by Sam Hickey | Nov 13, 2020 | Custom Features, Home Improvement, Maintenance, Outdoor Lifestyle, Patio Covers
If you love spending most of the time outdoors, especially in summer, it’s essential to learn how to clean a patio umbrella. It can accumulate a lot of grime and dirt if exposed to the elements for a very long time. Not to mention, the bird droppings can worsen the situation. How do you clean your patio umbrella after using it outdoors for a full season?
Cleaning and maintaining your patio umbrella regularly will make it look fantastic all the time. You have to ensure that the umbrella is super-clean before storing it away during off-seasons. The good news is, it’s easy to clean and maintain. In this guide, we’ll look at the tips of cleaning and maintaining a patio umbrella.
Cleaning the Canopy
Cleaning an umbrella’s canopy can be pretty simple if it’s detachable. Here are the tips on how to clean an umbrella’s canopy.
- Remove loose dirt on the canopy using a sponge or a soft, bristle brush to prevent the soil from getting deeper into the fabric
- Using a cleaner or a mixture of warm water and mild detergent, scrub the canopy in circular motions
- After scrubbing the canopy, let the cleaning solution stay on it for 20 minutes, then rinse thoroughly to remove stains and mildew
- Leave the canopy open until it’s completely dry
Some fabrics like Sunbrella require a quality fabric protector to restore its UV inhibitors and improve water repellency.
Cleaning the Frame
The method you’ll use to clean an umbrella frame will depend on the nature of its material. Here is how to clean both wooden and aluminum frames.
a) Wooden Frames
You can clean most wooden umbrella frames with a mixture of water and mild detergent and a soft brush. Follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions if available. However, you shouldn’t oversaturate the frame’s surface. Allow it to dry after cleaning.
b) Aluminum Frames
Wipe the frame using a soft towel and a mixture of mild detergent and lukewarm water. If there are build-ups or water spots, mix one part of white distilled vinegar with nine water parts. Soak a soft cloth in the solution and wipe down the frame. You can then rinse the frame with clean water and dry it using a towel.
Patio Umbrella Maintenance
Maintaining a patio umbrella can help to keep it in great shape and extend its lifespan. Here are some of the maintenance tips to practice.
- Always ensure that the umbrella is clean before storing it
- Don’t force the umbrella to close or open as that could destroy its functionality
- Add a cover on the patio umbrella to protect it from adverse weather conditions
- Store the umbrella indoors when there’s an impending storm or strong winds
- Avoid using abrasive cleaners on the umbrella’s frames or canopies
Pro Tip: You can clean fabrics such as Sunbrella using bleach solutions, and it won’t fade. However, it’s imperative to check the manufacturer’s instructions to confirm that.
Keeping Your Patio Umbrella Looking Like New
Now that you know how to clean a patio umbrella, you can make yours look super-clean without struggles. Ensure that you follow the patio umbrella cleaning and maintenance tips we’ve shared in this guide. That way, you’ll keep your umbrella in excellent condition.
Connect with us to learn more about patio umbrella cleaning.
by Sam Hickey | Sep 11, 2020 | Custom Features, Design Inspiration
Nothing can make your outdoor living space more charming at night than elegant lighting in the backyard. As you relax at home on warm autumn nights, try these incredible lighting ideas for patios and other outdoor living spaces.
A Glowing Backyard Design
Few things are more inviting than a gently lit backyard after sunset. Even if darkness creeps in, you can comfortably extend your stay outdoors, whether in the garden, pool, or an outdoor room. Here are the backyard lighting ideas to make your yard look beautiful at night.
- Twinkling fairy lights
- Lit stairs
- Electric lanterns
- Inset pergola lights
- Illuminating trees or pillars
1) Twinkling Fairy Lights
If you’re planning a party or any other gathering in your backyard at night, illuminate the trees by adding twinkling fairy lights.These lights can be the best bet for your outdoor space. Use contrasting colors for an even more beautiful effect. You can also add evening effects, like moonlight, to develop a feeling of romance.
2) Lit Stairs
Another way to liven up your backyard is by lighting the stairs. If your home has outdoor staircases, install light fixtures on the stairs to allow residents to move into and out of the house with ease. Besides beautifying your backyard, it also helps your guests avoid tripping on the stairs in the dark.
3) Electric Lanterns
Hanging beautifully-designed electric lanterns around your backyard gives the area a bit more light without sacrificing aesthetics. The lamps are safe as they don’t produce any heat. You can also wire them with a timer to automatically light up at dusk. You can use fluorescent, incandescent, or LED, depending on the amount of light you want.
4) Inset Pergola Lights
If you have a pergola in your backyard, consider inserting some lights on the frame to light up the area. If there’s no electricity access near the pergola, you can light up the spaces around it with decorative solar-powered lights or a similar setup. Alternatively, hang a few battery-operated lanterns from your pergola for better lighting.
5) Illuminating Trees or Pillars
Small spotlights focusing on trees, pillars, or especially pretty plants in your backyard give the area an appealing glow. Better yet, since the lights are aimed away from your guests, they provide softer ambient light rather than blinding anyone. This setup also ensures your guests are far less likely to run into any obstacles in the dark!
Pro Tip: Whether you’re illuminating trees from the ground or wrapping them in light strands, different species or shapes will look better in different lighting. Talk to an expert for the best approach for your trees.
Choosing Ambient Lighting
It’s time to transform your yard into an elegantly illuminated masterpiece at night! All you need to do is select ambient lighting that matches your outdoor space. Experiment with different combinations of twinkling, ambient, or bright lights to find the right style for your hangout spot.
Connect with us for more backyard lighting ideas, tips, and tricks.
by Sam Hickey | Jun 19, 2020 | Custom Features, Design Inspiration, Outdoor Lifestyle
Your newly refurbished backyard may have all the room for parties and relaxation that you want, but something’s not quite finished yet. Anyone can renovate the yard. But why not make your backyard party space unique to you? Don’t settle for a simple renovation.
Brand-new appliances and shaded spots certainly add a lot to your backyard, but they can also feel a bit “standard” on their own. Every homeowner decorates their house’s interior with personal artwork and furniture–why not give the exterior the same treatment? Try personalizing your backyard with one of these ideas:
- Outdoor pillows
- Fire pit
- Decorative lighting
What’s more fun than a movie night under the patio on a beautiful night? A patio cover with large enough walls provides the perfect spot to mount a large TV or even a projector screen. Build an outdoor home theater to host movie nights in your own backyard!
2) Outdoor Pillows
If you’ll be spending a fair amount of time outside, you’ll likely want to include weatherproof furniture. But many weatherproof materials aren’t exactly comfortable to sit on. Outdoor-safe pillows, however, can fix that! Add a splash of color and comfort to your backyard furniture.
Pro Tip: Cushions made of outdoor-safe material require different care than indoor pillows. Make sure not to damage them when you clean outside.
3) Fire Pit
Anyone who loves cooking over open flames will love having a fire pit in the newly renovated backyard! Aside from its functional purpose, fire features add an exotic atmosphere to your backyard space and keep parties going well into the night. Some homeowners even add fireproof glass fragments known as diamond nuggets to give the flames a magical effect. Customize your fire pit to complement your new private party space!
4) Decorative Lighting
Finally, as nice as a fire pit is, it can’t provide as much light as some late-night parties will need. That’s where other types of outdoor lighting come in. Stake lights situated along the sidewalks will show your guests where to walk, for instance. Lanterns provide a soft, ambient light for a relaxing atmosphere. And brighter lights mounted under the patio cover let you keep working in your outdoor kitchen. Just like any feature, you can customize your lighting choices to your heart’s content.
Customize Your Outdoor Space
A brand new outdoor kitchen and dining room can do wonders to add appeal to your backyard. But why stop there? Add your own touch to make the space truly your own! Give yourself and your loved ones the gift of an awesome, personalized backyard.
Connect with us to see how some of our clients decorated their completed backyard paradises.
by Sam Hickey | May 22, 2020 | Custom Features, Design Inspiration, Outdoor Kitchen
One all-important aspect of home design is storage. We all need extra space to put tools, toys, supplies, and more in the backyard. And while it’s simple enough to just toss everything into buckets or set up cheap shelves, why not make your storage look like a natural part of the backyard? It’s easy and fun to find ways to incorporate your storage into your overall design.
Creative Outdoor Storage
Why not get creative with your backyard storage? Find ways to integrate your storage naturally into your design scheme or make it subtler. Whatever you choose, the possibilities are nearly endless! Try one of these popular storage ideas:
- Firewood cubbies
- Hidden storage spaces
- Pool houses
- Outdoor bars
- Outdoor kitchen cabinets
1) Firewood Cubbies
A new wood-burning fireplace or firepit requires a decent amount of fuel for party nights. But who wants to constantly run to the store for more firewood or stack the logs in a precarious woodpile? Try a specialized cubby instead! You’ll keep the firewood out of the way until you need it. Plus, the cubbies are big enough to hold several nights’ worth of firewood! Just keep them full.
2) Hidden Storage Spaces
Certain pieces of outdoor patio furniture double as surprise storage spaces. For instance, a footstool might open to reveal a hollow space perfect for storing extra blankets. Some might even have a cooler hidden inside! And that’s far from the only option for outdoor storage. A chest could serve as a patio coffee table, for instance. Experiment with different furniture to find one with the storage features you prefer!
3) Pool Houses
Of course, a pool house is a perfect place to store all your pool supplies. Keep your swimsuits, floaties, pool toys, towels, and more in a nicely decorated storage space right next to your pool! Better yet, this gives you and your guests a private place to change for your pool party.
Pro Tip: Don’t settle for a simple storage shed. Use a pool house to hold all your pool supplies and give you a much more visually appealing storage solution!
4) Outdoor Bars
What outdoor dining room is complete without a bar? Besides the obvious benefit of being a great place to serve some wine, adding a bar to your backyard also gives you some unique storage space opportunities. Adding a small wine fridge lets you keep your beverages cold without taking up space in your primary outdoor kitchen fridge. And why store your glasses out of sight in cabinets when you can add a specialized shelf that’s equal parts practical and beautiful? Make your own bar as fancy as the one in your favorite restaurant!
5) Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets
Finally, this basic staple of kitchen design is equally crucial in both indoor and outdoor kitchens. Weatherproof cabinets will keep your cooking supplies and ingredients right at hand while keeping them safe from the elements. Save yourself the trouble of constantly running back and forth to bring out supplies from the house. Keep everything you need in your outdoor kitchen!
Get Clever with Your Storage Solutions!
Finding unique storage ideas for your backyard not only helps you organize all your outdoor necessities, but also gives you more potential designs for your backyard renovation. Make your storage system as elaborate or as simple as you prefer. And most importantly, make it fully suited to your preferences for the ultimate custom backyard!
Join the conversation to see how other homeowners incorporated storage into their new backyard designs.
by Sam Hickey | May 8, 2020 | Custom Features, Design Inspiration, Home Improvement
Does your living room not have enough space? Does it simply feel cramped or too small to be comfortable? While it may seem like the most logical solution is knocking out a wall, you can take less drastic measures to make your living room seem bigger than it truly is.
Don’t worry about rearranging your entire home’s layout to fix a too-small living room! Several strategic decorative choices will help you create a brighter, more open atmosphere for your living area. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.
Very light or very dark colors tend to give a room depth. Combining the two, such as painting the walls white and buying dark navy furniture, makes the space pop even more. Your eye is drawn to the contrasting colors that create the illusion of a bigger room. This also has the advantage of giving your living space a clean, elegant look.
Pro Tip: Decorating with pale or bright colors in a room with low natural light will accent the light it does have, making a compact space feel more open.
A few strategic decorative choices can help outline your space. Large rugs on the floor and large paintings hanging on the walls trick your mind into seeing the room as bigger than it actually is. A large mirror hanging on the wall also helps create the illusion of depth and makes a room feel more open.
Additionally, your choice of accessories comes into play here. Too many small decorative items can make your room feel cluttered and tiny. Buy a few larger decorative pieces instead to complement the room and mesh perfectly with your paintings and rug.
One excellent method of saving space is to find creative ways of storing necessary items. Plenty of homeowners accomplish this through specialized furniture. For instance, cushions on a window seat could lift up to hold extra blankets or pillows. A couch can fold out into a bed. A coffee table can expand into a standing desk. You can even find creative ways to incorporate shelves or drawers into your furniture plan. Whatever you choose, removing excess clutter without sacrificing any necessary things will definitely help your room feel more open.
Making Your Living Room Look Bigger
With an eye for color and decor, it’s not difficult to make a room feel larger without actually changing the floor space. It’s all about tricking your eyes! Experiment with different colors, decorations, furniture, and more to create your new ideal living room.
Join the conversation to see how other homeowners decorated their living areas.
by Sam Hickey | Jan 31, 2020 | Custom Features, Design Inspiration
Are you ready to transform your backyard into the ultimate getaway? Whether you use your backyard to host an awesome pool party or BBQ cookout, the options are endless to make your outdoor living area come to life. If you’re looking for inspiration to design your custom backyard, take a look at these renovations from homes in the Greater Houston area.
Designing for the Houston Area: Top 5 Custom Backyards
Since 2009, our team has been able to design and build hundreds of beautiful backyards in Houston’s surrounding areas. Check out our five favorite backyard renovations to help you brainstorm which outdoor features to choose for your home.
- Backyard Oasis
- Texas Retreat
- Outdoor Charm
- Upscale Resort
- Cottage Hideaway
1) Backyard Oasis
Designed to impress, this backyard oasis has all of our favorite features including a fire pit, custom swimming pool, dining area, and covered patio. By choosing neutral stone colors to match their siding, the homeowners were able to add value and character to their beautiful home.
Pro Tip: To accentuate your existing home style, our design consultation includes an onsite tour of your existing space. Start the design process by scheduling a consultation today!
2) Texas Retreat
If you want to turn your backyard into a retreat, you can install a custom-designed patio cover like this home. By combining warm wood stains with natural stone, these homeowners were able to create a space that complimented their rustic style. The rock waterfall addition to their pool was a special touch that brought a warm feel to their Texan retreat.
3) Outdoor Charm
If you want to make your home the talk of the neighborhood, install an outdoor fireplace to spark interest and create an outdoor meeting place. By adding a hot tub to their pool and large fireplace on the side, these homeowners are now able to entertain all throughout the year.
4) Upscale Resort
Who says you can’t have a stay-at-home vacation? By installing a custom patio with luxury lighting and a pool with water features, this home’s backyard was transformed into an upscale resort for everyone to enjoy.
5) Cottage Hideaway
When your outdoor living space becomes an extension of your home, you’ll know your custom backyard is on the right track. These homeowners chose to coordinate the red brick from their home into their outdoor kitchen by installing a custom island. With ambient lighting and a pool steps away from the patio, this backyard is a cottage hideaway unlike any other.
Living Spaces Designed for YOU
Are you ready to design your outdoor living space? From the initial design consultation to the completion date, our designers are available to assist you in building your customized backyard. Our pool builders and landscape designers look forward to making your space an outdoor retreat your whole family will love.
For more backyard design ideas, connect with us on social media!