7 Benefits of Having a Gazebo in Your Backyard

You’re a fan of your backyard. You’re a natural showman. You enjoy spending time with nature. However, you despise roasting in the summer heat. Having a gazebo in your backyard means you don’t have to accept both the good and the bad. What better way to enjoy the great outdoors and entertain friends and family than with a gazebo of your own? This article will break down the benefits of a gazebo and how it may enhance your outdoor space while also increasing your property value.

Your backyard can be transformed into an inviting meeting space for friends, family, and guests by installing a gazebo. You can have a barbeque on the Fourth of July or just relax for a bit in it while enjoying a romantic picnic. And as a bonus, mosquitoes can be kept at bay by adding a screen package. Just imagine all the opportunities! Here are some of the benefits of having a gazebo in your backyard.

1. A gazebo in your backyard means endless outdoor fun

Having a gazebo in your yard adds a level of coziness that is hard to beat. Gazebos are an excellent choice for outdoor gatherings. They’re a great tool to make your backyard enjoyable for the whole family. When entertaining, a gazebo provides a spot for your visitors to unwind and enjoy the company of others. Thanks to the structure, you may enjoy the shade of your gazebo on those hot summer days. To put it another way, you’ll be able to spend more time outside in your garden.

2. Gazebos have something for everyone

A gazebo’s versatility in design is a major perk of the structure. It’s up to you where you choose to put your gazebo, whether it’s tucked away in a secluded spot or right next to your house. If you want a more open-air situation with some shade, the roof can also provide that option. The walls of your gazebo can either be completely open or have some natural coverage.

On the other hand, a screened wall allows you to see, hear, and smell the outside world while protecting you from mosquitoes and other biting insects. The shape of a gazebo might be octagonal, square, elliptical, or oval, and it can even fit a hot tub. The options are endless!

3. A gazebo in your backyard is perfect after the sun goes down, too

The perfect area to host a get-together with friends, a gazebo makes a great spot for setting up a table or bench and relaxing with a drink or two. Little dew droplets can collect on surfaces under the open sky when the sun sets and the temperature decreases. People either leave or go inside when that happens, which isn’t much fun on a Friday night! No matter how humid the weather is outside, you won’t have to worry about getting wet in a gazebo since it will keep you dry and comfortable. If you explored some backyard lighting ideas with your beautifully lit gazebo, you would finally be able to enjoy the space at night! You can even spend the night here and sleep under the stars if you’re in the mood.

4. It makes a great workspace

Even if it’s raining or dark outside, a gazebo is a great place to work on your bike, for example. Or, spend time on quieter activities like losing yourself in a great novel or putting together a jigsaw puzzle. When you need to work on something in the winter, having a flat, firm, dry spot to work on in your backyard is invaluable. If your gazebo has a power outlet, you can use power tools with an extension cord. Consider building a log burner or fire chimney to remain warm at night while working, which may also be used to entertain visitors and relax with the family.

5 They will fit anyone’s backyard

A Victorian-inspired design is one of the most popular choices. Still, these backyard buildings may be customized to fit any style or color scheme. In the event that intricate scrollwork, whimsical cupolas, and twisted pillars don’t suit your taste, there are so many more varieties to choose from. You can even plan the style of your gazebo according to your other backyard renovations, so it all fits together aesthetically. Rectangle gazebos may fit more square or rectangular dining tables than other designs with more sides, maximizing floor space while also looking more modern. A rectangle or square footprint for your gazebo may function better depending on the available area. It doesn’t matter what shape or style you choose for your gazebo; everyone who sees it will be impressed.

6 With a gazebo in your backyard, your home value grows

If you do it right, a gazebo can increase the value of your home by more than the cost of construction. A gazebo can add some much-needed value to a garden that lacks focal points or a designated area for relaxation. Adding a gazebo to your backyard is a great way to increase the value of your home for potential buyers. A gazebo is always a summer outdoor living trend loved by everyone; thus, publicizing this feature is a big bonus.

7. They provide storage space

You may wish to protect your BBQ, furniture, or plants from the elements by building a gazebo instead of a shed in the winter. If you put your lovely garden furniture under a gazebo, you won’t have to sand and re-paint it every year, saving you time and effort. The same is true for pricey BBQs, which may rust over time if left exposed to the elements over the winter. Containerized plants that are sensitive to rainy conditions or are vulnerable to wind or frost damage may benefit from being kept under a gazebo when the weather is harsh.

Final words

Gazebos are an excellent choice for spending time in the fresh air. But this is not all they offer. We hope our guide has helped you understand the benefits of having a gazebo in your backyard. So, what are you waiting for? Any time of year, a gazebo is a way to go!

 

Visit our website for more information, pricing an a view of our gazebo catalog. CLICK HERE to get started.

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8 Tips for Building the Ultimate Backyard for Your Dog

As you know, Horizon Structures offers a full line of pre-built dog kennels for residential (and commercial) settings. A backyard kennel is a wonderful place for your dog to safely enjoy the fresh air and sunshine of the ‘Great Outdoors’ during those times when you may not be available to supervise him outside.

However, a kennel is only one element of creating the ultimate backyard for your dog. Below are several smart and creative ideas for keeping your pet happy, healthy, and safe at home…

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View Our Commerical Dog Kennels

When we move to a new house and bring our dog with us, it is easy to forget that the process can be just as stressful for them as it is for us. If you want to make your dog as happy as possible once you settle in, here are eight tips for building the ultimate backyard for your dog. Even if you’re not moving to a new home, use these ideas to make canine-friendly improvements to your current property …

1. First and Foremost, Make Sure Your Backyard is Secure

Check the condition of your fences and gates. Look for any damage or holes in the fence. Be thorough because, at a glance, everything could look good. However, if you have a wooden fence, there may be holes or rot somewhere at the base. If your dog spends time running free in the yard you can be sure that he will inspect everything and find weak spots. That is why it is critical to check everything and address any issues as soon as possible.

2. Make Sure Your Dog Will Have Shade

Providing an area out of the hot sun means your dog is less likely to want to go back inside to cool off. You won’t have to do much if you buy a house with a tree or two in the backyard. However, since you are unlikely to buy a home solely because it has a tree in its backyard, we are here to suggest a few alternatives. These include:

  1. A doghouse: Doghouses are great because they offer overall protection for the dog. However, you need to get one that has plenty of ventilation to prevent heat build-up.
  2. An elevated dog bed: This type of bed will allow your dog to cool off during hot summer days, and it’s also more comfortable than a regular pillow.
  3. A dog kennel: If you have a dog that will spend most of its time outside, a high-quality dog kennel might be best. It will keep your dog cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Heat and A/C can even be installed!

To train your dog to use that shady spot, lead them on a leash while using a phrase like “Go to your bed,” and reward them with treats to reinforce positive behaviour.

3. Make a Dedicated Place for Them to “Go”

Whether you regularly walk your dog or not, they will poop and pee in your yard. This will especially be the case right after you move in. Moving in will be just as stressful for a dog as it can be for you. So don’t be alarmed if you see them “go” more than usual for the first few weeks. It is just their way of settling in. There is nothing you can do to prevent this. You can, however, help them adapt quickly. You can create a dedicated space for them to go when needed, and it doesn’t have to be a large space. You can then train your dog to go where you want him to go. Walk your dog to the designated place every day for at least three weeks, rewarding them with goodies every time. This way, you will keep the mess to a minimum and keep your dog happy at the same time.

4. Water for Drinking

Another way to create a dog friendly backyard is to keep your dog’s water dish filled with chilled water whenever they go outside. Choose a bowl with a sticky rubber base if you’re placing it on a deck to prevent it sliding around and making it less likely to tip over. Stick to stainless steel because, unlike plastic, it does not easily scratch and does not harbour germs. Like indoor water bowls, disinfect outdoor water bowls regularly with hot, soapy water and keep out of direct sunlight. When it’s hot, it’s critical to look after your dog, especially if you keep them outside.

5. Plant Organic Grass in Your Backyard

Many of the health problems dogs face are caused by contact with chemically treated grass. This is especially the case with older dogs. Many people who enjoy tending to their lawns or backyard crops use pesticides to keep pests and weeds at bay. This, however, can be extremely harmful to your dog. For your backyard, you should use organic fertilizers or compost and chemical-free insect control. If you’re establishing a new lawn for your dog, buy seed for native grass that will grow in your area. This way, you will keep your dog happy and healthy.

6. A Spot for Digging

All dogs enjoy digging. If you enjoy gardening, this can be a significant problem. That is why, if you want to keep your dog from destroying a flower bed or a small crop of vegetables that you have planted, you should make a digging area for them. A small sandpit could do the trick. A designated digging area will also reduce the likelihood that your dog will dig under your fence.

7. Make a Pool for Your Dog

You can never run out of ideas to keep your dog cool during the summer. Installing a pool just for your dog may seem like a significant investment, but it doesn’t have to be. A simple wading pool for kids may be an economical and enjoyable method to provide this luxury for your dog.

8. Make a Dog Run for Your Dog

Lastly, build the ultimate backyard for your dog by considering a simple dog run. If you have adequate room, try creating a dog run that goes the length of your yard. While the run should confining, it does not need to be in the form of a stark and unattractive chain-link fence. Conceal the fence with low evergreen hedges and plants, providing gaps for your dog to see through.

These have been our eight tips for building the ultimate backyard for your dog. If you design your yard with your pet in mind, you will ensure they are happy and entertained and discourage them from naughty behaviours.

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Outdoor Living Trends for Summer

Outdoor living is becoming more and more important to homeowners. No longer are they using their outdoor spaces for entertainment purposes alone. Rather, they’re making outdoor living a part of their everyday lives.

With such a competitive real estate market in full swing, first-time home buyers might find it difficult to not only purchase a home, but also to make it fit their specific dreams. On top of that, times have become financially tough. You may have had to stretch your budget designated by your home loan preapproval to get your offer accepted, leaving you unsure of how many renovations you can take on upon moving in.

But know that there are projects both big and small that can enhance your outdoor living space, no matter how much money you’ve set aside for updates. To begin, set a renovation budget and brush up on some of these outdoor living space trends so you can revamp your home’s exterior this summer.

Outdoor Kitchens

As people spend more time at home, kitchens have become a staple in outdoor living. Outdoor cooking spaces give homeowners the ultimate opportunity to entertain guests and enjoy their backyards to the fullest. Outdoor kitchens are entirely customizable; you can pick and choose from a wide variety of cooktops, grills, countertops, and even refrigerators that fit your household’s needs. It can be as simple or complex as you’d like – just be sure that you don’t extend beyond your means and include components that suit your lifestyle.

Structured Rooms

Recently, outdoor living spaces began to double as structured outdoor rooms. Essentially, homeowners are bringing structure to their patios or decks by taking advantage of pavilions, gazebos, and pergolas. These structures serve as added protection from external elements like extreme sun and rain so that you can enjoy your outdoor living space in all weather conditions. You also have the option of screening in the room to keep out any unwanted critters or bugs, adding even more functionality and comfort. These rooms are also ideal for planning the perfect backyard staycation or even working from home in your backyard.

Backyard Playgrounds

More time at home has encouraged parents to invest more time and money into their backyards in the form of playgrounds. Backyard playsets have grown in popularity, and there are countless variations to choose from ranging in design and material. You can also add your own unique touches to this backyard trend based on the activities your children love. Perhaps you incorporate a treehouse, some lawn games, a swingset, or playhouse. If you’re on a budget, you can still build your own playground using some of these play area inspirations.

Vertical Gardens

Instead of increasing the square footage of your garden in the backyard, and taking up space that could be otherwise used for outdoor living, consider vertical gardening. This simply means placing your fruits, vegetables, or herbs on shelving, taking advantage of vertical space. You can build your own, repurpose old shelving, or browse the best materials for vertical gardning. Be mindful of the location you choose, as your plants will require specific amounts of space and sunlight to thrive.

Exterior Lighting

The foundation of a good outdoor living space is exterior lighting. Why? Because the proper lighting will allow you to spend time outdoors later into the evening, which is perfect for entertaining on those summer nights. Depending on the setup of your space, you may be able to integrate wired lighting right into your structure. If not, you can hang exterior string lights on any pillars or railings on your deck or patio. Or, line walkways with lights that stick into the ground. Lanterns and spotlights are also helpful for highlighting your favorite backyard features.

The options for updating your outdoor living space are endless. Create a budget, check out current backyards trends, and put your exterior renovation skills to the test.

CLICK HERE for More Information & Pricing on Outdoor Living Structures

How to Create the Perfect Backyard Staycation

As summer approaches, many people are starting to make their summer vacation arrangements. However, in the meantime, instead of daydreaming about how your vacation will be, you could have an early one right at home. How – you may ask? Well, we can tell you how to create the perfect backyard staycation. We have some fantastic ideas that we would like to share with you in this article. Furthermore, you may pick which structures are the best match based on your outdoor lifestyle and have your own backyard oasis. So, let us see how you can come up with the perfect backyard staycation ideas for you and your dogs.

Install a pool.

A great way to spend time outdoors, especially when it gets warmer, is by the pool. Furthermore, owning a pool does not require spending a large amount of money. On the contrary, you can have an inflatable pool or a stock tank. Even if you can’t swim as you would in a large pool, you can still enjoy spending time in the refreshing water.

At the same time, if you already have a pool, you can upgrade it. You can add a covered area near it, such as a lovely pergola, and furnish it with seating selections. With a few seats or wooden benches and a coffee table, you will have the ideal spot for socializing with guests. For staying in the water, you can have some pool floats. You can read a book or float on them while sipping your favorite cocktail. Now, that is what we call a fantastic backyard staycation.

Assemble an outdoor kitchen.

During hot days and evenings, everyone prefers to spend more time outside. And the best part is that you can do almost all of the activities in your backyard, including cooking. All you need to do is to set up a summer kitchen. Set up a dining space, bring out a grill and a cooler, and you are ready to go. If you want a kitchen that you can use all year, get kitchen countertops with a built-in refrigerator and a gas grill. In addition, you can make the kitchen area even more delightful with a bar. It will be the ideal setting for you to showcase your bartending abilities to your family and friends. Simply ensure that these constructions are sheltered from the elements and place them under a gazebo. That way, you will still be able to spend quality time outside, even if it’s a rainy day.

Create a relaxation corner.

One of the reasons we go on vacation is to disconnect and relax. However, until you can go on that vacation, improvising something at home can work. For instance, you can create the perfect relaxing staycation right in your backyard. Find a peaceful corner of the yard and convert it into a relaxing oasis. To transform your backyard, place a hammock between two trees, build a small water fountain, plant some grass and flowers around it and create a beautiful space for leisure. You can even bring out a speaker and play relaxing or meditation music. Also, if you practice yoga, this will be the perfect spot to get in touch with the elements. Exercising on the grass near a fountain will bring you joy and inner peace. This corner might even become your favorite place in your backyard.

Hammock between two trees.
A hammock can be a great addition to your backyard staycation.

Put your deck to use.

If you don’t want to make changes to your yard or don’t have the space, but you do have a deck, put it to use. Decks can be transformed into spaces for relaxation, socializing, or dining. Based on what use you want to assign it, choose the right outdoor furniture and accessories, and get creative with the design. A swing or a rocking chair, a small bookcase, and a table, for example, can be used to create a reading corner. If you often host game nights, you can put together a table with enough chairs and a trunk that can serve as storage space for your favorite board games. Also, during chillier evenings, you can bring out pillows and blankets and make the place cozy and comfortable. All your guests will be delighted to spend time outdoors in such an inviting space.

Make the backyard fun for the whole family.

If you have children, you take them with you on vacation. But if you aren’t leaving your home for that vacation, you can bring it to them in your backyard. After all, your entire family could benefit from a staycation now and again. As a result, make a play space for your kids in your yard. You can set up a swing, make a sandbox, build a treehouse, or a playhouse. In addition, if your kids like spending time in the water, you can set up an inflatable pool or a lawn water slide. Just imagine all the fun your kids will have every day.

At the same time, we mustn’t forget about the other members of our family that could also use the outdoor space of their own. Our pets need pampering every now and then, and an outdoor kennel can be just what they need. A kennel can be a peaceful, comfortable, and shady area where dogs can stay cool on hot days. Just make sure that you choose the right size for your pet’s kennel, and he will have the perfect place of his own.

Use light to dictate the atmosphere.

To create the perfect backyard staycation, you also need to think about summer evenings and nights. Spending time outdoors on a pleasant evening can be a great way to relax after a long hot day. So, why not use lights to make your backyard that much more enjoyable in the evenings? You can use hanging lights for the trees, fairy lights on the poles of the wooden structures, and solar lamps by the walkways. That way, you will have enough light to see and do activities in the backyard at night. Additionally, consider adjustable lighting to control the brightness or hue of the lights and create different atmospheres. And if you want to create a more intimate and inviting ambiance, go with candles.

Gazebo with seats and lights.
A well-lighted gazebo can be a wonderful place to spend time during your staycation in your backyard.

Final words

As you can see, you can easily create the setting for the perfect backyard staycation. All you need is a vision for your backyard and lots of creativity. But if you lack inspiration, try putting some of our ideas into practice.

Images used: https://unsplash.com/photos/s8ebg13PGIM

Best Plants to Grow in a Greenhouse

Rows of containers with some of the best plants to grow in a greenhouse

Rows of containers with some of the best plants to grow in a greenhouse

Who says you have to be a pro gardener to enjoy the blessings a prebuilt greenhouse provides? No matter how experienced a gardener you are, you deserve to relish in colors, scents, and taste of homegrown produce. A prefab greenhouse can help you fulfill that dream. But do you know what the best plants to grow in a greenhouse are?

First things first: Why do you need a greenhouse?

Greenhouses are necessary for commercial growers and nurseries but have recently found their way into backyards and home gardens. The reasons for that are numerous, as it turns out that a greenhouse is great to have for several reasons.

  • It encourages the start and prolongs the growing season. Grow your food and save when the market prices skyrocket.
  • Greenhouses protect the plants grown within from pests and most diseases. You can keep your produce safely away from any wildlife on the prey.
  • They provide weather protection to sensitive plants. There is no need to let your delicate plants die out during the harsh winter season.
  • Allows you to control growing conditions. If your climate doesn’t welcome certain plants, your backyard greenhouse certainly does.

If your intention isn’t just to flex your green thumb, try gardening in a greenhouse. It is a beginner-friendly option that also benefits adept gardeners. The best part? If you ever tire of one type of plant, you can always try something entirely different. Your greenhouse doesn’t judge. Below are some of the best plants to grow in a greenhouse!

Growing flowers and ornamental plants in a greenhouse

They say there are two types of gardeners, those who like to look at the plants and those who want to eat them. You will greatly enjoy caring about frequently flowering plants with vibrant colors if you’re the visual type.

flowers

The least complicated to care for, almost constantly blooming, and, thus, the best plants to grow in a greenhouse are African violets, coming in a vast range of varieties and colors.

A lovely flowering tropical succulent, Kalanchoe, was one of the first to go into space, so why not into your greenhouse? Its long-lasting flowers will improve your outdoor decor but also your home interior.

Easy to care for, begonias are a gem among potted plants. The only challenge you will experience with them? Try to decide between Solenia ‘Dusty Rose’ Begonia, Nonstop ‘Mocca Yellow’ Begonia, and Rex Begonias.

The best greenhouse fruits

What’s the most common greenhouse fruit species, you might wonder?

Strawberries are undoubtedly the most popular fruit plants grown in home greenhouses. It will need a rechargeable pollinator as a fruit-bearing plant, as you most likely won’t allow natural pollinators inside your greenhouse.

Do you want to have delicious homegrown raspberries and blackberries for your smoothies and cakes all year long? It is possible, and you don’t even have to wait too long for the first harvest.

Caring about a cantaloupe (muskmelon) in a greenhouse is rewarding for several important reasons. Growing is simple, the plant doesn’t take much space, and it returns all the care invested with tasty, healthy fruit.

No matter how low-maintenance your greenhouse plants are, you will need specific tools to prune, pollinate, spray, and water your plants. Consider using a mobile storage unit if you have garden tools and appliances that can’t fit your greenhouse storage. It’s easy to learn how to make the most of it and have all your tools at hand.

Cultivate vegetables in a greenhouse year-round

greenhouse-snow

Harvesting salad greens every day? It is possible if you care about your plants in a greenhouse in optimal conditions. As long as you avoid freezing conditions and water the plants regularly, you can enjoy fresh crunchy lettuce daily.

Fresh, young spinach is more nutritious than lettuce but just as easily grown. One of the best plants to grow in a greenhouse doesn’t mind cool weather and even thrives in it. If you plan to grow it, consider the needs of other plants in your greenhouse and choose compatible roommates.

spinach

Beginner-friendly zucchinis are simple to grow, bear fruit quickly, and deliver a healthy, bountiful harvest. To make them particularly happy, provide them with all the space they might need, including larger containers as they grow.

Whether fruit or veggie, tomatoes are growers’ favored choice for. Choose a disease-resistant variety, provide it with sufficient heat and light, and enjoy various delicious organic produce.

Hydroponic — Yes, You Can! READ MORE HERE

Enjoy the benefits of greenhouse herbs

What is better than having aromatic spices (and cocktail ingredients) at hand year-round? Not only that herbs are hardy, pest-resistant plants, they also act as natural pesticides, defending other plants with which they share the greenhouse.

Competitive mint is perhaps not the ideal neighbor to other plants, but it will reward you with bright, fragrant leaves if you keep it apart. On the bright side, its invasive properties make it relatively easy to cultivate. You can use fresh leaves to spice cold beverages and cocktails and prepare tea and marinate the meat before cooking.

Full sun, loose soil, and constant watering are all that cilantro needs to thrive in your greenhouse. It will even self-seed. Yours is only to harvest the leaves in the morning and browse the web for savory recipes.

Rosemary is one of the inescapable ingredients in Mediterranean cuisine and is also relatively easy to grow in non-Mediterranean greenhouses. Depending on how much space you can afford, choose between the tall upright and low, creeping variety. The leaves of both types taste equally good, but the fragrant flowers are an even better seasoning for salads.

What is the best location for your greenhouse?

By now, you shouldn’t have any doubts if a greenhouse is the right choice for you. Only two other decisions remain.

Firstly, find the best spot for your greenhouse and transform your outdoor living space this way. If the ridge of the greenhouse roof runs east-west, plants will receive an optimal amount of sunlight during the winter season. Make sure that tall trees don’t shade it, there’s sufficient space around it to clean it, and it is close to the water and electricity source
Get More Information & Pricing on PreFab Greenhouses HERE
And lastly, pick your favorites among the best plants to grow in a greenhouse and garden your heart out.

Where to Place your Chicken Coop: 5 Key Things to Consider

There are a lot of things to consider when setting up your first chicken coop. Between trying to choose a material, finding a chicken coop plan, and making sure it is well-suited for the flock you plan to have, it can be easy to forget that where you place your coop can be just as important as all the rest.

A good coop location will be convenient for you and safe and healthy for your hens. It will also enable your coop to last a long time. Fortunately, all of these concerns can be broken down into a few key questions to keep in mind when placing your coop.

    1. Distance to your house – It may seem obvious, but placing your chicken coop as far as possible from your house, especially depending on how large your yard is, is probably not the best idea. That makes for a long walk with eggs, feed, cleaning supplies, and anything else that might need to get out to the coop. (If you are able to have a shed or other storage space right by your coop, this math becomes different.) However, it can also be a problem if you place your coop too close to the house. Chickens, after all, can sometimes be loud and are always smelly. Even when you are making a conscious choice to have them in your backyard, you may come to regret having them in your immediate backyard. Finding a balance between these two things is important in placing your chicken coop.
    2. Level ground – There are two different things to consider when thinking about placing your coop on level ground. The first, potentially more obvious one is that it should be on fairly flat, sturdy ground. A crooked coop is clearly no good for anyone, and you also do not want to come out one morning and find your coop has started sinking into quicksand. The second is water drainage; placing your coop on low ground could potentially be placing in a swamp, especially if you live in a particularly rainy area. Finding higher ground, if possible, or adding drainage to your yard, if necessary, will help keep your hens high and dry and healthy.
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    3. Foraging areas – No matter how much you feed them, hens love to forage, and placing their coop near good foraging areas will help keep them entertained, exercising, and well-fed. Good foraging areas have lots of plants, but none that might be toxic to your chickens – bracken ferns, azaleas, foxglove, and bulb flowers like tulips and irises are all common culprits. They also have a wide variety of plants that will be flourishing throughout the year; a foraging area is no good if it explodes with flowers in the spring, but leaves nothing for your hens to munch on in the winter.
    4. Sun and shade – Finding the right balance of sun and shade for your chicken coop can be tricky. Too much sun, and your girls spend the high summer months roasting and potentially developing heat stroke. Too much shade, and they can develop unhealthy sleep patterns and fail to produce the necessary hormones for egg production. Ideally, your coop and run will have a balance of sun and shade that will allow your chickens to switch between the two and regulate their own temperatures. Failing this, err on the side of too much shade, as warming up a coop is easier and healthier than letting your flock suffer in the heat.
    5. Availability to predators – No matter how sturdy your chicken coop is and how much hardware cloth you string around it, there is still the possibility of a hungry predator trying to turn your girls into dinner. You can reduce this possibility, though, by placing your coop away from anywhere that might make for an appealing hiding or resting place for predators. Low shrubs, woodpiles, and other ground-level hiding places will be attractive to snakes and rodents, while overhanging branches can harbor owls and hawks. Avoiding both of these will help keep your hens as safe as possible.
  1.  

Placing a chicken coop is not always the first thing on a first-time chicken keeper’s mind when they start setting up for a flock, but it is an important decision that will affect your chickens’ health and wellness for years to come.

Choosing the right place for your coop is crucial in allowing you to raise happy, healthy hens.

What to Consider When Transforming Your Outdoor Living Space

Your backyard can be a space where you feel at peace and a place where you can escape everyday life. When you think of an outdoor living space, what do you picture? Hammocks and lounge chairs poolside, an outdoor kitchen under a beautiful pergola, or do you imagine a cozy fire pit for those chilly summer nights?

 

 

If you are looking to enhance and transform your outdoor space, check out the helpful tips and tricks below to get inspired on how you can turn your backyard into a paradise you’ve always dreamed of having.

 

Plan Your Layout

Before you jump into purchasing any new furniture, try focusing on the layout of your backyard, and determine how you’d like certain statement pieces to look. Here is a list of questions to consider when designing an outdoor living space:

  1. Do you want to design a deck, patio, or both?
  2. Are you looking to invest in a pool or spa?
  3. Do you need room for a year-round entertainment space?
  4. Do you want a designated area for gardening, or do you want a greenhouse?
  5. Are you looking to have extra lawn space for the kids and pets?
  6. Are there other factors you would need to consider, such as a privacy fence or hedges?

 

 

When beginning the planning process of your new backyard, consider the importance of the basics and create an initial sketch before hopping into the specifics. You can do so by working with a professional designer or specialist in yard care to get a second opinion on the aspects you might be confused or concerned about. They might be able to help you not only include everything you may want, but give you input on the design by suggesting color palettes, patterns, and textures.

Again, something as simple as a drawing can help you share an outdoor living space idea with the individuals you may be working with on your new backyard oasis, but if this isn’t your cup of tea, create a vision board. Anytime you find something you like online or in a magazine, cut it out or use a sticky tab to keep it on your radar.

 

Research Financial Options

Financial options are an extremely important aspect to consider when taking on big projects such as a backyard transformation because there can be so many moving parts. To start, make a list of the furniture, lawn care, and other necessities that you plan to incorporate into your backyard, and do some research to determine an average of how much everything will cost. This can give you a clearer snapshot of how much money you’ll need to invest for your outdoor upgrades. Keep your phone or a notebook nearby, and type or write down some of the prices you find and compare them to competitors. Keep close track of any quotes you ask for so you can continue to compare and select the service best suitable for your backyard transformation.

During this stage, it is also important to figure out how you are going to finance each upgrade. With many different options out there, it’s imperative to compile a list of prices and do a more in-depth evaluation of which financing choice is going to best benefit your budget in the long run. You could look into how a line of credit works, check out loan options, or use cash upfront if you have the money saved up. Remember, how you handle payments will directly depend on how large or small the project is. Some payments will also depend on whether or not you’ll be able to utilize installment plans.

 

Maximize Your Deck or Patio Space

When transforming your outdoor living area, look at how much space you have to work with, so you can be smarter about what you purchase. Certain decorations and pieces of furniture can either make the space look bigger or more crammed. If you’ve measured a smaller space, this is a good time to consider adding built-in features, reimagine the size of outdoor furniture you are looking to get, and think about the number of decorations that you want to use. If you have a larger space, you’ll have more freedom with all the entertainment aspects you are looking to have for both a minimalist or detailed room.

 

Determine the Required Upkeep

During this time, if you are planning to build or add to your deck or patio, think about how much maintenance and upkeep you are willing to take on. Typically, if you get a wooden deck, you will have to reseal it every summer and restain it every two to three years. If that constant upkeep is not ideal for you, consider other affordable deck alternatives with less maintenance. If you are not looking to spend a ton of money, a patio may be a better option for you. Or, if you are just looking to create a more inviting deck or patio space, consider adding a pergola to give it a more dramatic look.

If you already have a deck or patio and are just looking to give it a little revamp and make it look like new again, consider power washing, restaining, or polishing to restore the vibrance it once had. This could also help you save money in the long run.

 

Consider Entertainment Aspects 

Once you figure out how you’re going to maximize and upgrade your outdoor space, the next step is the fun part: picking out the outdoor patio decor and entertainment pieces. Consider amping up your space by decorating with some tables, chairs, and maybe even lounging couches. Consider purchasing an outdoor space rug to tie it all together and give the area some color through vibrant plants. If you live close to your neighbors and prefer more privacy, it may be beneficial to look into a privacy wall to enclose your outdoor living area and make it feel more secluded.

If you like to entertain guests, whether it’s cooking, planning a gathering, or having a wine night, there is nothing better than wowing your guests with not only your hospitality, but the environment they are in. You can do this by investing in a pool, spa, fire pit, or an outdoor kitchen.

 

 

For additional assets to set the mood, outdoor speakers or lighting may add to the ambiance. If you are looking for a dreamy vibe, string lights and water features are a great option! You can also jazz up the patio or deck with some flowers and potted plants. Have fun with it and pick out what best suits your style.

Once you make these updates, you’ll never want to leave your backyard. It truly will be that ultimate outdoor transformation you’ve always wanted.

 

Hurricane Sandy Horizon Barns Can Take It.

Shelly Rose Photo

For this Post we are again lucky to have one of our customers, Shelly Rose who owns a shed row barn with an overhang from Horizon Structures send us her story about their experience during hurricane Sandy. We are very happy that everything is safe and secure on Shelly’s farm. As Superstorm Sandy was fast approaching and the whole east coast was bracing for the impact, I stood in our backyard looking at our brand new Horizon Structures shed row barn. Not only was I thankful for a safe place for our horses, but our compact little setup was solidly built and secure enough for our two Geldings to ride out the storm. Bailey and Superman had a strong roof over their heads and a dry place to hide while the wind howled outside. The overhang provided perfect protection from the rain and the boys were happy to be able to stick their heads out and not get drenched. Investing in this shed row has been the best thing I could have done for my two geldings. They have a cozy place to hide from the elements and more than enough room to be comfortable when they have to be cooped up for a storm like Sandy. The compact and strong construction of their little home made me confident that they would be kept safe. There’s a place for everything in our little barn and in fact our storm prep was minimal since everything already had its own spot in the tack room between the two stalls. When morning came after the storm their two little heads were poking out of their stalls and they were nickering as usual for breakfast. Their home had made them so cozy through the whole ordeal I doubt they even cared about the howling wind outside. Thank you Horizon for helping me keep them safe and sheltered.

 

Shelly Rose Photo

Outdoor Living is a Great Way to Live

It doesn’t matter if you live in New England or Florida, California or Maryland and anywhere in between. Outdoor living and enjoying the outdoors via a Gazebo, Pergola, Cabanna, Pavilion, or other Patio Structure makes that time even better.

For 2013 there are going to be some new offerings on outdoor living structures available. One of the new products will be a cedar gazebo which can be delivered with different options to suite your needs. With a floor, without a floor, and even with windows and screens to offer a more quiet area that can be used for more that just sunny days.

Another new offering will be a pavilion that is going to have a more rugged structure and presence. The new Alpine pavilion will have large 8×8 posts and a steeper 10/12 pitch roof. This will be a must have for anyone looking to add a more outdoor look to their property.

The best thing for you the consumer to know is that if you order one of our kits everything is pre-cut and pre-drilled for you. All of the hardware as well as clear and easy to understand instructions are included. Average time of assembly for a non carpenter is about 10-20 hours. Lead-time is generally about 2-4 weeks depending on your location and the type of structure.

If you would like us to provide the crew to assemble your new outdoor living structure just let us know. We can add that to your quote.

The Spring season is quickly approaching. So even if the groundhog saw his shadow, the warmer weather is quickly approaching, and to me that is a very comforting thought.

Are Chickens Really Gardeners?

The great thing about my job here at Horizon Structures (www.horizonstructures.com) is that I always have the chance not only to help customers with product selection but to also learn from the customer as well.
Yesterday during a conversation about chicken coops with a customer we were going over the dimensions and specifications of a couple of our chicken coops and she suddenly asked me if our coops were able to be used with the “deep litter” method. Of course I initially misunderstood her and thought she said “deep leader” method which led me to an internet search with no results about chickens.
Once the internet suggested deep litter I was on my way to an opportunity to learn.

As I am not completely versed in the subject, I hope that the information below may guide you to deciding if this is something you want to try. Of course, I welcome your comments and feedback to help me with anything I may miss or send me your suggestions of what you do on your own farm.

Basically, the deep litter method is a means using the browns and greens to create a compost pile of your chickens poop (the greens) mixed with (the browns) such as pine shavings (DO NOT USE CEDAR SHAVINGS) or Newspaper shreds/strips. Some people will use Hay or Straw which may be to moist for this application and may mold. This process happens right on your coop floor and for most people they only have to clean out their coops once or maybe twice a year. This is a great way to manage chicken litter for small farmers or even people in urban areas.

You will find that the deep litter method works best in coops with a earthen floor. If you have a coop with a floor in it you will need to put the material you clean out in a compost bin to break down farther and avoid damaging your plants. The key here is the dirt floor in the coop which supplies the moisture and culture to keep the compost process going. If you are using a dirt floor coop and find material that is more fresh on your semi-annual or annual clean out. You will also want to put that material in a compost bin for a period of time before applying to a garden.

As for the smell you may be expecting from having this build up in your coop? It is impoortant to maintain a good balance of fresh shavings on the coop floor to keep the moisture to a minimum. Let the chicken’s do some work for you too. Tossing some corn or feed on the floor will get the chickens scratching which they like to do anyway. This will help the aeration process. From what I have read, people report a very minimal if any ammonia smell at all.

You may wonder what some of the benefits are of the deep litter method. Here are a few for you.

*There is very little time needed to manage this process
*Low cost compost for your gardens and flower beds
*No smell
*Heathier Chickens as they benefit from scratching through the litter which contains beneficial microbes. Kind of like probiotics for the chickens.

Please note that as a standard all of our Horizon Structures coops come with a wood or gladbord floor installed in them.

If this is something you would like to try, lets talk about our 6×6,8×8 or even our 8×10 chicken mansion coop. We’ll work with you to modify the coop if you want to place on a natural earth base.

Also remember that we can modify any of our storage sheds to accomodate your chickens. We can add extra chicken doors, roost bars and nest boxes to get you the coop you want.

I look forward to your comments on this topic.

Remember: Happy, Healthy Chickens Lay More Eggs.

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