Raised Garden Bed Hardware: Choose the Right Type for a Long-Lasting, Attractive Bed

Raised Garden Bed Hardware

Powder coated ornamental hardware will keep your project sturdy and beautiful without leaching chemicals into the soil.

I have an aunt who used to follow a yearly tradition. Every spring, she’d spend a few days planting an herb garden in her backyard. Then, over the weeks that followed, she’d watch every last one of those plants wither. That’s not an unusual occurrence for gardeners. There’s no guarantee that your backyard is going to have soil that’s good enough to nurture young plants. In fact, I’ve been hearing that in places like Brooklyn, the soil is actually contaminated with lead and other metals. For situations like that, a raised bed is a must. My relative didn’t have any issues that severe, but she still chose to go with a raised garden bed, which is a simple way of improving your gardening prospects.

A raised bed is simple because most people can complete it in an afternoon. It’s essentially a wooden box that you can fill with good soil to build your garden. While this is an easy project, it’s also one that I see a lot of people make mistakes on. That’s because it’s easy to use the wrong materials. The goal of a raised garden bed is to create a gardening spot when your yard doesn’t support gardening. But if the wood you use to build it rots, or the hardware you fasten your wood with corrodes into the soil, it’s not going to work. That’s why, in my opinion, the biggest challenge in building a bed isn’t the actual building of it. It’s choosing the right raised garden bed hardware. But before you choose the hardware, you need to pick a design.

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How to Build a Pergola on an Existing Deck That Will Stay Strong and Beautiful for Years

how to build a pergola on an existing deck

A pergola is a great addition to an existing deck, but you’ll need to keep a few things in mind so that your pergola stays safe and sturdy.

When I first put in my deck, I couldn’t help but feel like it was missing something. I wasn’t sure what it was at first, but one sunny Saturday morning, as I was trying to enjoy the outdoors but getting sunburned, it occurred to me: I needed a covering. I decided that the best way to manage this would be to build a pergola over my deck. Turns out, it was actually easier than I thought it would be.

If you’re wondering how to build a pergola on an existing deck, we’ve got some tips. It’s a fairly straightforward process, but your focus should be on stability and security, and you can get that with the right materials. As deck hardware has become more advanced, it’s getting much easier to build on top of existing structures without having to reframe everything. Stronger post bases and more versatile wood ties allow you to essentially clamp two structures together and turn them into one. Here are our picks for the hardware you should be focusing on.

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Gazebo Ideas for Hot Tubs: Add Privacy and Create a Spa-Like Space to Get Away

Gazebo Ideas for Hot Tubs

A gazebo or pergola over a hot tub can make it a private, relaxing place to spend time.

Awhile back, I was floating around in a friend’s outdoor hot tub, and I saw that he and his wife had a problem. The wind was heavy, leaves kept falling into the water and they were worried the debris would wind up clogging their filter. It turns out they had been brainstorming gazebo ideas for hot tubs that would help solve this problem by giving their tub a bit more protection and them a bit more privacy. And I can understand this–hot tubs and gazebos just seem designed to work together. When my friends finally took the plunge and added one, it turned their hot tub area into something more like an outdoor spa, and gave the whole look of the home an upgrade (and, they’re hoping, gave the property value a boost, too).

Not only does a gazebo provide privacy, it also keeps dirt, debris, and rain from falling into your hot tub, which will help it last longer. It’s a structure that allows you to get use out of your hot tub year-round, even on rainy or cold days, as it protects you from the elements. With the right gazebo design and high-quality, corrosion-resistant hardware, you can extend the life of your hot tub and gazebo while increasing your property’s overall beauty–and value. Here’s what I learned from helping out my friends with their project.

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A Backyard Pavilion with a Fireplace Serves As a Multi-Purpose Outdoor Living Space

backyard pavilion with a fireplace

A backyard pavilion with a fireplace is a functional and cozy addition that will increase the time you’ll want to spend outdoors in your yard.

One thing I love about pavilions is their flexibility. You can start out simple, with just a platform and a roof. Or you can go complex and add electricity to provide lighting, run ceiling fans, or even add an outdoor range. With a few simple tweaks, a pavilion can become an outdoor living space that you can enjoy year-round. At least that’s what I was thinking when I added a fireplace to mine.

A backyard pavilion with a fireplace is becoming a more and more common sight, especially in the cool climate where I live. Some people add them for their rustic look, while others are looking for a cheap and attractive heating or cooking option. Fireplaces do all these things well, and can take your pavilion from a simple structure to an extension of your home that you can enjoy in any season.

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Outdoor Pavilion Design Ideas That Incorporate a Pergola

outdoor pavilion design ideas

While a pavilion creates a sturdy, practical structure, a pergola makes a stylish, versatile addition.

If you’re thinking of building a pavilion, or are working with one you already have, why would you want to add a pergola as well? Good question. In my opinion, a pavilion and a pergola are the perfect partners. One creates a solid, sturdy, room-like structure that protects from rain and sun (and is pretty easy to run electricity to, if you want to add fans, lights, or a kitchen setup), and the other adds style, beauty, and versatility. A pergola, with its open rafters, can be left as-is to let in the sun, or can be covered with fabric, vines, or other decorations. Pergolas can do amazing things when it comes to making a pavilion or gazebo fit and look natural in a landscape. But read on. We have some more reasons you should add a pergola to your pavilion, as well as some outdoor pavilion design ideas.

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How to Add a Pergola to a Deck: Tips and Considerations

add a pergola to a deck

If you choose to add a pergola to your deck you’ll want to keep a few things in mind before and during the project.

This past spring, my wife and I made the decision to transform our backyard into a more welcoming, aesthetically-pleasing environment that we could both enjoy and use for entertaining. In fact, it has been part of a larger DIY home improvement project that I’ve mentioned in a few other articles on the topics such as choosing decorative metal brackets for wood beams and how to choose between a gazebo and a pergola.

So in one portion of the yard, we built a deck, but quickly realized that it would need something else, something more, particularly when it came to providing shade. At first, we bought a nice outdoor set with a table, chairs and umbrella. But we live near the coast, so we see strong winds on a frequent basis. As a result, it took about a week before that umbrella turned into a sail, toppling the table and causing the glass table top to shatter. It was clear that we’d need something more sturdy.

We went online to get inspiration and we ultimately decided that we’d build a pergola. Of course, I found that this task is one that’s much easier said than done. And there were a few lessons that I learned the hard way. So what considerations should you keep in mind when you add a pergola to a deck?

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Pergola Ideas for Small Patios to Make Maximum Use of Space

pergola ideas for small patios

The best pergolas for small patios are multi-purpose.

When my parents sought a townhome in the city (as part of their quest to live in a more walkable area than the sprawling town they had been living in), they were thrilled to find that their top pick had a small patio and “micro yard.” It was this outdoor space that sealed the deal! But actually decorating and making use of that small space would prove to be quite challenging.

My mom–who has a few courses in decorating under her belt–explained to my dad that the key to creating a beautiful outdoor space is to give the area defined boundaries, so it feels more like a room instead of a wide open space. But my parents were facing a challenge because they were tasked with creating a space with defined borders while also preventing that space from feeling small or “closed in.”

So how do you balance these two factors? Well, it is achievable with the right strategy, and my parents’ strategy involved a pergola. Pergolas are ideal for small patios and tiny urban yards because they offer structure to your outdoor space without adding solid visual barriers like you would with something like a wooden stockade fence. You can see through the open and airy rafters of a pergola, and that makes it possible to avoid creating a space that feels small and boxed in. We came across a lot of pergola ideas for small patios in our research, and here are some of the ones we liked best.

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How to Make a Fence Look Better: Dressing Up Your Ugly Fence

how to make a fence look better

A good stain and high-quality, decorative hardware can take a fence from bland or even outright ugly to a stylish complement to your home.

When we moved into our house, it was very clear that the old fence had been installed with just one thing in mind: utility. Let’s not mince words: this fence was just plain ugly and aesthetics were obviously not taken into consideration.

We purchased the house as a bit of a fixer-upper, so it was basically impossible to convince my wife that we should postpone an interior remodeling project and instead, put the money toward installing a new fence. Yet the summer months were rapidly approaching and our family tends to spend a lot of time outdoors, grilling, playing and just enjoying the warm weather. I knew I couldn’t make it through an entire summer looking at that eyesore so I set out on a mission to find ways to improve that awful fence.

It took some hard work, but I was able to transform our fence into something that was actually quite attractive. In fact, I may even allow it to remain standing for a couple more years before we invest in a replacement. So if you’re wondering how to make a fence look better, I have a few answers. It’s all about getting creative and understanding why your fence is so unsightly in the first place.

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Making a Dog Window in a Fence: Simple Ways to Give Your Dog a Peephole

making a dog window in a fence

A decorative metal fence insert can make a strong, beautiful dog window in a fence or gate.

I have a paranoid dog. She’s sweet but she has an anxious streak. That’s something that caused me to nearly stop letting her out in my front yard. Someone would walk down the street, and little Hershey would hear a noise and immediately start barking. She couldn’t tell if they were coming onto my property or not, because my yard is hidden from the road by a fence. So, I guess she figured ‘better safe than sorry,’ and just started barking. But before I decided to ban her from the yard, I considered the alternative–making a dog window in my fence.

It worked. When she could see the people on the street, they made her less anxious. She stopped barking at all the passersby and we got to enjoy the yard again. It was an easy fix. I was able to do it with a couple of sturdy fence inserts and a few hours of time. If you have an anxious dog like mine, I can’t recommend making a dog window in your fence enough. It might not work for every dog, but it definitely worked for mine. Here’s the down-low on dog fence inserts.

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Turn Your Deck Railing into a Bar by Retrofitting Your Wooden Top Rails

turn deck railing into a bar

With beautiful, tough hardware, some wood, and a good wood stain, you can create the bar area of your dreams.

I love reinventing spaces to transform an existing area into something new. The pavilion I built in the backyard recently was a fabulous project, but it lacked one key component: a bar. That’s when my wife had the idea to turn a section of the wooden deck railing into a bar top, complete with bar stools. Genius. Now we can enjoy an outdoor bar under my mini cooking pavilion.

This bar top project was actually a bit more involved than I’d expected, and it required some special hardware, but once all was said and done, we had a wonderful bar that let us enjoy a few drinks while looking out at the grass and woods behind our home. So what did it take to transform a normal deck railing into a bar? Well, it required some creativity, the right hardware, and a desire for a fabulous outdoor entertainment area.

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