hosting a backyard movie night, outdoor living

Hosting a Backyard Movie Night

Nothing screams summer quite like a raucous adventure movie or fun animated tale watched on the big screen. In fact, it's hard to think of summer without thinking of the movie theater. We thought it would be fun to bring that excitement to the backyard. Here's how you can host your very own backyard movie night
Get comfy seating.
Part picnic, part theater, the backyard movie needs to be a comfy setting. No need to be fancy. Grab pillows, blankets, sleeping bags, etc. and set them around the yard. Make sure to arrange your seating so that everyone has a clear view of the screen.

cleaning your home s brick, cleaning tips, concrete masonry, home maintenance repairs, Plant matter can grow between bricks Make sure to address the root system to prevent them from coming back

Cleaning your home's brick

Start off by sweeping your patio clean of any debris. If you have weeds growing in the joints of your pavers, spray them with weed killer or pull them out by hand. A new eco-friendly technique uses a blowtorch to kill the weeds. Give your patio another sweep to remove any dead plant material or loose soil.
If your patio is in a damp or shaded area in your yard, you may notice some mold or mildew growing on the bricks. While this will not damage the integrity of the patio, it can be unsightly. Luckily, this is easily removed with a simple cleaning solution:2 cups of bleach
1 gallon of warm water

properly drilling into brick, concrete masonry, home maintenance repairs, tools, Drilling into mortar is safer and more easily repairable if you make a mistake

Properly drilling into brick

Before you begin your project, its important to ensure you have the proper equipment. A lightweight electric drill will not be strong enough to handle the stress of drilling into your masonry. Instead, invest in a more heavy-duty drill with a hammer feature. This allows the drill bit to break up the masonry.
You will also need to purchase a masonry drill bit. These bits have harder cutting tips made of tougher materials than their standard counterparts. The tips of masonry bits are also shaped differently, more like an arrow, than other drill bits. You can also tell that you are using a masonry bit because the tip will be slightly larger than the rest of the bit. You will also need a screwdriver bit, plastic anchors and safety glasses.
It is also important to consider where in your wall you will drill. There are two options when drilling into a brick wall: either directly into the brick itself or into the mortar between bricks. We recommend drilling into the mortar instead of the brick for a few reasons. Drilling directly into brick is more difficult than drilling into mortar and runs the risk of damaging the brick. It is also easier to repair mortar if you drill into the wrong location or decide to remove your decorative item.

properly cleaning your grill, cleaning tips, outdoor living

Properly Cleaning Your Grill

With summer all around us, we are at the height of grilling season. Outdoor cooking is a huge part of Americana and most homes have their own grill that is used throughout the season, but unlike their other cooking surfaces it may not be receiving the same care and cleaning standard. Here are a few tips to maintain and clean your grill.
Heat things up
Your grill will clean easier if it is warm. The best time to clean your grill is after cooking and allowing it to cool for a few moments.

making you small outdoor space appear bigger, gardening, landscape, outdoor living, urban living, The length of the brick walkway

Making you small outdoor space appear bigger

In downtown Greensboro, NC, our neighbors at The Farmer's Wife, an old storefront antique shop and florist, have done wonders with their limited outdoor space. Tucked behind their building and flanked by a bus depot and railroad tracks, it would be easy to just leave the outdoor area as dead space. Thanks to smart design, use of color and texture and whimsical accessories though, the space has been transformed into a lush oasis. Here are some tips they used to make their space wonderful:
Employ hard and soft-scapes to create privacy.
When your outdoor space borders a high traffic area (like a bus depot!) or an unsightly transportation route (like railroad tracks) intimacy can seem out of the question. Privacy fences are a necessity to create the feeling of an outdoor room. Fences or masonry walls are one way to create privacy in your outdoor area.You can use plants to create privacy while also adding color and texture to the design of your space. Evergreens are an especially popular choice because they maintain their foliage all year long. Emerald Green Thuja, Leyland Cypress and Irish Juniper are beautiful options.

great projects using pine hall bricks

Great projects using Pine Hall bricks

Here are some examples of a few wonderful projects that utilized Pine Hall Brick bricks and pavers.

prepping outdoor furniture for spring, home maintenance repairs, outdoor furniture, outdoor living, painted furniture

Prepping outdoor furniture for spring

It's time to prep that outdoor furniture for the onslaught of beautiful mild, sun drenched days ahead of us. Don't be daunted by the task of cleaning all those chairs, tables and cushions. Follow a few simple tips and use the proper cleaners and your outdoor space will be ready for entertaining friends and family in no time.
White plastic furniture
Create a solution using a mixture of 2-3 tablespoons of automatic dishwasher detergent and a gallon of warm water. Using a clean cloth, wipe down furniture and rinse cleaner off with a hose.

four great low maintenance plant ideas for your garden, flowers, gardening, succulents, Hostas plant

Four great low maintenance plant ideas for your garden

While beautiful landscaping can really add to the character and beauty of your home, not all gardens are practical for everyone. For those of you short on time, low maintenance gardens are essential to keeping your yard looking great, no matter how hectic your schedule gets. Here are a few plants you should keep in your busy arsenal.
Yucca plants
Yucca is great because it is a graphic plant. With its long, spiky leaves, it creates a visual punch. Beyond its striking profile, this plant is also a slow grower. That is great for those of us with little time for pruning. Yucca is also deer and drought resistant, making maintenance a snap.

neo traditional homes, architecture, concrete masonry, curb appeal

Neo-Traditional Homes

One of the hottest trends in current home design is the emergence of the Neo-Traditional style. As the name states, the style is a revival of traditional methods of design with a combination of new elements. These homes add traditional decorative styles but utilize modern materials like vinyl and mock-brick. This nostalgic aura adds a feeling of the past to an otherwise modern-times design.
An overarching theme of this construction style is the combination of different building materials to display a complimenting facade. For example, a traditional farmhouse concept would combine a front porch with a more formal Georgian design of a symmetrical plan or formal entrance with windowed-pediment. Lending itself nicely to this trend is the Augustine line of brick from Pine Hall Brick. These bricks are available in a multi-tonal hue that coordinate well with many of the stone colors and wood grains used in Neo-Traditional designs.