In recent weeks, I have personally (and very capably) detailed of the interior of my SUV, dusted and de-cluttered my entire bedroom (and closet), meticulously scoured my shower grout, and reorganized my kitchen cabinets. Phew! I’m tired! But it feels so good when the job is done and everything feels fresh and new for Spring! Next on my never-ending Chore List: Clean the patio furniture. The sun is out and it’s time to barbeque! It’s a good thing cleaning the patio furniture seems like a more daunting task than it actually is - and lucky for me, and my pocket book, I don’t need to purchase any special detergents – soap and water work best for this job!
Here at Casual Elements, all of our outdoor furniture comes with Sunbrella Fabric Cushions, but most outdoor fabrics these days can be easily cleaned with soap and water. While most outdoor fabric is mold and mildew resistant, the grime that collects on top is not. Mildew grows on dirt, pollen, food, and other organic matter. So, the best way to keep your cushions looking great is to take preventative measures. Brushing debris from the cushions after windy days, rainstorms, and dinner parties is particularly helpful. This ensures that the food source for spores does not become embedded in the fabric.
Also, routine washing (approx 2 times per year) will prevent mold and mildew from forming. This is very simple if you have removable covers. Just throw them in the washing machine and lay them out to dry. If you have Sunbrella fabric cushions, machine wash in cold water, using normal amounts of mild laundry soap and add 1 cup of bleach (note that bleach may discolor non-Sunbrella fabrics). Machine drying is not necessary since Sunbrella fabric air-dries very quickly. If your covers are not removable, lay them out on a clean, flat area and spray them down thoroughly with a hose. Use soap and water to clean with a soft bristle brush or sponge. Make sure to rinse thoroughly and remove as much water as possible from the cushion. You can do this by kneeling next to each cushion and pressing firmly from the top of the cushion to the end. You can hang them or lay them out to dry. Be sure to turn them over once after approximately 4 hours.
For any synthetic outdoor cushion, spot cleaning can be done using a spray bottle with water and mild soap. Spray the cushions and lightly scrub the area with a soft bristle brush or sponge. Make sure to rinse thoroughly to remove all soap residue and dispose of excess moisture by blotting with a clean towel. For Sunbrella fabrics, heavier stains and mildew may be removed using a solution of 1 cup bleach and ¼ cup mild soap per gallon of water (again, please note that bleach may discolor non-Sunbrella fabrics). Spray the entire area and let soak for 15 minutes. Use a soft bristle brush or sponge to gently scrub the area. Rinse thoroughly so that there is no soap residue remaining and allow fabric to air dry.
It takes very little time and effort to maintain a fresh and inviting outdoor space. So, don’t put it off until the day of your next party! Routine care ensures that you will always be able to offer your guests a clean seat, along with that cold glass of lemonade.
Analyze your space
Do you want to have dinner parties, or is the space primarily for lounging. Do you want to create a party atmosphere or a quiet reading nook?
Does you space get a lot of sun? What is the ground surface like? You may need an umbrella if the area gets a lot of sun. This would also mean that you will need a hole in your table top. Also, the ground surface may determine if you need light or heavy weight furniture.
Measure your space
Remember to take chairs into account! Add 25” around any table, plus an extra 24-36” for walking space behind the chairs.
Use chalk to outline the space where the furniture will go.
Consider your options
How many people do you want to accommodate? While a bar height table and chairs will allow for a little more space in cramped quarters, you will be able to seat a minimal amount of people. Armless chairs are a great space saver and allow more people to sit comfortably at the table.
Find your style
Check out outdoor magazines to get some ideas and find your preferences.
Do your Homework
All outdoor Furniture is not created equal. Not only are their different types of materials used, but there are some products that are manufactured poorly.
You should be aware that metal frames should be created from Aluminum, not Steel. Aluminum is a great choice because it is lightweight and does not rust.
Wood is a beautiful option, with Teak being the toughest of woods. Just know that you should look for Grade A wood that is Kiln Dried. Cheap Teak = poor quality wood and poor construction, period.
Resin Wicker is another choice that has gained popularity. It looks good, is durable, and easy to clean. Look for high quality resin wicker that is UV-tested and will not fade.
Cushions and throw pillows add comfort and style – just make sure you have a place to store them in the winter. Also, make sure your pillows are color-stay protected, have polyester fibers, and have been UV-tested.
Sit in the Furniture
Try out all the furniture in the store. Take your time. This is furniture that you are going to be spending quality time in. It needs to be comfortable.
Cheap furniture will only last so long. Avoid any deals that seem too good to be true. Instead, look for decent sales and buy high quality furniture at a reasonable price. You may spend a bit more, but it will be worth it in the end.
As you sit down with your landscape designer and start drawing plans for your dream backyard or outdoor room, consider the following elements:
Create an outdoor room that is compatible with the natural environment and ties in with your existing structures.
Your outdoor room design needs to be appealing.
Personalize it but keep it simple and elegant. This will maintain your investment by increasing the value of your home.
An outdoor space that is functional and practical is a space that will be utilized more often.
Your outdoor room needs to be a source of pleasure and relaxation, not the cause of yet another chore. Therefore design something that is easy to maintain and keep clean.
Think of the different seasons in order to maximize your utilization of the space.
One area that is often neglected is the orientation of the room. Consider the sun during different seasons and different times of the day.
Finally, choose your furniture wisely. Pick something that is comfortable, elegant and durable. Pick cushion fabrics that reflect your style.
When done right, this space becomes the most enjoyable and more frequently used part of your home.
Come see our new shipment of All-Weather Wicker now available in our showroom. Made from powder-coated Aluminum frames, Sunbrella fabrics and Viro Fiber which is 100% recyclable and non toxic. You will find many elegant and durable styles to choose from all priced at pre-season discounts.
Recently, Casual Elements was sought out by the Sacramento Bee for its opinions and advice about design trends for the Outdoor Room. Find the full article By Debbie Arrington, the top Home & Garden writer from the Sacramento Bee by clicking on the Read More tab.
Article courtesy of HGTV.com
Whether you have a big backyard or a tiny patio, the key to designing for outdoor living is implementing your plan in steps, says Elyse Santoro, a Miami-based interior designer/decorator. "It doesn't have to happen all at once, and it doesn't have to be overwhelming or cost a fortune," she says. Start increasing your home's square footage today with our budget-friendly outdoor decorating tips.
Where to Put Your Outdoor Room
First, go inside your house and check out the views looking out. Placing the room in a good relationship to the house helps give the feeling that your outdoor room is "an extension of your home," Santoro says. "Make sure... you have easy access to get there," she says, whether or not it's physically connected to the house. An outdoor room can include anything from an attached, screened-in porch to a gazebo to a landscaped area with a bench. If it's an independent area, such as a gazebo, create a passageway with foliage or hardscaping to visually connect it to the house. "You want to erase the fact that you've gone outside," says Atlanta-based landscape designer Patricia Thernell. She advises using the same flooring material outside as inside, or using plants to frame the doorway to your outdoor room.
When it comes to outdoor living, it's all about you!
Your backyard is without a doubt, your most intimate place on earth. It is the place where you feel the most comfortable, where your guard is always down. Whether you design it as an oasis of tranquility or a stage for entertaining close family and friends, your backyard needs to be unique and personal, it needs to reflect who you are.
To personalize your backyard, your starting point is with a reputable Landscape Designer. Once the ground work is completed, the next step and the more exciting one is furnishing and decorating it. However before you run to the nearest garden furniture store, do your homework first and determine what your needs are. Then look for an outdoor living retailer, who is willing to listen to your needs and help you make your garden truly your garden. A garden that has “you” written all over it. When you decide on the place to purchase from, take with you a picture of your yard and show it to the person that is helping you. The more informed your sales person is about your needs the more he or she will be able to help you make the right choices. In addition to quality, select designs that are appealing to your particular sense of style.
Come see our new line of All-Weather Wicker now available in our showroom. Made from Viro Fiber which is 100% recyclable and non toxic, you will find all collections in this category to be very well made, elegant, comfortable and affordable.