Making More Use of Your Backyard

Whether your backyard is the size of a postage stamp or an acre, you may be stuck in a rut as far as how you use it. There may be some favorite spots where family members choose to hang out time and time again, and not necessarily together. The following ideas can help you make better use of your back yard and deck area.

Create a Dining Spot

Everything tastes better when served outdoors. Keep this in mind when rethinking your backyard. Whether you have a concrete pad behind the garage or one of those lovely elevated decks that gives you a view of the yard, you can make it beautiful and useful. Provide the area with a table and comfortable seating, as well as a serving area. If appropriate, make a space for the grill so you can also grill everybody’s favorites.

Lights and Shadows

You will want to provide some much needed shade in the summertime, using a UV resistant Fabric canopy, an attractive umbrella or a wooden pergola. By the same token, make sure to bring in some glowing strings of lights, lanterns and candles in fire-safe enclosures to add atmosphere and illumination to the space. Also be sure to include solar lighting in the surrounding garden or grassy areas so that people can stay safe as they move around in the dark.

Pump Up the Green

Spending time in the back yard is no fun if there are muddy bare patches or the grass is dead and scratchy. Take the time to fertilize, overseed or replace dead areas of lawn. Dress up the garden with some fresh plants and trim any trees so branches do not hang down into the pathway or impede movement through the yard. Choose flowers that do not attract bees or other insects that could keep the family from enjoying the yard.

Adding a horseshoe pit or tetherball pole might be a good idea as well. With a bit of elbow grease and creativity, your back yard and deck can become a place where memories are made and many happy hours are spent together.…

3 Times Your Chimney Liner Needs Attention

Your fireplace is likely a focal point of your home. Keeping the exterior looking nice and fresh is easy, but did you know that it is just as important to maintain the inside of your fireplace and chimney? Inside your chimney is a liner that serves to protect you and your home. Making sure it is kept in tip-top shape can save you in the long run. Here are some things to keep in mind to help prevent the need for chimney repair.

What a Chimney Liner Does

While a chimney made of brick and mortar may seem like it can stand up against the fumes from a fire, it needs protection to maintain integrity over time. Combustion fumes from a fire, or fumes from appliances like a gas furnace that vents through the chimney, could potentially seep through micro-cracks in the mortar, making an impermeable chimney liner key to protecting you and your family. An additional benefit of the chimney liner is providing additional insulation to prevent heat from radiating through the chimney to damage adjacent walls.

When To Replace a Chimney Liner

There are three specific times when your chimney liner should be inspected and possibly replaced:

  • You are having your chimney cleaned or inspected. The perfect time to evaluate your chimney liner is when you are having chimney cleaning Washington DC. Ideally, you would have your chimney swept each year before the start of the heating season.
  • You are changing your heating system. New appliances are more efficient but may have a greater effect on your chimney and liner. Checking with the manufacturers for their recommendations during a new appliance installation can save you a headache later on.
  • Your liner is damaged or old. Chimney liners take a lot of abuse and therefore have a limited lifespan. While the lifespan varies on the type on liner installed, keep in mind that most need to be replaced at least every 20 years.

Your fireplace is the highlight of your home and meant to be enjoyed. Keep these tips in mind to make sure you and your family can safely enjoy yours for years to come.…