Outdoor Garden Furniture – Keep Them Looking New

Ensuring safety

Today, in most homes, a garden is considered as an important and integral part of the home, so it surely makes sense to select the best quality outdoor garden furniture. When you shop for pieces of garden furniture, you must make sure that you give equal importance to aesthetics as well as functionality and practicality, while selecting garden design furniture. You can add beauty to the garden design with functional teak furniture or wood furniture for your garden. However, safety precautions need to be looked after first and foremost. The furniture must be assembled properly and must be well anchored to the base, and this is especially so if you are living in a windy city, that may be subject to sudden storms and hurricanes. When you are handling bigger types of oak furniture, for example, see to it that they are well anchored to the base or the ground.

When there is a sudden storm, you should bring in all the garden chairs and other smaller wood furniture inside, so that they don’t cause harm to other people and also so that they are not blown away.

Protecting wood furniture

Wood garden furniture must be protected well and one must take care to habitually check out the wood furniture for splinters or cracks. If you leave these unrepaired, they could cause wounds and cuts. It is important to make some amount of investment in the maintenance of the outdoor garden furniture. Of course, this is not going to cost you much, but you can buy some garden set covers that can be very useful and add beauty to the patio furniture. Polythene covers are very beautiful and also easy to wash and maintain. They do not tear as well. If you have invested in teak furniture or oak furniture for your garden, you should maintain it correctly in order to prolong its life. Don’t clean the furniture with harsh solutions or chlorine or any other kind of bleach, as it will only cause staining and fading over a period of time. There are many special wood cleaners available for hardwood outdoor furniture and this will enable you to keep the surfaces of the wood garden furniture clean as well as resistant to dust. It will also help make the garden furniture stronger. Wood needs oil in order to give protection to the pores and also keep the outdoor furniture looking new forever.

Teak Furniture

Teak furniture is a very popular choice for outdoor garden furniture. This is because it is naturally beautiful and also very durable. You can also use it as a patio furniture, as it is easy to look after and does not require too much of special attention. If you just pay attention to a few details, you can enjoy your teak furniture in the patio or the garden for years to come. Teak furniture can be left natural and does not need any sealants. Sometimes, it develops a silver gray patina if it is left naturally for a period of time without any treatment, which also gives a natural and beautiful aging look to the patio furniture. However, you can also use some form of Protectant or sealer if you want to give the teak furniture a honey or golden look. You can wash this type of outdoor garden furniture thoroughly once a year by mixing warm water with laundry detergent and applying it to the teak with the help of a soft brush. However, see that the cleanser is a mild one. Allow the detergent to remain for some time and then rinse with clean water with the help of a brush to take away the dirt from the outdoor garden furniture.

Different Types of Luxury Garden Furniture

If you are looking to spruce up your garden, but don’t want to have to get your hands dirty, the best way to make your outdoor space unique is with luxury garden furniture. There are plenty of options to choose from, allowing you to personalise your garden so that it meets your functional requirements, whilst still looking fantastic. The quality garden furniture explored in this article will definitely make your neighbours jealous.

Dining Sets

You may not be thinking about eating outside now that the summer has gone, but if you put up some fairy lights and use garden heaters you can throw a lovely scenic dinner party, where the stars and sky set the mood. Alexander Rose garden furniture is some of the most sought after products in the market as they offer a wide range of designs all made of quality materials such as stainless steel and teak. If you want to make your dinner party guests jealous you need this furniture to really set you apart.

Lounge Furniture

It doesn’t matter whether you have a small or large garden as there are key lounge furniture pieces that will completely transform even the smallest of spaces. The Elements lounge set designed by Apple Bee is handmade and combines quality materials with craftsmanship. What makes this set unique is the range of chairs, footstools and coffee tables that can be ‘mix and matched’ to create the perfect outdoor living space for you. Cubism may be the inspiration for this stylish garden furniture but comfort isn’t compromised by the strong lines and edges as the chairs are complete with thick cushions.

Outdoor Bean Bags

It may seem like a strange item to have outside but outdoor bean bags are quickly growing in popularity. Big Hug bean bags are made of water resistant material so they last even in bad weather. Available in a wide range of colours and sizes they are the perfect addition to any modern garden adding an instant element of fun. Not just for adults and children the Big Hug range also has outdoor bean bags designed specifically for your family pets.

Garden Benches

These products will never go out of fashion as they are a garden staple. Alexander Rose produces a variety of hardwood benches that meet the environmental standards of the Forestry Stewardship Council. Teamed with stainless steel these benches have an ultra modern look. If you want something a bit more conventional a stone bench may be the perfect compromise between style and tradition. Stone garden benches can help you recreate the look and feel of a stately home even in suburban areas.

Garden Huts

Forget gazebos, every stylish garden needs a garden hut. Perfect for snuggling up, these huts provide shade from the sun. Alexander Rose garden huts are made from Virofibers which are specifically designed and engineered for the outdoors. These items of garden furniture have the added benefit that they are UV and weather resistant. They also come with a three-year warranty against cracking, peeling or breaking.

There are plenty of stylish garden furniture products available to help you transform your outdoor space into a paradise. From dining sets to outdoor bean bags there is something for everyone.

Affordable Homes: Real Estate in Nation’s 10 Most Cheap & Livable Metro Areas

The 10 most livable and most affordable real estate metro areas in the United States have a number of other favorable characteristics in common, according to a new HouseHunt “Current Real Estate Market Conditions” survey conducted by HouseHunt, Inc., a consumer-oriented Internet firm that provides free information to thousands of homeowners, home buyers and home sellers across the nation. The survey shows median home prices range from $130,100 to $194,400 for existing homes for sale and also found:

o The majority of the 10 metro areas report balanced, good-to-active housing markets with sellers usually getting 95% or more of their asking prices. Inventories of unsold homes are mostly limited.

o The majority of the 10 metro areas are experiencing strong job and population growth and good economic news. They offer quality lifestyles, good schools and solid family recreation along with other amenities. Sales data shows that many recent home buyers are relocating from other, often more costly areas.

o All 10 metro markets are attracting both first-time and move-up buyers because of affordable prices, low mortgage interest rates and multiple financing options.

o Median real estate prices for existing single-family homes in the 10 metro areas range between $130,100 and $194,400, compared to the national median real estate price of $188,800. Four of the 10 areas reported double-digit price appreciation in the past 12 months.

o All 10 metro areas have major universities located there.

o Five of the 10 metro areas are popular tourism destinations. Nine of the 10 metro areas are located in warm to moderate climates.

The 10 most livable and most affordable metro areas as determined by criteria developed by “Places Rated Almanac” (David Savageau) and the latest quarterly median sales prices compiled by the National Association of Realtors are:

1. Salt Lake City-Ogden, UT $157,000

2. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL $172,800

3. Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC $175,600

4. Houston, TX $138,100

5. Phoenix, AZ $193,800

6. Cincinnati OH, $139,600

7. Louisville, KY $130,100

8. Austin-San Marcos, TX $154,100

9. Orlando, FL $194,400

10.Nashville,TN $152,100

Four of the 10 metro areas – Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, Nashville and Austin-San Marcos – are also listed in the latest edition of Lee and Saralee Rosenberg’s “50 Fabulous Places To Raise Your Family” (Melissa Giovagnoli). Like Savageau, the authors give high marks for schools, jobs and business opportunities, family fun, housing affordability, living costs, climate, health care, transportation and quality of life.

Mark Jenkins of Realty Executives in Salt Lake City, described housing activity in his metro area as “improving” from a depressed buyers market.” He said many buyers are relocating from out-of-state to take advantage of the lifestyle and lower home prices. A median price of $157,000 would probably buy a 2,000 square foot home with three bedrooms, two baths and a two-car garage on a one-third or one-four acre lot in a good location. Highest home price appreciation is occurring near the University of Utah. Another hot spot is Park City, a popular ski resort in the nearby mountains.

An active housing market is reported in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area by Linda Ippolito of Keller Williams Realty. She said the whole area is exploding with growth and new industries. Available housing is in limited supply. Although the median price home is $172,800 for the entire metro area, median home prices are closer to $400,000 in South Tampa. Waterfront properties are also priced higher. Average price appreciation is 15.7% in the past year. A slower-paced but high quality lifestyle is reported in the Raleigh – Durham – Chapel Hill metro area by Ray Lenahan of Robert Gray Realtors.

“The big attraction is our Research Triangle, three major universities, excellent quality of life, and moderate weather,” Lenahan said. He said the median home price of $175,600 in the metro area is probably closer to $190,000 in his market area. “That will buy a new home with 2,000 square feet with three bedrooms, two baths on a half-acre lot. Either that, or, it would buy an older home in a more established neighborhood,” he added.

Houston, with its “can do” entrepreneurial spirit and liberal-to-zero zoning restrictions, is attracting people from both the East and West Coasts to relocate and to invest in rental properties, according to Kathi Frank of RE/MAX The Woodlands. The Woodlands is a 27,000-acre planned community located 27 miles north of downtown Houston. “Median price home for the entire metro area is $138,100,” she said. “That will buy a new, 1,400 square foot home from a production builder in North Houston or Woodland Springs.” She added: “Estate properties are priced from the low $200,000s to more than $3 million.”

Reva Schafer of West USA Realty, reported a limited inventory and a very active seller’s market, with sellers usually getting 100% or more of their asking prices. The median price for the metro area is $193,800 “but hard to find anything under $300,000 in my area,” Schafer said. “It’s more like $350,000 to $400,000 as a median price in Scottsdale. Lots are jumping in price. So are houses.” Year-to-year appreciation is 24.4%! She cited tremendous growth in the suburbs of Peoria and Chandler. “A year ago, investors were buying from builders and flipping (re-selling) the properties. No more. Now, a buyer must live in the property for at least one year to qualify.”

Good job growth, corporate relocations and an improving local economy is fueling the housing market in the Cincinnati metro market, according to Saralou Durham of RE/MAX Preferred Group. “We have fabulous cultural and recreational facilities and a good quality lifestyle,” she said. “A median home price of $139,600 seems a bit low, depending on the area. That amount of money will probably buy a small two bedroom, one bath home needing some repair or remodeling in one of our small suburban communities.”

In Louisville, Charlotte Wright and Michael McConnell of Evergreen Realty in suburban Jeffersontown, stated: “Louisville is now the 16th largest metro area in the nation. We’re a hub for UPS and have two Ford plants located here. Military personnel stationed as nearby Ft. Knox and their families are also relocating here. The median price of $130,100 is probably low – $150,000 would be more accurate. The latter will buy a three bedroom, two bath 1,200 square foot house with a garage in a good area.”

Ann Parr of RE/MAX Austin Advantage said well-priced listings are attracting multiple, full-price offers in a very active seller’s market. Average time on the market is 60-90 days. “We have younger professionals who want to live close to downtown but the primary place to live is by the lakes,” she said. Prices range from $150,000 to $6 million. “Nice homes can be purchased for $250,000 to $350,000. The median price home is $154,100 in Austin. That would probably buy a starter home in the Round Rock area or a home needing remodeling in Central Austin. Patio homes for retired people near Lake Austin sell for $200,000.”

One of the hottest of the 10 metro markets on the list is Orlando, according to Steve Farah of the Royal Realty Group: “We’re experiencing unbelievable growth and home appreciation,” he said. “Our seller’s market is so active that listings sometimes last only hours, not days. Buyers frequently must act immediately or the property will be gone!” He feels that the median price of $194,400 is probably low because of high demand and the low inventory. “A median price of $250,000 would be more realistic and would buy a three bedroom, two bath home with 1,700 to 2,000 square feet.” Since the first quarter of 2004, the median price home has appreciated 28.7%.

Nashville, the 10th ranked metro area on the list, offers a relaxed, friendly lifestyle and affordable home prices to newcomers, according to Mary Barbee of Coldwell Banker Andrews and Associates. Plus, there is no state income tax. “The median price of $152,100 seems low – it’s more like $170,000, depending on location. That amount of money would probably buy a three-bedroom, two-bath new home with 1,200-1,500 square feet in the suburban communities of Madison and Smyrna,” she said. The median home price is up 11.3% in the past year in the Nashville metro area.

Black Bathrooms And Bathroom Accessories

For many people who are considering redecorating their bathroom, black is one of the last colours that they will think of; pale pastel shades, and blues and greens are far more traditional colours. However, black is actually a great colour for a bathroom and with ranges of black coloured washroom accessories becoming more and more common, there is no excuse for black bathrooms not to be considered. Black bathrooms are effortlessly chic looking, without looking at all pretentious. They are also modern looking, without the risk of becoming unfashionable, because black is a timeless colour. Even if you do not want to have an entirely black bathroom, black and white monochrome bathrooms can still look particularly impressive compared to traditionally pastel shaded rooms.

One of the main worries for those who decide to have black bathroom fittings put in is that the bathroom may end up seeming too dark as a result. Since bathrooms often have windows that are smaller than the windows in other rooms, distorted windows to stop people seeing in, or no windows at all, the lack of natural light is a worry to some people, and they fear that dark fixtures will exacerbate the problem. However, this need not be an issue if you consider this whilst designing your new bathroom. Simple steps such a classy gold taps or fixtures; big, well lit mirrors or coloured bathroom accessories should be considered when designing the bathroom, to ensure that the room will not appear too dark.

If you currently have white fixtures and fittings, it is actually possible to update the look of your existing bathroom without having to completely refit the room, simply by adding black bathroom accessories to the room. This can be a good way to add a darker touch to the room if you are still concerned about the room appearing too dark. It is also the perfect step if your bathroom is very small, which can also make dark rooms seem a lot darker. These bathroom accessories will complement the existing fittings but creating a stunning contrast and giving the room a fashionable monochrome edge. In an existing white bathroom, it is only necessary to add two or three pieces of black bathroom furniture to create this look, although you can of course add more if you desire. Of course, adding dark coloured accessories to a light coloured bathroom is also a great way to help to prevent the bathroom from appearing to be too lightly coloured.

Monochrome and black bathrooms often look best when designers strive for the minimalist look, so accessories and bathroom furniture which help to keep the room tidy are especially popular. Bathroom designers often strive to install cupboards, units and shelving systems which are specifically designed to help to keep unnecessary bathroom clutter out of sight. If you are unable to install such cupboards, units or shelving systems, black bathroom accessories like toothbrush holders and soap dispensers will help to keep the bathroom looking as clean as possible.

Bathroom Accessories in Lavender

Bathroom accessories can make or break a bathroom’s decor. Bathroom accessories come in many styles. Bathroom accessories come in many colors. The careful shopper will take time to choose both the right style and the right color.

Bathroom accessories in lavender are an example. Lavender bathroom accessories can be had in a variety of styles and a variety of hues. You can find bathroom accessories in dainty lavender flowers on pristine white ceramic. You can find bathroom accessories in lavender wicker with chrome, brass, or bronze bases.

As you seek out bathroom accessories in lavender, you will want to ask yourself several questions. These will help you zero in on what you really want before you begin shopping.

1. Color: There are many shades of lavender. Visit a paint store and find the shade you wish to feature. Are you looking for lavender blue or lavender green? You may remember the old lullaby lyrics that begin with the words, “Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly, lavender’s green. When you are king, dilly dilly, I shall be queen.” You may want to copy out the lyrics and frame them for your bathroom wall. Set a theme with them, and combine bathroom accessories in lavender blues and lavender greens.

2. Style: Do you want bathroom accessories in lavender flowers, or in abstract swirls? Do you prefer simple, clean lines, or more ornate designs? Do you enjoy retro purple lavender or watery, pearl lavender?

Think about the color of your walls and floor before you make decisions on your bathroom accessories. Remember the secret to ideal color combinations: the 60-30-10 rule. Use about 60 percent of one dominant color in your bath decor. Use 30 percent of a lesser color. Use only 10 percent of your accent color.

In this case, lavender bathroom accessories will probably comprise your ten percent of accent color. The lavender should go well with the dominant and lesser colors on walls, floors, and fixtures.

Bathroom Accessories in Lavender Flowers

If you prefer flowers, you might want to look for lavender/purple flowers such as the following on bathroom accessories.

1. Lavender itself – flowers from the herb

2. Lavender iris

3. Lavender and yellow pansies

4. Lavender wisteria

5. Lavender lupine

Other Bathroom Accessories in Lavender

Lavender bathroom accessories are available in more than just flowers.

Dragonflies are often depicted in lavender on shower curtains, toothbrush holders, soap dishes, dispensers, and other bathroom accessories.

Whimsical cherubs in lavender, gold, and white are featured in some bathroom accessories. In others, these colors appear on the gossamer gowns and wings of woodland fairies.

Plain lavender bathroom accessories are readily available. The color and style are simple and cooling. They blend well with most bath decors.

Towels and rugs in lavender should match or closely complement the hues used in your other bathroom accessories.

Budget Bathroom Accessories in Lavender

Your budget will go further if you shop garage sales and thrift stores for bathroom accessories in lavender shades. You might want to be creative by selecting objects such as a lavender tumbler or simple vase for a toothbrush holder. Add a lavender dessert dish to hold your soap.

Helpful Tip

When using bathroom accessories in lavender, include a lovely bouquet of dried lavender. Its cool color and relaxing aroma can quickly turn your bath into a luxury retreat.