How to Maximize Your Outdoor Living Space

How to Maximize Your Outdoor Living Space

As you look out your back door, what do you see? Do you see space that has been cluttered with various items? Or do you see an empty yard that could benefit from some kind of landscape and décor? Whatever it may be, every backyard has great potential to be grand and a place you can be proud of. You can make your outdoor living space a place to entertain or simply a place for you to relax after a long day. The following examples are ways that you can improve your backyard to create your own outdoor oasis.

Install Lighting

Adding lighting, such as candlelit scones, to your backyard can create a lovely glow to your peaceful nights or dinner parties. Another type of lighting you could add is solar lights around your garden, which requires little maintenance but offers maximum impact.

Design Different Living Areas

When you have separate areas to eat and relax, you are providing your guests with comfortability. Using outdoor rugs and lighting will make segments around your yard that invites your guests to sit and stay awhile. Another way to define these areas is to add outdoor furniture.

Fire Pits

A fire pit can be useful all year round. It is ideal for those lazy summer nights where can roast hot dogs and make smores. During the winter, you can wrap up in a warm blanket, drink hot chocolate, and read a book without getting cold. No matter what the season, a fire pit will help you make memories and have fun.

Plotted Plants and Herbs

Plants and herbs can spruce up any yard very easily. Not only are they beautiful to look at, but they can also provide a wonderful fragrance while you are enjoying the outdoors.

Install a Flagstone Patio

Flagstone patios allow you to have more living space. They provide a very natural, organic look because of their shape and earthy tones. Flagstone patios are also durable and last for years.

Install a Fountain

Fountains are always a beautiful sight to see and provide relaxation from the sound of the flowing water. They add to the ambiance of your oasis and come in a variety of shapes and styles to fit your needs and the theme of your patio.

Add Rugs and Pillows

Rugs and pillows provide a sense of comfort. They are an inexpensive way to dress up your patio furniture and outdoor space all the while adding color to increase the atmosphere.

Install Alternative Seating

Besides chairs and sofas, hammocks are another great seating option for you and your guests. It is a great place to spend time taking a nap or reading a great book. If you do not have a tree to hang it from, you can find hammock stands that work anywhere.

Add Décor

Adding décor to anything is a way to express who you are. It also helps your guests feel at home. Consider hanging something on the columns of your patio or on a wall. You could also add statues, sculptures, or trellises, as well as filled vases to sit on tables.

You don’t need to have acres of outdoor living space in order to have a place you can relax and enjoy your friends and family’s company. It’s all about what makes you feel at peace and having a place you are proud to call your own where you can build memories. Fritz Stonework and Retaining Walls wants to help you achieve that goal. There are many other options you can add to your backyard in order to maximize it. Call us today at (636) 861-1530 so we can discuss those options and choose what best suits your needs.

Getting the Best Out of Your Concrete Paving

Getting the Best Out of Your Concrete Paving

Whether you have paving around your garden or as a part of your backyard oasis, you want to keep it in great condition. After all, you probably spent your hard earned money to make sure your outdoor space was relaxing and inviting. Therefore, if you neglect your paving, it will start to deteriorate and your landscaping could become an eyesore. Here are a few ways to keep your paving looking beautiful.

Sealer

Applying a sealer will protect not only your paving but also your patio from the damages that harsh weather can cause. The main focus of a sealer is to stop water from getting in and permeating throughout the stone or concrete. Make sure you read the labels of the sealer you are considering buying. There are many different types of sealers and choosing the wrong one could damage your stone instead of protect it.

Have a Good Cleaning Regimen

Even when you use a sealer you need to be committed to keeping your paving stones clean. When you brush regularly, you will clean away dirt, dust, and debris that would eventually build up. Keeping them clean will help your stones look new at all times. Pay close attention to the crevices between the stones. If you notice small weeds starting to peek through, hard brushing will break them keep them from growing and spreading. Also, if you stay up-to-date on cleaning, you will be able to see if the sealer is beginning to wear away. This will give you the opportunity to reseal it before the water starts seeping in.

Weeding

If you did not live in your house when the paving was laid, then you may not know if a weed control membrane or landscape fabric was laid. The only way you will know is if weeds begin to appear all over the place. Consistently weeding and making sure the weeds are pulled out by the roots will help ensure that the weeds will not grow back.

You may come across some cases where the weeds are overtaken and you need to use weedkiller. Once the weeds have been completely eliminated, it might be worth looking into getting the gaps between the stones filled to stop this from happening again.

No one ever wants their landscape to be an eyesore, whether it’s pavers, retaining walls, or plants. These outdoor features help you and your family to feel relaxed after a long day at work and provide an inviting atmosphere for get togethers. When it comes to pavers, Fritz Stonework and Retaining Walls are experts at making sure your stones are in tip top shape. Call us today if you have questions regarding how to clean your paving stones and to keep them looking new.

Effects of Moisture on Stonework

Effects of Moisture on Stonework

 

For some people, the fall and winter seasons are a nice welcoming change to the hot summer temperatures. However, what comes along with fall and winter is weather that includes moisture, such as rain and snow. For as long as structures have been in existence, moisture has been the main cause for its deterioration. Moisture in all forms affect how well the building materials function.

The way masonry systems are designed should prevent the intrusion of moisture into the building’s interior. It should also keep the building’s structural components safe. If there is any structural break, then your building could be compromised. Masonry units that are made poorly are among the most common failure points. These include mortar joints, hairline cracks, parapet, and door and window details. Water can also come through by vapor condensation and can enter the structure as a result of poor work. The lack of proper drainage can exacerbate the impact of any type of moisture that makes its way through; therefore, creating major damage to the building.

Structural Problems

When unwelcome moisture seeps through, masonry units and mortar can crack. Thermal expansion can be a result when water gets into brick, concrete, and natural stone. Thermal expansion can cause the surface to peel, pop out, or flake off. This is also known as spalling, which is caused by too much moisture in the masonry that puts pressure outward. Spalling can ultimately result in large sections of the masonry to crumble and fall off, which will lead to structural damage.

Too much moisture cam also result in the wall rotting, which is very unaesthetic and an unhealthy condition. The insulation can also disintegrate along with staining of the interior finishes. Other effects may include the deterioration and/or corrosion of the wood/steel backup studs, cladding, ties and reinforcements. If this is left unattended to, the excess water can cause an increase and spread of additional structural degradation and complete structural failure.

Aesthetic Degradation

When there is excess moisture seeping through the masonry, efflorescence is a main problem. Efflorescence is a white, powdery, crystalline deposit that forms on the surfaces of masonry, stucco, and concrete. Efflorescence is caused when salt within the masonry unit itself has been dissolved due to too much moisture and has made its way to the surface of a porous material. It then forms the white, powdery, crystalline deposit as the water evaporates.

In order for efflorescence to happen, three problems must be present.

  • There has to be water-soluble salts somewhere in the wall
  • There must be enough moisture in the wall to render the salts into a soluble solution
  • There must be a way for the soluble salts to move their way through to the surface so the moisture can evaporate, getting rid of the salts so they can crystallize causing efflorescence

Just because sulfates may be present in a masonry wall, it does not mean efflorescence will occur. The sulfates must be dissolved by water in order for it to happy. If there is no moisture then the sulfates will not find their way to the surface. However, there are certain conditions that will aggravate the possible creation of efflorescence. For example, if a block is exposed to cold, rainy weather during storage or if the structure has been poorly designed in regards to drainage and moisture control, then efflorescence is more likely to occur.

Health and Safety

Too much moisture can cause bacteria to grow which can create new odors or worsen current ones. The effects of growing bacteria can cause existing conditions to become worse, such as asthma and allergies. These bacteria have also been known to cause cancer and birth defects.

Managing moisture is a top priority when designing and building, especially here at Fritz Stonework & Retaining Walls. It is important to us that you and your family are safe from any potential harm. We work hard to make sure your masonry is up-to-par and lasts for many years to come. Contact us to today at (631) 861-1530 so we can help you create your masterpiece.

Ways to Stay Warm on Your Patio

Ways to Stay Warm on Your Patio

Once you have a beautiful patio built to your specifications, you want to be able to enjoy it all year round. Or if you are thinking of having a patio or outdoor living space built, then you might want to think about some items to include for the winter time to help you stay warm. Here are a few ideas that could help you enjoy your time outside all year round.

Invest in a Fire Pit

Fire pits are a very common way of staying warm and toasty as the temperatures drop. They create a practical, warm atmosphere that you can enjoy with friends and family. Fire pits now offer a smoke-free gas flame and different structures, shapes and designs to match any patio. Masonry and stonework projects can also provide a nice decorative addition to your fire pit.

Put Out Blankets

Adding blankets to an outdoor space is not only simple, but also inexpensive. They can create a warm, comfortable outdoor retreat that will make you want to sit on your patio with a warm drink in your hand. Invest in warm blankets that will have you enjoying some quiet time or time with friends and family.

Create a Cover

Creating a cover for your patio can offer some much-needed refuge from the cold weather. Covers for your patio make cold temperatures more tolerable and help keep out the rain, snow, and wind. Covers can enhance your outdoor living experience and increase the amount of time you spend outside.

Soak It All Up

What’s more relaxing than a nice warm soak outside while you star gaze? Adding a hot tub to your patio can make spending time in the cooler temperature more enjoyable. If you’re not a fan of the water, try adding a sauna. Saunas also provide shelter and make an attractive addition to your outdoor space.

Patio Heaters and Fireplaces

If you are unsure about a fire pit, an alternative option would be a patio heater or built-in fireplace. Even though a fireplace is a bigger investment than a fire pit, they do produce a large amount of heat. A fireplace is the most expensive option; however, they are very attractive and available in gas or wood-burning. Patio heaters can be mounted or stand-alone and are offered in electrical or propane. Electrical patio heaters are expensive to run but easy to use.

It doesn’t matter if it’s raining, snowing, or the sun is out, you want to be able to use your patio and outdoor living space as much as possible. The winter months make it difficult to do so; however, by adding things to make it a more warm, comfortable, and welcoming environment, you will want to spend time all of your spare time outside. Here at Fritz Stonework and Retaining Walls we take pride in what we do and have provided quality service for over 31 years. Contact us today at (636) 861-1530 so our expert staff can help you design a beautiful outdoor living space that meets your needs.

Clayton Landscaping – The Benefits of Patios

Clayton Landscaping – The Benefits of Patios

Almost everyone has a backyard, but most of them aren’t as nice as they could be. A simple way to upgrade your backyard is to install a unique patio to revamp your outdoor living space and turn it into an artful extension of your home!

Stonework is a great way to take advantage of natural rocks and turn them into something that is uniquely yours! In Clayton, MO, it’s easier than ever to have a fabulous backyard designed by experienced masons!

Benefits Of Patios

Nature is a scientifically proven mood booster, but that doesn’t mean you have to get your hands dirty to experience it! Patios are a perfect way to get some sunshine and fresh air without leaving the comfort of your own home. They provide an excellent space for winding down or having fun in the company of family and friends!

In addition to the social and emotional benefits of having a patio, implementing stonework can greatly increase the beauty of your home! A patio space can make your home stand out, and when it is well designed, the aesthetic value of a lovely patio is hard to beat!

The most solid benefit of having a patio is that the bank value of your home increases! Stonework is beautiful, but it is also a fairly permanent upgrade and this is extremely desirable in the housing market today!

Not Your Average Patio

When most people think of patios a concrete slab with some lawn chairs comes to mind, but a patio can be so much more than that! In Clayton, MO, you can have the patio of your dreams!

There are many ways to customize your patio, but one of the most aesthetically pleasing patio designs is one made out of stone! One of the most effective ways to accomplish this is by using pavers!

Pavers come in all colors, shapes, and sizes are a type of brick that can be arranged in a variety of ways to suit your home best! Pavers are versatile and combine a natural look with the benefits of brick!

Kick the concrete slabs to the curb and invest in something that is far more beautiful and more weather resistant. Patios made out of pavers can provide you with the perfect outdoor space for entertaining guests, or just relaxing in comfort!

Upgrade Your Backyard

There are multitudes of benefits that a patio can bring into your life and home from providing a perfect place for outdoor gatherings, to increasing the value of your home. However, the most exciting aspect of installing a patio made from pavers is the customizability.

Pavers can be arranged to fit your unique tastes and preferences and make your home and outdoor space uniquely yours in a permanent way! Installing an awesome patio is sure to make your property extremely popular in Clayton, MO.

Final Thoughts

With people spending more time online, it’s a nice refresher to get outside for a while! With an elegant patio, you can go outside without leaving the comfort of home! With Fritz Stonework you can make your outdoor space something special!