7 Smart Outdoor Improvements
April, 2013 - Issue #102
Add beauty, efficiency and comfort to your home's exterior with these seven smart moves.

1. Get Comfortable
New Patio Space = New Living Space
Patios are turning into outdoor living areas, complete with all the comforts of the indoors - but with the fresh outdoor air! It is important to choose quality furniture in the right size, color, configuration and material in your new patio space to ensure many years of comfortable outdoor entertaining and relaxing. There are trends that stand the test of time and new ones that are sure to stay. Newer trends to consider when choosing patio furniture are...

Firelight The glow of a fire adds both beauty and enjoyment to your yard. From lighting a backyard party with candles to roasting s'mores over a campfire, adding flame to the design is a big trend.

Gathering Spaces Backyards are becoming the place to host parties and gather with family. Patio furniture is, for this reason, becoming larger, more comfortable and more conducive to social gatherings. An outdoor furniture set with a sofa, pair of club chairs and coffee table makes your patio just as relaxing as your living room - and large chaise lounges and sectional sofas make lounging in the yard with family and friends even cozier. Families are increasingly moving away from large dining sets and moving more towards the "deep seating" concepts to encourage more time spent outdoors.

If you know exactly what you're looking for, or if you are starting from scratch and need ideas and help, Oasis Garden & Patio can help you with any and all your outdoor furniture needs.

courtesy of shutterstock
courtesy of shutterstock
2. Put the Sun to Work for You
Solar Made in the USA Saves Time & Money
Could your exterior home improvement help improve the national economy?

For SolarWorld, Pacific Blue Solar's manufacter of top-quality solar panels, being made in America means more than simply assembling foreign components in the USA, which does little to benefit the economy. By carrying out the entire value chain in the USA, they create American manufacturing jobs not only at their factories but at their suppliers' factories, too. Pacific Blue Solar is proud to work with SolarWorld because the company is investing over $500 million to expand US-based manufacturing, which generates hundreds of millions of dollars each year for American workers, goods and services. Buying "made in America" solar avoids the environmental costs of overseas shipping, saves Americans precious time and, most importantly, guarantees the biggest return on solar investment. SCV-based Pacific Blue Solar is proud to be a supplier of made-in-America SolarWorld quality products. Free estimates are available. 259-1004

Shed that "Ugly" Solar Roof
Colored Solar Panels Blend with your Roof

No more "solar sadness!" Your energy-producing rooftop can now become virtually invisible - and various color offerings can also make ground-mounted solar panels blend with green vegetation, brown landscapes or hillsides. Solar Universe has exclusivity of this remarkable innovation that marries curb appeal with solar appeal.

The many color hues of available panels match perfectly with all variations of Spanish tiles, flat cement tiles, composite and shake roofing, as well as every landscape imaginable. Some homeowners have even used green patina-colored panels to add artistic accents atop pergola or to increase intensity to contemporary architecture.

It's no secret that Edison's recent rate increases of up to 26 percent, combined with the availability of $0 out-of-pocket solar systems, have resulted in a boom to residential solar installations. Now, the obvious electricity answer is one that also allows homeowners to accessorize at the same time! 805-777-7477

3. All Hands on Deck
Maintenance-free Outdoor Escape Decks with Trex
If you would like a virtually maintenance-free deck with no sealing, splitting and splintering wood, then man-made deck materials may be right for you. Trex is a composite material made from recycled products like wood and plastic fibers. Their products are an environmentally-responsible alternative to wood. The composite products come in a variety of colors and shades and - wow - you've got to see the designs companies like Randal G. Winter Construction, Inc. are creating with this material. Weather resistant right down to the base of Trex's non-wood railings, this never-needs-paint source is making a big splash in spring 2013. 799-8089

4. Score a Water-saving Controller for Free
Four Steps to a Free Irrigation Controller
Smart gardeners know that smart controllers save water and money. Here are the four easy steps to get your free weather-based irrigation controller, a $600 value, to start saving water.

1. Visit to register by validating your water company account. This program is available to all residents with LA County Waterworks #36, Newhall County Water District, Santa Clarita Water Division and Valencia Water Company.

2. Select the "Weather Based Irrigation Controller Program" under the "Current SCV Family Programs" tab.

3. Take the online class and test to receive a voucher for your free weather based irrigation controller.

4. Redeem the voucher at irrigation distributer Ewing's Santa Clarita branch.

courtesy of shutterstock
courtesy of shutterstock
5. Fix Up the Front Door
Front Door Restore
Make your front door declare that all are welcome with a warm refinishing. Following couture furnishing trends, front doors are getting stained, distressed and glazed. The result is a door that pleasantly "pops" and adds a custom element to your home's exterior. American Fine Finishing is at the cusp of the revitalizing trend, using techniques and products that give depth and character to wood doors, cabinets and accents. 775-2706

6. Replace Wasteful Windows
Smart Windows Save Billions
An energy-efficient window is a synergy of its components. An Energy-Star-rating manufacturer like Milgard call this the "three dimensions of energy efficient window design." Here's what you should look for in each of the dimensions:
Glass Choosing low-E glass contributes to energy efficiency by defecting heat to its source.

Spacer Insulating spacers between the panes of glass reduce heat transfer and condensation.

Frame The fixed window frame holds the sash or casement and hardware. A properly-designed frame minimizes thermal transfer through the window.

Over the past few years, Energy Star window products have helped Americans save more than $16 billion on their utility bills. For more information on Energy-qualified products, visit Preferred Glass & Window's showroom at the corner of Soledad Canyon and Bouquet Canyon. 298-2165

Get Up to 40 Percent more Daylight
Simonton DaylightMax windows offer less frame and more glass than most replacement windows. The unique frame design of DaylightMax is more energy efficient, far outperforming Energy-Star standards and helping you reduce your heating and cooling bills. You get more choices, too; DaylightMax windows are available in a host of styles so you can choose the window that complements each opening perfectly. Virtually unlimited configurations allow you to transform your home like you never thought possible.

Available from Mike's Windows and Doors (296-9195), which can be found within the Elegant Cabinets & Design Center showroom. Visit them at the corner of Bouquet and Seco Canyon Road.

7. Go for "Pretty" with Pavers
Why we Think Pavers are Perfect
Paverstones, available in travertine and limestone, add a refined element to any yard, walkway or drive. They're so easy to maintain (Do you have a broom? Good. That's about all you need.) and the look is gorgeous. Here are five more reasons we're hooked on pavers.

1. They are ideal for use around pool and patio areas. They stay cool on your feet and provide a non-slip surface that's safe for walking and playing.

2. They can withstand weathering - and, unlike most of us, their look improves with age.

3. Pavers are installed over compacted soil with a sand base; no mortar is needed. In fact, their durability and strength provides an installation intended to last a lifetime.

4. The uniform sizing simplifies design and planning. Pavers compliment many design styles - from modern to traditional - and have been used in residential and commercial applications here and abroad.

5. The stones compliment other natural outdoor applications such as ledgerstone, granite and stone mosaics for a cohesive look to your entire project.

Surfaces USA carries a variety of patterns, sizes and colors to make your next outdoor project not only beautiful but durable, too. 775-9404
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