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Above Ground Pool Decks – Raise Your Deck to the Edge of Your Pool

April 22, 2014

above ground pool deck 300x203 Above Ground Pool Decks   Raise Your Deck to the Edge of Your PoolThere are many advantages to having an above ground pool. They fit into smaller and/or oddly shaped yards more easily than inground pools. You can take them with you when you move. And above-ground pools cost much less than even the least expensive inground options. They do have one drawback for some homeowners: their appearance. Above-ground pools just don’t flow into the landscape as easily as inground pools.

You can work around this issue, though, by installing a deck that meets the edge of the pool. Let’s take a look at some standout designs that do exactly that.

Above-Ground Pool With Stone or Wooden Wall

In this design, part of the pool sits against the deck, with a stone wall encircling the remaining edges. It blends well with both grass and hardscaping such as rocks. The exterior of the above-ground pool is hidden below the deck and by the stone wall, giving it a more upscale look. The stone wall also provides privacy elsewhere on the deck. You can take a similar approach with wood if it will better suit your home’s architecture and/or setting.

Encase Your Pool With a Wood Deck

You also can extend decking to completely surround your above-ground pool. In this  design, the pool serves as the focal point of the deck, with walkways and seating along its edge. This layout works well for a family that entertains often, and the height of the deck is the only way to tell that the pool was actually not installed in the ground.

Stand Alone Pool Decks

If you have a large lot, you may want to locate the pool away from the house to keep noise to a minimum for those relaxing inside. This design features a stand-alone deck that meets the edge of the pool, wrapping around it to provide easy access into the pool. Signage, tiki torches, and patio furniture add to the ready-for-fun atmosphere.

Adding a Hot Tub Within a Wooden Deck

All of these ideas also can work for hot tubs. In this woodsy setting, a deck wraps around the back of a home, with the first level against the house, a second level with bench seating and a third with the hot tub as the focal point. Once inside, it will feel like the most private place on the planet for a soak.

Other Factors to Consider When Installing an Above-Ground Pool With Deck

Keep these tips in mind when making plans:

  • If you are using a deck to hide the appearance of an above-ground pool, keep in mind your most common vantage point. In other words, if the back of the pool sits close to fencing, only deck the areas you will see from your home. You can save money by opting for a partial deck.
  • Don’t forget the landscaping. You can use landscaping to hide the areas of the above-ground pool that remain exposed. Shrubbery and the like will prevent swimmers from accessing the pool in ways that they should not, which can cause damage. Just be sure to choose plants that will not shed into the pool and create a mess.
  • Remember to include a separate, gated entrance to the pool area that locks if required to by law. Even in states that do not require it, securing access to the pool helps keep younger kids, whether guests or members of your family, from swimming unsupervised or getting themselves into a dangerous situation.
  • Build storage into your deck design. Check out this cool storage idea that keeps unsightly hoses out of sight and these benches that double as storage.

Mr. Handyman can maintain your home to save you money. One call really does take care of everything on your to-do list. All Mr. Handyman franchises are Fully Insured with General Liability and Workers Compensation. Some services are subject to state and local licensing and may not be available in all locations. Make sure to stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs and request service in your area.

Building a Deck: Plans, Costs, and Materials

April 15, 2014

Building a safe, attractive deck requires a commitment of time and money. You will feel both were well spent, though, once you have a comfortable outdoor space in which to relax and entertain. Learn more about planning, costs and materials for building a deck with these resources:

Building a Deck | Ideas, Free Deck Plans, Plus Building Codes and Costs

wooden deck Building a Deck: Plans, Costs, and MaterialsIn this previous Mr. Handyman post, we talk about the abundance of free deck plans online that you can use for inspiration or to actually build your deck. Decks.com still reigns as one of the most popular sources for plans, even defining the many different styles you have to choose from:

Contemporary — Sleek, sparse and modern, this style uses basic shapes and clean lines, with material options including composite and PVC. Stainless steel cable rails and glass also are common in this style.

Colonial — Classic architecture and symmetrical design meet white, moulded railings with decorative post caps in this style. Gardeners love it, as they can incorporate planter boxes throughout.

Traditional—Cedar and redwood are the materials often used, with octagon layouts and chamfered corners a common sight in this style, which suits cottage-style homes.

Mountain—Heavy timber framing and rustic log railings match well the surrounding nature of a log cabin-style home. This style of deck allows for the view to be showcased.

Coastal—Composite and PVC also are common materials for this style, as it gets used often for decks overlooking the sea and can stand up to the wet conditions. Glass and cable rails also put the emphasis on the view.

Once you decide on a style and plan, Decks.com also will send it to you along with a materials (framing, decking, and railing) list and a cost estimation, which you can provide to your professional handyman when getting an estimate for the job.

This Building a Deck post also offers additional tools for estimating cost and goes into building codes for decks.

Wooden Decks: Ideas, Designs and Plans to Build the Perfect Deck

exterior wood deck Building a Deck: Plans, Costs, and MaterialsTo get additional direction and inspiration for your deck project, check out this Mr. Handyman post. In it, we point you toward the best images from dream deck galleries on the Better Homes and Gardens and This Old House websites, allowing you to save time. While in inspiration mode, also check out this new gallery from Sunset magazine: 26 Great Ideas for Decks.

We also offer tips on how to brainstorm ideas with your family, so that the deck, once done, truly serves everyone’s needs.

Deck Materials: Pros and Cons of Wood vs. Composite Decking

fiberon composite deck Building a Deck: Plans, Costs, and Materials

Photo Credit: Fiberon on Flickr

This Mr. Handyman Mr. Handyman post helps you decide between the real stuff and one of its faux counterparts. Wood has many selling points, such as its natural look and the variety of pressure-treated grades, allowing you to find a wood that fits your budget. On the other hand, composite lumber resists moisture-causing rotting and warping.

We also explore important points to consider such as maintenance and longevity. Wood requires regular pressure washing and resealing, but you can simply hose off composite lumber. A non-pressure-treated wood deck lasts 15 to 20 years, with pressure-treated grades often coming with a limited lifetime warranty. Composite woods typically come with a limited 20-year warranty.

Consult an Expert

deck repair Building a Deck: Plans, Costs, and MaterialsThe posts in our Mr. Handyman blog serve as an excellent starting point for projects. From there, you have access to the full knowledge of a topic through our professional handymen. We can customize the information in any post to fit your situation and build upon it to come up with a complete plan for your home.

Mr. Handyman can maintain your home to save you money. One call really does take care of everything on your to-do list. All Mr. Handyman franchises are Fully Insured with General Liability and Workers Compensation. Some services are subject to state and local licensing and may not be available in all locations. Make sure to stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs and request service in your area.

Covered Patio Ideas

April 12, 2014

We can’t reiterate enough how important outdoor living is. Having a patio extends your living space and adds incredible value to your home. Patio covers are an important part of your outdoor area because they add design aesthetic, functionality, and protection from the natural elements of the outdoors. Investing in a patio cover is well worth the cost considering their usefulness during all seasons – providing protection from rain, snow, and harsh sunlight.

The first patio featured below is a traditional pergola. While the wood lattice gives some protection from the sun, rain, or snow, it still lets warming light through. This partial cover adds an element of design to your landscape that will make your home one-of-a-kind.  Also keep in mind that a free standing pergola like the one we’ve featured next is also an option.

white lattice 2 Covered Patio Ideas

Photo cred: Alltexexteriors on Flickr

The following patio cover option is a free standing pergola. This isolated patio gives the feel of a gazebo, and brings incredible uniqueness to an outdoor space. This patio is ideal for outdoor lounging, entertaining, or dining. By creating an outdoor cooking and dining area, you’ll be sure to get plenty of use out of your new patio.

isolated patio Covered Patio Ideas

photo cred: Yanceycompanymarketing

During those warm summer nights, patios get the most use. Here, we have a latticed patio with protective glass to keep unwanted elements out. You’ll still feel the warmth of the sun while extending the life of your patio furniture. We love the twinkling lights here– they are perfect for a romantic summer dinner party. 

enchanting entertaining patio Covered Patio Ideas

Photo cred: Sandra Cox on Flickr

This ultra-luxurious outdoor patio adds hundreds of square feet of living space to the home. It has a solid wood cover, completely protecting the area from outdoor elements. The added ceiling fan ensures that any warm air is circulated throughout the space. Anyone with an incredible patio like this couldn’t help but spend their days outside.

luxury outdoor living Covered Patio Ideas

Photo cred: Edgewater Pools on Flickr

This last patio cover provides the functionality of a fully covered space while still being able to enjoy the natural elements. The skylight in this solid ceiling lets the circulation of air through your outdoor space while protecting your furniture that is vulnerable to harsh sun and rain.

skylight Covered Patio Ideas

Photo cred: Rick’s Fencing on Flickr

Patio covers come in all shapes and sizes. No matter what you are looking for,  there are plenty of options. From the hexagonal pergola to the twinkling latticed cover, all your outdoor patio needs can be fulfilled. For advice on finding the perfect patio cover, find your local Mr. Handyman here.

Mr. Handyman can maintain your home to save you money. One call really does take care of everything on your to-do list. All Mr. Handyman franchises are Fully Insured with General Liability and Workers Compensation. Some services are subject to state and local licensing and may not be available in all locations. Make sure to stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs and request service in your area.


Building Deck Stairs – Are You Up For The Challenge?

April 10, 2014

spring deck repair Building Deck Stairs   Are You Up For The Challenge? A good set of stairs is essential for accessing your deck. The amount of wood and other materials you will need depends on the height of your deck and certain preferences. No matter the height, though, you must meet the International Residential Code when building deck stairs:

  • Minimum stair width of 36 inches
  • Maximum stair rise of 7 ¾ inches
  • Minimum stair tread depth of 10 inches

These are just a few of the required specifications — contact your local building code enforcement office to get the full set of requirements. You have leeway for personal preferences specific to your deck and situation. For example, you may have a low deck and want a wide set of stairs that spans a good section of it to show off plants and decor, as opposed to a slimmer set that serves to simply get people up and down.

Once you know what the requirements are and have thought about what you might like in a staircase, head to decks.com and use the website’s handy stairs and steps calculator to explore your options and finalize measurements.

The tool allows you to enter the total rise, step run or tread type, deck joist size and string attachment type. It will then calculate the number of rises needed and give you the total run, total rise, step run, step rise, angle, bottom rise and stringer length measurements for your project. You can take that information with you to the home improvement store or lumberyard for purchase of the wood you will need.

You also will need to get 3-inch decking screws as well as the materials for a concrete landing if you plan to install one.

Tools You Will Need to Build Stairs

deck repair Building Deck Stairs   Are You Up For The Challenge? If you don’t typically work with wood, you may need to invest in more tools. All in all, you will need:

  • Tape measure
  • Four-foot level
  • Clamps
  • Circular saw
  • Corded drill
  • Framing square
  • Handsaw
  • Stair gauge
  • Safety glasses
  • Sawhorses

If you plan to install a concrete landing, you also will need:

  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Plumb bob
  • Trowel
Raides Deck 300x225 Building Deck Stairs   Are You Up For The Challenge?

Photo: Arnold Masonry and Concrete on Flickr

Keep the above purchases in mind if doing the math when deciding whether to DIY or hire a professional.

Skills You Will Need to Build Deck Stairs

Speaking of hiring a professional, as mentioned this task involves not only construction but also design. Inaccuracy in either area can lead to problems during the project. Measurements that are not precise can leave you without enough wood or with wood that goes to waste. Inaccuracy also can result in you not passing inspection and having to do additional work—or worse-case scenario, start from scratch.

If you are considering outsourcing this task, get an idea as to how much it will cost before ruling it out. If you are truly new to DIY projects such as this, factor in how much it will cost not only for materials but also for tools.

Other Factors to Consider

When deciding whether or not to hire a professional handyman to do the work, also factor in the cost of your time. If you have precious free time, it might make sense to enjoy it and know that the work will be done to code the first time and take fewer days than if you DIY’d it. This project can take a non-professional several weekends to complete.

Mr. Handyman can maintain your home to save you money. One call really does take care of everything on your to-do list. All Mr. Handyman franchises are Fully Insured with General Liability and Workers Compensation. Some services are subject to state and local licensing and may not be available in all locations. Make sure to stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs and request service in your area.

Outdoor Heaters and Fireplaces | Keep Warm While Entertaining Outdoors

March 29, 2014
Outdoor Patio Heater Outdoor Heaters and Fireplaces | Keep Warm While Entertaining Outdoors

Photo Credit: Carbon Arc via Flickr

Daytime temps are on the rise with the arrival of spring, but in many areas of the country it still gets chilly after the sun goes down. Adding a heater or fireplace to your outdoor living space allows you to stay warm while enjoying the night. Multiple options exist in terms of design, finish and what fuels the fire.

Gas Patio Heaters
These floor-lamp-height heaters use liquid propane or natural gas and can produce up to 66,000 BTUs, depending on the model. That makes for a toasty patio. Multiple designs and finishes are available, including stainless steel, bronze, copper, nickel and designer colors. Look for features such as wheels that allow you to easily relocate the heater and anti-tilt devices for safety.

Electric Patio Heaters

Electric Patio Heaters Outdoor Heaters and Fireplaces | Keep Warm While Entertaining Outdoors

Photo Credit arc blue via Flickr

The majority of the electric models available use infrared heat. While they do not produce as many BTUs as gas heaters, fans of this type say that does not matter. Since wind does not affect the heat, they offer a more consistent warmth and operate at about 1/10 of the energy cost of a gas heater. They also prove more convenient as they simply plug into an existing outlet. These heaters are available with incandescent, LED and halogen bulbs and in the same heights and variety of designs and finishes as gas patio heaters.

Tabletop Patio Heaters
If you do not want to devote floor space to an outdoor heater, opt for this type. It simply sits on the table. They come in gas — topping out at about 11,000 BTUs because of the intended location — and electric and with the same functionality and design options as their taller counterparts.

Wood-Burning Fire Pits
Perhaps the most varied in terms of style, these outdoor heaters feature a steel base, either sitting on legs or on the ground, and often a cover. They come in square, rectangular and round shapes and in simple designs to elaborate. Some may even have moon and stars cutouts or resemble a large lantern. You can even find wood-burning pits that come with an attachable grill on which to cook food.

Gas-Burning Fire Pits
This type of fire pit also comes in a wide range of styles, but because there does not need to be space for wood more often resemble a planter. Some burn from crystals or tumbled glass pieces, while others include faux logs or lava rocks. The gas cylinder fits within the case, or some models can be connected to a gas line.

outdoor stone fireplace Outdoor Heaters and Fireplaces | Keep Warm While Entertaining Outdoors

Photo by: All Oregon Landscaping, Inc. on Flickr

Outdoor Fireplaces
For a more permanent addition to your patio, opt for an outdoor fireplace. They can be built from scratch or purchased as a kit or already assembled. There are both wood and gas options, with materials ranging from concrete paver stones to brick to faux stone to stucco to porcelain tile. This option proves the most expensive but can really turn your patio into a true outdoor living space.

Installation of these outdoor heaters and fireplaces ranges according to the complexity of the project. Electric outdoor heaters are simply plug and go, while gas outdoor heaters do require the placement and hookup of a fuel source.

Fire pits may come out of the box assembled or require you to put them together. It all depends on the model, and with the gas models you also must place and hook up the fuel source.

As mentioned, some outdoor fireplaces come as kits and can be tackled by a DIYer and assistant in an afternoon in most cases. The built-from-scratch offers the most permanent option, and unless you are skilled in masonry involves hiring professional help for best results

Mr. Handyman can maintain your home to save you money. One call really does take care of everything on your to-do list. Make sure to stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs and request service now online.

Some services subject to state and local licensing and may not be available at all locations.

Repair. Improve. Maintain. One call does it all!

Patio Ideas | 3 Ways to Makeover Your Outdoor Patio

March 26, 2014

We’re officially in the spring season since passing the first day of spring on Thursday, March 20th. Depending on where you are in the country, you may be wearing flip-flops or a parka – but either way, now is a good time to start thinking about revamping your patio.

Your patio is an extension of your home’s living space. And you can increase the value of your home by investing in a deck or patio addition. If you’re looking to makeover your outdoor patio space, below are our top three ideas…

Hang Lights. Adding ambient lighting to your patio, especially after the sun has set, is a great way to create a relaxed atmosphere. A simply string of white lights is the easiest option or you can invest in something more involved. Read our Patio Lighting Ideas blog post to learn about more options.

 

03262014 patio lights 1 Patio Ideas | 3 Ways to Makeover Your Outdoor Patio

Photo Credit: Wicker Paradise on Flickr

 

03262014 patio lights 2 Patio Ideas | 3 Ways to Makeover Your Outdoor Patio

Photo Credit: Shelby Steward on Flickr

 

03262014 patio lights 3 Patio Ideas | 3 Ways to Makeover Your Outdoor Patio

Photo Credit: Wonderlane on Flickr

 

Build a Pergola. If you don’t have a place to hang your lights, consider building a pergola for your back patio. Pergolas are a great way to provide shade and design to your patio. You can hang lights, plants, flowers, ivy, etc. from your pergola to provided added ambiance. Not sure how to build a pergola or don’t have the time? Mr. Handyman can help.

3262014 pergola Patio Ideas | 3 Ways to Makeover Your Outdoor Patio

Add a Firepit. Adding a firepit to your back patio or deck is a great way to spend more time with family and friends. Roasting marshmallows for s’mores or just watching the fire with a cold beverage is a relaxing way to pass the time. The simplest option would be to purchase a chiminea or an above-ground firepit. If you’re looking for something more permanent, there could be more cost and labor involved for an in-ground firepit but the results will be rewarding.

03262014 firepit Patio Ideas | 3 Ways to Makeover Your Outdoor Patio

Photo Credit: slgckgc on Flickr

 

03262014 firepit 2 Patio Ideas | 3 Ways to Makeover Your Outdoor Patio

Photo Credit: Field Outdoor Spaces

 

What do you think of our ideas? Have any of your own? Please share in the comments section below…

Patio Lighting Ideas | Great Tips to Illuminate Your Outdoor Space

March 24, 2014

As the weather warms up, the sun sets later and later, giving you more daylight hours during which to enjoy your patio. You also can relax or entertain after dark outside, thanks to patio lighting. Learn about the many patio lighting ideas, from inexpensive string lights to lamps to mounted fixtures.

Patio String Lights

224889283 e8fd3a92dc m Patio Lighting Ideas | Great Tips to Illuminate Your Outdoor Space

Photo Credit: MJM via Flickr

Homeowners love everything about outdoor string lights. They come in a variety of designs. Bare bulbs are available in multiple shapes and sizes, and you can even get lights with a crackle finish. They also come nestled in holders. Dragonflies are popular, as are lanterns in metal or bamboo. And of course there are holiday patio string lights for Christmas and Halloween, just to name a few.

Because they are so easy to install, you can simply change your lights with the season. Their affordability also makes that an option for just about any homeowner.

String lights also work for several areas of your patio. You can hang them on your house and along a fence. Some homeowners even include a string around the patio umbrella to add light to the table. Be sure to only hang string lights rated as safe for outdoor use.

Patio Lamps
Lamps also are an option on the patio. Look for floor and table lamps that feature a weatherproof, grounded cord and plug; an unbreakable enclosure for the bulb; and weatherproof shade for best results if you live in an area of the country that sees wet weather. A weighted bottom helps keep the lamp where it belongs if wind is an issue.

Patio Wall Light Fixtures
You likely have a patio wall light just outside the back door. Consider installing additional wall lights in the same design—or choose an entirely new design—to provide more light at night. This type of outdoor light fixture offers the most options in terms of design, from traditional glass and rubbed-bronze fixtures to industrial models with stainless steel.

Patio Ceiling Flush-Mount and Pendant Lights

Patio Lights Patio Lighting Ideas | Great Tips to Illuminate Your Outdoor Space

Photo Credit Ian Muttoo (imuttoo) via Flickr

If your patio is covered, you also have the option to install lighting overhead. Flush-mount and pendant lights are both an option, but stick with the flush-mount design if your ceiling hangs on the low side. For taller ceilings or on a patio with a table and chairs in a set location, pendant lights add a bit more style to the area as they resemble a light fixture typically found indoors. You can also opt for a ceiling fan with light if you have the room.

Dark Sky Compliance
When choosing patio lighting, consider following the recommendations of the International Dark-Sky Association. It strives to reduce light pollution by encouraging proper installation and usage of outdoor lighting. It suggests using shielded lighting that comes with its IDA seal of approval. Not only does this type of lighting reduce light pollution—and keep neighbors from illuminating another’s yard or even indoor rooms—it also helps you conserve energy and save money on electric bills. The association also recommends using lower-wattage bulbs for the same reasons.

Tips for Installation

No matter which type of patio lighting you choose, be sure to follow local codes for installation. They likely will require the use of UF cable with grounding conductor for underground wiring, UL-approved products, ground-fault interrupters and weatherproof equipment. Switches and outlets also must be weatherproof, as must any timers.

Some lighting, such as patio string lights and lamps, can be safely placed by a homeowner, but others on this list require professional installation, such as by a handyman or electrician. Faulty wiring is dangerous, especially when exposed to the elements.

Mr. Handyman can maintain your home to save you money. One call really does take care of everything on your to-do list. Make sure to stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs and request service now online.

Some services subject to state and local licensing and may not be available at all locations.

Installing Outdoor Deck Speakers | Waterproofing Outdoor Speakers

March 20, 2014

More and more homeowners are extending their living space to the outside areas of their property. In the backyard, they build a patio or deck that features seating, as well as a fireplace, kitchen and outdoor speakers in more elaborate setups. Learn what installing outdoor deck speakers involves before you get started…

Choosing the Right Outdoor Speakers for Your Home

Outdoor Speakers Installing Outdoor Deck Speakers | Waterproofing Outdoor Speakers

Photo Credit: pfibiger on Flickr

Which speakers you buy depends on a variety of factors: budget, size of area, and your taste, just to name a few. You can easily pay more than $1,000 on a pair of weatherproof speakers, but you also can get away with spending just a few hundred. The more expensive speakers cover a larger area and come in more styles. If you don’t want to splurge on the large, rock-shaped speakers that blend into your backyard, at least get those with a color that matches the installation area.

Also be sure to buy outdoor speakers with detachable brackets if hanging them on a wall. Though they are be waterproof, you may not feel comfortable leaving them outside if you are away from home for an extended period of time.

Installing Outdoor Speakers

wooden deck Installing Outdoor Deck Speakers | Waterproofing Outdoor SpeakersThe speakers you buy will come with detailed installation instructions as well as a list of additional materials you will need. Consider this an overview, one that will help you to decide whether this is a DIY project or will require professional help.

Start by purchasing 14-gauge CL2- or CL3-rated in-wall speaker cable, the amount depending upon the distance between your sound system and the speaker locations. If you are planning to bury the cables, such as when you want them to run from your home to a pool area, choose cable rated for such use.

Run the cable from your sound system through your exterior wall to the spots where you would like the speakers to hang or sit. When hanging outdoor speakers, do so as close as possible to the point where the cable comes out of the wall to keep the amount exposed to a minimum.

Before finalizing their locations and installing the brackets, connect the speakers and test their sound. You can have a friend hold them or set them atop a ladder. If the speakers aren’t loud enough to reach the areas you want, hang them higher.

Once installation is complete, be sure to seal the entry point to keep your home energy efficient and free of unwanted guests.

Additional tips for this project:

  • Keep neighbors in mind when deciding on locations for outdoor speakers; they don’t necessarily want to hear your favorite sports team or band play.
  • Consider running speaker cable through PVC piping if burying it; this not only makes it easier to find but also can better protect the cable.
  • Check local ordinances on burying wire to ensure you meet the requirements.
  • Never run speaker wire through a door or window; it will crimp and could result in exposed wires and, therefore, a fire hazard.
  • Ensure that where you want to hang the outdoor speakers can support their weight; wood and aluminum siding cannot.
  • Get this project out of the way now, before summer weather arrives; you will you appreciate beating the heat.
  • Also consider hiring a professional handyman to take on this task if you don’t feel comfortable working with wiring or if the setup you want is more involved than just two speakers. When using multiple speakers, it helps to have someone experienced to get the right sound and balance and to ensure the installation will withstand whatever the elements in your area are.

Mr. Handyman can maintain your home to save you money. One call really does take care of everything on your to-do list. Make sure to stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs and request service now online.

Some services subject to state and local licensing and may not be available at all locations.

Repair. Improve. Maintain. One call does it all!

Front Porch Ideas | Screen it, Decorate it, or Install a Porch Swing!

March 17, 2014

Your front porch is that charming area where you can gather with friends, get lost in the shade and relax with an ice cold beverage. It is an additional living space, connecting your interior with your exterior, great for welcoming and entertaining guests, and is the first (and sometimes only) impression for passers-by and neighbors. Here are three front porch ideas for improvement…

Plants bring life to the space. Add a little green to your porch! This is a very inexpensive and effective way to spice up what was a rather dull and lifeless porch. You may ask yourself “there are so many options, how do I choose?” This is often determined by how large the porch is and the specific structure of the porch. Here are a few general rules of thumb:

  •  Hanging plants are a welcoming classic
  • Ferns in an urn provide an elegant touch
  • Topiaries add height and extend the presence of an entryway
03172014 hanging plants Front Porch Ideas | Screen it, Decorate it, or Install a Porch Swing!

Photo Credit: Invisiclimb on Flickr

03172014 ferns in urns Front Porch Ideas | Screen it, Decorate it, or Install a Porch Swing!

Photo Credit : thegardenbuzz on Flickr

03172014 topiaries Front Porch Ideas | Screen it, Decorate it, or Install a Porch Swing!

Photo Credit: Royston Rascals on Flickr

 

Comfortable and functional is a must. If your porch is being used to relax, entertain guests or take a break from the sun, then it’s important that it is both comfortable and functional. A great way to make your porch more welcoming is by installing a porch swing! Porch swings allow for comfort and relaxation, and can double as an awesome decorative piece. Click here for instructions!

03172014 porch swing Front Porch Ideas | Screen it, Decorate it, or Install a Porch Swing!

Photo Credit: Richard Elzey on Flickr

Accessories can help tie everything together. Even with a gorgeous wooden porch swing and a few vibrant plants, a front porch still may seem like it’s missing something. There is no better way to personalize and add style to a porch then by adding accessories. With accessories, the choices are endless. Some of our favorite ideas were flags, hammocks, custom furniture, lighting and lamps, pottery, area rugs and clocks. Feel free to get creative.

03172014 hammock Front Porch Ideas | Screen it, Decorate it, or Install a Porch Swing!

Photo Credit: kawwsu29 on Flickr

If you’re looking for someone to help install that new hammock or hang your new plants, Mr. Handyman can do it all – no job is too small. Or if you’re looking to completely remodel your new front porch, we can help with at, too!

Mr. Handyman can maintain your home to save you money. One call really does take care of everything on your to-do list. Make sure to stay on top of your household repairs, improvements, and maintenance needs and request service now online.

Deck Designs | Ideas and Inspiration for Planning the Perfect Deck

March 14, 2014

Decks are a very important part of a home’s value, both monetarily and functionally. They extend the living space of your home while increasing it’s value. According to Mr. Handyman, you can realize up to 100% return on your investment when you build a long lasting deck. Not only will you be investing in the future value of your home, you’ll also be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor. So before you jump into your deck remodeling project, get some inspiration from our favorite deck design ideas.

The design shown below has a built-in bench made out of the same cedar wood as the deck. Here, we have an aesthetic design that is minimal while adding the functionality to accommodate all your guests. Cedar wood is a common material used for decks  because it is naturally insect resistant, fire- resistant and stands up to decay when treated properly.

alaskatreeline bench Deck Designs | Ideas and Inspiration for Planning the Perfect Deck

Photo Cred: Alaska Treeline on Flickr.

Another minimalistic idea is the ground level deck shown below. The simple design creates the extra living space you need without the extravagance of a deck that takes over your entire backyard. Here, you can enjoy the natural beauty of your outdoor space with the practicality of a deck built with stunning redwood. Redwood, like cedar wood, proves to be insect, fire, and decay resistant when properly maintained.

peachheights ground level Deck Designs | Ideas and Inspiration for Planning the Perfect Deck

Photo cred: peachheights on Flickr.

This next deck has a myriad of built-in planters that break up the harsh contrast between natural and artificial elements. We love the idea of building your dream garden alongside this lovely built-in seating. This composite made deck is not only the perfect place for your dream garden, but it’s also a low-maintenance option for decks. Choosing composite for your deck means you can keep your deck clean with soap and water instead of an annual sealing.

alaskatreeline planters Deck Designs | Ideas and Inspiration for Planning the Perfect Deck

Photo cred: Alaska Treeline on Flickr.


Last but certainly not least, we have an extravagant design that truly has the “wow” factor. This enormous deck offers a huge increase in living space, not to mention a lavish place to host an outdoor event. Your new deck will be the talk of the party if you decide to go in this elaborate direction.

alaska treeline extravagent Deck Designs | Ideas and Inspiration for Planning the Perfect Deck

Photo cred: Alaska Treeline on Flickr.

 

Deck additions are one of Mr. Handyman’s favorite remodeling project. The functionality and value that your new deck will add to your home will surely outweigh the costs. With this “deck-spiration” in mind, you’ll soon have the deck of your dreams with a return on investment that you can’t beat.

Mr. Handyman can maintain your home to save you money. One call really does take care of everything on your to-do list. Make sure to stay on top of your household repairs, improvements, and maintenance needs and request service now online.

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