March, 2015

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How to Build an Arbor for Your Backyard Living Space

If you are looking for a way to add beauty as well as function, you might consider adding an arbor to your backyard landscape. Arbors are a fun and creative way to accessorize your Atlanta outdoor living environment.Artistic Pools | Backyard Living

Here is a quick guide on how you can build an arbor for your backyard living space:

Materials:

Two 4×4 posts (10 feet long)

Two 2×6 (6 feet long)

Two 2×6 (7 feet long)

Twenty-six 2×2 rails (45 inches long)

Eight galvanized lag screws

Galvanized nails

Gravel

Concrete 

Tools: Jigsaw, Posthole Digger, Hammer, Drill, Ladder, Framing Square, Level 

1. Start by using a posthole digger to dig 2 holes that are 2 feet deep. Place the posts into the holes and pour approximately 6 inches of gravel in the hole. Check the posts for proper straightness and then fill the hole with concrete.

2. Now, take your two 2×6 pieces of wood and cut them into 4 even sections. Using the drill, and the square, place these crossbeams on the front and back of the posts. Attach with the lag screws.

3. Using a jigsaw, shape the ends of your 7-foot 2×6. The design could be inspired by your home or an existing structure in your yard.

4. Using the galvanized nails, attach the 7-foot beams to your posts. Be sure that the 7-foot beams are perpendicular to the 3-foot crossbeams. Use a minimum of 2 nails per end.

5. Cut your 2×2 rails to proper length allowing each end to have approximately ½ an inch of overhang. Drive one nail through each end. Place another rail beside the existing rail to determine the proper spacing. Proceed until all rails are used.

6. Your arbor structure is now structurally complete. You can either stain or paint the arbor to match your home. 

This arbor will serve as a great entrance to your backyard living space or as a unique place to hide away and read a good book.

 

Get Ready for Spring: How to Remove Hard Water Build Up from Windows

Spring is the perfect time to get your home in tip top shape and clean as a whistle, but if you live in an area with hard water you may have unsightly hard water buildup on your windows. But there is no need to worry, there are solutions for removing hard water build up that are easy on you and your pocket book.

Get Ready for Spring: How to Remove Hard Water Build Up from Windows | Artistic Pools Atlanta Georgia

Credit: Image From Archive

Hard water occurs when the water in the geographic area contains a high level of dissolved minerals like calcium and magnesium. It is not a health risk, but does cause unsightly streaks and build up when not treated. Unfortunately, while you can install a water softener system in your home, there’s not much you can do about controlling the hard water buildup on the outside of your windows.

This is how to remove hard water build up from windows:

Use a commercial method.

There are products on the market that are specifically manufactured to battle hard water buildup. A popular brand is CLR and can be used on a variety of surfaces. The liquid comes in a spray bottle version for convenience and in larger bottles with concentrated liquid that can be mixed based on the amount needed. You simply spray on the CLR or apply it with a sponge. Allow the CLR to sit on the windows for a few minutes, rinse clean, and dry with cloth or paper towels. Depending on the level of hard water buildup, you may need to repeat the process.

Use the homemade “green” method.  

Easy on the pocketbook and using items probably already in your pantry, you can battle hard water build up. In a spray bottle mix equal parts water and vinegar. You can use regular white vinegar or cider vinegar. Since your area has hard water you will want to use water that has been through a water softener system or bottled distilled water for best results. Simply spray on, let it sit, and wipe clean. You may need to repeat the process depending on the level of buildup. For the best and streak-free results, use crumpled up newspapers or a squeegee for the final cleaning.

To avoid hard water buildup in the future, make sure to clean windows at the first sight of hard water buildup if possible. It is easier to remove when it has not had an opportunity to set and harden.

Outdoor Living DIY: How to Build a Pergola

In an effort to maximize space home owners are venturing outdoors and creating additional living areas in their backyards. A pergola is a simple way to define additional living space and create a point of interest. 

Outdoor Living DIY: How to Build a Pergola | Artistic Pools Atlanta Georgia

Credit: Image From Archive

Traditionally, pergolas were square or rectangular garden features constructed of wood beams and used to guard grapevines from the sweltering sun. Today, they are still the same shape and construction, but provide an extra living area that can be used for outdoor entertaining. This blog will prove very useful for you.

Building a basic pergola is simple and there are several kits and plans available. However, based on your level of experience, you can modify and customize a pergola to fit your personal style and needs. To get started, follow these easy steps on how to build a pergola for your backyard.

  • Define your space. Pergolas can be mounted to a concrete slab or supported by sinking the supporting timbers into the ground. Measure the area to determine the length you will need for the cross timbers. When selecting the area, make sure the area is level to avoid an uneven look. 
  • Select your wood. Cedar is the best choice due to its ability to withstand the elements. Based on your personal style you can let it age naturally or stain and seal it to maintain the desired look. 
  • Construct your basic structure. Either mount or sink your framing posts. 4×4’s work well, but you can also use larger size posts or stylized columns. Around the top create a frame that boxes in the top of the posts. Next, evenly space and secure 2×4’s across the top of the box frame. Make sure they sit with the narrow edge facing up. To create additional appeal you can cut the ends of the timbers into a curved or angled pattern.
  • Pergolas are traditionally completely open, but once your pergola is complete you can add trellises, climbing vines, or screens to help protect you from the elements. Another option is to fasten plexi glass to the top of the pergola before you attach the cross timbers. This will allow light to come in, but protect you from the elements.

Now that you know the basics on how to build a pergola for your backyard you can create an additional living space you will enjoy for years to come.

5 Things to Consider When Building an Outdoor Kitchen

When it is time for you to design an outdoor kitchen, there are several considerations.  To make the most out of your outdoor kitchen be sure to review these five things:

5 Things to Consider When Building an Outdoor Kitchen | Artistic Pools Atlanta

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  1. What will you cook?  If you love grilling an outdoor kitchen is ideal.  But outside of grilling, will you want to have a brick oven?  Would you like some side burners for sauces or soups?  Is a rotisserie something you would enjoy?  Would you like the ability to roast marshmallows as well as grill?
  2. How much space do you have?  Take a look at your outdoor area and determine how much space you would allocate to an outdoor kitchen.  This can make a big difference in what appliances you will choose.  Professional designers can help to optimize outdoor kitchens so they have all of the luxuries that you would like while still allowing space to have fun.
  3. Are there weather extremes?  Would your outdoor kitchen be exposed to extreme heat or cold?  Are rain storms or wind storms a problem in your area?  Think about how moisture, heat, wind or cold could affect your outdoor kitchen choices.  Weather can impact counter tops, the seams in the materials, and the electrical wiring or plumbing of the appliances.  Be sure to choose materials that can endure your particular climate area.
  4. What protection should be used?  While you will need ventilation for cooking, you should also consider shelter to reduce exposure for your outdoor kitchen appliances and materials.  The protection can include patio umbrellas, built in covers for grills or cook tops, or patio covers that can resist rain and wind.  Another option is to have enclosures that will keep bugs and other pests away as well.
  5. How can space be optimized?  Can you leverage countertops as eating areas?  Could a sink work with the bar as well as for the kitchen?  Can trash cans be placed under countertops? 

Your outdoor kitchen can be an exciting project.  Make sure to plan properly so you get the most out of your outdoor cooking and dining experiences for years to come.  Explore all of your design options first to determine what will work best for you.

Top Accessories for Your Atlanta Backyard and Patio

To make your outdoor landscape design pop with your particular style and flare, add some accessories!  Everyone has a style that can be brought out in an outdoor landscape design. It is time to wake up your style for your pool, patio, garden or landscape!

Try these accessory ideas on for size:

Plants – Choose from different plants that will work well in your climate while making your outdoor landscape shine.  Consider using large planters, interchanging plants throughout the year to match the seasons.  You can incorporate hanging plants, garden trees and other ideas.  Having a spice garden near your outdoor kitchen is a great idea to consider.

Top Accessories for Your Backyard and Patio  | Artistic Pools Atlanta Georgia

Credit: Image From Archive

Bird Baths – To create a restful scene on your outdoor lawn, install a bird bath to bring life to your landscape.  There are types of bird baths that have water features incorporated, or you can stick with a very simple ceramic or stone design.

Stones – Rock gardens can be extremely beautiful.  Choose stones that blend with the colors of your landscape design and use different sizes and shapes.  Some may have a circular area with rounded stones as the base and then a bird bath or sun dial in the middle.  Open up your inner Zen and let your creativity flow.

Lawn Gnomes – These whimsical creatures are almost a requirement in landscape design.  Thankfully, you do not have to go with gnomes all the time.  Instead you can have ceramic squirrels, bronze birds or other types of garden art tucked away into little corners or around a turn to catch the attention of any passerby.

Playground – A playground, perhaps with a tree house, can be a great addition to an outdoor landscape design.  Not only will children adore a play area but you can also turn it into a very attractive part of your garden or lawn area. 

Recycled materials – Tires, bed frames, antique furniture and other items can be resurrected as an outdoor accessory.  They can be used as garden art, added to a boring brick wall, or used as planters or ivy stands. 

Storage – Implement storage containers that blend into your outdoor environment but also serve a practical purpose to store tools, hoses and other items.

How to Open Your Atlanta Swimming Pool in the Spring

As spring approaches, many Atlanta swimming pool owners are going to be faced with the challenge of opening your swimming pool.

This can be a daunting task for many people, so we have put together a simple step-by-step plan to help you through this process.

1. Swimming Pool Chemicals

Make sure you have all needed chemicals before starting, including chlorine and algaecide . If you do not have all of your needed chemicals, you will not be able to open your Atlanta swimming pool properly.

2. Pool Cover

Removing the swimming pool cover will require some time. If your pool has been covered with a solid cover, you will need to drain any standing water with a pump. Make sure that you remove as much water and debris as possible, as this will make your life easier when the cover actually comes off. After the cover has been removed it is always a good idea to wash your cover with a strong cleaner. Allow the cover to dry before folding and storing for the season.

3. Pool Water

Remove any skimmer guards and winter plugs that might have been installed. Fill your pool with clean, fresh water to the normal level.

4. Pool Equipment

Atlanta swimming pool equipment

Now is the time to reattach and startup and pool equipment that may have been disconnected. Make sure your pump and filter is connected properly. It is always a good idea to lubricate any and all O-rings. This will minimize cracking and drying out issues. Check your debris baskets for any issues. Finally, make sure your lines are open before starting the pump. If you have removed your ladders and ropes prior to the winter months, this is the time to reinstall them

5. Swimming Pool Debris

Now is the time to remove any large debris from the pool. Do not attempt to vacuum this debris, as it will only lead to problems. Once the large debris has been removed, you may begin the process of vacuuming. 

6. Shocking the Pool

Once the pool has been cleaned of all debris, it is a good idea to shock the pool. Shocking the pool is the process of using more than the normal requirement of chlorine. Follow the guide on your chemicals and allow the pool water to circulate for 24 hours. If you have questions regarding the best shock treatment, feel free to contact us any time.

7. Pool Chemistry

Once the pool has circulated for 24 hours, you will need to check the water stability. This involves checking the pH balance, hardness, as well as the salinity of your swimming pool water.

9. Enjoy

Once the hard work is done, your pool is clean and you can now relax in your own personal oasis.