Monday, July 26, 2010

Outdoor Café Pleasure at Home

Coffee, food, music, and a breath of fresh air! If this is your trip you can go to an outdoor café for a relaxing weekend or free time. But there are times when we don’t want the crowd or the hassle of traveling far from home. Yet we still want to experience an outdoor café ambiance. Why not create one at home. You can even customize the look for a more personalized view. Having an outdoor café at home has many advantages. You can spend your time endlessly and you can have it your own way. It means that you can do anything you want. You can have the feel of an outdoor café without leaving home. Like it’s said, “Home Sweet Home”. You can even impress your friends by inviting for free café leisure at the comfort of your own home. Now, here’s a simple idea to get that outdoor café relaxation at home.

The Setup
An outdoor café setup is simple. You will just need some outdoor furniture such as;
• A little table for two or a larger one if you want share it with your family and friends. The shape will depend on your preference.
• Chairs, but some tables on the market come with chairs but you can select one for yourself. It could be a regular chair, a bar stool, or a semi-relaxing chair.
• More importantly of course is an outdoor shade. Any type of an outdoor umbrella would do but for a more relaxing setup, it would be nice to use an offset patio umbrella. Because the pole will not be an obstruction, it can be a very relaxing view outside.

The Ambiance
A cup of coffee and the sound of your favorite music can be so lovely. But it will be much more relaxing if you can feel the extra warmth and ambiance of a fireplace especially during cold seasons and nights. A portable patio heater will do the trick. You can have the ambiance of a traditional fireplace without the hassle of maintenance and refueling. Your relaxation will go smoothly in serenity.

The Food and Drinks
Coffee is an all-time favorite on cafés, but you can have whatever you want. For those of us who loves coffee, most of the favorite coffee flavors can be prepared at home. You may buy a premixed coffee flavor. And a portable coffee maker is now available on the market. For a food, there are a lot of food that can be easily prepared at home. For a quick delicious recipe, please visit Martha Stewart.

You can customize your own setup but as a start-up you may follow this simple idea. You can now enjoy an outdoor café, with a cup of coffee and your favorite book or magazine. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

All About Sun Safety

One of the most common problems we face these days is the harmful effects of suns rays. Especially that the earth’s ozone layer cannot filter out the harmful radiation coming from the sun, we cannot escape from it. Everything under the sun can be damaged, outdoor appliances, outdoor furniture, and most especially our skin. But we can do something to protect our skin from the harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Let us first know the types and levels of UV rays. There are three types of UV radiations with different levels of effects on our skin.

This type of UV radiation is one of the causes of aging. When our skin is exposed, it will result to wrinkling and contribute to skin cancer. This type is the primary radiation that we are exposed on because it can pass through the ozone layer. This is commonly used for skin tanning, but be aware that excessive exposure is not good.

This is a dangerous type, this invisible ray of light can cause sunburns and can cause cataract. It can also contribute to skin cancer. The most common form of skin cancer caused by UVB burns is Melanoma. This radiation is absorbed by the ozone layer, but enough amounts of these rays will pass through which will damage our skin.

This is the most dangerous, but we don’t have to worry about it (no yet) because it is blocked by the ozone layer and will not reach the earth.

We can protect ourselves by using lotions and sun block creams with higher SPF (Sun Protection Factor) which will partially protect and reduce the effects or sun’s radiation. But the best protection is to stay away hidden from the damaging sunlight. On the other hand, we don’t like to stay indoors for long. We always seek outdoor leisure. And there are also other circumstances such as outdoor work or activity that we need to go out. Well, we can use outdoor shades and outdoor umbrellas to protect us from the sun’s radiations. But not just any shades, we need to ensure that they can protect from harmful UV rays. Especially when we use fabric type shades, we need to choose that has UPF. Just like lotion and sun block creams have SPF, fabrics have UV Protection Factor (UPF).

The factors that increase the UVB blockage are the weave density and structure and materials used. Acrylic made fabrics such as fine woven Sunbrella fabric used in outdoor umbrellas and outdoor shade sails has UPF 50+ or 98% UV Protection. Olefins are also good, aside from being durable and beautiful they have UPF 30+ or 96% UV protection. Some fabrics are manufactured with ingredients to boost the protection factor. The other factor that affects the blockage of UV rays on fabrics its color. Off-white colors have 95% blockage, and black and olive colors have 99% blockage.

Environmentalists say we can reduce this problem in general by contributing to the green revolution. By planting trees, protecting our environment, reduce-recycle-reuse our trash, and even just a simple backyard gardening will help. Well, it could help but it would normally take long. For now, all we need is protection.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Patio Furniture Types, Advantages and Disadvantages

Not all patio furniture are created equal. The beauty, functionality, and durability may vary on materials used. Some are simple and some very luxuriously designed, some are extremely durable and some are not tough enough for an extreme condition. But the life span of a patio furniture will still depend on how we use and care for it. For example, a wood umbrella will not endure a gusty wind, and a patio furniture made of iron will not be suitable in a wet area because it will get rusty. Choosing the right patio umbrella will not only depend on strength and weakness. Remember that buying a new addition for a patio is not just about functionality, it’s also about harmony in beauty. A patio or garden should always a beautiful place to entertain and relax. A less attractive place will not be entertaining and relaxing. The following are the types of materials used in patio furniture with its beauty and functionality, advantages and disadvantages.

Aluminum Patio Furniture
Patio furniture made of Aluminum is the most commonly used type especially for Outdoor Umbrellas. Finished products mostly are painted with powder coating to create a fine texture. You can choose a pre-colored furniture to mix and match with your current house or patio motif. This metal type of furniture is extremely durable, has a longer lifespan than wicker and wood furniture. Best for frequent use!

Wicker Patio Furniture
Traditionally made from the stems of any one of 600 palm species, stems are tightly woven into interlocking section to form into a desired style. Some modern wicker furniture is made from synthetic resin to increase its life span and to reduce the manufacturing costs. Wicker designs are very impressive and stylish due to its flexibility. They look natural and would complement any patio or garden setting. The downside of wicker Patio Furniture is its durability is not much, although it may last longer under normal use, it may wear down if used with heavy weight excessively. If it is made from palm, you must keep it dry because it is not water resistant. It can be easily damaged by water or moist.

Outdoor Wood Patio Furniture
Outdoor-type of wood patio furniture add classic elegance to any outdoor setting. Mostly available in natural wood finish, harmoniously blend with the ambience of a garden and of a traditional patio decor. Painted wood furniture are also available that would complement with your existing theme. The most common wood finishes are teak and cedar because they are resistant to moisture and insect. Teak naturally contains silica, known resistant to fungal decay and may reduce the effects of water such as swelling and warping. Resistant to chemicals and fire also.

Cast Iron Patio Furniture
Also called wrought iron furniture, they are more decorative. Because iron can be formed gracefully, they come in decorative designs and styles. These are also the most durable type of furniture that will last longer than any other types. The downside of this type is that they are very heavy, rearrangement can be difficult. Although mostly have rust resistant finish, you must also give some extra care because iron will get rust easily.

Resin Patio Furniture
Often made of recycled plastic, obviously it is weather proof. With the latest technology, an incredibly durable material is produced. It does not fade and will not crack even exposed on all weather condition. Patio furniture of this type is molded to resemble a real wood or wicker. Design and style possibilities are endless. It does not need to be painted because the color is embedded in the material.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Aromatic Garden Recreation

After a tiring activity or work our body needs rest to regain energy. It also helps regenerate cells and replaces the old ones to keep us young and healthy. Our mind also needs a deep rest to refresh it. There are many types of settings to obtain a great and fulfilling recreation. That includes spas and fresh outdoors. But if you want an ultimate relaxation with a little therapy for an exhausted and weakened mind and body, an aromatic spa or garden recreation is perfect for you.

If you are already tired and don’t want the hassle of going to commercial spas to relax, it is wiser if you have your very own aromatic garden right at your patio, deck, or backyard. Aside from being very accessible because it’s just at you home, you will also save lots of money and you and your friends and loved ones can enjoy a great soothing recreation not far from home. Owning an aromatic garden is easy and less expensive. You will just need a space of course. It could be in your patio, deck, or backyard. Here some ideas and steps in creating your very own aromatic garden.

Patio or Deck Aromatic Garden
Imagine having an aromatic garden in a legendary hanging setting. It would be very impressive right? Delight your loved ones and friends by welcoming them and letting them experience recreation in your own aromatic patio or deck garden. Setting up is easy. Basically, you’ll just need;
The outdoor cushions should be comfortable where you could lay down to relax. You may add a lovely hammock which offers more comfort. A Patio Umbrella that is not only decorative but also protective from suns rays. Aromatic plants and flowers planted in pots can be purchased at an affordable price. You can have assorted aromatic plants but you should consider arranging them in groups depending on their scents, mixed scents could be surprisingly amazing or terrible sometimes. These plants and flowers could also add beauty to any patio or deck arrangement.

Backyard Aromatic Garden
If you have a backyard, it will be much better because you can customize the setting in any way you want. Plus, there are also aromatic plants and flowers that are best when planted on the ground. And the ambience is much better on the ground garden.
To start off you’ll just need;
  • Outdoor furniture, cushion and a table
  • Outdoor Umbrella, to shade
  • Aromatic plants and flowers, to be planted on the ground and pots
The cushions should also in comfortable design where you could lay down. Also a hammock can be more relaxing in a garden. You could use an outdoor umbrella but a Gazebo is more elegant in a ground garden. For starters, an Outdoor Umbrella is still beautiful. Grow taller plants because they can add more freshness to the ambience. If you love gardening then planting on the ground will be more exciting. Plants and flowers planted on the ground grow and multiply faster. Thus, it will be rewarding. Aromatic plants and flowers in a pot are still practical if you want to frequently change the arrangement.

You may add pets, ideally fish and birds to make your aromatic garden livelier. If you don’t want the hassle of raising pets, it is best if you can put some nature sound effects for a more relaxing ambience. You can also listen to your favourite music.

To help you out on choosing an aromatic plants and flowers that are best for you, here’s a short list.
  • Citrus – Adds a refreshing citrus aroma• Fennel – provides a robust licorice scent
  • Lavender – available in a wide range of variety and very popular, provides a sweet summer scent
  • Thyme – popular herbal plant, Lemon and lime varieties add a special 'touchable scent'
  • Scented Vines - Honeysuckle, Jasmine, or the ever popular Climbing Rose. Aside from giving great scent they good to create cover. Wisteria is also a fantastic spring bloomer that can get your summer off on the right foot!
  • Verbena – Highly popular scent, especially its lemon variety
  • Night bloomers - Moonflower or Nicotiana Sylvestris are best for night times