EP Henry Contractors Weigh in on the Year's Top Trends for Outdoor Living Spaces
By EP Henry, via herald online
WOODBURY, N.J., APRIL 8, 2013 — /PRNewswire/ -- With the steadily improving residential real estate market and recent uptick in sales reported by home improvement retailers, many homeowners are investing more in enhancing their outdoor living spaces this year. The timing of tax returns and current low interest rates are among other factors driving consumer spending.
These positive economic signs point to parallel growth in the Hardscaping and landscaping industries, which stand to benefit from increased sales during their busy season.
"We recognize that refinancing dollars are important to our industry," said Mark Wagner, president and founder of Wagner Landscaping and an EP Henry Authorized Hardscaping Contractor®. "A lot of our work is tied to interest rates, and with low refinancing rates, we're seeing an increase in demand for a lot of our products."
EP Henry, the leading manufacturer of unit concrete products serving the mid-Atlantic region, recently surveyed its contractors to identify trends for outdoor living spaces this year.
Topping the list of outdoor design trends for 2013 are:
Outdoor living rooms. "Adding a roof structure over patios allows people to spend more time in their outdoor space," said Joseph A. Nardo, owner of Private Paradise Construction and an EP Henry contractor. A recent survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) indicated outdoor living spaces earned almost a 95 percent rating in popularity from respondents.
Multifunctional "kits." This year, EP Henry introduced its Solitaire Kit, which allows customers to convert their fire pit into a fish pond or an aquatic garden. This enables the feature to serve a dual purpose as both a heating source in the cool early spring and fall months and a refreshing water feature in the summer months.
Outdoor kitchens. Adding to outdoor living spaces, certain amenities such as built-in grills, refrigerators, countertops and concrete seating walls make for a versatile outdoor space that can be enjoyed day or night.
Sustainable products. Environmental concerns continue to be a strong driver with outdoor projects. Products such as permeable pavers help the environment by allowing rainwater to recharge the ground, reducing stormwater runoff. They can also be used to harvest rainwater for multiple purposes, such as watering gardens, replenishing ponds and fountains or washing cars. EP Henry's ECO line of permeable pavers brings beauty and functionality to sustainable design.
Natural-looking stone products. "Many of our customers don't like the look of concrete blocks," said Chip Bunch, president of Shan-Gri-La Contractors and an EP Henry contractor. "But the natural look of Cast Veneer Stone™ coupled with its price point makes it a popular product."
For more ideas on ways to enhance an outdoor living space, visit EP Henry's Inspiration Gallery or watch the company's Hard Facts on Hardscaping video series.
About EP Henry
EP Henry (www.ephenry.com) is the premier family-owned and operated manufacturer of unit concrete products in North America. The company supplies Hardscaping™ – a term it coined – and architectural concrete masonry products, all of which are 100 percent American-made, to homeowners and businesses. Headquartered in Woodbury, NJ, EP Henry was founded in 1903. A sponsor of the world-renowned Philadelphia International Flower Show, EP Henry also supports veterans' organizations through its Heroscaping™ Active Military and Veterans Donation Program, instituted in 2012.
SOURCE EP Henry
Read more here: http://www.heraldonline.com/2013/04/08/4754493/top-five-hardscaping-trends-for.html#storylink=cpy
Swimming Pool Opening Checklist
After months of cold and snow in many parts of the country we are very anxiously awaiting the warm weather and swimming pool opening time! So here is a checklist for your pool opening to make sure you are prepared.
1. Take Inventory
Check your pool chemicals leftover from the prior year; make sure they are not expired and that they have been properly stored throughout the winter and have not been exposed to any moisture. Make a list of any you are out of or running low on.
2. Check for Anything That May Be Broken or Needs Replaced
Check all of your equipment thoroughly, your pool filter, cleaner, pump, and accessories, make sure that everything is in working order and not parts or piece are broken or worn out. It is always better to take care of any issues up front before your swimming pool opening.
3. Clean and Remove Your Pool Cover
If you use a winter pool cover make sure it is clean before removing it. We recommend using a pool cover pump to remove any water that is sitting on the cover making it much easier and safer to remove. Sweeping any debris that has collected from the cover will also be helpful so it does not fall into the pool upon removing the cover and it is always better to store a clean cover!
4. Put Everything Back Where It Belongs
Often when closing your pool for the winter you or your pool man may have removed small plugs from your pump, filter, or heater, make sure they are all back in place and nothing is missing. If you removed accessories such as ladders, diving boards, slides or anything else replace them and ensure they are secure.
5. Top it Off
Add water to make sure your water level is where it should be at about the middle of your skimmer opening or halfway up your pool tile. If you have trouble keeping your water at this level a automatic water leveler may be something good to consider.
6. Spring Clean
Just as you would clean your house for spring, you want to give your pool the same thorough cleaning at the time of your swimming pool opening. Here is what we recommend:
Skim the surface and remove and debris
Wipe down your tile or vinyl surfaces
Empty the skimmer baskets and pump strainer baskets
Use your pool vacuum.
Check that your filter is running properly, service if needed.
Clean your pool deck and areas surrounding the pool, including your equipment area.
7. Balance Pool Chemicals
Adjust your pH and alkalinity, shock treat your pool, adjust sanitizer levels, add algaecide if needed.
8. Maintain Regularly
By keeping up regularly on your cleaning, and chemicals by regularly using a water test kit and making adjustments when needed you will enjoy the comfort of your clean pool all year long!
The Adventures of Splish and Splash
This clever series of games from the CPSC's Pool Safely campaign helps teach kids about swimming pool safety in a fun way. Watch all three of these interactive video games with your kids, and let them take part in Water Safety Month!
Click here to play the games
20 AWESOME PERSONAL SWIMMING POOLS THAT YOU CAN'T SWIM IN
from gadget review
We have dug deeper than any others before us to find the most incredible, luxurious swimming pools from around the world. From a swimming pool with a 1,000-year-old history to personal pools with secret passageways, we bring you the top 20 swimming pools you can't swim in... unless you buy them. Sorry.
click here to see the pools