Tag Archives: outdoor living

Enjoying Labor Day Weekend Outdoors

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Ah, Labor Day. The unofficial end of summer and a long weekend for many. If you’re one of the lucky ones to enjoy a three-day weekend, why not utilize your outdoor space and spend the weekend in the comfort of your own home? Whether you decide to have a large gathering or just a few friends and family, here are a few tips for making the most of the long weekend.

1. Dine outdoors. Enjoy your outdoor space while the days are still long by planning an outdoor meal. Keep things simple by doing your entire meal on the grill. From a juicy steak to veggies on the side to grilled peaches for dessert, you can easily plan a menu that will satisfy the pickiest of eaters.

2. Set the mood with lighting. Hopefully you and your guests will be having such a good time the party will still be going on when the sun goes down. If so, you’ll want to have lighting to set the mood and create an ambience. To create a warm peaceful glow you can place lanterns and tabletop candles strategically around your space. Want to add something a little more permanent to your yard? If so, a fire pit or fireplace is a great addition to any space. It not only provides light but also warmth and a central gathering place for your guests.

3. Enjoy the sounds of nature. The sound of water is one of the most peaceful and relaxing sounds. To add this sound to your outdoor space year round consider the addition of a water feature from Semco. From elaborate waterfalls to bubbler boulders, Semco has the perfect water feature for your home to suit the size of your space.

4. Make your space comfortable and practical. Have you ever gone to a party or get together that was beautifully decorated and catered but there wasn’t enough seating for everyone? Keep this from happening at your party by making sure to have plenty of seating. Whether you use chairs, cushions or benches, like this Brentwood Bench, make sure there’s plenty of seating for everyone and that it is comfortable to ensure your guests will want to visit longer.

5. Stay safe. Most importantly when entertaining or spending time outdoors, make sure you are providing a safe atmosphere for you and your guests. Keep your grill away from structures or high traffic areas, never leave fires unattended and always have plenty of cold, non-alcoholic drinks on hand for your guests to prevent dehydration.

With a little planning and a little preparation you and your guests can enjoy a relaxing long Labor Day weekend in the comfort of your own home.

The Soothing Sounds of a Water Feature

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Are you looking for a way to add peace and tranquility to an outdoor space? Maybe you just want to give your existing landscaping a little extra oomph. If so, why not consider the addition of a water feature using natural stone?

Whenever water and outdoors are mentioned, the initial thought is a swimming pool. But there are so many ways to add the peaceful sounds of splashing water to your backyard. Whether you want a water fountain or a waterfall, there are many benefits to installing a water feature in your outdoor space. In addition to be aesthetically pleasing and creating dimension to any landscaping plan, a water feature also creates a soothing soundtrack to outdoor entertaining.

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Depending on the size of your space, many different types of water features are available. If you’re looking for something grand, consider installing a cascade waterfall like this one using Holey Limestone Boulders. Maybe you have a smaller space or don’t want to make such a large commitment. No problem, you can always do something more simple like this feature using Weathered Limestone Ledge.

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No matter what size space you have or what type of feature you choose, the most important thing to remember when installing a water feature is to use a stone that complements your landscaping and your existing outdoor space. Ideally you want all aspects of your landscaping from stone to plants to mulch to blend together seamlessly. Semco offers a wide variety of natural stone boulders to help you create the perfect water feature for your existing outdoor space.

Preparing for fall

Summer is winding down and while the days are still warm, the evenings are getting a little cooler. If you haven’t already, now is the time to think about making your patio or outdoor space one that can be enjoyed year round. From fireplaces and fire pits to outdoor lighting and decor, it’s never too early to start getting your patio ready for fall. Here are a few simple additions to extend the use of your patio and add to your home’s resale value.

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Fire pits
We talk a lot about fire pits but they really are a great way to make your outdoor space usable year round. They provide warmth when entertaining on chilly nights, as well as contribute to creating a beautiful ambiance. Semco offers all the tools you’ll need to get started, like this Blue River Fire Pit kit. Before installing a fire pit, be sure to take its placement within the space into careful consideration. You’ll want to make sure it’s centrally located to provide warmth while not being in the way and a fire risk. For more information watch our fire pit installation video.

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Fireplaces
Some spaces call for a larger, more dramatic look. If your space is one of these, we suggest installing an outdoor fireplace. A custom fireplace is the perfect addition to you or your customer’s outdoor living space to keep you enjoying it year round. It provides a focal point to your space as well as a gathering place for guests when entertaining. When installing a fireplace, as with any large project, it’s important to make certain the stone you choose complements your existing decor and works in the space. If you decide a fireplace is right for your space, Semco offers complete outdoor fireplace kits in a wide variety of stone, like our 42″ FireRock Fireplace Kit that is sure to work with most any landscaping or decor.

Outdoor lighting and decor
Good lighting is important, as you won’t have the light of the sun for as long in the afternoons and evenings later in the year. When choosing outdoor lighting, keep in mind the type of space you have and the type of entertaining you normally do. Bright lights provide the most visibility but can tend to be harsh and attract bugs. Soft, dimmer lights help add ambiance and warmth to your space but won’t light up the space as well. As for decor, you’ll want to have comfy pillows and blankets in deep, rich autumnal hues on hand for when the nights really cool off.

While you may not need these things right now, fall is just around the corner and you’ll want everything ready to enjoy before the fall season. Let Semco help you create a space for you and you family to enjoy year round.

Tips for a delicious dinner in your outdoor space

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This Blue River Country Blend Tumbled Dimensional building stone makes for
a beautiful addition to any outdoor grilling space. 

You’ve built a beautiful patio and it’s decorated to perfection. Now it’s time to sit down and enjoy it with your family and friends.

There’s no better way to enjoy an amazing outdoor space then by grilling the perfect dinner. Here are a few tips for becoming a grill master.

1. Start with a clean, hot grate. You will want to preheat your grill for 15 to 25 minutes to make sure it is hot enough. This will keep foods from sticking and keep the insides moist. After you get the fire going, make sure your grate is clean. This will require the purchase of a good brush and/or a scouring pad but will keep your food from getting too charred. Be sure to scrape again after you finish cooking.

2. Practice patience. The guide to good grilling is letting your food properly cook without turning it over or checking on it frequently.

3. Add a little flavor. Glazes and marinades are a necessity when grilling. They provide extra spice and help make food juicier. Try this Mediterranean marinade from delish.com.

4. Watch the time. To prevent charred (and possibly inedible) food, be sure to pull your grilled food off a little before it’s done, as grilled food continues to cook after coming off the heat. But be careful, you don’t want to end up with undercooked meat. The best way to know when to remove food from the grill is to use a digital thermometer. Juices should run clear in chicken and the more firm a steak feels, the more well-done it is.

5. Go beyond the usual. Tired of grilled steak, chicken and seafood? Add to your menu options by trying something different like this recipe for homemade grilled pizzaor grilled roasted red peppers.

As you can see, with a little preparation and a little patience, you and your family are just a few steps away from enjoying a delicious meal in your beautiful outdoor space!

Beyond the pavers

Creating a beautiful outdoor space goes beyond just installing a patio. From decorative touches to your existing space to installing beautiful stone fire pits and retaining walls, the possibilities are endless and there’s something for every budget.

Fire pits & fireplaces
Hard to imagine now, but it won’t be long before the days start getting shorter and the nights start getting chillier. Get a head start and be prepared when fall does arrive by doing a custom fire pit or outdoor fireplace install this summer.

Fire pits provide an excellent gathering place for guests and extend the functionality of your patio into the fall and winter months. Check out our “how-to” page to view a video on installing your own fire pit.

If you have a large space or are looking for something more dramatic than a fire pit, consider having a custom fireplace installed. This provides a perfect backdrop when entertaining and allows your area to stay warm all year long.

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Retaining walls

Another way to add an instant “wow” factor and additional seating to your outdoor space is with the addition of garden walls. These walls provide the perfect frame for your landscaping and can be covered with outdoor cushion for extra seating when you’re entertaining.

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Lighting

Go beyond the traditional tiki torch and add lighting to your landscape. From lights along your walkways to softly lit bulbs overhead, lighting can go a long way in setting the mood of your outdoor space.

If you’re looking for more low-key lighting options try adding tabletop lanterns or jarred candles hung from trees. Eye-catching, colored candles can really make a space pop, and added bonus, you can get specific scented candles to keep the bugs at bay.

Add a little color

A pop of color can instantly brighten up any outdoor space. If you don’t have the budget for fire pits or fancy landscaping, no problem. You can buy a couple of brightly colored plants and place around your space. Just be sure to buy plants that are appropriate for the amount of sunlight they will be getting.

If you aren’t a green thumb and don’t want to have to worry about keeping something alive in the summer heat, decorative outdoor pillows are another way to bring color to your patio. You can also add in colorful table linens and tabletop floral arrangements.

These are just a few ideas for making your outdoor space beautiful and as you can see it can be done on any size budget. From the elaborate to the easy, the most important thing is to create a space that is comfortable and enjoyable for you and your family.

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