If you’re a home owner concerned about increasing the value of your home and property, don’t neglect the exterior, particularly if you have a yard or garden. With a small amount of work and a bit of an eye for landscaping, you can use these two elements to make your garden or back yard a votive island of calm around your home.
First, look for sight lines. You don’t want your awning to block any of the views from the house; take the time to use a bit of trigonometry to place your awning first. Remember that something that’s twice as far away will look half as tall (that trigonometry that we mentioned earlier); moving the awning farther away from the house will keep it from obscuring a view downrange.
Second, think about what it’ll be used for. If it’s meant to be a sunshade, or otherwise be simply decorative, it doesn’t need to be watertight. On the other hand, if items for the yard or decorative items are going to be stored under it, it needs to be able to keep the rain off as well as the sun.
Awnings should be chosen for color coordination with your yard – they’re going to be a place to sit comfortably in the summer with the sun kept off you. Benches and awnings are natural complements, and less of a financial hazard than the dreaded gazebo, which requires more extensive construction and drainage work.
When looking for benches, again, focus on the kind of style you want to do. Decorative stone benches can lend a refined, aristocratic air to the lawn; many are also topiary benches with built in flower beds. For those on a more frugal budget, benches in the Windham and Rock Reading styles are wood and ironwork, and can be had inexpensively, since they arrive pre-assembled, and are meant to be installed by the owner.
If you choose to go with a wooden bench, be sure to treat it with a weatherproofing compound to keep the wood from absorbing water, losing its natural oils and cracking and fading. Much the same way you’d work to maintain an external deck, you’ll want to take the same precautions with any wooden furniture. Fortunately, most wooden benches use stainless steel for their “ironwork” so they won’t rust out from underneath you without a lot of time and work.
Decide if you want your bench to be anchored to the ground, which will require placing a small concrete slab and anchor bolts, or if you want it to be mobile, or movable later. And, like the discussion on sight lines, focus on what you want to see from the bench when you place it.
These tips can help you improve the value of your home considerably, and make your yard a pleasanter place to visit!
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