There are wood and furniture designs that can withstand weather extremes better compared to others. Untreated wood might crack and splinter in hot, dry weather, while constant exposure to moisture can make others buckle and swell. The best way to prevent this is to seal or paint the wood, put the furniture under cover, or condition the wood with oil twice a year.
Different wood types have different levels of durability. Hardwoods like jarrah, shorea and teak can last up to 50 years while roble and redwood can last up to 25. A longer lifespan usually  equals are bigger price tag, you should only buy more expensive and longer lasting furniture if you are sure that it will never go out of fashion. Nuts, bolts and screws should also be made from a non-corrosive material like stainless steel so they last longer.
Space Constraints
The outdoor furniture that you choose should fit into the space available in your outdoors. However, this is not the only space that you should consider when buying outdoor furniture. Many types of wooden patio furniture should be stored indoors come winter time to lengthen the lifespan. You should take into consideration the amount of storage space when shopping.
Comfort Features
Even when it is beautiful and stylish, patio furniture will be of little use if it is uncomfortable. If the chairs do not come with cushions, you can purchase or make them. When making or buying cushions, make sure that they are able to somehow withstand the stresses of the outdoors. And during winter or when they are not in use, take care to pack them away.
Care and Maintenance
There are some types of wood that require more care than others, something that you need to carefully take into consderation. Generally, treated wood requires less care compared to untreated wood. You should be realistic about the amount of time you have available – along with your level of motivation – for cleaning and taking care of your wooden outdoor furniture.
Cost and Budget
Of course, the cost of the furniture and your budget will ultimately shape your purchasing decision. Doing research regarding the value of outdoor furniture and the different types of wood will give you a better idea of when a bargain really is a bargain. Remember that you get what you pay for, although this is not really the case all the time.
These days, you can easily own beautiful wood furniture without damaging the environment, thanks to FSC certification. The FSC or Forest Stewardship Council promotes responsible management of the forests of the world by setting standards, certifying and labeling products. Certification is only given once all steps in the manufacturing of wood products comply with the social and environmental standards and requirements of the FSC.
Wooden patio furniture is a great, natural-looking outdoor furniture option. Patio furniture is crafted from a wide range of wood types, including timber from both softwood and hardwood tree species. You should pick wood with the characteristic that are most desirable and one that best suits your needs.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Important Safety Tips For Installing Outdoor Patio Swings

Summertime is a great time for playing outdoors, and what backyard would not be complete without a tree swing? Outdoor patio swings can give years of fun, but it is important that you install them in a way that ensures both your safety as well as the health of the tree. Below are some tips for the safe installation of a tree swing.
Choosing a Tree and Branch
If you are hanging a tree swing, make sure that you consider the following:
  • Tree type: The branches of a sturdy hardwood tree, preferably oak, are best for a tree swing. Avoid evergreens, fruit trees or trees that easily split.
  • Branch Size: A tree swing requires a horizontal branch with at least 8 inches diameter that is no more than 20 feet off the ground.
  • Branch Condition: The branch for a tree swing should be healthy. Inspect the branch from trunk to tip and avoid branches with signs of splitting, disease or infestation. Never use a dead branch.
  • Clearance: The branch should be big enough so the swing hangs at least 3 feet away from the trunk without the branch bouncing.
Attaching a Swing to a Tree
In general, there are two main approaches in installing a swing to a tree:
  • Eye bolts: Carefully drill a vertical hole all through the center of the branch and insert at least a ½-inch diameter, corrosion resistant eye bold, using nuts and washers to secure it to the tree. Eventually, the tree will grow around the bolts for a permanent installation. This eliminates the friction on the bark, although it causes damage to the tree.
  • Rope: A tree swing can be attached to the branch using rope if you take steps to prevent the rope from cutting into the tree bark. If you opt to tie the rope round the tree branch, using a running bowline that will loosen when the swing is not used, so the tree can grow larger without being girdled by the rope.
Choosing the Tree Swing Rope
Use at least a ½-inch thick rope for your swing, in any of these materials:
  • Polyester rope: Braided polyester rope is perhaps the best choice among synthetic ropes for a tree swing. It holds up well to the elements, gives maximum strength and has little stretch.
  • Nylon rope: This might be the strongest rope, but nylon is susceptible to stretching and can be slippery for little hands to grasp.
  • Polypropylene rope: Lightweight and inexpensive, polypropylene rope makes for a poor choice as it rapidly deteriorates in the sun’s harmful UV rays.
  • Natural fiber rope: These are ropes made from natural plant materials like help, manila, sisal and cotton. They are not as strong as synthetic, so replace it every year or two.
  • Metal chain: It is not as attractive as rope and can pinch small fingers, but corrosion resistant chain is strong and holds up well to the elements.
Essential Swing Safety Tips
Follow these tips to maximize the enjoyment and safety of your tree swing:
  • Inspect the tree branch, along with the ropes and the swing itself, on a regular basis. Look for fraying, splitting or other damage, and repair it immediately. A properly installed swing should not cause grooves or damage to the tree.
  • Plan on replacing the ropes once every couple of years.
  • Move the swing to new eye bolts if the tee grows over the ends.
  • Ensure that the carabineers, rope and hardware are rated for the maximum weight.
  • Make sure the knots are securely tied to prevent unraveling.
Top Tree Swing Style Choices
Here are some stylish and comfortable tree swings from renowned brand Vivere:
Take time to relax with the help of the Parachute Nylon Hammock in Navy/Red Fabric by Vivere Hammocks. Inspired by a memorable vacation, this hammock promote relaxation and healthy lifestyles – in your backyard, camping, or anywhere outdoors.
The Brazilian Style Hammock - Double Deluxe in Natural Fabric by Vivere Hammocks is a hidden gem. This hammock is complimented by an elegant hand crocheted fringe that would make anyone feel like royalty. An excellent addition to any backyard or cottage.

Cotton Rope Hammock - Double in Natural Rope by Vivere Hammocks
The Cotton Rope Hammock - Double in Natural Rope by Vivere Hammocks is made from 100% Cotton and tightly woven for increased body contact. It is made with 3-ply twisted Cotton rope that enhances strength and durability, but at the same time it continues to breathe for dry relaxing.