As gardening stores overflow with colorful flowers and reservations for patio seating heat up at local restaurants, it’s clear that summer is coming, and people are ready to get outside. You can bring that excitement home with clever decorating and design for everything from home gyms to game rooms to back-to-nature Zen zones outside.
Here in the Arlington, Virginia area, fun and functional outdoor spaces have been popping up all over town as I’ve seen clients and friends find new ways to connect and spend time in the great outdoors (or rather, their great backyards).
Outdoor spaces that encourage children to get outside and connect with the environment are popular for both entertainment and home-schooling purposes. Well-designed areas like this often include tree houses, gardens, mazes, and educational ways to interact with nature.
Post-quarantine and post-winter, people are craving more socializing and entertainment. Designing alfresco areas fits the bill as people are turning their balconies, patios, and gardens into “rooms” that provide the ambiance they need to entertain with style. Incorporating water, fire, and light are a few key elements, along with seating and protection from the elements if needed.
Outdoor Health and Wellness
The ability to support physical and mental health is always important, and as the seasons have changed homeowners are finding that incorporating nature into their workouts or meditation sessions add something special. Outdoor rooms for these purposes range from simple spaces where one can stream a workout, to freestanding exercise equipment, to a Zen zone that provides scents, sounds, and sights that allow them to breathe easy.
Creating outdoor rooms in Arlington, VA
As sunny days and warmer nights become the norm here in Virginia, now is the perfect time to turn your thoughts toward creating outdoor spaces that allow you to expand your options while staying close to home. That backyard or patio you’ve been ignoring the past year just might become your new favorite place.
Cooler temperatures are coming, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy spending time relaxing or entertaining outdoors. Here in Arlington, Virginia, the nights are starting to get cooler as leaves change colors and fall sets in. If you’re like me, though, you love to be outside and aren’t ready to take the party inside just yet. That’s where creative heating ideas come into play. I’ve rounded up a list of ideas that are easy to add to your home, backyard, patio or balcony that will help you and your guests stay warm and cozy as the seasons change.
One of the most popular ways to add some heat outside is a fire pit. Fire pits are versatile and practical for heating outdoor spaces. From toasting marshmallows with the kids, to sharing your favorite bottle of wine with friends, a fire pit is a great space to gather around. Fire pits offer much more variety and options that you would think, and there’s something for every design style and taste.
- Traditional wood-burning fire pits can be custom-built in the ground using everything from rough rock to smooth stonework or fanciful ironwork. You can also buy above ground ones that are easy to move around or store when not using.
- Propane fire pits offer the same warmth and ambiance as their wood-burning counterparts, yet they burn cleaner, don’t put out smoke or sparks, and are much easier to light.
- Lastly, for something a little different, check out the Cowboy Cauldron. It’s a functional firepit and grill that can be moved and set up anywhere and looks like it came straight off the set of Yellowstone.
Outdoor fireplaces are a much more permanent version of fire pits and offer the benefit of serving as architectural focal points in your outdoor decor. There are a lot of ways to incorporate a fireplace to fit your design style, with a range of materials (such as brick or stone), as well as choices between wood or propane for fuel.
Flush-mount Infrared Heaters
If you have a porch or patio with a flat ceiling, another option that looks and works great is built-in infrared heaters, like these from Infratech or Solaira. Designers love the sleek and subtle looks of these flush-mount options that look great and function to help you move from indoors to outside while still being comfortable.
Gas Fire Tables
Just like gas fire pits, these propane-fueled tables are a popular and easy choice for adding some heat to your outdoor setting. They typically resemble the size and look of a coffee table or small bar top with flames come up from a gas unit in the middle of the design.
These are a classic for a reason. They are easy to set up, affordable, can be moved around to where they are needed, and stored when they are not. You can choose propane or electricity to power them, and they come in a variety of sizes from table-top models to very large.
Low-Tech Cozy Solutions
If you’re in a rush and need a quick solution, you can always go low-tech by adding stacks of warm blankets, throws, and colorful pillows for cozy warmth. Blankets and throws can be used on laps for extra warmth and pillows will separate your body from cold structures. Other benefits are you can choose colors and styles to match your décor, they are affordable, and very easy to store when not in use.
If you love to spend time outside here in Arlington, or have big plans for entertaining this fall season, I hope you’ve found some fun ideas you’re excited to use. Setting the stage with some cozy, warm options will ensure that you, your family, and your guests will enjoy the autumn weather in style.
If you’re thinking about moving to the greater Arlington, Virginia area, or selling your home and want to make sure you’re ready both inside and out, I can help. If you have any questions, need a free home value assessment, or just would like to know my thoughts for the best outdoor heating or entertaining strategies, I’m here to help at 703-593-6320.
Power outages always seem to happen at the worst possible time, like in the middle of a storm or when you have a house full of people. That’s why home generators sales are up throughout the country, including here in Arlington, Virginia. We live in interesting times, and with many people still working or schooling from home, investing in a generator that will keep you connected and comfortable is something that appeals to many. If you’re interested in purchasing a home generator, here is some information to help you choose the right one.
How to Choose a Home Generator
Choosing the right generator for your needs starts with considering the size of your home and how much of it you want to power. It’s best to consult with your electrician, but in general an average size home needs between 5,000 to 7,500 watts to run just the essentials like heat, water and refrigerator. If you want to fully power your home – lights, charging electronics, streaming, etc. – then you probably would want to invest in a 20,000-watt generator. This also goes for exceptionally large homes, or if you foresee that you will be hosting a large amount of people in an extended power outage situation.
How to connect a home generator
Home generators run on a standby basis, meaning that they moment you lose power the generator will snap into motion and start powering your home, often within mere seconds. These types of generators have their own power source, most usually natural gas that is piped in from the street. When it comes to installation, it’s best to hire a licensed electrical contractor or specialist that has experience with installing and connecting whole-home generators. In addition to ensuring your generator is installed safely and effectively, they will also be familiar with any permits, codes or regulations you may need to adhere to in your city, neighborhood or HOA.
Is a whole home generator a good investment?
It’s also important to consider that while generators can cost several thousand dollars plus installation costs, they are for the most part considered a very good investment that stands the test of time.
- Most standby generators can run from 10,000 to 30,000 hours. If you use it for 100 hours per year, that translates to 10 to 30 years.
- If you sell your home, having a home generator will raise the value of your home and may impress potential home buyers.
- If you work from home and rely on having access to technology and internet for your work, a generator can save you many precious work hours.
- Home schooling for children is also usually dependent on having an internet connection as well.
I personally have a whole-house generator and am very happy with the results. It’s taken all the anxiety out of worrying about losing power during winter snowstorms or summer thunderstorms. And I can keep working, keep my phone charged, and stay connected with friends and family at all times too. If you’re interested in home generators, or have any questions about buying or selling homes in the Arlington, Virginia area, I am here to help at 703-593-6320 or by email at email@example.com.
Home gardens are great for a lot of things. They increase the value of your home, they are perfect for entertaining, relaxing outdoors, for kids to play, and green-thumbs to indulge. Here’s something you may not have realized, though. All that digging in the dirt is also good for your health, with studies showing that time outdoors helps people manage their fears, anxiety, and stress.
Burpee agrees with this trend, calling 2021 the Year of the Quiet Garden, declaring it the perfect spot for finding inner peace. As many people are working from home full time now, they are struggling with the juggle of work and home life. With all the hustle and bustle indoors, some R&R outside is an attractive idea, and provides benefits beyond peace and quiet.
Sunshine, for example, boosts vitamin D production which is essential for healthy function of immune cells in the body and supports brain health and mental function. It’s also known that the simple act of spending time outdoors increases serotonin levels, promoting calm and reducing stress. Gardening is also good for physical health, as it improves physical conditioning, helping keep your heart healthy and your joints and muscles active. Finally, it’s a great workout for the brain, too, stimulating creativity as you plan what to plant, where to plant it, and elements such as color, texture, sun, shade, and functionality.
If you could use a little more de-stressing in your life, and the idea of getting out into your garden appeals to you, here are a few tips for creating a soothing outdoor space that you, your family and friends can enjoy together.
Bright colors might get noticed, but they don’t cultivate serenity. For a peaceful vibe, go for soothing colors such as blue, green, white and cream.
Texture and Sound
Close your eyes, take a sip of your favorite drink, and think about what you’d like to hear in your peaceful garden. Things like the splashing of a water fountain, crunch of gravel underfoot, whispering of tall, waving grasses or quiet music of a wind chime can easily be added. Texture is a factor, too, so consider adding plants like velvety roses, or bushes that you can run your hand through like Lavender or Breath of Heaven.
Speaking of Fountains…
Nothing creates a greater sense of peace than the sound of water. There are so many different styles of fountains that it’s easy to find some to fit your personal style. From dramatic stone fountains that look like they just arrived from Venice to small table-top modern designs that can easily be turned on and off, there’s something for everyone, and the benefits can be enjoyed by all.
As Thomas Jefferson is credited with saying, “don’t let perfect get in the way of good.” Working in your garden is a forgiving activity. No matter how much time and effort you want to devote to creating your own “peace garden,” know that it’s worth it. Plus think of the additional benefit of increasing the beauty – and value – of your home as well!
If you’re ready to find some peace in other places too, like buying or selling a home in the Arlington, Virginia area, we can help. Licensed Realtor Mike Pugh has been helping clients successfully buy and sell homes and condos in the Arlington and Northern Virginia area for more than 30 years, and his clients credit him for making the process fun, stress-free and rewarding.
If you’re ready to buy, sell or learn more about the real estate market in the Arlington and surrounding Northern Virginia communities, Mike can help at 703-593-6320, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ve all been quarantining for months now, and even though some restrictions are lifting we’re still spending much more time at home than usual. As Fall approaches, temperatures cool, and gorgeous colors are coming out here in Arlington, VA, outdoor living is getting more attention. As the new hot spot for gatherings when you want to safely “get away from it all,” now is a good time to think about updating your outdoor décor.
WARM THINGS UP: Fall means warm days and chilly nights, so adding patio heaters is always a good idea for extending the time you can spend outside. If you worry about having too much of an industrial feel, there are a lot of elegant and interesting designs available that can blend with your style. For a low-tech solution to chilly evenings, invest in a stash of stylish and comfy lap blankets.
COMFORT ZONE: For alfresco dining or a fun “happy hour” in the backyard, nothing is more welcoming than a firepit. Warm, relaxing firelight accompanied by friends, favorite cocktails, and single-serve snacks will make your outdoor gathering feel like a night at a trendy outdoor café. Drape chairs with cushions and blankets to increase the luxury factor. Then bring out food that can be prepared and shared while staying safely socially distant.
CREATE PROTECTED SPACE: Adding structures such as pergolas, gazebos, tents, or creatively hung drapes is a great way to increase the comfort level outside while also making for fun, creative spaces to entertain and hang out.
LIGHT IT UP: There are endless varieties of lights to fit every style and situation. This is a great budget-friendly way to update your outdoor space while adding some sparkle to make it feel special. You can drape lights across decks or in trees, but think outside the box and also add them underneath tables and railings or inside translucent vases for a soft glow. If you really want to impress, use LED smart lights you can control with an app to adjust brightness and hue. Candles are always a winner, but if those Fall breezes blow too hard, try LED lanterns for a cozy glow.
DON’T FORGET THE FRONT PORCH: While happy hours and family dinners are usually held in the back yard, front porches are perfect for early morning coffee and casual gatherings with neighbors all day long. If you have gorgeous Fall foliage you can see from your front porch, instead of decorating in oranges and reds, go simple with your color scheme using neutrals, blacks and whites that won’t distract from the view. Cozy cushions, chunky knit lap blankets and throws, and hardy flowers in antique planters are all classics for Fall that will make people want to linger. Add some spiced cider or pumpkin-flavored anything and you’re good to go!
The Fall Season is always beautiful here in Arlington. The cooler temperatures, the way the sun hangs in the sky, how life takes on a different pace, all making it easy to “fall” in love with.
If you’re interested in buying or selling a home in Arlington, Virginia or the surrounding region, I’m here to help. Just give me a call at 703-593-6320. Email is good too, you can reach me at email@example.com.