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GET READY FOR SUMMER

Transform your outdoor space into a stylish living area

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GET READY FOR SUMMER

Kroy by Ply Gem railing helps add privacy to outdoor deck areas, while bright-colored cushions create an interior look.

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POSTED May 14, 2011 2:27 a.m.

Summer often means enjoying the outdoors with friends and family for a weekend barbecue or catching some sun by the pool. Now that pleasant weather is upon us, homeowners may be thinking about what can be done to spruce up outdoor space to use for entertaining or for a little relaxation.

When deciding on what you can do to improve your home for summer, think of your outdoor area as an extension of your indoor living space. Replacing the siding on your home or adding a beautiful outdoor fireplace are just a couple examples of projects that can give your outdoor living space the upgrade it needs to make your backyard or patio more desirable.

“Homeowners are truly starting to view their backyards or patios as an extension of their indoor living area by creating an ‘interior look’ outside,” says Kit Selzer, senior remodeling and projects editor for Better Homes and Gardens. “This means bringing your interior palette outside by choosing decor that complements your indoor look. This can be reflected in the type of flowers planted, surface material chosen, appliance finishes, etc. You can start out simple by adding a nice grill or a rolling drink cart - both are great for entertaining.”

The use of stone veneer has become increasingly popular in the design of outdoor kitchens and fireplaces, and also as a finishing touch to landscaping. Stone veneer offers the rustic look of real stone, but is lighter weight and often more affordable than solid rock.

Manufacturers such as Ply Gem Stone use casts made from molds of real stone to create an authentic-looking line of stone collections for every style from traditional to contemporary. Aside from the beauty of stone veneer, the product is also long-lasting, low-maintenance and is easily installed by contractors.

To bring your upgraded exterior look together while adding contrast, consider replacing your worn-out, neutral siding with something more vibrant, such as dark-colored vinyl panels or polymer shakes.

“We’ve seen many homes move away from standard beige or grey siding and choose colors such as blues, greens and reds,” says Jerry Blais, vice president of marketing for Ply Gem siding group. “Vinyl and polymer siding options are also being manufactured to look more and more authentic by using variegation techniques that replicate the detail of natural wood. A bolder siding panel can also complement the lighter hues often found on stone veneer.”

Variegation techniques are also used on fence and rail products to mimic the look of natural wood but with less maintenance. Kroy by Ply Gem manufactures fence, rail and outdoor structures, available in many styles and colors including the Woodland Select cedar-looking finishes for a more rustic look. Fences can help add privacy to your outdoor area especially in more populated neighborhoods.

Whether it’s installing new outdoor fixtures or adding to your garden, there are plenty of ways to help create the perfect outdoor retreat. If you need some inspiration before you get started, visit www.bhg.com, and for siding and stone color palette combinations, visit www.thedesignedexterior.com.

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