Outdoor Rooms for Your Home

Private rooftop retreat by Louis Van Amstel of Dancing with the Stars.
Private rooftop retreat by Louis Van Amstel of Dancing with the Stars.

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Outdoor rooms are the perfect place for entertaining or just kicking back and relaxing. We’re taking a look at a number of different outdoor living spaces to see what makes a really great outdoor room, and give you some useful ideas for to make or improve own outdoor living area.

L.A. Rooftop Oasis

Outdoor living isn’t limited to a suburban, tree-shaded backyard. Louis Van Amstel of Dancing with the Stars converted the rooftop of his Los Angeles condo into a private outdoor retreat complete with areas for sitting and sleeping, outdoor cooking, and lots of plants.

Joy of a Front Porch

Well known TV personality and green living enthusiast, Bill Nye, kept the environment in mind when building a front porch on his home by using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood, low emission cement, and salvaged brick. Other details of the porch include a natural wood ceiling with painted beams and a Dutch door.

Bring the Outside In

To open up the inside of your home to the great outdoors, consider installing a set of folding patio doors, such as these from JELD-WEN Windows & Doors. Simply flip the latches and swing the doors out of the way to really open up the space for entertaining or enjoying nature. The three-point locking system, coupled with latches on each door in the header and threshold insure security.

Find Inspiration at a Garden Show

Attending a home and garden show can provide a wealth of inspiration and ideas to dress up the outdoor living area in your yard. Shows like the Festival of Flowers in Mobile, Alabama, showcase a wide range of exhibits by landscape designers and nurseries.

The show also features unique products for outdoor living, such as handmade driftwood designs by craftsman Pete Floyd, a copper water fountain from Garden Creations, and a flaming stone waterfall by Chris Francis Landscapes.

Score and Acid Stain a Concrete Slab

To give a new look to a concrete slab porch or patio, score lines in the concrete then finish it with an acid stain. Here’s how to go about it:

    • Layout the pattern for the scored lines on the concrete slab with a chalk line. We used a series of parallel diagonal lines with a rectangular border.
    • Cut 1/4″ deep grooves in the concrete using a circular saw equipped with a diamond tipped blade. A straight board or piece of plywood is used as a guide for saw. Wear an approved dust mask or respirator along with earplugs and safety glasses.
    • Rinse the dust off the slab using a garden hose.
    • Clean the slab thoroughly with a scrub brush and rinse again.

  • Protect anything you don’t want the stain on, then dampen the slab slightly with a garden hose.
  • Fill a garden sprayer with an acid stain, such as Quikrete Etching Stain. Follow all safety instructions on the container and wear protective boots, gloves, and clothes.
  • Apply the etching stain evenly to the concrete and allow to sit overnight.
  • Apply a mixture of water and baking soda to the concrete to neutralize the acid in the stain. Use a wet/dry vac to remove the excess.
  • Apply a sealer, such as Quikrete Etching Stain Sealer, to the concrete to protect the stained surface.

Other Tips from This Episode

Cleaning with Dryer Sheets

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Cleaning with Dryer Sheets

In addition to eliminating static cling in your laundry, dryer sheets are great for removing dust and static electricity on blinds, computer screens, television sets, and more. Simply wipe the dryer sheet on the surface, and dispose of the sheet when it becomes dirty. (Watch This Video)

EZ-Pour Wheelbarrow

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
EZ-Pour Wheelbarrow

The spout on the EZ-Pour wheelbarrow from Ames True Temper makes it perfect for pouring concrete and other materials. It features a poly base that won’t rust, a flat-free tire, and steel handles. The EZ-Pour wheelbarrow is available at The Home Depot.
(Watch This Video)

Solar Screening

Thinking Green with Danny Lipford:
Solar Screening

Installing solar screening on your windows can block out up to 90% of harmful UV rays as well as heat from the sun. This can reduce air conditioning bill by keeping your house cooler in the summer, and protect fabrics and furniture from fading and other damage from the sun. (Watch This Video)



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