Archive for the ‘Home Care’ Category

20, Jul

Outdoor rugs are made to withstand the weather, but a build-up of dirt and pollen can make them look dull and dingy. Keep yours looking fresh and clean with a few easy maintenance steps:

  1. Use your hose to rinse your rug at least once a month. Be sure to clean both sides as dirt can get trapped inside and beneath.
  2. Let your rug completely dry in the sun before returning the furnishings.
  3. If your rug needs something stronger than water, consult the manufacturer recommendations for suitable detergents.
  4. Be sure to clean your rug at the start and end of the season.
  5. When storing your rug, roll instead of folding it.
13, Jul

Lovin Woven

Summer is in full swing, and your deck is probably getting a workout. Keep the good times rolling with some maintenance. Here are three things to do this month to keep your deck in great shape:

1. Check the structure. Inspect your deck for cracks or rot, paying extra attention to areas that are close to the ground or sources of water, such as downspouts and planters.

2. If you see areas that look wet check for rot with a flat-end screwdriver. If you can push it into the wood a quarter inch or more, you probably have rot. Small areas can be removed with a chisel and treated with a wood filler and preservative. Larger areas may need to be replaced.

3. Check the railings. If any area feels loose, tighten the connections. You may need to use wider bolts if the wood has weakened and the current hardware isn’t catching into the grain.

 

11, Jul

leaffountainThere’s nothing as soothing as a backyard fountain. Not only is it beautiful to watch; the trickling sound creates a relaxing environment. Since it’s outside, this beloved accessory can also get its share of dirt and debris. Maintain its beauty by taking a few easy steps:

  1. Use a small net to remove debris, such as leaves or insects. This will help prevent clogging the pump. You can also attach a nylon stocking to the hose, to make sure debris doesn’t get inside the inner workings.
  2. Monitor the water level. On hot days, your fountain can experience evaporation. Since the pump can overheat if the water level is too low, make sure it’s full.
  3. Once a month, unplug the pump and drain the water. Remove buildup with a solution of vinegar and water and a stiff bristled scrub brush. Wipe clean and refill. Using distilled water in your fountain can help reduce mineral buildup.

 

6, Jul

Whether it’s direct sunlight that might damage your skin or an unexpected shower that disrupts your afternoon lunch, a patio umbrella protects you from the elements. When’s the last time you showed yours a little TLC? Here are four things to do to keep it in good working order:

  1. Always close and secure it when not in use. Using a cover will extend its life and reduce the need for cleaning.
  2. If severe weather is in the forecast, consider removing it from the base to protect it and the items it surrounds from strong winds that could knock it over and cause damage.
  3. Clean the frame and base with water and a soft cloth. Use mild soap as needed, but be sure to rinse it thoroughly.
  4. Remove dirt from the canopy using a brush with soft bristles. Then rinse with water. If detergent is needed, follow the manufacturer directions, rinsing thoroughly and allowing to air dry. Some models have detachable canopies; if yours does, you may choose to detach and clean it flat.
25, May

Brookstone Collection

If you love the look of outdoor wicker furniture, but thought it was too high maintenance, you need to learn about today’s resin wicker furniture. Offering the beauty of the old-fashioned material with the advancements of modern technology, modern wicker is designed to hold up to the elements without fading, peeling, chipping or splintering.

The best part is that it requires minimal maintenance. Here are a few steps that will keep yours looking fresh and new:

1. Spot clean any spills, especially drinks or tree sap that can become sticky and attract more dirt. Use water or a mixture of mild soap and water, and simply sponge clean or use a soft-bristled brush. Rinse with water, and dry with a cotton or microfiber cloth.

2. Vacuum the cushion covers to remove dust and dirt that can become problematic if left. For spots, use water or mild soap to spot clean with a sponge. Rinse with water and allow to air dry for at least an hour before using.

Wicker Carson 3. Complete a more thorough cleaning on the furniture biweekly to monthly, depending on how much your furniture is exposed to the elements. Use a garden hose to remove dust, dirt and grime. You can also use a bucket of water with a mild detergent. A good ratio is ¼ cup of mild dish soap to one gallon of warm water.

4. Remove debris from your furniture with a soft-bristle brush, making sure you get into the weave of the wicker. You’d be surprised how much dust can collect. A wide brush with long bristles can help you get the job done quickly.

5. After cleaning the furniture, spray again with the garden hose or a bucket of clean water until the soap residue is gone. Then let it air dry for two to three hours before returning the cushions.

23, May

No one wants to pay too much, and timing might be the key to scoring the best deals. From airfare to appetizers, here are the best days to shop to these five purchases.

  • Looking to fill up your tank? Prices are often the lowest on Monday.
  • If you’re planning a trip, Tuesday is best day to purchase flights, especially around 3 p.m.
  • Wednesday is when grocery stores start their weekly sales or roll out new bargains.
  • Thursday look for sales on clothing at department stores.
  • And on Friday enjoy the happy hour deals that will put you in a weekend frame of mind.
18, May

Once you’ve chosen the right color, it’s time to prep your room forpaint. A few quick steps will not only make it easier for you to paint, it also protects your home from inadvertent splatters or spills. Here is a checklist from the experts at Sherwin-Williams to help you get started:

  • Remove draperies, pictures, mirrors, area rugs, hardware (if possible), and switch and receptacle cover plates.
  • Move all furniture to the center of the room or the room, if possible. Cover all furniture with drop cloths.
  • Tape off woodwork and tape down plastic drop cloths.
  • Wrap plastic around light fixtures, and use masking tape to cover any hardware you can’t remove.
  • Open a window or door to ensure good ventilation.
  • Clean the surface as needed.
  • Gaps between walls, ceilings, crown moldings and other interior trim can be filled with the appropriate caulk after priming the surface.
16, May

One of the quickest ways to change a room is to change the paint color, but choosing a color can be intimidating. Here are three tips from the experts at Benjamin Moore paints that will help make your decision a little easier:

  1. Find Inspiration. You can come up with ideas by creating a portfolio of what appeals to you: a favorite painting, the color of your baby’s eyes, an unforgettable vacation in Mexico or that great hike in the Grand Canyon.

 

  1. Define the Mood. Is there a mood or theme that you would like to achieve in a particular space? Do you want a restful feel in the bedroom, or an energizing feel to the family room? The mood will lay the groundwork on the desired visual impact of a chosen paint color palette.

 

  1. Use Key Elements in Your Home. Take stock of your home’s key elements. The color of your flooring anchors the room and can impact the color on the wall due to reflections. Furnishings also play an important role as they often “suggest” a coordinating color scheme that ties everything together.

 

28, Apr

Ahhh … the carefree days of summer. Lounging on the deck chaise. Dining with friends on the patio. Reading a book under the big umbrella. In Art’s Backyard, the items we stock to make your summer carefree are virtually care-free themselves. Designed to be durable, rust proof and weather resistant, you can keep your outdoor furnishings looking like new with some easy maintenance.

As with any piece of furniture, the first step is to read the label and manufacturer’s instructions. Using products that are stronger than needed, such as bleach or harsh cleansers, may not only damage your furnishing but might also void the warranty.

Bellevue

In Art’s Backyard, we offer aluminum and wicker seating and dining groups; both are easy to clean. For aluminum pieces, simply wipe down the frames with mild detergent and water. A light coating of wax will protect aluminum, but be sure to read the manufacturer instructions first.

Wicker

The wicker pieces we offer are made of a synthetic, all-weather material and will last longer than traditional wicker. Like aluminum, caring for these pieces is easy. All they might need is to be swept with a soft bristle brush. Dirtier pieces might benefit from a rinse with a spray nozzle on a garden hose. You can also use mild detergent and water.

Cushions

Outdoor cushions are made to stand up to the elements, resisting sun damage, stains and mildew. To freshen cushions, start by sweeping the surface with a soft bristle brush. This will often do the trick. You can also wash with mild detergent and water. For tougher stains, use a soft brush with soap and water.

Umbrella

Caring for umbrellas is similar to caring for cushions; most can be cleaned with a brush, mild detergent and water. Our Treasure Garden umbrellas are machine washable. Simply remove the canopy, toss in the washer with mild detergent, and then replace on the umbrella frame and open for drying. Also, check to see that the frame is operating well. You might need to oil areas to keep it opening and shutting smoothly.

Furniture Cover

To extend the life of your outdoor furniture and protect your investment, consider a cover that will offer protection from daily sun and downpours, as well as provide an option for year-round outdoor storage. We carry covers that are made from durable Rhino-Weave fabric, which is water resistant, breathable and will not crack or peel. When not in use, the covers easily store inside their own built in pouch. We have sizes available to fit dining tables and chairs, sofas, loveseats, chaises, firepits, lounge chairs, and umbrellas.

Outdoor furniture maintenance is quick and easy, giving you more time to enjoy the weather. Iced tea anyone?

27, Apr

Enjoy the spring weather from the best seat in the house: a lounge chair on your patio or deck. Make sure your view is fresh and nice by doing these three spring-cleaning tasks:

  1. Pressure-wash your patio and deck to blast away dirt without chemicals. If you don’t own one, rent one for about $75, or put a spray nozzle on the hose and scrub with a 10:1 solution of water-and-dish-detergent mixture.
  2. Clean your grill while it’s warm (but not hot.) Use a wire brush to scrape off charred food remains. Or soak grill grates in soapy water for a half hour and scrub with steel wool.
  3. Wash outdoor light fixtures and yard accents, such as birdbaths and fountains. Mix a 1:10 bleach:water solution to kill mold and algae.