Wendy Johnson - RE/MAX Professional Associates



Posted by Wendy Johnson on 4/14/2021


Give new life to outdoor tabletops using concrete or tile - and liven up one of the most important parts of your home, your porch or patio. It is surprisingly easy to make over an existing table; in some cases, the base of a table remains in excellent shape, while the horizontal surface ages more swiftly. A tile or concrete finish allows you to use what you already have and to make a custom piece you'll enjoy for years to come. While every project is different, the details below will help you get started with a concrete or tile makeover. 

Tile vs. Concrete - What's the Difference? 

Tile and concrete will have the same basic costs and take the same amount of time to complete. The differences lie in the look of the final results; you may prefer the look of a single, impressive slab or an artistic, tile mosaic, or another version that may better fit your home. The final consideration is tools and experience. If you've already laid tile in a bathroom or kitchen, or have a tile saw and tools, then tile may be the right fit for your makeover. If you've made concrete stepping stones and other pieces for the yard, then you might be more comfortable with this material instead. 

Refinishing a Tabletop with Tile

Make sure your tabletop is in decent shape and that there are not any large gaps or large areas of damage. Measure your tabletop and sketch out a design.  You can create an artistic rendering, a geometric pattern or simply place the tile in a line. Planning things out first ensures you know how much to buy and what to cut. For tables, the pre-cut pieces designed for borders and trim often work well, so a trip to the DIY store can help you determine more about your needs and preferences. 

Choose Your Tile & Gather Supplies

You'll need a tile adhesive rated for outdoor use to secure the tiles. Layout the tiles on the table before securing to check the fit and look of your chosen design. When you are happy, glue the pieces into place with the adhesive. Work in small areas and allow the glue to set for at least 24 hours (cover the table with plastic if needed). 

Fill in the gaps between tiles with mortar rated for outdoor use, and allow to dry at least 48 hours before using the table. 

Refinishing a Tabletop with Concrete

Concrete's smooth surface comes from being poured, so you'll need to prepare the table before you mix anything. Your table should be clean, dry and clear of any defects, though the concrete will fill in small holes and hide minor blemishes. 

Create an edge around the table using a product made for concrete. This temporary barrier will be removed at a later date, but will keep the concrete in place as it dries. You can find flexible edging designed for this purpose at a DIY store. 

Mix the concrete as indicated on the package, then pour or scoop onto the table, smoothing it out with a trowel as you go. Once the concrete begins to set, you can make any impressions or patterns you like, or simply let it dry and harden. Do not remove the edges until the concrete is fully dried. 

48 hours later, remove the edging and sand or touch up the table, then enjoy.

Concrete or tile? The choice is yours -- either of these finishes will add years to the life of your table and ensure you create a piece that is uniquely yours. Allow yourself a weekend to tackle this project and wait for a sunny, comfortable day, as most parts need to be completed in place outdoors. 

 




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Posted by Wendy Johnson on 3/4/2020

Image by Nancy Buron from Pixabay

If you're like many homeowners who prefer a natural landscape plan, your outdoor living space undoubtedly features lush vegetation and bright, blooming flowers. However, you might also have the sense that something is missing but can't quite put your finger on what it might be. If this describes you, the missing element is probably hardscaping. Hardscaping refers to elements of landscaping that aren't plants, such as water features, statuary, gazebos and garden paths.

At its best, hardscaping brings functionality to the table as well as enhances aesthetics. Few things do this better than a rustic stone walkway meandering over the property. Here's how to make it happen yourself over the course of an average weekend. 

Select Your Stones

Stones used for walkways should be flat, wide and thick enough to withstand foot traffic. Choosing stone that is found naturally in your area cuts down on retail and delivery costs. Avoid using polished stones because these present potential slip-and-fall issues due to their slick surfaces. Stones that are between two and three inches thick offer better stability than their thinner counterparts and often come with a more attractive price tag as well. 

Lay Out Your Walkway

The first step is to determine your walkway. Avoid straight lines -- stone walkaways are meant to meander. Garden hoses are ideal for marking garden paths that curve. Use a sod cutter and a flat spade to cut and remove the grass, and dig out the soil where you want to place the stones to about a depth of five inches and make sure it's firmly tamped down before placing landscape fabric and adding a two-inch layer of sand over it. 

After smoothing down the sand so it provides a flat surface, it's time to lay down the stones. This part is a little like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, so take your time to figure out the placement. Be sure to use a carpenter's level to make certain that the stones are at the same height, and add or remove sand as needed. However, if you live in an area that receives significant amounts of precipitation, slightly sloping the larger stones toward the outside of your walkaway helps prevent standing water issues.

Landscape the Walkway

Some people prefer the clean, austere aesthetic of pebble or oyster shell mulch in the gaps between the stones, while others like the rustic, tousled look provided by low-growing herbaceous plants. Corsican mint is an excellent choice because it has a bright green color all year round and releases a divine, minty aroma. Other choices include creeping thyme, rock cress, artemisia and sedum. You can also mix it up with a variety of ground covers for a classic, cottage garden look. 




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Posted by Wendy Johnson on 12/18/2019

When you think of making improvements to your home, you probably often turn to the inside of your home to bring the value of your home up. The outside of your house provides the same type of opportunities and adds value at the same time. People not only like to live in the indoors of their homes, but the outdoors as well. Maximizing the outdoor space allows for entertainment opportunities and increased living space without maximum costs.


Spruce Up Your Garden And Landscapes


The landscape of your home is a revolving battle. You’ll need to continually maintain these areas of the home. Choose your plants based on the climate you live in. Keep the grass looking green, or plant a drought-tolerant yard. Adding trees for shade, shrubbery for beauty, and other types of plants not only helps increase the curb appeal of your home, but plants and trees can lower energy bills and keep your home cool at the same time.      



Build An Outdoor Space


Building something like a deck or a patio to your home can really be effective at adding living space and value to your home. Whether you decide to go all out and attach a deck to your home for you to step out on, or do things a little more simply and pave a patio, you’ll find a return on your investment. Most homeowners look for a nice outdoor space to hang out on, so this improvement can make a big difference. 


Curb Appeal Matters


The curb appeal of your home is what it looks like when people pull up tot he front of the house. Having a better looking home from the outside can increase the value of your home and the future appeal it has to buyers. Your home will be more inviting by doing improvements like repaving the driveway or adding a stone wall. Whatever you think the front of your home needs to make it more inviting should be done not only if you’re planning on selling your home, but for your own enjoyment as well. 


Add Other Touches


There are certain luxuries in a yard that can make a big difference. Add a small waterfall or a fountain to add a lot to a yard. Along with your deck or patio area, you should also consider adding a fire pit or an outdoor fireplace. These items attract people for their immense enjoyment. The design doesn’t even need to be elaborate. These can be some of the biggest, yet most inexpensive improvements that you can make to your yard. 


Remember that no matter how you want to spruce up your yard, it’s all about enjoyment and the ability to make use your yard. Add the personal touches that you know will make your yard special and purposeful.




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Posted by Wendy Johnson on 6/12/2019

Choosing outdoor furniture for your home can be a challenging task. You might not even know where to start. What type of furniture do you need? What colors should you choose? The process doesn’t have to be overwhelming. If you take it step by step, and look at your own needs, the process will be easier for you. 


Pick Your Colors


The outdoors have a bit more flexibility than the indoors of your home. There are no wall colors to worry about, only the natural landscape and the shade of your deck. You can choose from a spectrum of colors to suit the feel you want to create in your outdoor space. Color will provide everything from a fun party atmosphere to a classy, refined outdoor space. Don’t be afraid to mix and match as well.


The Outdoors Are Your Indoors


If you have the style of your home down to a science, don’t be afraid to carry that look over to the outside of your home. You can use the same types of fabric textures and colors. Keep in mind that you’ll want a more durable fabric since your furniture may be exposed to the elements. 


Use the same design principles outdoors that you would with your indoor furniture. If you have an outdoor fireplace, for example, you can use that as a focal point to gather your furniture around. Don’t be afraid to have a setup similar to that of your living room including a coffee table, sofa-like chair, and other cozy seating.       


Keep It Visually Stimulating


Just like the inside of your home, the outside of your home is also a reflection of your personality. You can embrace the feeling of fun, bright colors, and contrasting shades. Use what makes you happy and the rest of the design will fall into place! 


Remember one of the simplest design principles when designing your outdoor space- use throw pillows! Throw pillows can add so much to a space. Find colors that bring out the best in your outdoor furniture and desired color patterns. When it comes to the outdoors, know that the bolder you go, the better your space will be! 


Forget The Rules


Your outdoor space is a place where you can just “forget the rules.” Go with what feels right for you. The outdoor space is less “stuffy” than the indoors. Not that the inside of your home isn’t comfortable, but the outdoors is a place where an “anything goes” attitude can really work for you.




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Posted by Wendy Johnson on 7/25/2018

If you’re looking to take your outdoor space to the next level this summer season there are some simple changes that you can do to bring your yard to a “wow” level. 


Use Lighting In Unique Ways


You can really bring visual interest to your backyard by using lighting in unique ways. Think of adding accent lights to walls near the outdoor space (depending upon how it’s enclosed). You can also add hanging lights using a fixture like a pergola or umbrella over a table. This is not only a great way to get outdoor night lighting, but a way to define your space as well. 


Use Defining Features


As mentioned above, a pergola or even an umbrella is a great way to define the outdoor space that you have. It will also be a welcome feature to have overhead shade covering for hot summer days. The lighting that you add to these spaces will allow you to use your outdoor area the whole day through with comfort and style. 


Think Of Building Up


If the outdoor space that you have is limited, you might want to consider building up. You can make levels of sorts with your yard. This would include adding something like a cement fixture or a wooden deck. While these types of improvements aren’t exactly cheap, they can add to your backyard and give the sense that your outdoor space is bigger than it really is.


Make A Focal Point


If you have a great feature in your yard that provides a great point of vision, you want to make use of it. Be it a fireplace, a fish pond, or something else that your eyes are drawn to, you should place your tables and chairs around this point in order to create an impression. 


Make Privacy A Priority


In your yard, you want to make privacy a priority. Whether you add bushes, build a physical wall, or put up some fencing, you don’t want your neighbors to be able to see what’s happening on your property at all times. These features will also help to define the space even more.        


Use The Indoors For Inspiration


Your outdoor oasis can be a reflection of the style that you have on the inside of your home. Just because you’re outside, doesn’t mean that everything has to be different. Create a living area complete with tables, chairs, and even an outdoor kitchen if you have the resources. Convenience is key outside, since you don’t want to be running in and out of the house while entertaining and enjoying the outdoors. Be sure to complete your patio with accents like throw pillows and even outdoor table lamps to finish the look.




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