Sunday, March 25, 2012

Best Umbrella for Best Summer

Summer is here and the outdoor is glowing with colors. Lit up by the bright sunlight the surroundings will be rejuvenated bringing it back to an environment full of life. It is the best time of the year to have a break and enjoy the warm outdoors. This warm giving season will also bring a bit of downtime to your patio heaters and fireplaces.

Many of us love to spend this opportunity in outdoor escapades. Some would love to enjoy sunbathing and swimming in beaches whiles others would want to enjoy an inland adventure. But wherever we may choose be, while there is sunlight, we still need a shade for protection when the beating is at its peak.

The sun gives life but there are real reasons why we still need a protection. These considerations do not limit our enjoyment under the sun however. For the biggest part, we can enjoy the summer's sight, sounds, and outdoor activity ideas without exposing our skin.

The beating of sunlight is not friendly all the time. There are periods of the day especially at noontime when the sunlight is very hot that it hurts our skin. Sun burnt skin is the common effects of longer exposure to intense sunlight. Even more so, without knowing, UV Rays can give severe damages and may lead to cancer if not taken cared of.

Aside from sunblock creams, sun shades should be available, in fact, they give better protection. Though there are several types of protective sun blockers, outdoor shade sails are useful too, the best type of shade that is practical to outdoor getaways these days is an outdoor umbrella. But because there are so many types of umbrellas and there are lots of options, choosing the best one becomes a difficult task. With some helpful guide we choose to share, the difficulty should become lesser.

Here are some useful tips to guide you on selecting the best umbrella for this summer.

Consider the skin health factor first! Select an umbrella that repels most of the suns'  harmful UV Rays. Reducing glare can help but the harmful UV Rays are invisible and may pass through the barriers of ordinary fabrics. Find outdoor patio umbrellas or beach umbrellas that has a canopy made of UV treated fabric like Sunbrella.

Safety is very important too so durability should not be taken for granted. Outdoors especially at the beach have an unpredictable weather condition. Heavy wind blows may come suddenly and may carry the umbrella away and whatever comes up must come down. Lucky if the umbrella will land safely without causing damage to properties and people. Make sure that the outdoor umbrella can endure strong wind blows and provide it with heavy duty stand or base.

Portability. For sure outdoor patio umbrellas are portable but for summer getaways, buy umbrellas that are light weight and can be dismantled easily. On the other hand, patio umbrella bases are made heavy of course but you can find hollow types made of resin which can be filled with sand or water whenever you use them, very handy.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Things You Need to Clean a Patio Umbrella

Patio umbrellas are created to protect us, our patio furniture sets, and some patio decorations. Though some of these beneficial outdoor items are designed to withstand the torturous sun, rain, wind, and other outdoor elements, they are not completely protected. They somehow break down in a short span. Even the most expensive commercial patio umbrellas will have limited lifetime.

The best thing we can do to extend the life of an outdoor umbrella is proper care and maintenance. And, the biggest part of this regimen is cleaning. Another great benefit of cleaning is to make an item look new which is why we clean things up and usually we do it for a new season and for an expected events such as parties and get-together.

To help you get started cleaning, you need the following items.

  • A long handled brush with soft bristles – The long handle help you clean hard to reach portions especially with a large umbrella. The reason why we need soft bristles is to avoid corrosion on the fabric. What we are going to do is to maintain the good looks and prolong the life of your umbrella, so beware of the brush you use.
  • A bucket of cleaning solution – Helps soften dirt and stains to remove easily. Different types of dirt and stain require different solutions. Solutions will be discussed later in this article.
  • A plastic spray bottle – You will need this for spot cleaning where you need a special solution for hard to remove dirt and stain.  Solutions will be discussed later in this article.
  • Your garden hose with a spray nozzle – This will help you quickly remove surface dirt and solids, and will be the tool for finishing the work.

Now let's get to the action. Cleaning is really easy to do when you have the helpful tools as listed above. Let's do this step by step.

The very first step we need to do is thoroughly spray wet the umbrella canopy. This initially removes dirt from the surface and softens some solids. While still wetting the canopy, use your long handled brush to remove initially sticking dirt and any solids that softens.

If the umbrella is thoroughly wet, it's time to use the soapy cleaning solution. Use your brush to apply the solution and brush gently. The solution will soften the remaining dirt so that it will be easily removed by brushing.

Now to the other side. The inside of the umbrella is not much that dirty so cleaning is easy. Gently brush clean the canopy, umbrella ribs and frame.

Finally, remove all of the suds by spraying it off with clean water thoroughly. It is important to remove completely traces of cleaning solution because it may have affects on the umbrella materials later on. Leave the umbrella fully open to air dry completely. Buff off any water spotting on the frame and ribs with clean soft cloth.

Cleaning Solutions You Can Use:

2 ounces (1/4 cup) mild soap per gallon of lukewarm water.

2oz. dishwashing liquid (or Goo Gone Grease Cutter)
1 Gallon lukewarm water

2 oz. turpentine
2 oz. dishwashing liquid
1 gallon lukewarm water

Pine Oil Detergent, Diluted as directed on packaging.

1 cup Bleach
2 oz. dishwashing liquid
1 gallon lukewarm water

Monday, March 12, 2012

Synthetic Versus Natural Plants, Which is Better for Your Patio?

Natural is really the best way to go, ever since. We choose to go natural for our health and for our environment. But there are some situations that this will not be true and practical. In short, going natural is a case-to-case basis. To better understand this issue, let us examine what really are the difference between natural and synthetic.

Natural plants are those living that need nourishment to grow and glow. They need water and sunlight through their whole lifetime. Some may need fertilizer in order to bloom as you want them to. They can grow on their own but other elements may prevent them and the growth may be undesirable. They need attention and care from time to time.

Synthetic plants are lifeless, yet they can have lively colors and textures resembling real live plants. Mostly made of different types of plastic such as PVC and resin. You can also see these plastics made into different patio furniture. In fact, most of furniture are made of these synthetic materials which include wicker patio furniture and resin plastic chairs. We know from this reality that there are negative environmental effects from manufacturing to trashing. Aside from that, they don’t contribute to a healthy atmosphere.

Now, let this guide help you decide which way to choose. Yet, still your option is not limited to purely synthetic or natural. It is wiser to combine these and choose the right one for a right place.

All Natural
If you love nature and want to contribute saving our environment then choosing all natural plants is your best choice.

The sacrifices and the efforts you need to do are;
  • you can not build more or large shades and roofing in your patio
  • you need to take out some of your limited time to take care of the plants
  • you need to allocate money for the maintenance of the plants

Nevertheless, your sacrifices and efforts are really well worth it.

All Synthetic
The main reason behind choosing synthetic plants is the limitations. One could have a limited amount of time and money. In today’s lifestyle, our time even for ourselves and family is not enough sometimes. The other reason is that our patio design and landscape is not suitable. Natural plants cannot live or are not suited under a shade such  as outdoor umbrellas.

You just cannot get the benefits of fresh ambiance of natural plants even if it look real. In other words, good for the eyes only. Yet, you can have a beautiful patio that is hassle-free and cost less to maintain.

Combined Natural and Synthetic
It is very common today that most of us have both natural and synthetic plants in our patio. Synthetic plants are inexpensive and very easy to find now. And, there are way to enjoy the goodness of real plants in all types of patio design these days.

Plants have different maintenance needs and sunlight is the most limited plant need in a patio. Here are some tips;
  • leave an open space for plants that require more sunlight
  • if sunlight is really limited, choose plants that have less sunlight need
  • indoor plants are also a good choice
  • use retractable shades and patio umbrellas so that you can close them to let the sunshine in

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Three Steps to Redesign a Patio

Being in a place that looks new gives a fresh feeling. We as human being always tend to get fascinated with new things we sense. This awareness can be helpful in maintaining our places. It encourages us to make our homes look new every season and even every month not just for our personal satisfaction but also to impress other people.

Redesigning a home is not just for interiors but also the outdoors including the garden, patio, and deck.

Renewing the looks of a patio is also done to help set the right mood for an occasion. It would be more exciting if you can make your patio design harmonious with the celebration. A birthday party can get more happier, Christmas can be merrier, and all other events can get more exciting with the right design and theme.

Bringing a patio to new look is really easy. There are just three things you need to do to your setup.

This step is a lot easier, you just need to rearrange the placement of most patio items. The very first thing to try a new look is to rearrange all the patio furniture items. Turn them facing to a different direction and interchange their placement. This will create a new panoramic view that looks different from the previous setup. Then, you can do it also to decor accents and patio appliances.

A patio umbrella should also be moved with the new arrangement. And if weather allows, closing the umbrella is also great to get the feel of nature's goodness and to be different for a while.

It is best to try using the new arrangement before finalizing it. In other words, feel and see it for yourself.

After you have come up with a new arrangement, it is time to refurbish the setup. It means cleaning up the whole setup. This time, try to remove unnecessary items that are just not right for the view.

Dirt and stains can make your furniture items look old and ugly which make the whole patio to look messy or boring. Refurbishing or cleaning up all items making them look new is the best you can do to restore its beauty.

If cleaning up does not give the best result that you expected then it is time to refurnish the patio items. This means adding something to the patio which includes furniture items and decor. This is a the best thing to do if you are preparing for an occasion.

Add new decor accents to the patio setup but be careful not to add too many, some will just become a distraction to the design. Adding a new outdoor umbrella with different color or design can create a beautiful focal point to the patio design. Try something unique like an offset patio umbrella.