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Permeable Pavers

Techo-Bloc released its Inflo tongue-and-groove paver system, which was designed for the industrial, commercial and institutional markets. According to the company, the Inflo can be used to pave large surfaces and eliminates rainwater runoff.

Inflo includes an integrated self-locking system with vertical, horizontal and rotational interlock. In addition, it eliminates the need for retention basins and relieves demand on municipal storm sewers, says Éric Clavette, vice president of sales at Techo-Bloc.

The Inflo pavers, which are made from concrete, allow water to be directly absorbed into the ground. They can be used for a number of applications, including large parking lots, public squares, residential streets, sidewalks, crosswalks and patios.

The Inflo system’s design and installation process is based on four variables, including type of soil, regional rainfall conditions, loads and traffic intensity. Each variable is considered when installing the system in order to ensure efficiency.

Fire pit or Fireplace?

When it comes times to renovate the backyard patio, many homeowners ask themselves the same question. “Should I get an outdoor fireplace or a fire pit?” The answer ultimately depends on the purpose of your outdoor heating element, your budget, and the climatic conditions of your geographic region.

Whichever side you identify with, there is no right or wrong choice when deciding on an outdoor fireplace or an outdoor fire pit. Both of these structures provide a visual focal point that adds warmth and lighting to your backyard. They maximize your property by allowing you to enjoy the backyard all year round. At the same time, you’re boosting your home value by adding a desirable amenity that is attractive and equally functional. Create the perfect outdoor living space while putting money back into your own pocket.

The outdoor fireplace offers a romantic ambiance that is second to none. These structures are used to anchor spaces such as the outdoor living room or dining area. In the same light, outdoor fireplaces are typically more limited in terms of seating capacity. This means more exclusive and intimate groups. For this reason, they are often favored by women who enjoy the fairy tale evening straight out of romantic novel.

While the outdoor fireplace is designed for smaller groups of people, it does take up considerably more space than an outdoor fire pit. This can be a problem if you have a small backyard. Building a masonry fireplace made out of brick or stone will likely cost anywhere from $4000-$20,000. You may also need to obtain permits or building inspections depending on your municipalities building codes. If any of these instances are a problem, you can check out some additional options in the final section of this article.

In general, it’s advisable to use gas on a fireplace because the smoke produced by a wood-burning fireplace can be unpredictable when coupled with the wind. Gas fireplaces are ideal for those who live in dry areas that often have “no-burn” weather warnings. Likewise, you can also opt for gel fireplaces that offer a real flame without any smoke or exhaust emissions. These units can be installed and set up in a matter of minutes.

Gas fireplaces can be more pleasant in lieu of fancy, upscale hosting parties whereas fire pits give off more of an outdoorsy feel. This may be perfect for older couples who have the home to themselves and like to enjoy the company of their lifelong partner.

The outdoor fire pit can serve as a social ice breaker. It can easily become the central gathering point for a large group of people. Its circular nature is engaging because people are organized in a seating arrangement allows them to face one another. This helps to facilitate on-going conversations.

Outdoor Fire pits are usually smaller in size which means you’ll have plenty of room in the backyard for an outdoor kitchen, dining area, etc. The low profile of a fire pit can also preserve the scenic overlooking views that your home provides.

Natural wood burning fire pits are reminiscent of camping out in the wilderness and bon fires on the beach. There is more of a connectedness with nature and an escape from man-made structures that can be good for a change. The outdoor fire pit is the classic story-telling setting. Of course, who owns a fire pit and has never roasted marshmallows. It’s kind of an oxymoron!

Depending on the size of your fire pit, the price can range anywhere from $2,000-$5,000. This is a far cry from the cost to have a mason build an outdoor fireplace for your home. If you’re the handy type, you can even learn how to build your own outdoor fire pit for under $500! It’s important to keep in mind, fire pits don’t always have to be circular. You can always customize them with your own unique shape and sense of style.

Additional Options

There are other ways that you can incorporate a lively fire feature into the décor of your patio. For heating purposes, the outdoor patio heater can prove to be a very feasible option. These are what you find yourself huddling around at upscale outdoor venues.

Fire glass is a trendy fire feature that gives the appearance of fire burning on ice. If you haven’t seen it before, you might want to take a look! These small gel fireplaces use clean-burning ethanol fuel to provide a real flame. You can find small tabletop gel fireplaces or large free-standing units to add a modern flare to your outdoor living space.

Portable Fireplace carries a range indoor and outdoor heating solutions. Save yourself thousands of dollars with a pre-built outdoor heater and still enjoy the ambiance of an outdoor fire feature.

5 Benefits that Water Features Provide to Your Landscaping

Have you ever considered adding a water feature to your landscaping? Water features add sound, texture, and movement to landscaping designs and help homeowners to feel that their surroundings are more natural and unique.

Landscaping water elements are eye-catching, but they’re more than that. A functional and eye-pleasing landscape consists of several different elements working harmoniously together. One landscaping element that greatly contributes to the overall beauty of a design is water. Including water features in your landscaping provides some unexpected benefits.

 

1. They bring the sounds of nature to your doorstep. You work long hours, and it’s not often possible to get away from it all and enjoy nature’s soothing sounds. In this case, bring nature to you. With today’s technology and a clever plan designed just for your property, the soothing sounds of nature can be just outside your doorstep.

Imagine coming home from work, dropping your papers at the door, and wandering around to the patio table next to your water feature. The stressful day can melt away as you listen to the cascading water washing away your workday cares. But the sounds of nature aren’t the only benefit of your water feature.

 

2. They will attract natural wildlife and enhance your local ecosystem. As soon as your water feature is installed, you’ll begin to notice an increase in wildlife on your property. Birds will visit, and dragonflies will dart around. Instead of a barren span of horizontal land, your yard will become a haven for beneficial wildlife. Inviting wildlife onto your property provides endless hours of entertainment and educational opportunities for you and your family.

All living creatures need water to survive, so you’ll be supporting life in your little corner of the world. The plants you include in your landscaping plan, along with your water features, bring your property into harmony with the habitat around you.

 

3. They can be adapted to fit smaller spaces. Don’t automatically dismiss the idea of including water features in your landscaping design just because you have a small yard. Well-designed pondless water elements don’t require much space, so you can still enjoy the sound of water and the increased wildlife without taking up much of your precious land. A water feature can be tucked into an area of your property that previously seemed a waste of space. Often, awkward spaces are the best places to put small water features; you can turn an ill-used area into a beautiful focal point.

 

4. They require very little maintenance. Unlike swimming pools, which require vigilant monitoring, pondless water features can supply you with texture, natural sounds, and visual interest without much effort at all.

Simple wall fountains, huge cascading waterfalls, and other pondless water features are great choices if you don’t want to deal with much maintenance. The water in these features essentially re-circulates, so they don’t use much water and or grow much bacteria. Pondless water features are also great for families with young children because they don’t pose safety risks.

 

5. They give you an opportunity to make your landscaping one-of-a-kind. When you design a water feature for your yard, you get a chance to make your home truly unique. Everything about your water feature can be specially designed for your space. For instance, rocks can be hand carved to create beautiful flowing water elements and falls.

Outdoor Living Spaces..What is it?

The exterior of a home has now become an expansion of the interior living spaces. Design ideas are endless with the availability of many different exterior building materials such as; Brick Pavers, Cultured Stone, Natural Stone, Blue Stone, Travertine and many other collections. With the interior of a home having various rooms used for specific times and purposes, the exterior of a home is now being designed very similar.

The most common spaces are noted below

Outdoor Kitchen Area- Compromised of a built in grill, refrigerator, sink, ice maker.

Outdoor Bars- Long islands at a the typical bar height and over hang with granite and natural stone tops.

Dining area- Many times a lower level of the patio where a 5-10 person table is placed for eating. Fire Place or Fire Pit: A secluded area with a gorgeous stone fireplace or fire pit. Both natural gas and wood burning options used.Pool Space: A built in gunite or liner swimming pool with a surrounding pool patio space for lounging and at times additional dining area.

Pool House: For larger homes and back yards clients are now building separate pool houses which include a secondary outdoor kitchen, sitting space with an outside plasma TV. Most importantly an exterior shower and bathroom to keep guest from entering the house. With all of these of elements designed into a single backyard you will have the ultimate Outdoor Living Space.:)