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Outdoor Living Spaces 101

by The Hat Team

During the summer, many people spend time outdoors to savor the warm weather.  Unfortunately, there are some not-so-pleasant aspects of spending time outside this time of year as well.  Bugs, rain and hot, humid days can make you want to stay indoors.  The following tips will help make the time you spend outside more comfortable:

  1. BUGS.  Yuck.  Whether you are hosting an alfresco dinner party or just simply trying to relax with a good book on your deck, nothing will send you running back inside faster than nasty, annoying bugs.  If mosquitoes are a problem in your area, dealing with them is imperative if you want to be able to enjoy the outdoors.  Screening in a porch is an ideal way to be able to feel like you are outside without all the awful bug bites.  Other ways to keep insects away:
  • Do not keep any standing water on your property.  Even a single forgotten flowerpot full of rainwater can become a mosquito breeding ground.
  • Make water features running rather than standing, or treat them with Mosquito Dunks
  • Install ceiling fans on porches - flies and mosquitoes do not like moving air.
     
  1. USE OUTDOOR FABRICS IN EXPOSED AREAS.  If your porch is covered, you may be able to get away with using more delicate furniture and cushions not specifically made for outdoor use.  But if your seating area is exposed to the elements, you will want to invest in fabrics and furniture made for outside use.  They will likely be more expensive, but they won’t fade in the sun, will resist stains and are water resistant.  The cushions are stuffed with material that sheds water easily so that they won’t stay waterlogged if they get wet.
     
  2. UTILIZE A STORAGE BENCH.  While outdoor cushions are designed to stand up to repeated soakings, they will still be wet for a while directly after a rainstorm.  You can avoid having to sit on damp cushions by keeping them in a covered storage bench when you know there is a chance of rain.  If they won’t fit in a storage bench, lean your larger cushions against the wall of the house.  Do the same with any lightweight folding chairs.
     
  3. MASK SOUNDS WITH RUNNING WATER.  If noise is an issue that prevents you from indulging in a peaceful outdoor experience, try using a water feature to drown out the distraction.  Water is a great way to gently camouflage sounds from close neighbors.  Try installing a fountain near your seating area for a more tranquil atmosphere.
     
  4. MUSIC. If the water feature doesn’t appeal to you, soft music playing in the background can be just as effective at masking sounds.  With wireless speakers, you don’t even need an outlet to play your music.
     
  5. SHADE.  Even when you are craving the warmth of the sun, sitting outside without any shade on a hot, sunny day will send you running for the AC before too long.  There are a lot of options for adding shade to your yard. Try freestanding umbrellas, a cloth overhang, lattices, a shade tree or a pergola.
     
  6. PUT TOGETHER AN OUTDOOR DINING KIT.  Dining alfresco will be easier if you have a kit ready and waiting.  Put your frequently used outdoor items in a basket or on a big tray with handles so you can just grab it and go.  Here are some things to include:
  • Unbreakable wineglasses and plates
  • A carafe for water, wine or tea
  • Big napkins
  • Candles and matches or a lighter
  • A wicker or mesh dome-shaped cover to keep flies off the food
  • Unbreakable outdoor serving pieces
  • A bottle opener
  1. HAVE BLANKETS FOR CHILLY EVENINGS. Keep some blankets nearby.  Old wool camp-style blankets, lightweight kantha quilts, or fringed throws work well.  Your guests will thank you on chilly evenings in the garden!
     
  2. HAVE ADEQUATE NIGHTTIME LIGHTING.  Your outdoor space will really come alive at night with Outdoor Lighting. Try placing lighting under a bench seat for subtle illumination, make a ring of lanterns on the grass around your dining table or hang strings of lights overhead.  Landscape lighting will add to the ambiance as well.

If you’re looking for a home with a beautiful space for outdoor enjoyment, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of professional Realtors help you find the right home for you and your family!  Call them today at 334-834-1500!

Photo Credit: durhamhill.com

How to Make Your Outdoor Space More Inviting and Fun

by The Hat Team

This time of year folks begin to get outdoors to do more around their homes because it is nice and warm outside.   It’s also a good time to do a bit of work outside the house and make your outdoor space more inviting and fun for family and friends.   Below is a list of ways in which you can accomplish this.   

 

  1. 1. If you already have landscape lighting, why not purchase a few fun colored lightbulbs to use in them for different holidays.  This will definitely make your outdoor space a lot more fun.  

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  1. 2. If you are getting tired of mowing your grass then, you may want to replace your grass with a garden.  You might want to add a garden of flowers or a garden of vegetables or even put in a koi pond.  Any of these ideas will help to keep you from spending your summer evenings mowing the grass all the time. This will make your outdoor space more fun. 

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  1. 3. If your patio furniture is old and outdated, now is the time to go out to purchase some that allows you to show your style more effectively.  Outdoor furniture always makes outdoor spaces more inviting and fun. 

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  1. 4. Adding a new doorbell to the outside of your home may seem like a small thing.  However, if you find a nice one that lights up the front door, it can do wonders towards making your home seem more inviting at night.   

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  1. 5. If you don’t already have a swimming pool, summertime is a great time to add one.  Not much can make your outdoor space more fun than a swimming pool for all to enjoy.   

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  1. 6. If you do add a swimming pool, why not go out and make it really fun and cool by adding an outdoor shower to the mix.  This type of thing is pretty rare unless your home is at the beach, so your outdoor shower may quickly become the talk of the neighborhood.   

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There are so many ways in which to make your outdoor space more inviting and fun; these are just a few of them that you may want to try.   

 

Courtesy of Montgomery AL Real Estate Expert Sandra Nickel.   

 

Outdoor Space 

Looking To Add Value To Your Home? Consider an Outdoor Space

by The Hat Team

There are many reasons to consider adding an outdoor living area to your home! The benefits are many and personal. But, one added benefit is the value it can add.

outdoor spaceA recent article in RISMedia, a real estate information leader, highlighted 5 reasons to invest in outdoor spaces. According to IBISWorld, a market research firm, “investing in outdoor living provides a good return on investment for most people, making it an ideal home improvement project.”

Here are some benefits to consider:

  1. Personal enjoyment. Why spend money on home improvements unless they provide personal enjoyment for your family? This can range from providing a space to relax and unwind, to providing a place to simply enjoy each other and have fun, to providing fun for the kids.
     
  2. Save money by having an enjoyable place for your recreation right in your own backyard. Having outdoor spaces at your home means that it is custom made to your desires and you don’t have to get in your car to go somewhere else. The money saved in gas or fees to join a club can be better spent on your own space.
     
  3. Entertaining opportunities abound with your own private outdoor space. Imagine your indoor entertaining space flowing to the outdoors with a place for a fireplace or outdoor barbecue kitchen. It creates more opportunities for adults to have a space to talk and for the kids to have their own recreation opportunities.
     
  4. Benefits of nature. Lot’s of research demonstrates the benefits of spending time outdoors, including stress reduction and improved mental clarity and concentration. Stepping out of your indoor environment into a relationship with nature in any form transforms our ability to relax.
     
  5. Resale value of your home will be enhanced almost immeasurably by creating outdoor spaces. You shouldn’t necessarily count on recuperating 100% of the cost, but HGTV claims that homeowners recoup 65%-90% of their investment just by adding a deck! Meantime you and your family enjoy the added benefits of the outdoor living, and when you decide to sell there is an intangible added attraction for potential buyers.

Bob Dallas, CEO of UltraOutdoors.com, explains “not only is it good for the value of your home, but it’s a solid investment for…giving your family a relaxing area where they can re-charge their batteries.”

Research the many options including outdoor fireplaces, kitchens, water features, decks, sitting areas, and landscaping. The possibilities literally range from the extravagant to the very modest. Consider seeking the help of a design professional. The key is finding just the right combination of possibilities for the enjoyment of your family.

Information courtesy of Montgomery Realtors Sandra Nickel Hat Team.

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