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Meghan Belnap posted a blog entry in Green Living BlogIf you love to entertain, you may regularly bring family and friends together inside your home for smaller gatherings and larger parties. While your home’s interior may be well-suited for entertaining, it makes sense to enlarge your gathering areas to include your backyard. However, before you plan your first backyard party, you need to create a space that is well-suited for entertaining. These are essential tips that you should follow to create a truly practical space for get-togethers. Install Upgraded Cooking Features Serving your guests meals and snacks is almost a necessity at most gatherings. While you could cook inside and serve the food to your guests in the backyard, grilling out is a preferred option in many cases. Installing a large grill as a permanent feature in an outdoor kitchen or cooking area can give you an impressive and functional cook area. Remember to choose between charcoal, gas and electric grills carefully so that you can maximize the benefit of your new grill. Choose Comfortable Seating At a very large gathering, some of your guests may expect to stand around and mingle from time to time, but they may enjoy sitting down periodically as well. With smaller gatherings, it may be awkward if only a few guests were forced to stand up because of limited seating. Purchase enough chairs, loungers and other seating features to accommodate your needs for most events, and ensure that these outdoor furnishings are comfortable. While you need ample seating, remember that there should be enough space to accommodate the flow of traffic. Focus on Climate Control To make the most out of your outdoor entertaining area, you need to make the space as comfortable as possible in most weather conditions. For example, install an awning or shade over the primary patio area. Place heating lamps and fans strategically to further control the climate. If you live in an area that is prone to high winds, a wind-blocking shade may be advantageous as well. Add Fun Elements A yard well-suited for entertaining would not be complete without several fun elements. These elements may include a sound system, a large mounted outdoor television, a pool or hot tub, a fire pit, cornhole and other features. Focus on fun elements that your regular guests may enjoy. Remember Lighting Many outdoor gatherings may easily carry over into the evening hours. Most patios have a basic patio light that only partially illuminates the area. It may be more practical to install overhead lighting as well as perimeter lighting. Keep in mind that multiple lighting elements may be used for functionality and to control the ambiance. Some homeowners will complete a major yard renovation, and others will gradually improve their space over time. Regardless of the approach that you take, incorporate these elements into your backyard design plan.
Many people want a pool on their property. It is a great investment for year-round fun as well as property value. As you consider incorporating one into your landscape, you may be thinking about the environmental issues as well as sustainability associated with it. Is is possible to have a pool that is eco-friendly? With the right knowledge and tips you can make an existing pool better for the environment overall. Solar Pool Heater According to the U.S. Department of Energy, using solar pool heating is a very cost-effective method of using solar energy. This may require a high initial investment, though. Depending on the climate, a solar pool heater will pay for itself in a short period of time. This is accomplished by lower energy costs. In some situations, a pool may require more heating than a solar heater can provide. In this case, a pool owner can choose to combine their solar heater with a convention pool heater which will still make their energy use lower. Eco-Friendly Landscaping Many owners are pleased to discover how they choose to landscape around their pool impacts the environment as well. Having plants nearby can help. Experts recommend the use of plants that are low-maintenance and can survive under drought conditions. It's also important to use plants native to where the pool is located. Trees and shrubs, when used correctly, can act as windbreaks and offer shade. This will decrease the evaporation of the pool's water, as well as its heating requirements. Reduce Chlorine Some pools are designed to use plants and not chemicals to sanitize the water and others are able to decrease or eliminate the use of standard chlorine. There are pool sanitation methods that involve ozone as well as salt water as well. Pool professionals at Bullfrog Spas recommend owners be consistent when it comes to keeping their pool clean. This will decrease the need for any extra needs for chemical sanitation. Ozone & Salt An ozone sterilization system is designed to eliminate bacteria in a pool using electricity. It eliminates swimming pool contaminants by releasing oxygen atoms. These atoms will join with any foreign substance in the pool, such as bacteria and algae, and remove them. Salt can be used to sanitize pools as well. The salt turns into a hypochlorous acid and eliminates any algae or bacteria. Variable Speed Pool Pump Experienced pool professionals tell their clients that pool pumps use even more energy than their pool's heater. It is recommended that pool owners use a variable speed pool pump. They are very popular when constructing new pools or renovating an existing pool. What makes them so efficient is their ability to only use as much energy as is needed to accomplish a certain task. Energy Efficient Lighting A pool owner has many different lighting options. Many of them are able to use much less energy than incandescent lighting. A very popular choice is LED lighting. Pool owners like this lighting because it is stylish as well as efficient. Solar lighting is excellent for illuminating pathways to the pool or around it as well. Automated Pool Systems These systems are designed to only run the water features or a pool's heater when necessary. An automated system will save you money by reducing energy costs. This type of automation also makes it easier to make certain the pool is properly maintained. Hot Tubs & Spas Sanitizers can be used to clean hot tubs and spas. The most popular ones are bromine and chlorine. There is also an effective treatment that is non-chlorine known as spa shock. You can find more information for a hot tub water care guide at professional sites as well. It is possible to maintain a pool, spa, or hot tub with methods that are safe to use and friendly to the environment. Researching what method works best you’re your situation can pay off in reduced energy costs as well as having an eco-friendly pool that doesn’t ruin the environment.
The backyard space can be unpleasant to the eyes if not well kempt hence reshaping the outdoor space is the greatest kindness to Mother Nature. This does not mean giving a dry and barren look, but use of earth-friendly ideas for landscaping. Home landscape is at the forefront of homeowners’ minds to ensure they have yards which are not only comfortable and beautiful, but eco-friendly as well. There are various ways to weave eco-friendly elements into your backyard. Here are a few eco-friendly tips for your backyard while still creating an inviting environment for your home. Planned Planting This includes planning for the right plantings in right places in your backyard. Besides providing comfortable and low energy environment shading, they can actually facilitate in cooling the surroundings. The plants release moisture through their leaves in hot weather, keeping the atmosphere cool and fresh. Some flowering vines also will add fragrance and beauty to your outdoor area. However, to save water and reduce pruning maintenance, you may opt for low maintenance plants which are drought-resistant in nature. These may include cactus, yucca, ornamental grasses, marigolds, asters, tulips and pansies. Planting clover is an advantage as it contends well against weeds and is naturally insect-resistant. To maintain a thick and healthy lawn, you should ensure there is constant water supply which is however done less for longer periods of time. Interestingly, regularly trimmed grass requires less water. Regular fertilization and dethatching are also a prerequisite to help plants grow well. An ample atmosphere and nutrients are needed for the plants to thrive well. Pool and Eco Pool ideas If you opt for a swimming pool in the backyard of your home, one question to ask yourself is whether your swimming pool is eco-friendly. This may be in terms of reduced water consumption benefits, cost savings relating to electricity use and heating or toxicity to the surrounding environment. To respond to this question, you can make adjustments to your pool to put into operation upgrades and improvements so as to provide cost savings as well as give environmentally friendly advantages. One such idea to make your swimming pool eco-friendly is by adjusting swimming pool pump upgrades from a single speed pool to a variable speed. A variable speed pump is more cost-effective to operate and is programmed to work at lower speeds for regular circulation. You could also opt to run the pump for a whole day and it will still operate cost effectively. In countries with high temperatures where the water could be continually circulated to prevent algae bloom, the variable speed pump could be of great advantage. Running a swimming pool during off-peak hours is also a money saver. Many electric companies normally lower the rates in the night hours thus it adds up to run the swimming pool pump at night. While chemical use in the sterilization or cleaning of pool water has been said to bring allergies and asthma effects, and which when the pool is drained are toxic to plants and aquatic animals in both surrounding environment and waterways, pool cleaning systems have conversely resulted to harnessing the power of ozone to sanitize pool water. These ozonators break down oxygen into ozone by use of electricity. This has reduced chemical use hence prompting eco-friendliness. Image credit: d1gglasspoolfencingsydney.com.au