4 Steps to Build an Outdoor Kitchen on a Budget

The more the temperature rises, the more time all of us want to spend outside. Extending your indoor space to the outside with an outdoor kitchen is a great way to ensure you and your family will spend some much needed time outside this summer. While an outdoor kitchen may sound like an expensive task, we’re letting you in on four steps to build an outdoor kitchen on a budget, so you can build the outdoor kitchen of your dreams without breaking the bank!

Outdoor Kitchen Layout

First things first, you need to decide where you’ll place your outdoor kitchen in your yard and choose the layout you want for it. You’ll want it to be as close to your indoor kitchen as possible, so it’s easy to transfer tools, dishes, food and other kitchen necessities.

Placing your kitchen near an exterior wall will make your new kitchen more affordable, with easier access to plumbing and electricity if you plan to have sinks and refrigerators. But really, all cooking in an outdoor kitchen requires is a gas or charcoal grill and a surface to place your food. Let your budget determine any extra amenities you add.

Determine Your Kitchen Essentials

Now that you’ve decided where to place your kitchen, you’ll need to determine the essentials for your outdoor kitchen. Of course you’ll need a grill for cooking. Make sure you invest in one with the suitable number of burners, counter surfaces and storage cabinets for your needs. Will you mostly be cooking for your family, or do you plan to entertain a lot? Take these things into consideration when planning your outdoor kitchen essentials.

And don’t forget post-meal clean up. Garbage and recycling bins are also musts for an outdoor kitchen. Depending on your budget, you may also consider add-ons such as a roof, bar, or pizza oven.

Get Creative For Your Budget

If you’re on a tight budget for your outdoor kitchen, get creative and upcycle furniture and appliances you already have or visit salvage yards for affordable kitchen cabinets, countertops, appliances and anything else you need for your outdoor kitchen. You can also check out discount retailers and big box stores that will have inexpensive options for you to choose from.

The Extras

Make sure to consider things like lighting and seating for your outdoor kitchen. If it’s somewhere you spend to plan a lot of time in or entertain in, you want it to be a comfortable space for you and your guests. Your outdoor lighting should illuminate your cooking, eating and relaxation areas. Intergrate lounge chairs and add an outdoor kitchen table and chairs so you can enjoy all the food you whip up in your outdoor kitchen!

An outdoor kitchen is a great way to extend your indoor living space come summertime. Use these steps to create an outdoor kitchen on a budget!


How to Create a Cool “Hang Out” Area in Your Backyard: 6 Hammock Ideas

Want to create the ultimate relaxation spot in your backyard? Putting up a hammock is the perfect way to do it. There’s no better place to lay back, put your feet up, and breathe in the fresh open air. Hammocks are light-weight, trendy and they’ll make your backyard look like a comfortable oasis. If you’ve been feeling like your backyard needs an extra place to hang out, check out these 6 awesome hammock ideas!

1. Patio Hammock

Hang a hammock (or two) from the pillars on your patio. While traditionally hammocks are made from cotton and rope, cloth hammocks are rising in popularity due to their incredible comfort. Head out onto your patio and in just a few steps you can fall into your hammock to read a book or take a nap.

2. Poolside Hammock

Need a place to relax before and after jumping into the pool? A poolside hammock will be your new best friend. You can build a trellis to hang your hammock from, or hang it from any trees or poles near your pool.

3. Hanging Bed

If you love the idea of a hammock, but think you need a little more support, a hanging bed may be just the thing for you. Bring the comfort of your bed to your patio or yard- wherever you decide to hang it. If it’s a large hanging bed, make sure it’s hung with a sturdy chain on each corner for support. Whether you want a smaller one-person bed or a bed you can share with family and friends, a hanging bed is a great way to bring comfort outdoors.

4. Tree Hammock

Hammocks are traditionally meant to be hung from trees, so if you have trees in your yard that can support a hammock, tie it between two of them. Fill the hammock with blankets and pillows for the ultimate relaxation spot. You can also consider adding string lights between the trees above the hammock to create a tranquil ambiance.

5. Garden Patio Hammock

Do you have a garden patio that’s look a little bare? Surround yourself with flowers and greenery by placing a hammock on your garden patio. It will give you a secluded spot to enjoy your garden while you breathe in the gorgeous smell of the flowers, plants and fresh air.

6. Hanging Pillow Chair

Another option that’s similar to a hammock but a tad different is a hanging pillow chair. Hung from all four corners, the unique design is perfect for one person to sprawl out and relax on an oversized pillow. It’s stylish and comfortable, and offers the perfect place to hang out and read or get some reflecting done.

Creating a cool hang out area is easy with a hammock! Use one of these ideas to add comfort and style to your backyard!


Who Needs Artificial Grass? And How to Pick The Best Kind For You!

When you think of artificial grass, do visions of sports fields pop into your head?  Many sports arenas opt to use artificial grass over real grass since it’s more affordable and easier to maintain, but people have started using it for their lawns at home as well! It’s a great option if you have children or pets, live in a well-shaded area, or reside in a location that gets little rain. Here’s how to pick the best type of artificial grass for you!

What is Artificial Grass?

Artificial grass, or artificial turf is a surface of synthetic fibers with a firm, yet flexible base, that’s made to look and feel like real grass. There are a number of benefits of using artificial grass for your lawn. It’s low-maintenance (it doesn’t need to be cut or watered), affordable, and many brands contain an antibacterial that prevents the spread of germs and bacteria, so your kids and pets can play on artificial grass without worrying about pesticides and other chemicals!

Do You Need Artificial Grass?

So who needs artificial grass? There are a number of factors that make artificial grass ideal for certain homeowners.

1. If You Live in an Area With Lots of Shade

Shaded areas cause major issues with real lawns, but are perfect for artificial turf. Whereas real grass will dry up and die if it doesn’t get sunlight, artificial grass requires no direct sunlight at all. It maintains its colour with or without sunlight and water.

2. If You Have Children and Pets

Artificial grass is also ideal if you have children and pets. As we mentioned above, you don’t have to worry about pesticides, fertilizers and other toxic chemicals used to maintain your lawn. There’s also no need to worry about grass stains with artificial turf.

3. If You Live in an Area That Gets Little Rain

No water is needed to maintain artificial grass, so if you live in an area that gets little rain, it may be a good bet for you. The only water it requires is the occasional rinse off to prevent odors and dust build-up, but you can do that easily with your garden hose.

How to Pick The Best Artificial Grass For You

If you’ve decided that artificial grass is the right choice for you, it’s time to pick the best type for your lifestyle (believe it or not, there are lots of different types of artificial grass!). Here are four tips to help you figure out the perfect match for your yard.

1. Quality

You want to make sure you choose top quality artificial grass. Well-made synthetic grass is made out of polypropylene, polyamide, polyethylene yarns or a mixture of all three. It will also be evenly backed, have consistent colour throughout, and contain well stitched tufts.

2. Blade Length

The recommended blade length for artificial grass is 30-37mm. This length ensures your lawn looks well maintained, and that it’s not too long, causing it to bend over and flatten out over time.

3. Backing and Infill

There are a number of different infill types for synthetic grass to keep it bouncy and resilient. Sand and gravel are often used for infill, as well as other materials. When it comes to backing, polyurethane or latex are used. Use polyurethane if you live in an area with high heat, since it doesn’t expand and contract. This will keep it from causing bubbles and tears.

4. Colour

When it comes to the colour of your artificial grass, choose a combination of shades of green. This will keep it from sticking out and looking too fake among the real grass lawns on your street. Varying shades of green with some brown flecks will make your lawn look more natural.

If you think artificial grass is a good option for you and your lifestyle, use these tips to pick the best kind for you!


7 Creative Uses for Leftover Siding

If you’ve just finished an exterior renovation and have some siding leftover, don’t put it to waste! There are tons of fun DIY projects you can undertake with leftover siding so you don’t have to throw it away. Seeing as you likely used top quality siding for your home, whatever you make out of the leftovers is sure to last you for years to come! From projects for your kids to home upgrades, here are seven creative uses for leftover siding!

1. Nameplates for Kids’ Rooms

When you’re a kid, there’s nothing better than a personalized room, and with leftover siding you can create unique nameplates for each of your children. Cut a piece of the siding and stencil your child’s name onto it, letting them paint and place stickers on the nameplate to make it their own.

2. Baby Mobile

Another creative way to use leftover siding is to make a baby mobile! Use a circular saw to cut out geometric shapes (or get even more creative if you can!), to hang from your ceiling. Remember to drill a small hole through each of the pieces so you can string the shapes onto some string to hang it from the ceiling.

3. A Vanity Cabinet

Have you always wanted a unique vanity cabinet for your bathroom? Use your leftover siding to create one, and it paint in any colour that matches your bathroom colour palette. It’s a great way to add character to your bathroom as well as additional function.

4. Coat Hanger

Cut a piece of siding your desired length and place it up on the wall in your entryway or mudroom. Attach hooks along the front of it, and ta da, you have a coat hanger. You can also create a towel hanger in your bathroom the same way, or attach vintage door knobs to the front to hang towels on.

5. Dog House

Have you always wanted to build a dog house for your favourite four-legged friend? Extra siding provides you with the perfect chance to make that happen! Especially if your dog spends a good amount of time outside, it’s a great way to keep them comfortable and protected. And since quality siding is weather resistant and maintenance free, you won’t have to worry about it weathering or rusting.

6. Treehouse or Playhouse

If you have a considerable amount of siding left over, you may want to consider building something on a larger scale, like a treehouse or playhouse for your kids. If you’re building a treehouse, check with your city to see if you need a permit. You won’t need one for a playhouse, so if you want to get started right away, that may be the better option!

7. Statement Wall

Have a small wall area in your home and always wanted to create a statement wall? Use the leftover siding from your renovation project to cover your entire wall in siding. If you have siding pieces of varying thickness, it’s a great way to add visual interest to the space.

There are plenty of ways to use leftover siding! Get creative and don’t let it go to waste!


5 Bug-Free Gazebo Designs

Sitting outside in your backyard, relaxing in the summer heat sounds like paradise…until you factor in the bugs. If you live in an area that’s prone to bugs, you know what a pain they can be, and when it comes to entertaining friends and family in your backyard, the last thing you want is their visit getting ruined by bugs. If you’re the family who loves to hold gatherings at your home, whether it’s barbeques, birthdays or special events, it’s nice to have a shady place to relax away from the bugs.

Enter: the gazebo, a gorgeous and comfortable structure that will make your backyard feel like an extension of your home. A nice gazebo will elevate your backyard, making your guests flock to it when they see it. And many of them come equipped with screens or curtains to keep the bugs out. If you love the idea of placing a gazebo in your backyard, here are five bug-free gazebo designs for you to choose from.

1. Wooden Gazebo

There are plenty of gorgeous wooden gazebos you can choose from for your backyard. Whether you want it tall or small, with intricate detailing or unadorned, a wooden gazebo is sure to be a beautiful addition to any yard. Whatever style you choose, look for a wooden gazebo with screens built into the walls to keep the bugs at bay.

2. Gazebo with Curtains

If you don’t love the idea of having netted screens on your gazebo, another option is a cloth or metal gazebo with curtains. You can leave the curtains open when you want more sun and a breeze, and close them when the bugs start buzzing. If you go with a cloth gazebo, opt for curtains in the same colour as the fabric top!

3. A Built-In Gazebo

If you have a large deck in your backyard, consider installing a built-in gazebo in one of the corners of the deck. This will make your deck a prime destination in the summer, where your guests can enjoy time outside in the sun, or head into the gazebo for some shade. Make sure the gazebo has installed screens, making it safe from insects.

4. Poolside Gazebo

Have a pool in your backyard and need a shaded area to relax after a swim? A poolside gazebo is just the thing for you! An enclosed gazebo with windows and screen panels offers the perfect spot for you to relax, bug-free, on a summer day.

5. Gazebo with Screen Sliders

Another option for a bug-free gazebo is a metal gazebo with retractable screen sliders that can be easily opened and closed. This allows you to have more of a breeze when it’s not too buggy outside, and close the sliders when it is. It’s a great alternative to stationary screen walls as well as curtains, and allows for more versatility!

A bug-free gazebo is the best place to spend time outside this summer! Choose your favourite design and let the fun begin!


Upcycling: Something Your Grandma Used to Do, And You Should Too

Upcycling is nothing new, but it is gaining increased traction among more people these days. Your grandma may have been one of the original upcyclers, with families in the 1930s and 40s repurposing items until they were no longer useful anymore. With little economic and material resources, they would thrift old objects, giving them new looks and uses.

People today upcycle for the same reason and more- they love thrifting and repurposing old items, enjoying crafting and DIYs, and they care about the environment. Read on for the importance of upcycling and why everyone should be doing it.

What Is Upcycling?

Upcycling is the creative new use of an object that would otherwise be thrown away. It’s the process of repurposing and converting old items or materials into something new and useful. Upcycling items gives them a new, and often better purpose, and keeps you from putting things to waste. The upcycling process reduces the amount of waste we produce, while also reducing the need for new materials for new products.

Recycling Vs. Upcycling

Upcycling may sound the same as recycling, but the two are actually different. With upcycling, you’re using the material of an item to create a new item with a new use. You may be changing the look and function of the object, but it’s still made from the same material as when you started. For instance, creating a bookshelf out of an old wooden ladder.

Recycling, on the other hand, takes materials such as plastic, metal and glass, and breaks them down so they can be used to make new items. For example, plastic bottles can be recycled and made into carpets or clothing.

4 Benefits of Upcycling

1. Environmentally Friendly

Since you’re repurposing old items into new ones, you aren’t throwing your old items out, making it more sustainable for the environment. It reduces the amount of waste dumped into the landfills, decreasing land, water and air pollution.

2. Saves You Money

Instead of spending your money buying new products, upcycling allows you to create new uses for old items. Turn old picture frames into serving trays, an old door frame into a coffee table, or old books as wall shelves. There are lots of ways to upcycle old objects!

3. Elevates Creativity and Encourages Innovation

Upcycling allows you to get creative and turn “junk” into treasure! Upcycled items are always unique and quite beautiful. It takes time and creativity to create something meaningful from an item that would otherwise be thrown out, and that’s why the finished product is usually so special. Upcycling encourages you to take time away from media and technology and get your creative and innovative juices flowing!

4. Preserves Natural Resources

Every time a new item is made out of a natural resource like wood, the supply of that resource is diminishing. Upcycling eliminates the need to use raw materials to make new products, preserving our precious resources.

With so many benefits, upcycling is the way to go! Next time you go to throw something out, ask yourself how you can repurpose it instead!


What is “Junk Gardening”? And How to Make It Work For You

If you haven’t heard of junk gardening yet, allow us to introduce you. It’s a type of gardening that allows you to repurpose old items that you would otherwise throw out. Made popular by the book Garden Junk by Mary Randolph Carter, the look of “junk” among beautiful flowers and plants can bring an element of uniqueness to your garden.

The awesome thing about junk gardening is you can use just about anything to complement your garden space. Before you throw anything out, ask yourself- can I use this in my garden? Here’s how to make junk gardening work for you.

Examples of “Junk” You Can Use In Your Garden

Old Wooden Signs

Whether you have old wooden signs in your basement, or find some at an antique shop, they’re a great feature to add to your garden. Signs draw your eye upward, so are ideal if you have tall flowers like Russian sage in your garden.

Rustic Birdhouses

Another great addition to a garden is rustic birdhouses. They’re charming and decorative, and whether they’re still usable for their original function or not, you might as well keep them around. Stand them on poles in your garden or hang them on your garden fence!

Old Tires

If you have old tires, why not paint them and use them for growing herbs? Grow herbs like thyme, lavender, mint and sage in pots and place them in the colourful tires- make sure to also fill the tires with the same soil for good growth. The thick walls of the tires will keep the herbs from spreading beyond the given space.

Galvanized Buckets

Galvanized buckets work great as planters! Wherever you need a pop of colour in your garden, place a bunch flowers in galvanized buckets to give your garden some life!

Choose Where to Place the “Junk”

The items you use for junk gardening should be placed strategically in your garden. The idea is not to make them look out of place, but to feel like they belong there. Consider to overall shape, size and design of the object, as well as the size of your garden, to figure out where to place them.

If you have a garden fence, you also have more chances to decorate, hanging items on the fence. Work with what you have and use space to your advantage by placing your “junk” items in places that make them look beautiful.

How to Coordinate “Junk” with the Rest of Your Garden

With junk gardening, you want to make sure the “junk” fits in seamlessly, rather than standing out and actually looking like junk. Coordinate the colour of the items with the flowers and plants in your garden, and if you need to paint your “junk” objects, it’s a great DIY activity to do on the weekend! There’s lots of opportunity to create beauty within your garden, giving old items new use!

Are you ready to try “junk gardening”? Instead of throwing out old objects, ask yourself how you can use them in your garden, and create a unique garden you love!


Beautify Your Pool With These Cabana Ideas

It’s almost pool weather, and if you’re lucky enough to have a pool in your backyard, why not beautify it with a gorgeous cabana? Not only will a cabana elevate the aesthetic of your pool and yard, it also offers a space to grab shade, as well as somewhere for your family and guests to change into their swimsuits without having to go all the way inside. Cabanas can be sweet and simple or large and luxe. Here are 4 keys steps to designing a cabana to beautify your pool!

1. Decide On Your Location

First thing’s first, you have to decide on the location you’ll place your cabana. If you have a smaller yard, you may not have much of a decision to make, but if you have a large yard, you’ll have to decide which side of the pool you’ll want to place it on.

Do you want the cabana to be at the back of the pool facing you as you walk towards it? Or perhaps you’d rather have it on one of the side edges of your pool instead. Consider things such as how to maximize sunlight, whether you need to run electricity through it, and whether you’re going to invest in plumbing for a bar sink or shower, and if so, where the prime place to locate it would be.

2. Choose a Size

Some cabanas are small and simple, while others are large and extravagant. A small yard means you’ll have a smaller cabana, but just because you have a large yard, doesn’t mean you need to go with a big cabana. Consider how much use it will get and what you’ll use it for.

Do you want it to be solely a place for people to change in private? Or do you want it to be more of an open-air cabana with seating and a bar? Do you want a cozy, intimate seating area? Or are you going to be using your cabana more for entertaining large parties?

3. Exterior Design

The exterior design of your cabana is also important. Do you want it to match the rest of your home? Or do you want it to stand on its own? Think about how it will fit in with your landscaping and the natural surroundings in your yard. You may want to consider designing it to complement the flowers and plants nearby. Then you’ll have to choose a material for your cabana. For a beautiful, durable structure, use a material like our Distinction siding for the look of real wood, without the upkeep!

4. Pick Your Interior Features

Choosing the interior features of your cabana is one of the most fun parts of designing this space! Choose interior features like furniture, pillows and paint colour based on your personal taste. Don’t worry about matching it to your home- unless you want to, of course! You can have more fun with your cabana, choosing finishes and accents that are more eclectic than you might choose for your home interior. Consider adding benches, shelving and hooks, and whether you want a bar station and bifold bar windows. You’ll also want to add a source of light if you’re planning to have late night swims.

Adding a cabana to your yard is one of the best ways to beautify your pool! Follow these steps to ensure you get the perfect cabana for your home!


How to Add Personality To Your Home With a Door Overhang

If you’re looking to add charm and personality to your home, a door overhang could be the way to do it. A door overhang is a small awning or cover that hangs over your door, protecting it from the elements. A door overhang will extend the life of your door, while helping your home make a good first impression.

Your door is one of the first things that your guests will see, so adding a feature like a door overhang will undoubtedly up your curb appeal. It will keep your guests out of the sun or rain while they ring the doorbell and it will keep you protected while you look for your keys! Here are 5 steps to follow to add a door overhang!

1. Colour Coordinate

Just like any other element on your home exterior, the colour of your door overhang should complement the colours of your home. Some homeowners choose a door overhang in the same colour as their door, while others opt for a contrasting yet complementary colour such as a white awning over a black door. Take into consideration the colour of your siding, windows, door and trim to find the perfect shade for your overhang.

2. Consider Weather

Door overhangs aren’t just there to look pretty- they also protect your door from harsh elements like wind and rain. Some areas are more prone to harsh weather, while others enjoy rays of sun. When you’re deciding on the type of door overhang you want, make sure to factor in the weather in your location. If you get a lot of rain, you’ll want a sturdy overhang that directs water away from you while you’re standing underneath it.

3. Lighting

A door overhang will darken your front entry area, so you’ll need to add in lighting. Install a fixture on the ceiling of the overhang, or you can place a pair of lights on the wall of the house under the overhang. One of the benefits of a door overhang is to make your home feel warm and inviting, and an unlit entry, especially at night, can be the exact opposite, so make sure lighting tops your list of priorities!

4. Pick Your Material

Another important factor to consider with your door overhang is the material of the awning or cover. You don’t want it to be a material that’s too heavy. A heavy-looking steel door overhang that looks like it would do some damage if it fell won’t be welcoming to your guests. Instead, opt for a wood, fiberglass or vinyl for a more welcoming look. Make sure whatever material you use is water resistant and UV resistance so it can perform its job well!

5. Choose Your Design

Now comes the fun part! Once you’ve decided on all the functional elements of your door overhang, you can choose its design. Door overhangs come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s up to you what you want for your home. Choose from options like a small or large gable, a shed-roofed entry, a small L shaped cover, and more. The perfect awning for your home will depend on the size of your house and the main function you want the overhang to take on.

A door overhang is a great way to add personality to your home! Use these five tips to choose the perfect door overhang for you!


Want to Create a Gallery Wall? Here’s How to Space Everything Just Right!

If you have a blank wall in your home that needs some love, a gallery wall could be the perfect solution! A gallery wall is a collage of photos, prints and artwork hung together to make a unified work of art. It’s one of the best ways to make a statement in your home, and showcase beautiful art you’ve bought, along with photos from your life and travels.

Mix paintings and photography, black and white with colour, and combine high and low pieces. The pieces in a gallery wall don’t all need to match- they just need to complement each other.

One of the most important aspects of a successful gallery wall is having your photos spaced out just right. They need to be balanced and proportionate to one another and the room they’re in. Here are 4 tips to create a gallery wall with the perfect spacing and elements.

1. Master Spacing

The spacing of your gallery wall will make or break it! It’s smart to have an idea of the layout you want before you start placing art up on the wall. Measure the space you have for your gallery and create a mirror of it on the floor below the wall. This allows you to space out your pieces exactly how you want them and gives you a visual of how it will look on the wall. Play around with a few layouts and have fun with it!

Once you have the perfect layout on the floor, use a measuring tape to measure each of the frames and the space between each piece. You can make marks on your wall with a pencil to show you exactly where each piece should be hung to get your desired look!

2. Think About Frames

Finding the perfect pieces of art for your gallery wall is key, but it’s not the only thing you need to think about. The frames you place your pieces in should also add to the visual appeal of your gallery wall. If you want a clean look, go for frames in the same colour and style. Or you can mix and match more unique frames to add visual interest. If you want your gallery wall to have old world charm, choose frames that are vintage or distressed.

3. Find the Perfect Spot

You want your gallery wall to be a piece of art, not an eyesore. Choose a wall that has a good amount of space, but don’t feel like you have to fill the whole wall. Gallery walls look great over a low cabinet, couch or TV stand. If you notice there’s a wall that’s looking bare in your home, ask yourself if a gallery wall is the solution!

4. Consider Design Elements

It’s important that your gallery wall complements the rest of the room you put it in. Consider the design and decor of the room and how a gallery wall will add to it. For example, if the room has a lot of muted tones and neutrals, you may want to stick with pastels and white and black hues for your gallery wall. Take into account everything from the wall colour to your couch to your decor accents.

A gallery wall is a great addition to any room! Use these tips to create a beautiful gallery wall with space that’s just right!