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Monthly Archives: Jun 2016

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The Perfect Patio For Your Home

With warm weather comes the urge to lounge outside, but if you do not have a patio it can be tough to get comfortable. Whether extravagant or low key, we can help you build the patio of your dreams. The process does not have to be difficult – it will just take a little planning and a lot of love.

Perfect Patio For Your Home

Start with a Plan

Functionality is essential when it comes to outdoor patios. You want to create a space you want to live in during the summer months, not look at from a distance. Have you ever noticed the way that crowds tend to break into smaller groups to chat at parties? Your space should accommodate people’s patterns and behaviour, so create clusters of seats that focus around an interesting center piece. Also allow for extra space around tables and furniture so people can walk comfortably beside and behind furniture instead of having to squeeze.

Another idea: do not build your patio directly outside of your back door. This does not utilize yard space adequately and keeps family members and guests from enjoy farther out parts of your property.

Low Maintenance is Key

Life is busy as it is. You should not have to worry too much about the upkeep of your patio. Instead, design a low-maintenance space that let’s you actually live in the space. Make sure the furniture is durable in all different types of weather, that you choose the proper stone or brick for your climate and that the space is easy to clean and not cluttered.Your patio should be an extension of your house, without any extensive maintenance.

Make it Cozy

Your patio is a place where you will want to take an afternoon nap, so create an atmosphere that you love to relax in after a hard day’s work or on weekends. Use comfortable accents like textured pillows and blankets to amp up your patio’s snooze appeal. Another way to make your patio more cozy is to slightly enclose it for the rest of your year. Make it a room within your yard by utilizing shrubs, trees, flowers and even wood or wrought-iron fencing.

Create Shade

Shade is necessary, especially on a hot summer day. Picture this: you holding a cool drink sitting outside on your exquisite new patio – without the skin damage caused by UV rays. Protect your skin by building a full or partial roof, or by placing a couple large umbrellas in certain areas of your space for shelter. If possible during the planning stage, position your patio away from direct sunlight.

Warmth

Now let us discuss the centerpiece of your patio. Heat up your space and the atmosphere with an outdoor fireplace or firepit. Having one will not only provide warmth and comfort after the sun goes down, but it will also add to the cozy vibe of your patio. Guests will want to stay longer. S’mores will have to be eaten. Stories will definitely be told. If you do not have room for a fireplace or pit, large pillar candles, although not as heat-producing, will also do wonders for creating an amazing ambiance.

Bring the Indoors Outside

Is there someone in your life who cannot miss a sports game? Have you ever wanted to watch a movie outdoors? If you answered yes to either or both of these questions you may want to bring the electric side of your indoor space to the backyard. If power is available, mount a television set on an exterior wall. Go even further by installing a speaker system and lighting.

Create a color palette

Choosing the right colours makes all the difference. where you situate your patio will help you determine your colour scheme. If you position your patio around a flower garden, consider choosing colours that complement the colour of your flowers. If your patio is not situated amongst flowers, choose colours that create a sense of calm and serenity, like blues and neutral tones. But, you will see from our next tip, that we kind of have a thing for flowers.

Decorate with Flowers

Plants and flowers do wonders to amplify your patio’s natural beauty. Create a lush atmosphere filled with life and energy by planting some luscious flowers, succulents or cacti in and around your patio grounds. Perennials are also great options, as they require little maintenance. Once you put in the work the first time around, they grow back every season!

Paint the Floor

A quirky, yet polished design idea is painting your patio floor. Get creative and paint a solid colour, stripes, symbol or illustration on your patio bricks, stones or wood planking.

If you are looking for a deck or patio or any other landscaping project, call Infinity Gardens today at 587-315-3273 or contact us by email at [email protected] to find out more.

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Outdoor Kitchen
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8 Ideas For An Outdoor Kitchen

The only thing better than sharing an amazing homemade meal with your family and friends is preparing it outdoors under the summer sky. Whether you live in a climate that is warm or a little on the cooler side, you can still enjoy the luxury of an outdoor kitchen.

Ideas For An Outdoor Kitchen

Being stuck inside on a warm evening while your guests socialize outside is not fun. There is often discussion about bringing the outdoors inside, so why not try bringing the indoors outside? An outdoor kitchen might be exactly the project you have been wanting to accomplish this summer.

Functional Layout and Storage

Functionality is an essential component for building a successful outdoor kitchen. Just as you would design your ideal indoor kitchen in a way to increase flow and productivity, with cupboards and appliances in locations where they make the most sense, you can do the same with your outdoor kitchen. Depending on space, create a U-shaped, L-shaped or rectangular kitchen that will best serve your cooking style.

Work with a designer and/or architect to come up with a layout with both functionality and storage capabilities – you don’t want to run inside every time you need a pot or pan. Think of an outdoor kitchen as a completely separate entity for your indoor one, in need of both cooking and dining ware.

Lighting

A dark kitchen is never easy for a chef to work in and you don’t want to limit your outdoor cooking and entertaining possibilities to daylight hours. Make sure to consider lighting in your new outdoor space. Be creative with it – try fixtures and shapes you would not try indoors. Although your outdoor space is an extension of your indoor design, with open air comes a more flexible aesthetic. What may not work indoors might be a perfect fit in your outdoor kitchen.

Pair Alongside Garden or Pool

If you have a garden or pool in your backyard, consider installing your outdoor kitchen beside them. This will create tasteful cohesion in your yard as well as allow family members and guests to enjoy both spaces simultaneously. Swim in the morning and then prepare lunch at noon without even having to go indoors. Summer is for outdoor living and this is how you capitalize on its warm weather and cloudless, storm-free days – and nights.

Fireplace

Consider installing a fireplace in your outdoor kitchen or adjacent dining area. An outdoor fireplace, whether wood-burning or electric, will provide needed warmth and comfort for cool summer nights. Spark up your fireplace to dine outside with your guests, long into the late hours of the night.

Gourmet Grill

The grill, the mecca of summer cooking and entertaining, should be the focal point of any outdoor kitchen. Although this might seem obvious, allot for an adequate amount of your appliance budget for a grill. A grill is not an afterthought – it is a way of life for outdoor chefs. If possible, find a professional grade one that heats up quickly, like this gas and charcoal grill from Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet. You will be happy you went the extra mile in this department when you start cooking in your outdoor kitchen.

Pizza Oven

Fire it up! To all the pizza lovers out there, what is better than a freshly grilled wood-oven pizza? Well, maybe, delicious wood-oven pizza cooked and enjoyed in the comfort of your outdoor kitchen? If you like a good pie, consider designing your outdoor kitchen to include a pizza oven. Not only are they lovely to look at, but they will create endless summer fun for you and your family.

Wine and Beer Fridge

Cool drinks are essential on hot summer days. Make sure your kitchen is equipped with proper refrigeration for both food and beverages. This will save you time from having to run back and forth between your indoor fridge, as well as make beverages easily accessible while entertaining. Also, consider installing a built-in cooler specifically for beer, water and other bottled drinks.

Sink and Dishwasher

Make cleaning up simple with an outdoor sink and dishwasher. Lugging all your dirty pots, pans, glasses and dinnerware inside is a total drag. Reduce cleaning time and hassle by having everything you need to prepare, eat and clean up a meal in your outdoor kitchen. Cooking outdoors becomes a hassle when you have to dirty your indoor kitchen as well just to wash dishes.

If you are interested in the possibilities of equipping your homes with an outdoor kitchen, call Infinity Gardens today at 587-315-3273 or send us an email at [email protected] for more information.

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Landscaping
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10 Ways To Prepare Your Home For Summer

With frequent dry spells, property owners are increasingly seeking custom landscape services to help them make the switch to xeriscape vegetation. But with summer approaching, more preparations are necessary to protect green lawns and young plants that help to beautify your landscape from the rising heat and pests, and to increase the comfort of your outdoor space as you plan on spending more time outside.

10 Summer Landscaping Ideas For Your Home

Here are some tips to prepare your outdoor living space for summer:

1. Provide ample lighting
Increasing your outdoor lighting is necessary to not only promote your safety and that of your guests, but also illuminate the yard from dusk to dawn, especially when entertaining guests. Ensure that all the bulbs are working and that there are no dark spots that could lead to a security breach.

2. Flip the shed
Put shovels, snowblowers, and skis in storage and bring forward your summer supplies, including hoses, lawn mower, sprinklers, fertilizer, and garden tools. Ensure that you have all the supplies you need, well organized and ready for use.

3. Adjust your irrigation controller
You don’t want to suffer the embarrassment of being the only house on your block with brown grass. Adjust the watering frequency as needed to keep your yard and plants healthy and save on water. Plants that have partial shade, as well as those that are well established may need less watering compared to others.

4. Inspect your irrigation system
Check the controller’s battery power backup and replace it if need be. Activate the watering system and check for leaks (soggy ground, standing water, or eroded spots). Also assess the valve operation to ensure they are opening and closing properly with no leaks. Replace missing or damaged sprinkler heads and clear any obstructions that could be blocking the spray.

5. Choose low maintenance plants
Remember to update any annual plants in your garden, or switch to perennials that don’t require replanting every year. Seek help from landscape experts to identify the best plants for your region. Local nurseries are a great source of information about low maintenance plants that will add beauty to your landscape, as well as warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda or Buffalo grass, that require much less water to retain their green colour.

6. Prune your garden
Acacias, ironwoods, palo verdes, and other native trees should be pruned in spring, but never in summer. Removing the leafy growth will expose the inner branches and stem to the scorching sun and necessitate more watering. Over-pruning during summer also increases the risk of severe sunscald.

7. Paint your tree trunks
If you need to prune sun-sensitive trees for access or safety, consider painting their trunks with properly diluted latex paint (1:1 with water). You can use any colour. Keep in mind that any pruning should not remove more than 25 per cent of the canopy in a single growing season, as it increases the risk of sunscald and makes the plants less water efficient.

8. Mow the lawn less
Set the mower blade higher to cut one-third of the blade of grass at a time. Using a lower setting that cuts more of the grass tends to increase the growth rate to compensate. This will not only stress the plant more, since there is less water available, but also increase the mowing frequency. It is a good idea to let the lawn grow taller in summer to shade the lawn and maintain the healthy look. Fertilize the grass in the morning and water it immediately to avoid burning the plants.

9. Apply mulch
Mulch is beneficial to all plants. Applying a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch on top of the soil will help to insulate it, keeping the roots cooler and more water available in the soil during the dry spells. You can add any type of mulch to your landscape, including organic mulch, such as compost and bark, or inorganic mulch like granite. But since you are applying a thick layer of mulch, leave a small 2- to 3-inch allowance from the plant stem to avoid suffocating the roots.

10. Pest control
The best time to spray garden chemicals is before sunrise or after sunset. Applying insecticides any other time when the temperatures are too high can cause some of the chemicals to burn the plants. In some cases, you can successfully manage insects such as aphids and mites using a strong spray of water to knock them off the plant – they can’t climb back on. Alternatively, you can apply a soapy water solution (1 tsp. per gallon of water) using a trigger spray, or some other organic pest control measure.

Are you satisfied with your space?
Lastly, walk the perimeter of your property line, noting anything that might need extra attention before summer. Seeking professional custom landscape services can help address most of these concerns. You may need awnings and pergolas to cover your patio, extra outdoor furniture or upholstery, or even an outdoor bar.

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