Category Archives for "Decks, Patios & Porches"

The Perfect Decking for a Holiday Home

Getting away from the hustle and bustle to your second home will be marked boldly and brightly on your calendar. It’s where memories are made, and no doubt you’re dreaming of lazing away a few afternoons. What you definitely won’t want to do is be sanding and staining tired-looking decking.

If your holiday home already has decking, then you’ll remember how fantastic it looked when it was new, or when you’ve spent days smartening it up; an annual chore.

Or perhaps you’ve not started your decking project yet and are looking for some inspiration. Either way, the world of decking material has dawned a new era, and with it comes a new breed of composite decking. You might have heard about composite decking already.

decking for holiday homes


Early wood and plastic composites (WPCs) first arrived in the mid-nineties, its plastic-like appearance more akin to nursery equipment. Fortunately, each decade has seen improvements, and today’s generation of high-end composite decks are hard to distinguish between real wood, but the real beauty is that it’s virtually maintenance-free. It’ll last season after season. Forget smartening up that tired old wood; you can replace it with composite, which can be attached to your existing structure.

Use it on any type of holiday home

There doesn’t seem to be any restriction on where composite decking can be used. Basically, it can be fitted wherever a traditional wooden deck would go: penthouse rooftops, balconies, porches, caravans, boathouses and moorings. There’s a good choice in wood effects too, including matching railings and balustrades, so you can blend it with your property. In fact, you might end up using it to re-style your holiday home altogether. Good suppliers will send you free samples so you can see and feel the material before you buy.

Is composite really better than wood?

If you’ve got any wooden decking or garden furniture, then you’ll know how it wears. Regardless of whether it’s pine or hardwood, the low sun during those short winter days means it attracts mildew and becomes dull and slippy, and the change in temperature causes it to warp and splinter. It takes hours of maintenance to preserve wood, and heaps of expensive non-slip varnish. Wooden decking is lethal.

The latest composite is made from a blend of recycled (or salvaged) wood and resin, so it’s a sustainable product. Besides it being eco-friendly, composite won’t warp or splinter, and it won’t need sanding or staining, ever. It’s also strong and sturdy, and doesn’t creak. Most composite decking has a non-slip surface, meaning it’s perfect next to pools and riversides. It doesn’t need an annual touch-up and should last as long as it’s guaranteed to; often 25 years or more. For those holiday homes by the sea, salt is the enemy, but composite doesn’t rot.

Easy to install and adds value

Working with wood can be tricky, as it tends to have a mind of its own. Knots send screws off to the side, and sometimes it can split. Composite is well-known to be much easier to install. Each manufacturer’s kit is designed so the parts work together: special screws which fit like a glove and material without knots. And once it’s finished, it’ll transform that outside space into something worth a second glance. It will add value and gain the wow-factor.

People often complain about the money and time wasted on the upkeep of their holiday homes so it’s a good enough deterrent to decide against using decking. But now you don’t need to worry about all that. Mark that date as bold and bright as you can and look forward to lazing the days away on your new composite decking.

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Tips on Getting a Porch

In the summer a porch will extend the living space into the garden. A porch is the perfect place for enjoying your garden during the warm seasons of the year. It blurs the boundaries between inside and outside perfectly but to make sure that your enjoyment of this garden room is not dampened by anything you should consider the following points.

Planning of the Porch

Ask yourself what purpose you want your porch to serve. Do you want to use it for sun bathing, for cosy meals with the family or barbecues with friends? Maybe you’re thinking about turning it into a play area for the kids? Flick or browse through some home and garden magazines, photos websites to get inspired and get an idea of what you want the result to look like.

It’s important that you know what you want otherwise you might realise too late that there just isn’t enough space for your grill or you parasol. A great side effect of planning ahead is the fact that you’ll gain knowledge of what kind of style your porch will have.


Location of the Porch

Your chosen function will also determine the porch’s location. A sun worshipper will want the porch south of the house so that he or she can bathe in the sun all day long. A west facing porch won’t be in the sun all day but you will be able to enjoy the warm evening light for as long as possible. It is thus ideal for enjoying the late afternoon and evening hours with a cup of tea or a glass of wine.

If you want a lovely outdoor space for having breakfast in the sunshine then your porch should be in the east. A north facing one should not be discarded either if the house doesn’t allow for anything else. Its advantage: In the summer you’ll get sunlight in the morning and the evening while it offers cooling shade during the day. So our tip for planning: whatever place you choose for your porch, test it out by sitting there during different times of the day. That way you will be aware of any trees or nice views that might need to be considered.

Size of the Porch

Regardless of how you want to use your porch later on: be generous with the space allocated to it. Your porch will be small and your anger great when furniture end up barring the way into your garden and every movement you make means that you bump into something. You don’t want to land on your lawn the moment you move your chair back from the table. Chairs should be at least one metre away from the porch edge.

So even if you are planning a cosy, dinky porch it should at least measure 3 x 3 metres. If your garden is very small then make a point of having a large part of it being a porch and don’t shy away from it. If you have a very large terrace you should be aware of the fact that during the winter months it might look quite empty since all furniture will have been packed away. You will have to get creative with plants and decorations to keep it interesting during the cold months.

Look of the Porch

A fantastic porch-style is the natural look. To achieve it you can use shrubs, perennials, low-maintenance furniture and a wooden or natural stone floor. A close-by garden pond brings in the element of water and improves the microclimate on a hot, sunny day. Furniture look best when wooden or made from aluminium or stainless steel.

It’s particularly cunning to include colours or other elements from the inside when decorating your porch. Once you open the door in the summer to step onto your porch you will have beautifully fused the inside and outside world.

Furniture for the Porch

Seating arrangements are important for any porch. They allow you to sit down, relax, eat and spend great time with friends. So make sure that you have enough chairs available and that the table is big enough. If you can’t do without plenty of sun then you will also need a deckchair to fully enjoy the rays. A simple rule applies when choosing garden furniture: get the more expensive set. It might be slightly higher in price but they also tend to be much more durable.

Furnish your porch with what you need. Outdoor kitchens might be all the rage at the moment but will you really be using it? If you are the romantic type then you can create the right atmosphere with a cast-iron rose arch whereas a modern feeling can be created with very straight-lined furniture rounded off with comfortable cushions.

Natural Stone, Wood or Tiles

There is a big selection of porch floors to choose from: natural stone, wood, tiles or concrete? Wood has the advantage that it doesn’t heat up too much in the sun so you can walk on it barefoot even in the middle of the summer. Wood has a natural, gentle look when compared to stone. It doesn’t have to be wood from the rain forest. Eco-friendly alternatives are locust and larch timber.

Stone and tiles have the advantage that they are extremely durable and very easy to care for. You can arrange them in all sorts of different ways to create a variety of patterns and the wide range of colours makes it even more versatile. In winter or when it is raining these kind of floors can get very slippery though so make sure you purchase non-slip material.

Lights and Weather Protection

Whether you have stone or wooden floor, the heat will still come from the sun up in the sky. That’s why suitable sun protection is important. Classic solutions include porch roofs and sun shades and of course a large parasol. If you prefer a natural shade-giver then plant a tree nearby or let climbing plants go up your porch roof.

On a porch, lanterns are particularly atmospheric but wall lamps and spotlights can also create a beautiful light. If you don’t have electricity in your garden and you don’t require much light then solar lights are a great alternative. Make sure that you get a warm white light to make it cosy and highlight the great parts of your garden.


External Awnings – a Fashionable Addition to Any House

External awnings are generally not considered good for styling. Particularly in the old fashioned houses, they are considered to be rusty and often eyesores that cannot be used. However, in recent times both the use and look of the external awnings have undergone a lot of developments.

The materials are now much more improved and a lot of importance is being given on the designs. The external awnings of today can certainly be a very stylish addition to all types of home. Besides being stylish, they also take care of the practical aspects too.

It is never true that in order to protect some areas of the house you will need to compromise on the look and style. Beauty and practicality can certainly be ensured together. Awnings can create a great street appeal for your house as they are a practical and fashionable solution to all your outdoor problems.

Why Designers Like Awnings

Awnings are liked by landscape designers because they have the potential of creating an instant space. By providing a shady and safe effect to an area, they make it a great a place for relaxing. They also increase the scope of creating landscaped areas and new gardens in the outdoors.

Interior designers too love using awnings because the living space can be extended with the help of them. A nice awning can create wonders by helping in the blending of the existing design of the internal living room with the newly tiled or paved outdoor space.

External Awnings

Variety in Materials and Styles

There are a wide variety of styles in which awnings are available. In order to provide the best look to your home, you can make full use of these variations. The awnings will also help a great deal in increasing the comfort and convenience of your house.

The folding arm patterned awnings are commonly used in patios. Since these awnings are retractable, they will be folding away in the months of winter in order to allow the sunlight to enter the house. In summer, they will fold out in order to provide an outdoor space that will define the patio and give a shade to it.

You will surely want that the shades of the external awnings combine excellently with the color that has been used in your home. It is not at all a difficult thing to ensure as there are a wide range of colors from which you can choose the most appropriate one.

You may also want to make a statement by using a particular style of external awnings. For the purpose of adding flair and brightness, you can choose external awnings of such color that will create a perfect contrast to the color of your home. For houses having certain styles, the awnings can also be used as a feature of the overall look of the home.

One thing you can be sure about is that there are so many types of outdoor awnings available, that you will certainly be finding something that will match your taste and suit the style of your house. The awnings have undergone a great deal of revolution and have become a stylish addition for any house.

Top 5 Patio and Window Awnings (Click on the Images to Buy)

1. ALEKO® 12×10 Feet Retractable Patio Awning, BURGUNDY(3.5m x 3m)

Patio Awning, BURGUNDY

2. Outsunny 8′ x 7′ Patio Manual Retractable Sun Shade Awning – Green

Patio Manual Retractable Sun Shade Awning

3. 46″ X 36″ X 15″ White Aluminum Awning – Window Awnings

White Aluminum Awning

4. ALEKO® 8×2 Sand Window Awning Door Canopy 8-Foot Decorator Awning

Sand Window Awning Door Canopy

5. ALEKO® 6×2 Burgundy Window Awning Door Canopy 6-Foot Decorator Awning

Burgundy Window Awning Door Canopy

How To Keep Your Decking In Pristine Condition

Decking can get easily weathered. Follow our easy two-step guide to keeping your decking looking fresh. You only need to do this once a year (maybe even less If you take care of it during winter)

Step 1: Clean Your Decking

Dirt and debris make decking look dull and messy, so the first step to getting a pristine deck is to clean it. You can do this by using decking cleaner. Decking cleaner is specially formulated to be kind to your wood whilst remaining effective at removing dirt, so it’s crucial that you use a cleaner that specially formulated for wood.

After applying your decking cleaner to the wood, get a stiff brush and push it over the decking to remove all dirt and grime. Remember it’s important to get all of the dirt from the tight cracks and crevices to ensure that that your wood oil bonds with the decking.

How To Keep Your Decking In Pristine Condition

After you have brushed away all of the dirt you should power wash your decking to remove any residue from the cleaning process. (this isn’t necessary for all decking, just decking that is especially dirty).

Step 2: Oil Your Decking

Go to your local DIY store and purchase some decking oil. This will bond with your wood to give it protection from all weather conditions as well as enhancing the woods natural beauty.

  • Before oiling your whole decking, apply it to a small area on your deck. This will help you to decide whether or not it is the right shade for you.
  • Assuming you like the shade of your oil then go ahead and grab a sponge or a short haired roller, and dip it on your decking oil.
  • Begin in the furthest corner and work your way across the decking, ensuring that it is evenly coated in oil by wiping away any excess as you go.
  • Once you have finished oiling your deck then leave it to dry for 24 hours.
  • Do not attempt to oil your deck if you think, it might rain in the next 24 hours, or if conditions are damp.

And voila! That’s your simple guide to making your decking look pristine ready for the year ahead.

NOTE: If your decking is brand new then wait at least 6 months before doing applying any decking treatment, to ensure all pre-treatments have naturally weathered away.

Tips for Selecting the Perfect Patio Door

Although the days may be getting shorter and colder, it is never too early in the year to begin thinking about ways you can improve your home. With all of the down time you will have during the cold weather months, the fall and winter seasons a perfect time to start thinking about spring time home improvement projects.

For example, one of the easiest and less expensive types of do it yourself projects, includes upgrading your patio area by installing patio doors. Patio doors are extremely easy for a professional to install, and offer a wonderful addition to your home.

When you are ready to purchase and have your patio door installed, you may find yourself unsure of where to begin. Home improvement stores offer a large selection of patio doors for installation from hinged patio doors to gliding patio doors, which can be overwhelming.

However, if you plan ahead and take the time to understand the differences between the various doors, it will help ensure that when it comes time to make your purchase, you will select the best door for your home.

Patio Door

Hinged Patio Doors

Hinged patio doors are a popular selection for your outdoor patio for many reasons.

One of their biggest appeals is the conventional way in which they open and close, just like your regular door. Having a door designed to out swing can save much needed interior space and offer ease of use. Another large benefit of the hinged patio doors is in the traditional design, which allows for the addition of decorative touches. The various types of hinged patio doors offer other feature selections since they come in single and multiple pane designs.

Gliding / Sliding Glass Doors

On the other end of the spectrum for choices in patio doors are gliding doors, which are also referred to as standard sliding glass doors. If you are thinking about installing patio doors that glide, one consideration to remember is whether the space you have, will allow for the wide track needed for the doors to glide open and shut.

Gliding glass doors offer the benefit of being highly customizable, offering potential buyers the choice of glass, patterned glass, art glass, decorative grilles, expanded hardware, and various size options. Some of the sliders available today even come with built in blinds, which are nice for areas that receive an overabundance of sunlight or that require privacy. If you are wondering about the built in blinds, I will explain.

Since sliders are double pane, manufacturers are able to place blinds (they look like mini-blinds) between the glass. The operating mechanism is externally located so you can open and close the blinds located within the interior and exterior glass. These types of sliding glass doors are perfect for backyard decks, beach houses, and even balconies.

Remember that…

Regardless of whether you decide to install sliding glass doors or hinged patio doors, it is important to remember that the doors need to be positioned in an area where there is a natural flow of traffic. Placing doors that are out of the way of natural traffic can disturb the natural flow and throw off the decorative balance of your home.

Installing patio doors are an easy way to spruce up your home while offering visitors an easy way to access your patio, balcony, deck, or outside area while spending time at your house. When you are ready to begin the process of installing patio doors, always remember to use a qualified professional that can seamlessly install your patio doors with ease.