Best Picks for Patio Umbrellas

Spring into Summer with a new patio umbrella to keep cool

Spring is in full bloom, and the weather is beginning to warm. As we move through spring and into summer, expect temperatures to hit all-time highs. When you need a break from the heat, a patio umbrella, like the Tucci umbrella, is the absolute must-have for supreme outdoor living. The right umbrella provides an abundance of shade while also adding a splash of style to your backyard.

Aside from appearances, there are several factors to consider when selecting the right patio umbrella for your outdoor needs. The size, material of the canopy, the umbrella’s foundation, and operating mechanism are all factors to consider before investing. 

Initial Considerations

When it comes to selecting the best patio umbrella for your space, there are several factors to consider. Determine the size you need first. The size of your umbrella will determine the type of base you’ll need to keep it stable in different weather conditions. Umbrellas range in size from five feet in diameter to fifteen feet or more. Ask yourself, “What will my umbrella provide shade for in my outdoor area?”

Next, decide which umbrella style is best for your space and lifestyle. Street umbrellas, cantilever umbrellas, rectangular umbrellas, and umbrellas with lights are the popular styles to consider. Think about all the features that matter to you, as you might find several styles that offer all you are looking for and more.

You’ll need a few accessories once you’ve decided on the size and design of your patio umbrella. Most outdoor umbrellas do not have bases, so you’ll have to purchase one separately. You’ll want to secure your investment with an umbrella cover if your outdoor space gets a lot of direct sunlight or excessive rain. Weather-resistant umbrella covers usually have zippers or Velcro for added protection and only cover the fabric umbrella (not the stand or base). Covers range in price from $15 to $75, making them a worthy addition to your umbrella purchase.

Types of Umbrellas

There are two main types of umbrellas to choose from.

Market Models: This is a traditional upright patio umbrella. Market umbrellas are the most popular patio umbrella design on the market. Most models have a vented canopy, which allows a slight breeze to pass through without raising the umbrella off the ground. They feature a central stand that connects to the canopy through several support bars. A tilt feature is available on some market umbrellas, allowing you to change the frame’s upper portion to keep the shade focused precisely where you want it. Market umbrellas are a perfect way to provide shade for a patio table, outdoor kitchen, or small seating area. 

Cantilever: Also known as “offset umbrellas,” these models have a canopy offset from the base by an arching frame. This feature means the umbrella base won’t get in the way of your deck chairs or entertaining outdoor area. When the sun moves from east to west, a tilted model helps keep the shadow from being cast. The arched design of these umbrellas makes them suitable for open spaces. The canopy will loom directly over the seating area if the stand is off to the side.

Of these types, there are two distinctive features that further separate umbrella models.

Lift: There are three different types of lifts: manual, pulley, and crank. When selecting a lift method, think about how much you’ll need to take the umbrella down. Manual lift patio umbrellas, for example, take more effort to work than a pulley, while crank lift umbrellas are the simplest to use.

Tilt: Patio umbrellas with tilt options adapt to the sun’s angle during the day for more versatility. If you’re constantly shifting your chair to escape the heat, the tilt option on your umbrella is just what you need. Tilting the canopy is simple and can be achieved using the following methods: collar and auto, manual, rotational, or push. All of these strategies take minimal effort for the user.

These umbrellas mostly come in one of two variants.

Table: Table umbrellas are models that are meant to run through the middle of a table. Some tables have them built-in as one unit, though most aren’t to allow flexibility and ease with which to replace your umbrella.

Freestanding: A freestanding design might be better if you want your umbrella to provide shade on a different part of your patio, such as over poolside lounge chairs. It’s also possible that you don’t want a pole to obstruct your patio table. With freestanding umbrellas, you can use a table entirely for food preparation or gameplay.

Umbrella Size

The size of a patio umbrella is one of the most important considerations when purchasing one. If it’s too tall, it’ll look bulky and out of place; it won’t provide enough shade if it’s too small. The amount of shade your area will get is determined by the size of your umbrella. Consider how much shade you’d like and how much room you have. It won’t look or feel good to clutter your patio with an overly large umbrella.

It’s important to note that umbrella dimensions apply to the canopy’s width when wholly extended, not the height. Although umbrella widths vary, the height should be no less than seven feet and no more than nine feet when completely raised. The recommendations below will assist you in choosing the right umbrella for your needs.

  • A 5-foot to 6-foot umbrella provides the perfect cover for a bistro set with two chairs.
  • If you want to shade a 36-inch table with two to four chairs, you’ll need a 7-foot umbrella.
  • Are you looking to shade a 40-inch table with four to six chairs or a small conversation area? A 7.5-foot to 8.5-foot umbrella is your best bet.
  • For tables up to 48 inches or small-to-medium conversation areas, you’ll need a 9-foot to 10-foot umbrella.
  • An 11-foot umbrella is suitable for a 60-inch table with six chairs or a medium-sized conversation area.
  • For an extensive conversation area or a 60-to-72-inch table, choose an umbrella that’s 11.5 to 13-feet across.

Your umbrella pole’s height is also critical; you want it to be high enough to be out of the way but not so high that it loses its purpose. Eight-foot-tall poles are the most popular, but there are other choices. Consider the height of your head. A minimum of 7-foot umbrellas is recommended. If necessary, extend the table width by an additional 2 feet on each side. For example, if you have a 4-foot round table, look for an umbrella with an 8-foot diameter.

Umbrella Materials

The best way to pick an umbrella is to match your exterior aesthetics or complement the furniture your umbrella would be covering.

Construction Materials: Aluminum, wood, and fiberglass are the three most popular materials for umbrella frames.

  • Aluminum umbrella frames are the most common choice because they are the least costly, withstand a wide range of weather conditions, bend enough to withstand moderate winds, and are lightweight.
  • Teak and other hardwoods make lovely frames that look particularly good on a wooden deck. While treated to prevent rot and weather damage, outdoor wood tends to fade or change color over time and is more likely than metal to snap in high winds.
  • The most expensive choice is fiberglass, but it is also the most durable. This solid, lightweight material will not rust or weather, and it will perform well even in high winds. If you live in a windy place, consider a fiberglass style rather than an aluminum one.

Fabrics: Choose a fabric that can withstand the elements. The umbrella’s fabric must be strong enough to withstand the heat, rain, wind, and cold. Sunbrella, a standard fabric used by many manufacturers, is one of the most popular. This durable acrylic fabric is available in a wide variety of colors and patterns and can withstand almost any environmental condition without fading. Polyester, canvas, unbranded acrylic, and Olefin are all durable materials that can be used outside. Please pay careful attention to the umbrella’s fabric, as it must be weather-resistant to both heavy sun and rain.

Bases and Stands

Even if the umbrella is centered through your patio table, it takes a heavy base to prevent it from falling over or flying away. Failure to protect your umbrella increases the likelihood of it being destroyed, as well as the risk of injury.

Umbrella bases are mostly made of stone, iron, or concrete, but some less costly bases are hollow plastic that must be filled with sand or water. Some umbrella bases have small wheels, which come in handy if you need to drive your umbrella around.

The heavier the base, the bigger the umbrella, and cantilever models require much more weight than market variants. Some umbrellas come with a foundation, while others require you to buy one separately. For reference:

  • 40 pounds for 5-to-6-foot umbrellas
  • 50 pounds for 7.5-to-8.5-foot umbrellas
  • 60 pounds for 9-foot umbrellas
  • 70 pounds for 10-foot umbrellas
  • 100 pounds for 11-to13-foot umbrellas

An appropriate umbrella base is required; don’t be fooled into thinking that securing it to a table would suffice. Umbrella bases not only help keep umbrellas straight in strong winds, but they also help keep them straight in sunny weather.

Look for the biggest base you can find for umbrellas larger than 10 feet. Make sure the base is made to match your umbrella’s pole. To get the best fit, speak directly to your umbrella manufacturer.

Go here to shop for elite treasure garden umbrellas

Replacement Slings for Your Patio Chairs

Tackle this DIY project as you prepare for Summer

As we get ready for summer, it’s an excellent time to consider upgrading to luxury patio furniture brands sold by All American Outdoor Living. But if you have a sling-back chair that has seen better days, you can use this DIY guide to save you money and refresh your chairs.

1. Remove the old plastic end caps on the patio sling rail

First and foremost, you need to disassemble your patio sling chair to install the new sling fabric. Remove the plastic end caps (plastic covers over the sling rails) from both ends of the sling rails with a flat head screwdriver or pliers. When removing your old end caps, be careful because they are often dry, brittle, and easy to crack. Take care not to damage them (you’ll need to remove them from both ends of the sling rails). Matching plastic caps can be difficult to locate depending on the manufacturer and color of your frames.

2. Remove the old sling material and spreader bars

It can be challenging to get the slings out of the rails at times. If the old slings are very old and have spent a lot of time in the sun, the plastic splines will be very brittle and rigid and will possibly break in chunks when you attempt to slide the old sling out of the rail. You’ll find that the new slings and splines are a breeze to install, particularly when compared to removing the old ones.

Remove each side of the old sling by slitting the fabric in the center. Cutting the old patio sling down the middle with a kitchen knife or heavy-duty scissors is the best way to get rid of it. Unbolt both sling rails before continuing if you don’t want to break your old slings by cutting them in half. The spreader bars, which are metal bars placed between the sling posts, must also be removed.

The sling sometimes becomes wedged inside the sling rail. Break the sling free by moving it back inside the sling rail with both hands. The fabric and plastic sling rod have been wedged up to the top of the rail opening due to the body’s weight lying on the old patio sling fabric.

This occurrence, combined with dirt and debris, gives the sling fabric’s edge the appearance of being glued in place. Spray some watered-down dish soap along the entire length of the sling rail to help loosen the sling and cloth. Allow the soapy mixture to work its magic for a few minutes. It takes some time to soak into the rail and dissolve the dirt and oils attached to the cloth.

There’s no need to preserve the sling rod or spline made out of plastic. As part of the kit, your new patio chair slings should come with a new supple sling rod. It’s doubtful that you’ll be able to reuse your old sling spline because it’s too dry and brittle. Re-threading the spline into the sewn rod pocket of your new replacement slings might be challenging.

The rusty, filthy fabric can easily slip out the sling rail’s bottom end. Grasp the sling with your hands or pliers and pull it away from the sling rail. Someone can keep the patio sling chair in place while someone else removes the old fabric from the rail.

If the old patio sling fabric is stubborn and won’t come free from the sling rail, use a flat head screwdriver to pry it loose. With the flat end of the screwdriver, force the patio sling fabric into the sling rail.

3. Remove the bolts from the rails

The plastic rod or spline threaded through the rod pockets on your new patio sling is held in place by the sling rails, which also support the edges of the new patio sling fabric. Bolts can secure one or both of the sling rails to the patio sling chair frame’s main body. The bolts are threaded into the chair frame via the sling rail. Remove all bolts (usually 4-6) from the patio chair frame with the required method.

Spray the bolts with a penetrating oil if they’re proving difficult to extract (Liquid Wrench, NAPA 6300). The oil would loosen any rust or corrosion on the bolt. Allow at least an hour for the oil to soak before continuing. Bolts and other hardware should be saved for reinstallation. It’s a safe idea to repair the bolts if they’re bent or rusted.

The bolt should not be forced out of the frame. You run the risk of snapping the bolts and potentially stripping out the threaded inserts, requiring additional frame repairs.

4. Take measurements for the new sling

To measure for new slings, take the width measurement while the old slings are still on, and measure the two rails from outside channel to outside channel (click for example) to the nearest 1/4″. The length of the old sling may generally be removed. We seldom use the width calculation by just measuring old slings after they’ve been replaced because we’ve noticed that the old slings are usually stretched or broken, and if new slings are the same width as the removed sling, they’re too loose. When ordering slings, always specify the width first, followed by the weight (width” x length”).

4. Insert the Sling Spline or Plastic Sling Rod

The new splines must first be mounted in the new slings’ side hems that fit into the sling rails. Feed the spline from one end, and it should feed all the way through. The new replacement slings are usually shipped without the plastic sling rod or sling spline installed.

Insert the sling spline into each side of the sling. The sling spline will be longer than necessary; do not trim away the excess until later in the installation process. If you are having trouble inserting the sling spline, try sharpening the end in a pencil sharpener. Insert the pencil into the opposite end of the sling or the end you are pushing toward. The pencil or pen will be pushed out in the future by the sling spline and not caught on the inner hem.

6. Replace sling fabric and spline into the sling rails

Ensure the rails are in the same place as when they were removed before slipping the sling into the rail. Slide the fabric through the sling rails, keeping the tag at the top of the chair to separate the top from the sling’s bottom.

Place one side of the sling into one of the sling rails (but not both) — then remove the sling rail entirely from the chair frame after the sling is mounted on one side — then install the new sling into the other sling rail that is still on the chair frame. 

Last but not least, reattach the loose sling rail to the chair frame. By carefully gripping the ends of the fabric near the ends of the sling rail and gently tugging as you tighten the sling rail to the edge, you can progressively draw the material close to the ends of the sling rails.

7. Reinstall the bolts

Attach the sling rails to the chair frame with the newly mounted sling. Line up the holes and tighten all of the bolts with your fingers. Do not tighten the bolts all the way. You want to work your way around the chair and tighten each bolt a little bit at a time so the bolts tighten into the sling rails at the same rate. Do not fully tighten the bolts at this time. 

Pull the sling until it is even with both sling rails, starting at the bottom of the chair. Tighten just the two bottom bolts until the sling is flush with BOTH sling rails. This action will hold the sling’s bottom in place and secure.

8. Stretch the sling material

Stretch the fabric upward to remove any wrinkles left in the bend of the seat. To stretch and pull the material through the sling rails, use a pair of pliers. Take care not to tear the fabric by of your sling chaise lounge by pulling too hard.

Since the fabric tends to slip back down the sling rail, it may be beneficial to use a pair of clamps to keep it in place. If you don’t have clamps, having someone to assist you with this move might be beneficial. Place your back against the chair. Stretch the sling upward to the edge of the sling rail with pliers until both the fabric and the sling rail are even. Using clamps or having someone keep the sling in place while you tighten the remaining bolts is a good idea at this stage. The sling should now be snug and wrinkle-free.

9. Reinstall the spreader bars

Installing a new sling and reassembling a chair is not difficult, but reinstalling the spreader bars can be challenging at times.

The spreader bar aims to hold the sling fabric taut. Spreader bars must be reinstalled if your chair came with them. Turn your chair sideways, taking care not to scratch the handles. Try bending the spreader bar just enough over your knee to allow it to fit into position. If you cannot turn the spreader bar, a spreader tool will be needed to spread the slings rails apart, allowing room for the spreader bar.

To avoid wrinkles in the fabric where the sling rails bend more sharply, the slings must also be extended in length. Pull at the sling ends nearest to the sling rail with the vise grips clamped on the thread (loosen the sling rail from the frame). Take extra caution here, as ripping the fabric is very easy if you pull too hard. Even the manufacturer has been known to tear the new sling during this phase, forcing them to discard it and try again with a new sling, so be extremely cautious. A few wrinkles won’t damage the fabric or its work, but a ripped sling can be incredibly inconvenient.

10. Trim excess spline and reinstall the end caps

Cut all excess sling spline with scissors, utility knife, or cutting, pliers, then gently tap end caps back onto sling rails with a rubber mallet. 

Voila! You have successfully replaced your patio chair slings in time for the warm months ahead.

A Practical Buyer’s Guide to Commercial Outdoor Furniture

An industry-specific guide for purchasing outdoor furniture for your commercial space

Many of our clients are business owners, and as you know, maximizing every inch of your commercial space is essential to your operation’s bottom line. With the coronavirus, outdoor space has become a premium commodity for restaurants and other customer-facing businesses. Putting your outdoor space to practical use is no longer a luxury you can afford to ignore. 

While fighting the spread of COVID-19, numerous restaurants have transitioned sections of their entrance, sidewalk, waiting areas and parking lots into dining areas for guests. Considering the circumstances, businesses that invest in upgrading their outdoor patio furniture will see higher customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. 

Having a warm and inviting exterior atmosphere is also vital for businesses that are not merely responding to the pandemic’s constraints. Lovely decorated and furnished outdoor spaces can bring people together for business, socialization, dining, and more. This article will give you a brief guide on what to look for when buying outdoor furniture for your commercial spaces. 

What Makes a Good Piece of Outdoor Furniture?

You will, in practical terms, consider several factors when deciding on the right outdoor furniture and decor for your business. If this is your first time purchasing outdoor furniture for commercial use, you’ll want to start slow and add on as you go. The goal at this stage will be to install the essentials and then see how your customers respond. Based on their feedback, you’ll then be able to add more decor, extra non-essential furniture, and other finishing touches.

The most important thing is NOT to use your indoor furniture outside. The majority of indoor furniture is not weatherproofed and will fall apart quickly with outdoor use, adding unnecessary additional costs. If you are converting your business operations in the face of the pandemic, don’t make this easily avoidable mistake. 

Here are few things to consider as you browse the online furniture catalogs.

Climate: Factoring in your local weather conditions is incredibly important to conducting business outdoors. Suppose you live in an area with consistent rainfall. In that case, you’ll want to play accordingly with overhead awnings, umbrellas, heaters, etc. Look for furniture that is made of weather-resistant materials, such as wood, plastic, or resin. Avoid metal furniture unless you live in a predominantly sunny and dry climate. 

Portability: Even if you purchase weatherproof furniture, you’ll likely be bringing some or all of it indoors at the end of your operational hours. Consider this when making your selections, as heavy furniture could be a hassle to move back and forth daily. You may also want to consider purchasing chairs that can be stacked to save space. 

Size of Your Outdoor Space: How big is the outdoor space you are trying to furnish? It’s a simple question, but that answer will guide a lot of your final decisions. In practical terms, you should measure the space for actual square footage to know how much you can fit in your area. It would help if you also tried to visualize your area with specific and enough free space for everyone to walk through easily. 

Operation and Use: What does your business do? Your furniture needs will be based around tables, chairs, and comfortable seating if you are a restaurant. If your company operates in large open spaces, maybe you are in the market for benches or community picnic tables. Take into account your business’s specific operations and how you can factor outdoor customer comfort into them. 

Choose the Right Materials

As we touched on lightly above, the material you choose for your outdoor furniture is critical. Investing in the right material will give your furniture longevity. Weather is an essential consideration as it determines how durable your furniture needs to be. Lightweight metal furniture will serve customers much better in hotter climates rather than it will customers in a snowbelt. 

Another consideration for furniture material is the ease with which it can be cleaned. Some ultra-luxurious furniture will demand more time and attention to clean than some simpler designs. If you are not keen on constant cleaning, lean toward furniture that is a single piece and does not have cushions. 

Lastly, you’ll want to consider design preferences and your budget. Outdoor furniture can be quite expensive, especially if you have extravagant tastes. Your business will dictate what is right for you in this area, but a budget-conscious business can do a lot with minimalistic furniture and decor. Let’s take a look at some of the most common materials and their pros and cons. First up, the metals:

Steel: Steel furniture and tables are a popular choice for outdoor establishments that don’t plan to move their furniture inside regularly. It’s heavy, making it a great choice if you don’t want your furniture to get up and walk away on you overnight. Powder-coated steel is a smart option that comes in several colors and pattern styles. Just stay on top of your regular maintenance, especially after inclement weather, and your steel furniture will last for years to come.

Iron: Similar to steel, iron is a durable and heavy material. It is an excellent investment for furniture that will have a long life. Iron is weighty and hard to steel, and contrary to popular belief, it is not that difficult to maintain to avoid rust and corrosion.

Aluminum: Lightweight, durable, and affordable. Aluminum is an excellent option for budget-conscious buyers and is widely used by manufacturers. It is resistant to corrosion and rust and is one of the few metals used in rainy or humid climates. Cleaning aluminum furniture is very quick and easy. Aluminum also won’t corrode and is often offered in several styles and finishes. 

If metal options are undesirable for your climate or operation, consider one of the following:

Resin and Plastic: Resin is the modern choice and a great one. Durable, long-lasting, resistant to staining, fading, and scratching, this material is an all-star. Usually made of plastic, resin furniture is attractive to the eye and the wallet. If you live in a wet climate or near a body of water, resin furniture is your best bet.

Fake Wood: You’ll notice that real wood did not make it onto our recommended materials list. While wood is affordable, abundant, and fits many business aesthetics, we consider it a poor investment in the long run. Wood has the tendency to warp, rot, and splinter if exposed to the weather for too long. Wood is also heavy and not easy to move quickly. Therefore, if you are going for a wood-look, consider faux-wood. 

Fake wood options offer the elegant look for a wooden piece of furniture, with none of the upkeep’s stress. These materials are very professional-looking and can be cleaned or sanitized quickly, making them an excellent option for restaurants with high customer turnover. Fake wood furniture can easily be spruced up with cushions to make them more attractive and comfortable.

Selecting Your Style

Your furniture’s material is essential, but the design and style will speak volumes about your business. If you are a local bar, your outdoor furniture can be less expensive and kitschy. If you are an upscale restaurant, you might want to consider something with a bit more pomp. Select the right style of furniture for your business by focusing on the following advice:

Camouflage: If you are unsure how to style your outdoor space, let nature be your guide. Customers enjoy the feeling of nature, even if it isn’t a natural setting, when outside. If you add an element such as a space heater, see if it can be placed somewhere discreetly or incorporated into the design of the space. Lean toward furniture that fits around your natural environment and tone. 

Branding: Just because you are outside do not mean you should abandon your regular branding efforts. If you can customize the color of your tabletops or chair cushions, do it. Customers appreciate knowing they are still getting the same quality experience even though they are outside. You may also consider investing in some outdoor branded materials, such as signage, hanging decor, etc.

Decor: Lean into the fact that you are outside by adding elements of nature. Bring in plants, flowers, or even allow animals on-site if possible. Some businesses may even be able to accommodate people’s pets in ways they were not previously able to. Consider setting up a water bowl or keep doggy treats on hand for customers. Little things like this will make the customer feel that you’ve gone above and beyond.

Consistency: Stay consistent with your outdoor furniture purchases. If you start in one material and color, stay in the realm of that original choice. Treat your decor choices outside the same as if you were decorating the inside.

In summary, look for furniture that is durable to the weather, easy to clean, lightweight to be moved, matches your branding, and elegant wherever possible. Follow this guide, and you will find the perfect commercial outdoor furniture for your business.

For more information on commercial patio furniture, please contact us or visit our showroom.

Winter Patio Heating Solutions

After this unrelenting year of the coronavirus lockdown, many people have taken their personal outdoor spaces as a refuge from always being inside. With the home now serving as your residence and place of business, upgrades and remodels to maximize space have become a top priority. If you happen to live in a climate with colder weather, using your outdoor space year-round is not always an option. However, with proper equipment, furniture, and decor, you can turn even the coldest backyard into a warm and inviting space. Let’s look at how to furnish and warm your outdoor space properly.

Before You Buy

There are many considerations to take into account before making a purchase or commitment to an outdoor heating source. As with any investment, it is essential to do your research and then discuss it with a professional. This is a type of purchase that you’ll want to put the thought in n and get right the first time.

Before you buy, consider the location of the heat source. Ask yourself if there is enough space for the device you want and if it can be operated safely. Make sure to look up and check for what is above your potential heat source to avoid potential fire hazards. Also, consider the weather and if you’ll need to store your heating device during inclement weather. Lastly, factor your budget upfront to have a realistic idea of what you are getting into financially.

Fire Up the Backyard

One of the most idyllic and affordable ways to heat your backyard is using a fire source. It could be a fire pit, a built-in fireplace, or even something less traditional like a pizza oven. Your fuel choice can also impact how much your outdoor heating costs you and should be determined not only by local laws and codes. Check with your city or county for any ordinances you need to be mindful of, such as wood-burning laws and performance standards (the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also provides information and links to many regional ordinances and regulations). Generally, though, the most environmentally-friendly choices are butane or gas, which both need to be hooked up by a professional.

Fire Pits: Arguably the most popular modern fire-based heating source, fire pits earn their reputation by being easy to use, affordable, and in some cases, portable. Fire pits come in a wide variety of styles and can be simple or very complex, even decorative if you desire. Fire pits are highly customizable and can be made to fit any decor or available space in your yard. A popular trend in modern design has been to use concrete for outdoor features, and this has translated very well to the world of fire pits.

Fire Tables: If your yard is not large enough or a permanent pit doesn’t appeal to you, consider an alternative option in a fire table. These outdoor tables come in all shapes and sizes, from coffee tables to full-sized dining tables, and feature a gas-lit fire pit in the center. These options are practical in more than one way and are very aesthetically pleasing, not to mention a great way to make s’mores with family and friends. Fire pits and fire tables are also made in nearly all common outdoor materials, so you can get one that matches your needs and home decor.

Traditional Fireplace: A more permanent solution to outdoor heating is to have a custom fireplace built. As with any construction project, this can be simple or too elaborate, depending on your goals and budget. Even a simple fireplace will add value to your property and is a safe way to experience a traditional fire for warmth. Fireplaces can be fueled traditionally with wood or built with a gas-line for easy and quick use. Make sure to consider all exterior surroundings for potential fire hazards when installing your fireplace. Avoid areas with low-hanging trees, wooden structures above, large shrubbery, or plants. If you want to be considerate, consider the wind and airflow’s expected direction so that you don’t end up blowing smoke into your neighbor’s homes.

Chimineas: Also known as a portable fireplace, chimineas are a hot item as of late. Popularity for these items has surged due to the combination of the pandemic and social media. The good news is that these are the most affordable option on the market in terms of fireplaces. Stylish looking and functional, chimineas are a great way to heat even the smallest of outdoor spaces. These are also great options for homeowners who want a longer-term solution but don’t want to invest in a full fireplace because they blend in and look more permanent than they are.

Cooking Appliances: If you are willing to think outside the box about how you heat your patio, consider installing a pizza oven or large grill in your backyard. Not only will these appliances put off a ton of excess heat (especially the pizza oven), but you get to warm your outdoor space and cook delicious food at the same time! As they say, “two birds, one stone.” These appliances are also great for causing social gatherings and can be built to match and elevate your outdoor decor.

Alternative Outdoor Heating Sources

If messing with live fire is not for you, consider a safer option in an electrically-powered heating source.

Propane Lamp Patio Heaters: Commonly found on restaurant patios or in hotel common- areas, propane patio heaters are a popular and affordable solution for heating your backyard. A few strategically placed heaters could provide heat for your whole backyard social gathering. These perform well on porches, patios, and decks alike. Often equipped with wheels, these lamp-like devices are portable and easily stored in the warmer months.

The most significant benefit of these heat lamps is their immediate effect on the environment. Often activated with a one-button push, these heaters can quickly come up to temperature and directly impact the cold. These devices are not recommended for outdoor spaces that are covered or have low airflow.

Space Heaters: A more personal solution to outdoor heating is to use a personal space heater. More commonly used indoors, these devices are still functional outdoors. While significantly less efficient, a personal space heater placed in front of you can be the perfect companion while you read a book or enjoy a cup of tea on a cold evening.

Luxurious Heating Solutions

While these might not be options for everyone, they are significant considerations for those who have room in their budget to splurge on a luxurious heating source.

Heated Floors: Typically seen in a bathroom, heated floors are gaining popularity in modern home designs. What’s trending now is the implementation and use of heated floors for outdoor patios. Not only are heated floors great for warming up your backyard environment, but they are also great for melting snow and keeping surfaces from becoming icy. If your budget allows, these radiant heating solutions are the pinnacle of luxury and function.

Spas and Hot Tubs: Allow me to paint a romantic picture for you. It’s a cold winter or spring evening, and the stars are shining above as you relax in a perfectly heated hot tub. Of course, there is champagne and caviar next to you as classical music plays, with your butler standing by to refill your drink. Well, the butler and champagne part might be a dream, but the rest could very much be your life if you invest in a spa or hot tub for your backyard. Traditional pools or hot tubs can be a large construction project, but a simple above-ground spa is simple to install. Just make sure to have a warm robe and slippers to wear out of the hot tub, or it will be a cold journey back inside.

Simple Outdoor Heating Solutions

Not all outdoor heating options have to be fire or electricity-based. Sometimes, simple solutions are the best for your needs.

Outdoor Rugs: Give your outdoor space an added comfort underfoot, all while standing up to cold weather. At All American Outdoor Living, we feature incredibly durable, low maintenance, and beautiful, all-weather outdoor rugs that are the perfect addition for any patio, deck, or porch. The simple addition of a carpet can dramatically reduce the cold from the ground and create a

much more comfortable and enjoyable outdoor environment. Rugs are also a great way to improve your exterior decor or express yourself creatively. Avoid rugs that are shag-like or have too many long fibers, or cleaning it will be a nightmare.

Blankets and Throws: Maybe the most straightforward solution on our list is the humble blanket. Blankets and fancy throws can be used to spruce up the look of outdoor furniture and can keep you warm while enjoying your patio all year long.

Pro Tip: Toss your blankets and throws into the dryer for a few minutes before going outside for bonus warmth and comfort.

Redesigning Your Backyard Patio for 2021

Outdoor living trends for the new year

2020 was a heck of a year. It is a year that forced many people to stay at home for lengths previously unheard of in our modern times. It caused many of us to reconsider our interior and exterior spaces at home to maximize comfort and utility in the face of this nationwide lockdown. People across the United States learned how to work from their homes’ comfort and maximize their outdoor space for convenience and entertainment. 2020 saw an incredible surge in home improvements, renovations, and outdoor expansions. 

Both last year and now in 2021, our collective patios, gardens, porches, and yards (both front and back) have come to serve an even greater purpose than they did before. These spaces have functioned as our places of refuge, our at-home gymnasiums, and even our offices where we work from home. 

While it is hard to stay positive in the face of the global pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus, there are some dark clouds with a silver lining. These events have forced us to pursue lifestyles that are more sustainable, practical, and humble. It has taught us the value and importance of our physical and mental health and genuinely balancing work and play from home.

While it is exciting that vaccines are beginning to roll out in 2021, judging by the current state of things, our outdoor spaces will likely continue to be our primary spaces for work, family socialization, and relaxation. This article will discuss some popular new trends for those still looking to improve or expand their outdoor living space.

Creating an Outdoor Space for Year-Round Use

Considering how accustomed we have become to life at home, it is not a stretch to imagine that the majority of people will be continuing to utilize their outdoor area in the coming year. To make the most of your outdoor space, it is essential to weatherproof your furniture and equipment to be usable all year long. You can take several steps or gadgets you can invest in to make your space functional regardless of the time of year or weather conditions.

As you may have heard in the news, medical supplies and protective gear have been in short supply since the beginning of the pandemic. We have also seen shortages of certain foodstuffs and manufactured goods. Possibly the strangest (yet logical) of the many supply shortages that we faced during the fight against COVID-19 was the nationwide outdoor heater shortage. 

As the virus raged on into summer and then into fall, many of us realized our holiday gatherings would be on hiatus if we didn’t figure out how to keep a large open space warm in the dead of winter. These units are becoming available again just as we begin to leave the winter season, but the smart homeowner will invest these preemptively for the colder months ahead.

Expect more significant investment in products that make our patios, balconies, and backyards more livable in extreme temperatures. Heat lamps and fire pits are a great option to snuggle up to. There are so many types of fire pits that you can easily find a style that works well for your outdoors. Several strategically placed outdoor rugs can do a ton of heavy lifting when reducing the chill from the ground. As for the hotter months, we love retractable shade fixtures, such as umbrellas and shade sails, to repel the afternoon sun. Drop-down screens can be installed to enclose patio spaces and help fend off insects. Fans are also a huge help, whether it’s bringing an indoor fan outside for a breeze or installing a ceiling fan outdoors.

Green Thumb Gardeners

Gardening as a hobby has become dramatically more prevalent during this time of lockdown. People took to gardening to pass the time, save money on produce, and brighten their outdoor space with living plants. Gardens are an excellent investment and require less upkeep than you might think. They are fantastic to have year-round and can serve as a great educational tool for parents with children at home. 

Make sure to grow to produce in season, and you will be eating fresh and healthy all year round. Plant beets, broccoli, cabbage, kale, and other hardy veggies as soon as the soil is workable. Once you’re sure the last of winter’s frost is over, your options widen. Lettuce, radishes, carrots, and string beans are all easy to grow outside of winter. By spring, it’s time to turn over those veggie boxes with our favorites: melons, tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash for some of the best outdoor meals you’ve ever made.

Composting and Self-Sustaining Gardens: Composting is a hot topic right now, and the availability of community composting programs awareness and participation has increased. Composting helps reduce landfill waste and helps decrease the amount of trash sent to landfills by 80 percent. Composting creates a “superfood” for your garden and can help your plants sustain themselves. The best part of composting is that it’s free and efficient.  People and communities that compost will rise as sustainability become a greater priority across the globe.

Some scientists believe that a collective increase in at-home gardening across the globe will have small yet noticeable benefits to the environment. Gardens can play a small role within the greater scope of the climate but counted together, every outdoor space in the urban environment can cumulatively make significant strides. That means property owners and renters can make environmentally responsible choices in the process of conceiving and constructing their gardens.

Some of his best tips for cultivating a sustainable garden include setting up a drip irrigation system with a rain sensor to water your plants, avoiding using toxic materials and chemicals to help your plants grow, covering bare soil with green mulch, opting for a diversity of plant species, and going with perennials over annuals when possible. Sustain wildlife and maintain a habitat-friendly garden for birds and pollinators.

Residential Gardens for City Folk: Creating a dynamic outdoor space doesn’t have to be limited by your lack of square footage — it just requires a bit more forethought. Gardening on balconies can do wonders for our mental health, as well as give us a new (and manageable) hobby in 2021. Taking advantage of outside walls is a beautiful way to inject color into space with more plants—or even a nature-inspired mural. Editing is the key in all good design, and allowing one or two areas to be unused can make a small city garden appear larger. Strategize where to place pops of color to make the most of your small but mighty space.

When selecting plants for city growth, try to incorporate native plants into your garden. Native plants are best because they provide benefits for regional birds and insects. They are often more suited to the local soils and temperatures than ornamental plants you can order online.

Party in the Front

While the backyard has been a fabulous place to relax, unwind, find peace of mind, discover a new hobby, we’re now looking to our front yards to be a warm and inviting space to entertain friends, family, and neighbors as we slowly return to normalcy. There’s still a long road ahead before we can welcome all our loved ones inside for dinner parties and happy hours, and the front yard is a beautiful place to set a long table, socially distance, and converse with long lost nearby neighbors.

This season is an excellent chance to upgrade or invest in some nice furniture for the front, such as a porch swing or a table set. A collection of socially distanced chairs and tables make for a great start to a community gathering. Make sure to factor in outdoor lighting so that everyone is well lit into the evening. String lights are a magical element you can implement here.

Seamlessly Transition from Indoors to Outside

If you fancy yourself as a design or gardening enthusiast, then you have likely heard of the term “biophilic design.” This concept is used to increase one’s connectivity to nature through architecture. As most of us have been doing almost everything at home for over a year, creating a natural flow between indoors and out will not only maximize your home’s space but will also give you a much-needed mental break.

To achieve the feeling of a seamless transition from the inside of your home to the outside, arrange the furniture as if the outside and indoor areas were the same room. By treating both spaces as one room, you take the outside in and make the entire space more usable. Another way to create a marriage between indoors and out is to use the same flooring and fabrics in both locations. Outdoor fabrics are phenomenal for a comfortable indoor living; plus, they protect from messy pets and kids.

Preparing Your Backyard Patio for Winter

Winter is here and it is on in full force. As the temperatures drop and the trees shed their leaves, one thing becomes clear: it’s time to prepare for the cold weather. Regardless of the materials your outdoor furniture is made of, be it wood, wicker, metal, or plastic, it’s important that you store your patio set in a dry place where the snow and rain can’t get to it. Leaving your furniture out all winter is a surefire way to ruin it.

Now is the perfect time to either enjoy mother nature at her coldest, or pack up the patio furniture for the coming months and stay inside. Whether you are the type to bundle up and enjoy the winter on your patio or are more inclined to hibernate for winter, we have all the information you need to prepare you patio space for the cold weather ahead. Below is our best advice for making the most out of your patio space in the cold weather, followed by our top tips for safely securing your until next season.

Embrace the Cold Weather

As the saying goes, “some like it hot”. I’m sure Marilyn would agree that this logic would also imply that “some like it cold”. If you are the type of person who loves a hot beverage on a cold winter’s day, then this section of the article is for you. Too many people give up on enjoying their outdoor space in the face of a little cold weather or rain. Here at All American Outdoor Living, we believe you should enjoy your patio all year round. Grab your blankets.

In order to enjoy your patio in the cold weather, you’ll need to consider some weather appropriate additions to your patio space. If you don’t already own a fire pit or a fire table, now would be the time to consider investing in one. A fire pit can warm you and your family on the warmest of winter nights and can add a magical ambiance to your patio.

Imagine spending Christmas Eve roasting chestnuts over a literal open fire. That magical moment is within reach if you install a fire pit. Fire pits are also great all year round. You may be investing in one because of the cold weather, but you’ll still be reaping the benefits of it come summer time. I can smell the s’mores already!

If you don’t have the outdoor space that can accommodate a fire pit, consider an alternative in a fire table. Fire tables are the hot new trend in the backyard furniture game. Small, lightweight, affordable, efficient, and magical are all terms that accurately describe fire tables. You can even get coffee table sized fire tables so you can start your day off with a cup of java next to a warm fire.

Hibernate for the Winter

If you fall into the other camp of people who would prefer to hide away from the cold weather, we can’t blame you. No one truly loves to be cold; some just prefer to bundle up in spite of it. Here is all the information you need to properly prepare your patio for the long winter.

Clean Everything:

Arguably the most important and most often overlooked part of patio maintenance is to simply clean everything. This goes double for packing up your furniture for the winter. It is important to scrape off any mud, dirt, mold, mildew or grime that has built up over time. There’s no sense in covering and storing your furniture if it is dirty, as it will still take wear and tear damage from the dirt over time.

It is also important to inspect any metal furniture you have for rust and oxidation. Addressing these issues before storing them will greatly reduce the odds of the problem getting worse over time. Use steel wool and paint to clean and refinish any areas that might have succumbed to mother nature’s elements.

Patio Covers:

Properly form fitted patio covers are the most important factor for keeping your patio furniture safe this winter. Most manufacturers offer custom fitting covers for their products and are always considered a good investment if they don’t come with the initial purchase. If you can’t get a set of custom covers, invest in a general set of covers that will fit your pieces. Look for covers that offer high quality fabrics made of synthetic fibers.

All American Outdoor Living outdoor patio covers are constructed of top-grade fabrics and fibers, made of solution dyed acrylic and nylon fabrics. Our outdoor patio furniture covers are durable and breathable, water resistant, and will not crack or peel like vinyl. The patio covers are beige in color and have a variety of sizes that fit table and chair covers, individual covers like an outdoor sofa, or love seat; also available are fire pit covers, chaise lounge and umbrella cover.

Our outdoor patio covers will fit aluminum furniture companies such as Tropitone, Mallin, Brown Jordan or Castelle, as well wicker manufacturers like Ebel, NorthCape International, and Lloyd Flanders; along with outdoor wrought iron companies like O.W. Lee and Meadowcraft.

Stack It Up:

One way you can approach you patio shutdown is to think of it as way challenge to save space. In doing such, you’ll find that stacking matching chairs can save space and make it easy to cover with a single large tarp or cover. You can also flip small tables upside down and stack them on each other. Wrap any glass pieces in blankets and/or towels to keep them from getting too cold and shattering when you bring them back out the following season. Also, check the storage area for potential leaks and flaws in the structure that might allow rodents or water to get inside.

Wicker Weatherproofing:

Here is a great tip for owners of wicker furniture. Use a bleach and water solution to brush over the surface of your furniture. In doing so, you will prevent mildew from growing which can occur even with a cover over it. There also solutions you can purchase to repel moisture on the legs of wicker chairs and tables. Apply a water-repellent finish to reinforce furniture and protect it from any moisture that might find its way into the storage space.

Wash Your Fabrics:

If your patio featured furniture with lots of cushions, you’ll want to remove those and take them inside for cleaning and storage. Pay attention to the specific cleaning and care instructions provided with your covers as not all materials can simply be thrown into the washing machine. Use a color safe bleach to kill any mold or mildew that may have grown while outside.

If your patio cushions cannot be taken apart, use a mild detergent and soft brush to clean the exteriors. You can then leave them hanging to air dry, which should happen rather quickly in the cold weather.

Hide Your Plastic:

If you have any furniture or decor that is made of plastic, consider moving it inside for the winter. Plastic furniture is extremely resistant to the rain and snow, but the cold it becomes, the more brittle it is. Plastic furniture can be covered, but doing so will not guarantee that the structural integrity of the piece will stay intact. Move your furniture somewhere warm and dry or you might accidentally shatter the furniture into pieces the next time you go to use it. Also, fix any cracks you find in plastic furniture however minor or the cracks will likely spread until they’re too large to repair.

Wax Your Aluminum:

It might sound odd, but good old fashioned car wax is the perfect defense for your aluminum furniture against the cold harsh weather. Wash down any aluminum furniture you have and completely dry before apply a layer of automotive wax. This will help keep water off the aluminum and protect the paint from inclement weather.

If you experience any paint chippings, you can also use car touch up paint to fix any unsightly blemishes on your furniture. Who knew automotive products would be so handy for protecting your patio!

Seal Your Wood:

If you have any furniture that is made out of wood, you’ll want to consider using a sealant to protect it from moisture and rain. Sealing the wood will prevent the wood from expanding and becoming misshapen. If you have teak furniture specifically, this might be less of an issue for you. Teak is naturally full of resin and oils which prevent winter from permeating the surface. Considering teak is the most popular wood in outdoor furniture, this may apply to you. Either way, double check your wooden furniture and see if adding a coat of sealant might just extend the life of your patio furniture.

Stop in one of our All American Outdoor Livingv locations or shop online to find the best outdoor products to protect your outdoor living room!

More Millennials are Building Families and Buying Homes in 2021

It seems they’ve finally given up the daily avocado toast and expensive lattes. 

The millennial generation is the largest American generation, with over 80 million people spread across the United States. While this group often takes flak from the Boomer generation for moving at a different pace than they did, current statistics show that this trend is shifting. The eldest of the millennial horde are finally reaching a place in age and financial security to consider buying a home. For most millennials under 40, this is or will be their first time purchasing a home.

The generation before millennials could purchase a home with a high school diploma and minimum wage job. On the other hand, most millennials see homeownership as a pipedream, despite being significantly more educated than their predecessors. As it now stands, millennials currently out-earn any other generation. This higher education and more significant wealth accumulation channel this generation’s spending power into investing in homes and making them comfortable, including expanding patio backyards.

This surge in home purchases, combined with a global pandemic that forces people to spend more time at home than ever, has caused a massive increase in demand for home decor and furnishings for inside and outdoors. This article will explore what home decor trends are most popular amongst the millennial homebuying crowd in 2021.

The Industry is Growing with the Demand

Demand for outdoor furniture in the United States, such as grills and accessories, is expected to drive the industry to $9.1 billion by 2019. Now, more than ever, consumers can do online research to ensure they’re buying the best outdoor furniture. Additionally, people are spending more disposable income to create these outdoor living spaces.

Reports show millennials are the fastest-growing segment; this growth is encouraged because this age group is beginning to build families and homes. In 2014, millennials accounted for 37% of outdoor furniture sales. They are redefining how they relate to the space around them, both indoors and outdoors.

Millennial Minimalism – Less is More

This generation has a fond affinity for minimalist designs and aesthetics. They are asking for their homes to be comfortable, visual, and functional. Consumers aim for the most decorative bang in their minimalist-decorated dwellings, looking for statement pieces that can virtually stand on their own. Maybe Marie Kondo is to blame for encouraging us to transform our lives by tidying up our spaces. 

Perhaps we grew up watching futuristic cartoons that made technology and minimalism seem very appealing and progressive. Whoever is to blame, we know that minimalist designs are popular amongst millennials and that home decor purchases match this trend. With new ideas about how people relate to their space and emphasizing the room’s architectural elements, minimalist decor and furniture have seen a surge in popularity in the United States and worldwide. 

Merchants who supply modern minimalist designs show a higher sell-through rate than merchants who carry more traditional or antique style decor. The benefit is that most modern minimalist decor is relatively inexpensive and easy to produce en masse. These stylistic preferences hold for indoor spaces as well as outdoor patios and backyards. Sleek, functional, and minimally designed furniture and appliances are all the rage in outdoor home decor.

Multi-functional Furniture and Appliances

Not only is the millennial generation a fan of the minimalist mentality, but they are also all about practicality in their products. Millennials are more likely to invest in products that serve more than one purpose; the classic “bang for you buck” mentality. This logic seems doubly right for outdoor furniture and decor, which resulted from people stuck at home because of the pandemic and have exploded in sales over the last year.

When looking for outdoor furniture and appliances that serve several purposes, the bar for what constitutes “multi-functional” is relatively low. This tech-savvy generation is not looking for a refrigerator that can tweet and play Skyrim. They are looking for something more along the lines of a barbecue that is also a smoker, or a fire table, which is a fancy way of saying a “coffee table with a built-in fireplace.” Fire pits are also a great multi-functional accessory, as they provide a place to gather, a source for heat, the perfect setting for a ghost story, and the best way to cook a s’more. 

Environmentally Friendly Furniture

Millennials as a group are more conscious of the planet and the current climate crisis. Millennial consumers factor their carbon footprint into the decision-making process when buying outdoor furniture, and they love a product marketed as being friendly to the environment. They consider how the piece is made and what will become of the work once discarded. According to a recent Furniture Today survey, 70% of people said they would be willing to spend more on outdoor furniture if environmentally friendly materials and processes the manufacturer uses.

When looking for your next environmentally friendly piece of outdoor furniture, focus on the materials and processes used in manufacturing. Responsibly sourced woods and metals are what you are looking for. Woods such as bamboo, oak, mahogany, maple, and pine are l incredibly sustainable and affordable. Avoid purchasing wood furniture made of teak, wenge, Merbau, or ebony, as these are all rare, expensive, and endangered. Bonus points if you can find a piece made of reclaimed or recycled wood materials from lumber yards and salvage. Metal furniture made from steel or aluminum is ideal for its weather-resistance and because it is affordable and recyclable. You can also find some companies that offer outdoor decor and accessories made from recycled fabrics. 

Grilling Gadgets, Gear, and Gizmos

One trend that seems to transcend generations is the love of the grill and grilling products. However, with millennials, the passion for good food and fine dining at home is taken to a whole other level. This generation of people who grew up watching cooking competition shows like significant sporting events. With chefs becoming celebrities, affordable kitchen gadgets, and the explosion of Instagram food pictures, it’s no wonder we have a generation of talented home chefs and bakers. 

Buying trends over the last few years indicate an increase in popularity in the grill and barbecue space and for smokers, pizza ovens or stones, fire pits, flat-top grills, re-circulators (for sous-vide), and Mongolian BBQ grills. All of these can be installed in your backyard or outdoor kitchen to improve your outdoor cooking game. That said, not all millennials are food-fanatics. A large part of the generation will be more than satisfied with a more straightforward all-in-one barbecue grill and all that it can do. You get bonus points for getting a mobile unit and has wheels so you can transport it as you see fit. 

Bringing the Indoors Outside

Arguably the most popular new trend in outdoor decor is the concept of bringing the full feel of an indoor room to your outdoor space. This aim can be accomplished by assembling a collection of outdoor furniture such as chairs and couches alongside durable outdoor rugs, tables, and comfortable throw pillows and blankets. Ceramic lamps are often used for their durability to bring light to an outdoor room so that you and your family can enjoy the outside into the night.

A variation of this popular trend from 2020 that is carrying into 2021 is the outdoor kitchen. Millennials are building kitchens outdoors to really up their outdoor cooking game. These outdoor kitchens can be simple builds that feature a grill and a stove, while others can be as loaded or more so than the indoor kitchen. Refrigerators, beer taps, pizza ovens, smokers, microwaves, dishwashing machines, and more can be installed in an outdoor kitchen. Don’t forget to install and fully stock the bar, and you are set for any party or gathering.

No outdoor kitchen, bar, or space is complete without a television. Televisions specifically built for outdoor exposure are available for the discerning customer. The millennial generation is famous for binge-watching television shows, and I don’t think being outdoors will stop that. Speakers, audio systems, smart speakers, and other gadgets can be installed on your patio for the ultimate in outdoor comfort.

People want the green look, feel, and texture of plants without the hassle and maintenance worries. Artificial plants give it to them. The Millennials are massive travelers and don’t want to worry about watering them or having space without great lighting. Artificial plants always look perfect and have that feel of foliage.

The Season of Change

Spring is the time of year where the most considerable portion of customers chooses to refresh their living spaces. Maybe it’s the “spring-cleaning” bug that does it, but nearly one-fourth of people do upgrades during this time of year. Millennials are no exception. If you are a patio furniture retailer trying to capitalize on this generation and its trends, you still have some time to get up to speed with your product offerings. 

Deep Seating Patio Furniture Done Right

There is nothing better than relaxing in your personal backyard patio in a deeply seated piece of outdoor furniture. Whether it is sleeping on a warm summer night or sipping a hot beverage on a cool winter’s morning, lounging in a deep seating chair or lounge can be done all year if you buy intelligently. Now with people spending more time at home than ever before because of the pandemic, it is the perfect chance to upgrade your patio space for maximum comfort. Don’t miss out any longer on getting the most out of your outdoor patio space.

Materials Matter

The important thing to remember when it comes to outdoor patio furniture is that materials matter. Depending on where you live and what the weather is like, this may be truer for some than for others. Weather and lifestyle can play a big factor in what materials are best suited for your outdoor space and it’s an important factor to consider when investing in quality outdoor furniture.

Choosing the right material can be the difference between long-lasting furniture that requires minimal upkeep and furniture that needs to be replaced within a couple of years. Let’s take a look at the most popular materials used for outdoor deep seating and which environments they are best suited for.

Metal:

Back in the day, outdoor patio furniture of quality was often made of wrought iron. This furniture was great because it was heavy and would not blow around in the wind. On the downside, it rusted very easily and required constant maintenance. Nowadays, we have evolved into using much more efficient and durable metals that will last for years.

The two main types of metals used in deep patio furniture seating these days are steel and aluminum. Steel is hands down the strongest material, the heaviest, and most expensive metal available. This makes steel furniture a great choice if you live in a very windy area or experience hurricane weather on an annual basis. On the other hand, aluminum is an incredibly lightweight and versatile metal that can be shaped into any design imaginable.

Aluminum is perfect for homes near the beach or bodies of water as it stands up to rust like no other. Aluminum also stands up to the sun’s rays better than other metals. If you live in a windy city, aluminum is not the choice for you as it will certainly blow away at a moderately strong gust of wind. Aluminum is also more affordable and easier to clean.

Pro Tip: If you decide to go with a steel frame for your deep seating patio furniture, make sure to choose a steel that has been galvanized or is labeled as “stainless”. If you don’t you will end up with a steel frame that is going to rust at the slightest hint of moisture in the air.

Wood:

Wooden outdoor furniture is pure class. Nothing screams luxury like finely crafted wooden furniture, especially if it is made of high-quality wood. The most common types of wood used in outdoor deep seating patio furniture are eucalyptus, cedar, and teak. Each type has its benefits, but in terms of durability and strength to stand up to mother nature, one wood stands above the rest.

Even though teak itself is a rarer and more expensive wood, it remains the most popular choice for wooden outdoor deep seating patio furniture. Teak is so prevalent because it can withstand very hard environments and weather. Because of its naturally high resin and oil content, teak is essentially waterproof, if not extremely water-resistant. You will never run into water permeation and wood expansion issues if you select a teak deep seating option.

Pro Tip: Teak will change color over time if left untreated. The strength and durability of the wood will not change, but you may want to invest in a quality wood sealant to prevent the wood from becoming a pale gray color. There are several great quality wood stain and sealant combos available so you can get the perfect color for your furniture while keeping it protected at the same time.

Resin and Plastic:

A very modern and increasingly popular choice for outdoor deep seating patio furniture material is high-grade synthetic resin or plastic. You will often find these options style to look like a natural wicker rattan chair, but don’t be fooled, these are anything but the easily faded natural lookalike. While this is a commonly found style, resin and plastic can be used to create all kinds of outdoor furniture.

There are a select few synthetic materials used including PVC, polyethylene, resin wicker, and nylon. These are used because they are generally accepted to be lightweight yet durable in the face of extreme weather conditions. These furniture pieces are also considerably easier to clean and maintain as not much will stick to them that can’t be easily wiped off with a towel.

Due to the incredibly malleable nature of plastic and resin, furniture pieces are often available in a wider array of colors, shapes, and sizes. In today’s world of 3D printing, your imagination is the limit on what can be brought to life.

Pro Tip: When selecting a piece of outdoor patio seating furniture with a resin or plastic frame, make sure to look for the highest quality material. Be on the lookout for pieces that state they are made of High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) wicker. These are made of a much higher grade of thermoplastic and can withstand much higher temperatures.

Synthetic Fabrics:

While it is completely acceptable to have deep seating patio furniture that is unupholstered, you are sacrificing greatly in the way of comfort and relaxation. Upholstered outdoor furniture is incredibly comfortable and can elevate your deep seating experience. There are a range of materials and fabrics to choose from and those come in all kinds of colors in patterns, giving you ultimate control over the final look of your patio.

Other than style, it is important to focus on getting the right material for your environment. Most outdoor fabrics are made out of water-resistant synthetic fibers such as acrylic, vinyl, and polyester. These weaves are often breathable and resistant to moisture and UV rays.

Cushions and Comfort

As we just mentioned, choosing the right fabric for your deep seating patio furniture cushions is important. Equally as important is the material inside the cushion that will be providing your backside with all the comfort and support. You will often find cushions that come with a patio chair to be of lower quality than those you purchase separately. In the case of cushions, you do get what you pay for. Look for outdoor cushions that offer at least 3 layers of material: a center layer of memory foam in between two layers of water-resistant polyester. These cushions will intersect at the crossroads of comfort and weather resilience.

One popular brand of fabric that is found all over for outdoor furniture is Sunbrella® fabrics. These fabrics are unrivaled in their class and offer protection from the sun and rain like no others. The best part of Sunbrella® fabrics is their warranty. If you follow their instructions on maintenance and care they will back up and replace your fabric for life. Hard to beat a guarantee like that!

Cleaning and Care

Once you’ve selected the right frame material for your deep seating patio furniture and have picked your favorite cushions, it’s time to enjoy your patio space. But don’t get lost in the comfort for too long, as your furniture will require maintenance regularly. The quality of your furniture combined with the dedication to cleaning and maintaining it will completely determine the longevity of your investment. Here are our basic tips to keeping your deep seating patio furniture in tip-top shape.

  1. Cleaning a dry surface is easier. Start by removing the cushions and wiping down the frame of your furniture to remove any loose debris or liquid. Proceed to clean the frame thoroughly with a chemical cleaner or soap and towel once the debris is cleared. Make sure to dry the frame afterward to discourage any potential rusting around the bolts and fasteners.
  2. Periodic deep cleaning is advisable. Using power washing tools or hiring a professional cleaning service on a semi or annual basis will extend the life of your furniture.
  3. Let it dry completely. It sounds simple enough, but drying off heavy water and letting it dry fully before using again is essential to the health of your frame and cushions. No one wants mold growing underneath them as they sit.
  4. Protect your cushions. Even if you have invested in weather-resistant cushions, it is still advisable to bring them inside during the worst weather conditions.

Visit our All American Outdoor Living locations if you have any questions, we are happy to help.

Top 8 Tips for Creating a Christmas Wonderland in Your Outdoor Patio

Whether you are in a hotter climate or a classic winter, you can find ways to make your outdoor patio space feel just as festive as the indoors.

As Thanksgiving approaches, our thoughts turn to the upcoming holiday season — and immediately after Turkey Day the world shifts from warm-toned, orange hues to the classic reds, greens, and sparkle that indicates the Christmas season is upon us. Most Christmas decor is focused on the indoors; staircases, mantlepieces, etc. 

Why not spruce up your outdoors with a little spruce tree, create an outdoor patio as cozy as a living room with a roaring fireplace, and decked out a Christmas tree? We’ve compiled a list of design ideas to help get you started on your journey to a winter wonderland regardless of the weather!

Stick to a Traditional Christmas Color Scheme

When piecing together the plan for your great outdoors, stick to the traditional color scheme of red, green, and white. Add in your favored metallic (gold or silver) in accents to complete the look. It might be time to retire your summer accessories and get fresh cushions for your chairs, lounge furniture, and sofas, and swap out those throw pillows. 

Do not be afraid to go bold. It is the holidays, after all! Go for a red couch cushion and compliment the couch with a textured white pillow that is reminiscent of snowflakes and the magic of the season. Throw in a couple of green checkered or woven pillows to tie in the traditional look of the season. Grab an outdoor rug that helps make the colors pop, add a plaid throw blanket into the mix, and suddenly your outdoor seating is as cozy as the couch inside in front of the roaring fireplace.

Don’t Forget the Twinkle Lights

A staple in Christmas decor is the classic twinkle light. Not to be confused with the colorful Christmas lights put up on the front of houses, the twinkle light is more delicate, evoking the magic of a starry night in the dead of winter. Here at All American Outdoor Living, we can’t get enough of festive twinkle lights.

Get creative with where to hang the lights — wrap them around the base of your umbrella stand, for starters. But don’t stop there. Any support beams or columns on your patio are primed for twinkle lights. If you have an awning, line the edge of the awning with the lights. Hang them across the entire outdoor space, back and forth, creating a veritable night sky specific to your own backyard. (Think bistro lights but much smaller and much prettier.) Do the same underneath your umbrella and have a delightful mini sky. You could also take the twinkle lights one step further and add them to your garden. 

Decorate Your Garden

Add twinkle lights throughout your garden, lining trees with them, weaving them through bushes and hedges, even laying them in the flower beds to create a sense of wonderment. And do not stop at just the lights — turn your garden, whether planted or potted, into replicas of your Christmas tree. Deck the garden with ornaments, tinsel, and tree toppers. If you have a lawn, find some Christmas gnomes and elves that can be sprinkled throughout the space.

If you live in a warmer climate and want to replicate the feeling of a white Christmas, go ahead and use a biodegradable flocking on your bushes and hedges. Treat your entire garden as if it is a Christmas tree. Whatever you put on your Christmas tree inside, try it outside in your new Christmas garden.

Have fun with turning your garden into a Christmas wonderland. If all you have are cacti to work with, treat them like a tree! Wrap lights around them, hang ornaments off of the needles and toss some tinsel over everything.

Bring All the Christmas Plants Outside

After turning your garden into a flatter, wider Christmas tree, go ahead and get some potted Christmas trees to accent your patio space. You can treat them the way you would any Christmas tree and decorate them until they are overflowing with Christmas spirit, or you can just leave them to be beautiful and bare, creating a verdant Christmas forest in your garden. 

And you cannot forget to include the other Christmas classics! Poinsettia makes a beautiful, bright red, cheery accent to any space that adds that holiday pizazz. Little bushes of holly here and there add that extra ambiance and detail that makes space feel cohesively like Christmas. For an extra fun touch of romance, hang mistletoe any place that you can think of. Under the umbrella, any awnings or overhangs, and above any tucked away alcoves found in the garden. Make sure to include lighting so that no one misses their chance!

Add More Warmth with Lanterns and Candles

Get moody with your use of candles outside to increase holiday cheer and atmosphere. Grab some lanterns of varying sizes and fill them with electric wax candles. Some of the candles available today have realistic-looking wicks and timer settings so that they automatically turn on at the same time every evening. Set them up on all the tables and counters, as well as on the ground around the patio. 

Mix and match the lanterns around the space, using odd numbers in each cluster to create balance. You can never have too many lights, so do not be afraid of overdoing it. Allow for the lanterns to create enough warm light that your outdoor space is filled without turning the outdoor lights on. With the candles in lanterns and twinkle lights hung throughout your patio and garden, space will take on an otherworldly Christmas charm akin to what you see in films.

Create a Christmas Tablescape to Rival Your Dining Room

Do not hesitate to outdo your indoor dining room here. Imagine a deep, dark wooden table such as the Farmhouse Dining Table, with garlands of deep green fir offset by red berries and candles flickering. Or even mixing in the twinkle lights through the garland. Golden or silver charger plates can simultaneously blend into the scenery and help a festive red or green plate pop against the dark wood. Allow your imagination to run away with you. The safe-for-outdoors melamine dinner and drinkware available today has reached new decorative heights; to the point that you are guaranteed to find something that meets your tastes and sophistication. 

Have Christmas Themed Treats Ready to Go

Not all Christmas treats are equal! At All American Outdoor Living, we can’t get enough of treats with a holiday twist. As the outdoor and patio experts, we brought you our favorite outdoor treats with a Halloween twist and now we are bringing you our top convenient outdoor treats made for the perfect holiday season. And having them prepped for popping out at a moment’s notice can be as easy as one, two, three.

The easiest and most reminiscent of Christmas is the chestnut. Grab some chestnuts from the store to have on hand, and whenever you feel like living the classic song, throw some in a cast iron pan and pop it onto your grill or fire pit (if you are extremely bold!). About ten minutes later and you have delicious, buttery, roasted chestnuts.

An outdoor staple in the world of treats is the S’more, which also happens to have the longest shelf-life; ideal when you want something easy to pull out of the pantry and throw together. But here we add in something slightly different — peppermint bark. Instead of the traditional Hershey’s bar, we take a chunk of dark chocolate or white chocolate peppermint bark and complete our peppermint s’ more in true Christmas fashion.

Another quick and jolly option is the hot chocolate ball. Coming in flavors rich in holiday spirits such as caramel and peppermint, there can be a variety on hand to satisfy everyone’s desires. Just throw a kettle on with milk, pour it over the ball in a mug, and watch the mini marshmallows appear in the perfect cup of hot chocolate. Fun, fast, and effortless! Our favorite variation on the hot chocolate ball is to heat eggnog instead of regular milk, amplifying the cozy Christmas factor.

The Pièce De Résistance for the Perfect Outdoor Christmas: The Fire Pit 

Add an outdoor fire pit to your seating area to take your patio to the next and final level for the perfect outdoor Christmas. With your upgraded and holiday focused cushions and seating, the fire pit takes the place of the indoor fireplace, elevating your newly decorated wonderland garden and patio into the new living room. It becomes the gathering point for family and friends, to warm themselves while enjoying each other’s company.

There is nothing cozier than a night spent enjoying your outdoor furniture, under the twinkly lights, and surrounded by warm candlelight, with a peppermint hot chocolate in hand, the smell of freshly roasted chestnuts hovering in the air, chatting with loved ones around an open fire.

Weatherproof Your Patio for Fall and Winter Weather

Patio Covers

Fall is in full force here in the United States and Winter is just around the corner. This magical time of year is best enjoyed with family, friends, and loved ones. In a year that has been defined by a worldwide pandemic and nationwide quarantines, most of us have been rediscovering the love for our outdoor space at home. As the much-needed holiday’s approach, now is the perfect time to update your outdoor patio for maximum comfort.

If your patio is already in tip-top shape, now is the time to consider making some seasonal adjustments to your yard. Not only is it a great time to bring out the box of holiday decorations, but it is early enough into the season that you can take some proactive steps to weatherproof and protect your outdoor furniture and accessories. Let’s take a look at some of the options for preparing your yard for Fall and Winter.

Lodge Redwood Outdoor Rug

Outdoor Rugs

A lot of Americans spent their Summer upgrading their backyard space due to the quarantine and all the extra time spent at home. If you did this, you may have overlooked adding an outdoor rug to your patio since it wasn’t necessary during the hot months. Now that the weather is cooling down, you might find walking around your outdoor space a less enjoyable experience for your uncovered feet.

Cold concrete, wet grass, and dirt becoming mud are all problematic during the colder months. If you want to take a simple step to really improve the quality of life in your outdoor space, invest in a couple of high-quality outdoor area rugs. Not only will they keep your feet warm and dry, but they can add a pop of color or class to your patio space.

All American Outdoor Living has a wide selection of rugs to fit your design tastes. From rustic styles like the Lodge Redwood Outdoor Rug, classy and contemporary patterns like the Florence Mocha Outdoor Rug, to laidback Hawaiian beach vibes with the Maui Silver Outdoor Rug, there is surely something to fit your style.

Florence Mocha Outdoor Rug

Patio Covers

Rain, hail, snow, high winds, and in certain areas, even sunshine can be problematic during the Fall and Winter months. Rain and snow can rust your furniture, high winds can whip your patio accessories around or carry them off, and hail can cause physical damage to your property. If you’re an Arizona local like us, you also know that the sun doesn’t leave in the winter months, making your patio vulnerable to sun damage and discoloration all year round.

Your patio is most likely exposed to the elements in some way, even if you have custom retractable awnings installed. Investing in proper or custom fitting patio covers will save you money in the long run and keep your investment in top shape.

All American Outdoor Living outdoor patio covers are constructed of top-grade fabrics and fibers, made of solution-dyed acrylic and nylon fabrics. Our outdoor patio furniture covers are durable and breathable, water-resistant, and will not crack or peel like vinyl. The patio covers are beige in color and have a variety of sizes that fit table and chair covers, individual covers like an outdoor sofa, or love seat; also available are fire pit covers, chaise lounges, and umbrella covers.

These outdoor patio covers will fit aluminum furniture companies such as Tropitone, Mallin, Brown Jordan, or Castelle, as well as wicker manufacturers like Ebel, NorthCape International, and Lloyd Flanders; along with outdoor wrought iron companies like O.W. Lee and Meadowcraft.

Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting for your patio is not only essential during the Fall and Winter if done properly, but it can also turn your plain space into a magical winter wonderland. As the sun sets earlier and the night comes sooner, you’ll want to plan for proper lighting in all spaces of your yard. Technically speaking, most lamps that can be used indoors can also be used outdoors, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are suited for the outdoor conditions. If you are looking for an all-around solution to light a large space, look for ceramic lights. These lights are built with a hearty exterior that is meant to stand up to tough weather conditions.

As mentioned above, it is cheap and easy to turn your backyard into a winter wonderland. String lights are incredibly popular and have been for the past decade or so. These simple light strings can elevate your space from bland to magical. Installing string lighting around the upper areas of your patio can transform your yard into a space fit for a magazine cover. String lights are an affordable solution to add light and ambiance to your outdoor patio space.

Outdoor Blinds

When you think of blinds, you generally think of them as a way to block out the sun. When you discuss blinds in the context of your outdoor patio, however, they actually serve multiple purposes. If you’re on the west coast, outdoor blinds can absolutely help you stay in the shade during the day. Once night comes though, outdoor blinds serve a different purpose: blocking the wind. If you experience windy nights as the temperature drops, consider strategically installing outdoor blinds to drastically reduce airflow and windchill. Outdoor blinds can also assist in protecting your outdoor furniture from rain, hail, and snow.

All American Outdoor Living offers custom outdoor blind solutions. Featuring magnetic locks, guided tracks, and the ability to roll up and disappear, these blinds are second to none. Outdoor blinds are also seen as a valuable investment as they can increase the value of your home.

Protective Cleaners

Now that you’ve invested in proper covers for your patio furniture, it’s time to consider protecting the furniture while it is in use, as well as the covers while the furniture is not in use. All American Outdoor Living offers a wide array of outdoor furniture cleaners and protectants for your patio furniture. Originally created to withstand aviation weather conditions, the Indoor/Outdoor Protectant™ formula is strong enough to protect all the stuff you use every day. And because it’s water-based, this premium protectant is safe for use on virtually any material. Maintain colorful umbrella awnings, cushions, and slings. Keep finished powder-coated aluminum, outdoor wicker, and wrought iron looking beautiful year after year.

If your furniture is fabric heavy, consider cleaning it with 303 Fabric/Vinyl Cleaner and then protecting it with the 303 Fabric Guard. 303 High Tech Fabric Guard is safe for the finest fabrics, wool, silk, and fine leathers, including suede. When used on outdoor fabrics, 303 High Tech Fabric Guard restores lost water repellency and stain repellency to factory new levels. 303 High Tech Fabric Guard resists soiling, impedes mildew formation and helps protect against the sun’s harmful UV rays. Proper maintenance with 303 Products will add to the life of your fabrics and save you money.

Once your furniture is cleaned and guarded, consider adding the 303 Aerospace Protectant into the mix. This solution is the equivalent of adding SPF 40 sunscreen to your furniture, protecting it from sun damage and discoloration.

Outdoor Cushions and Poufs

An often-overlooked aspect of weatherproofing your patio is that of your personal comfort. There is lots of information and solutions to protect your patio furniture, but what about protecting yourself while enjoying your patio in the cold weather? Consider sitting down at your outdoor dining table during winter. If your furniture is made of anything other than plastic, it is very likely going to be cold and unpleasant.

Avoid sitting on cold metal furniture by adding cushions to your outdoor seating. All American Outdoor Living has options and styles for all types of patio furniture. Choose from chair cushions, chaise lounge cushions, cushions for benches, and for loveseats

Outdoor Fire Pits

Outdoor Fire Pits

There is no better time of year than the cold Fall and Winter nights to sit around a fire with your loved ones. Fend off the cold nights around the fire with snacks, warm beverages, and good company. Looking for some real authenticity? Try roasting your own chestnuts over an open fire this year with an outdoor fire pit.

Here at All American Outdoor Living, we have a selection of pits to fit your space and design tastes. This year, the Moderno style concrete pits have been incredibly popular due to their design and how little space they take up. The volcanic rock options can also add immediate class to your backyard space. If you are looking for something a little bigger and to be more of a centerpiece, consider the Flo fire pits.

If you don’t have the space to install a permanent fire pit, consider a fire table, a new option that is more available and affordable. These tables offer the luxury of a fire pit but don’t require a large investment or a ton of space. These tables can also be customized with volcanic rocks to really add some class to your outdoor space.