By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Create a dream summer outdoor living space
An example of an outdoor living space. - photo by Photo Contributed

Beat the winter blues by taking the first steps to create a summer backyard oasis. By preparing now, you'll be ready to install - and enjoy - a dream deck once warmer weather arrives.

The outdoor living experts at Trex recommend checking these outdoor projects off your "to-do" list early in the year.

Create a distinctive design - Start thinking about the style, shape and color scheme of your outdoor space. Are your tastes country cottage or mostly modern? Do you desire a basic deck or one that spans multiple levels and wraps around your home? Now is the ideal time to order product samples and seek online tools that allow you to virtually experiment with different products, finishes and layouts.

Plan a secure and stable substructure - Long before any deck boards are installed, it's crucial to create a strong base for your outdoor living space. A steel substructure, such as new Trex Elevations, will increase the value of your deck, while improving overall appearance. This ultra-durable deck-framing system manufactured of dual-coated, galvanized steel will not warp, twist, split or decay - unlike traditional wood substructures - and its stability creates a remarkably flat deck surface. Trex Elevations' 25-year limited warranty offers additional peace of mind.

"Homeowners often don't realize that much of a deck's performance and aesthetics depend on what's underneath," says Adam Zambanini, vice president of marketing for Trex, the world's largest manufacturer of wood-alternative decking and railing. "A high-quality substructure offers a strong return on investment and adds years to the life of a deck. Just remember to build this additional - and essential - step into your project timeline."

Research local contractors - One of the most important parts of planning an outdoor living space is selecting the right contractor. Look for a professional who's been specially trained to install the type of products you've chosen. Inquire about business licenses, liability insurance and length of experience. Request references - and make sure to call them.

Upgrade outdoor furniture - Take a look at the outdoor furniture currently stored in your garage for the winter. Before warm temperatures hit, consider replacing old, worn-out tables and chairs with stylish and durable wood-alternative pieces that won't rot, crack or splinter and never need to be sanded, stained or painted. If you're not ready to invest in all new furniture, update upholstery and cushions with colorful, weather-resistant fabrics.