Monthly Archives: August 2013

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.

Adding Stone Indoors

When you think of stone what comes to mind? Many people immediately think of outdoor uses such as patios and walkways. But have you considered using stone indoors for entertaining spaces such as wet bars and fireplaces? At Semco we offer a variety of stone that you can use inside your home and enjoy year round.

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Indoor fireplaces
We know summer isn’t over yet and we’re likely to have another warm spell but it’s never too early to start prepping your home for the chill of fall. A great way to do this is by installing a stone fireplace or replacing the facing on your existing fireplace with stone from Semco. From added warmth and coziness to savings on your heating bill, a custom stone fireplace is a great addition to any home. Semco has a wide variety of stone, like our Lake Cedar Tumbled Machine Cut stone, that is sure to complement your home’s interior. Keep in mind a fireplace will more than likely be the centerpiece of any room due to its size so be sure the color, size and style of the stone enhances the room’s decor instead of competing with it.

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Entertaining spaces
Another way to add stone into your home is by creating a custom entertaining space. From beautiful bars to kitchens with custom countertops, a well-thought through space, like this one featuring a bar made of Premium Fieldstone Blend stone, can add a ‘wow’ factor to your home and be functional at the same time. When creating an entertaining space, you’ll want to take into account what you will be using it for. Will it be cozy nights in the kitchen playing board games with your family or larger social gatherings with friends? Knowing the function of the space will help you determine they type of stone you want to use and the size of space you want to create. Once again, keep in mind the decor of your home and choose a stone that complements it.

Natural stone is a great way to create a custom entertaining space in your home. Give Semco Stone and Semco Outdoor a call today to upgrade your home’s interior and create a wonderful addition to you family’s living space.

The Landscaping Lowdown

Last week’s blog discussed adding curb appeal to your home’s front yard with stone walkways and driveways. Want to do something more? Or maybe you’re looking for a way to tie it all together? What about adding landscaping your yard with custom stone accents?
When you think of landscaping, most just think of plants, flowers, shrubs, etc. But there’s more to it than that.  Beautiful landscaping can add a new dimension to any yard, provide a nice visual when you arrive home for the day and increase your home’s resale value. From edging to boulders to cobblers, Semco offers what you need to finish off your home’s look.

Edging

Edging can be both decorative and practical. Many people use edgers to give their landscaping texture and dimension. These stones provide a good visual break between the lawn and other foliage such as shrubs. It can be used to line patios or walkways creating visual continuity from one part of your yard to another. Edging also keeps grass from growing in your flower beds and provides a barrier for mulch. Try choosing edging that complements the look of your home and yard like this Stoneybrook Tumbled edging from Semco.

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Cobblers
Natural stone cobblers are another way to add depth and interest to landscaping. These flat stones provide protection for flower beds and prevent erosion. They come in a variety of colors and textures. You can choose to use just one kind throughout or you can spice things up by mixing and matching complementary stones.

Boulders

The key to using boulders is to incorporate them seamlessly into landscaping. They shouldn’t just look like large rocks placed in the yard. Instead choose boulders that look natural in your environment from color to kind to size. We also suggest placing boulders in groups as opposed to individually and planting it into the ground as opposed to just sitting it on top. Boulders can also be used in outdoor water features such as this one using Holey Limestone boulders. Keep in mind that boulders are a big commitment due to the size and so it’s best to have a plan before the boulders are placed.

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No matter your budget well-planned and well-maintained landscaping can really tie the look of a home together. Remember the key to good landscaping is making it look as natural as possible. From the plants to the stone, proper landscaping will add value to your home for years to come.

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