Protecting your skin from the sun’s harsh rays

Most damaging sun exposure doesn’t happen while off on tropical vacations, or trekking through the desert, it happens right in your own backyard. It can even happen sitting in front of a window in your home. Sitting in the sun for even just a little while can contribute to cumulative UV damage over time.

One solution is to stay indoors, but that isn’t practical, or pleasant. Another option is to control the environment in your yard, and in your home.

One way to do that is through patios and outdoor roof treatments. Blocking or redirecting harsh sunlight during certain times of the day can dramatically reduce UV exposure and help keep patio areas cool. Your home will stay cooler, too, since there will be less afternoon sunlight glaring through your windows.

Of course, there may be times when you don’t want anything getting in the way of your sunshine, and that’s okay. With louvered patio roof systems, incoming light can be controlled and adjusted at will. Louvers can be positioned from completely open to completely closed quickly and easily, as well as any position in between.

This means that the sunlight can be angled and directed away from guests enjoying iced tea in the backyard, reducing annoying and harmful glare. It also means that the louvers can be closed off in the event of a sudden summer shower right in the middle of your outdoor party.

With Equinox Louvered Roof systems, you can get control of your outdoor environment, protecting your family from harmful UV rays while still enjoying the warm weather outside. Contact your local Equinox dealer to start getting more enjoyment from your outdoor living space today.

Choosing an outdoor patio restaurant for your event

Choosing a patio restaurantThere is something about hosting your event in an outdoor patio area that makes it special. Many restaurants have beautiful patio areas, making them the perfect spot for birthday or anniversary parties, showers or rehearsal dinners. Whatever your special occasion, you want it to go smoothly for all of your guests.

Comfort is a big factor, and is sometimes overlooked. It is important that the outdoor venue be pleasant regardless of the weather or time of day. While you may not have control over the weather, it is helpful to scout out the patio covering beforehand, to ensure that there is some measure of control in regards to sunlight, wind or even rain.

Restaurant Motorized Patio Roof

The Equinox Roof team comfortably met under the adjustable patio roof at Atlanta’s Lure restaurant.

A covered patio area that uses louvers to control sunlight, air circulation and provided protection is ideal. Louvers allow sunlight to be redirected, depending on what time of day it is. For example, if your event is in the middle of the afternoon, direct overhead sunlight can be harsh. Louvers can be closed partially or all the way to provide shade or redirect the glare.

In the later part of the afternoon, the light is much more pleasant. The louvers can be opened to allow more light and to increase airflow.

These are important considerations when planning an event. While decor and food are of course primary considerations, things like temperature, ventilation and light are huge factors in the comfort and enjoyment of your guests.

Both residential homes and business locations can benefit from an Equinox Louvered patio covering. With a touch of a button, you can redirect light and air in your covered patio area, reducing UV exposure or bright sun, increasing airflow or protecting against rain. Contact your local Equinox dealer today and start getting more enjoyment out of your outdoor space.

Patio Party: Family Game Night

Perhaps not as posh as a dinner party, brunch or book club meeting, family game night can be a lot of fun. They can be even more memorable inviting people in your lives who go beyond family.  The patio is the perfect place to host an event that can be entertaining for both children and adults.

Patio Game NightLearn while playing

Let’s take a quick look at the benefits of opening up your family game night. Bringing neighbors and friends into your home can begin a fun ritual of  relaxed evenings that builds relationships. Playing games has always been a tool for people of all ages to broaden horizons, learn new facts and different skills. If you have a smaller family, you’ll be able to play multi-player games that require more people, for more excitement and unique outcomes.

Planning special open game nights once a month or around a special event like a meeting or sporting event gives you some flexibility. Be creative and match the game-night theme to the event. Accommodate any extra people by hosting it on your patio and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors at the same time.

Let’s take it outside

Where to set up really depends on how many people you can accommodate in different areas of your home. Family rooms, dining rooms and rec rooms are all great options to consider, but that doesn’t mean you need to limit your options to the indoors only. Setting up on a porch area that has an adjustable louvered roof, like the Great patio room for game nightEquinox Roof, provides a great place to enjoy each other’s company. In addition to getting some fresh air, a porch opens up the option to move to outdoor games if the mood strikes, such as croquet, badminton or volleyball.

Dividing up responsibilities

One of the great things about opening up your family game night is the opportunity to try different things. If you’re inviting guests, suggest they help out by bringing a special snack or drink to share, a favorite card game or other items such as lawn chairs or outdoor items that would be helpful to pull the evening off. For multiple evenings, have one person pick a game they want to play, whether they want to play out on the patio or indoors and  a favorite snack each evening to keep things interesting.

Now that you’ve got a few new ideas on how to expand your family game night to other friends, why not make it a date? Take a look at the forecast, make a few calls or send a few emails and plan on a fabulous evening.  No need to worry about the rain prediction. If you have an Equinox Louvered Roof, you’ll be covered rain or shine. Contact a dealer near you to find out how. 

 

 

Posh Patio Parties: Lovely Ladies Brunch Ideas

Posh Patio Parties: Lovely Ladies Brunch Ideas

If you are planning a ladies brunch in the warmer summer or springtime months, then you know the patio or deck area is the ideal place. This is a great opportunity to showcase your beautiful outdoor space. Outdoor brunch ideas can range from casual to formal, depending on the mood you are trying to achieve and the style and feel of your outdoor space.

Having your brunch outdoors allows more room to spread out and socialize, minimizes indoor mess and provides a pleasant, casual atmosphere. If you want your event to have a more formal feel, using attractive table linens and stylish centerpieces will add a touch of sophistication.

The late morning sunlight can provide just the amount of warmth and an attractive amount of light, but as it gets closer to noon, the harsh, overhead sunlight can make it unpleasantly hot, creating an annoying glare and too much sun exposure.

Rather than move the party indoors, control sunlight exposure on your patio with an Equinox Louvered Roof. These solar-powered automatic louvers can easily control the level and direction of light exposure on your covered patio areas. Easy controls allow you to adjust the louvers at an angle to redirect light so that it is not beating down on your guests. The louvers can be closed completely, allowing more shade, and then opened back up to increase light and airflow.

The ability to control the climate in your backyard can extend the hours you are able to enjoy your outdoor space, help reduce harmful exposure to the sun’s UV rays and make your time outdoors more pleasant and comfortable.

If you want to increase your outdoor enjoyment and make the most of your space, contact your local Equinox Roof dealer today.

How to plan a fun outdoor patio party

With the spring and summer seasons just around the corner, it’s a good time to start preparing for your next big shindig in the backyard. Really, it never hurts to prepare ahead of time even for a casual affair with the best of friends. Here are a few suggestions to include when planning your next fun, outdoor patio party:

Have a Theme – Nothing brings people together more than a feeling of shared experience. For your patio party, encourage people a reason to dress in a certain way and speak with funny – albeit bad! –accents. Also decorate in the appropriate style and serve a variety of regional dishes. Not only will the conversation be easier to start but there will be plenty of laughter and your guests will appreciate you for the effort.

Provide Ample Seating – Parties can be tiring so plenty of seating is a must. This fact is especially true if you are serving food – even trays of finger foods need to be set down once in a while to clean one’s hands or to take a drink. If your patio space is small, consider adding bar tables. They take up far less room – no chairs! – and allow guests more opportunity to mingle.

Be Ready for Rain – No one can predict the weather and summertime often brings unexpected rain showers. Even if they only last for a minute or two, your guests will be crowded for better or –mostly! – worse inside your home until the downpour subsides. A better solution is to install a louvered roof over your patio. When the sun is out, leave it open and the rain arrives, close it with the push of a button. Either way, you and your guests stay comfortable.

Designate a Smoking Area – It may be regrettable but many people still smoke. As a host, you should not make them feel like pariahs. Instead, provide a comfortable – if somewhat distant – place for them to relax and enjoy their favorite vice. It will also makes you other guests a little happier.

For more information on these and other outdoor patio ideas, please visit us at Equinox Louvered Roof. Ready to begin controlling your outdoor space and impressing your friends and neighbors with an Equinox Roof?  You can reach us directly to find a local dealer by calling 800.350.5209.

Posh Patio Parties: Welcome Spring

The Vernal Equinox, the first day of Spring, is a time of celebration and rebirth. As the northern hemisphere moves away from the darkness of winter and into the light of spring, the world comes back to life. This is a time for awakening – for planting seeds, feeling the warm sun on your face, and preparing your home for the return of outdoor living. It is also the perfect time for a Vernal Equinox party. Hosting a party to welcome spring is a great way to reconnect with your friends and family after a long winter.

The Decor

As the world around you comes to life, so too should your outdoor room. Fill your space with budding twigs, flowers, and potted plants. Use bright table linens for a festive atmosphere. Let in the natural sunlight, and string twinkling white lights to brighten up the night when the sun sets.

The Food

Foods associated with spring are typically lighter and brighter than the heavy fare of the colder months. Here are some easy meal suggestions that will keep your guests happy.

fresh fruit – nothing says spring like the sweet tang of a big fruit salad.

quiche – eggs symbolize new life and making a few quiches the night before the party will free you up to celebrate with your guests.

asparagus – one of the first vegetables to come up each growing season, asparagus is a traditional spring tonic and easy to prepare in the oven or on the grill.

lamb kebabs – Another spring treat, lamb can be mixed with fresh vegetables on skewers and grilled to perfection while your guests mingle.

Champagne – Bright and bubbly, Champagne fits the bill for a celebration of light and warmth.

The Celebration

Because spring is about birth and growth, a planting ceremony is a meaningful way to recognize the new season. Give each guest a spring bulb and a pretty planter. Have a bin of potting soil and some hand trowels nearby. As each guest fills their planter with soil and plants their bulb, remind them to think about how they want to grow in the new year. The emerging plant will be a reminder of that growth and of the celebration that welcomed spring into their lives once again.

The weather of early spring can be unpredictable. For your patio party, be prepared for sudden rain with the Equinox Louvered Roof system. When the sun is bright, open the louvers to provide a comfortable amount of shade. At the first hint of rain, close the louvers for a watertight solid roof. Your guests will stay dry, and they will be impressed that the fun can continue uninterrupted with your Equinox Louvered Roof. Contact a dealer near you.

The Vernal Equinox: Spring has Sprung

Every spring and fall, we experience astrological events that mark the seasons’ change: Equinox. The term Equinox derives from the Latin word aequinoctium, translates as “equal night.” There are two annual Equinoxes per year, one being the Autumnal, and the other being the Vernal. As you might expect, on these two days, night and day are the closest to being of equal duration. This happens because the sun crosses directly over the equator; at this point you can expect the weather to warm due to longer periods of daylight.

In the case of the 2015 Vernal Equinox, it arrives on March 20 at 5:45 p.m. It’s a good time to look at the sky and say, “Spring has sprung.” The important thing for homeowners is that we can begin spending more time outdoors. People lucky enough to live in the south where the snow has gone, this is the time to begin preparing for planting the vegetable gardens and flower beds.

It is also the time for outdoor entertaining, barbeques, and lounging on the patio. Patios are an essential part of the modern home, even more so if you have a swimming pool next to it. If you don’t have a patio or deck yet, consider putting one in. It makes better use of your real estate, and is also a great way to boost your home equity, making it a great investment.

One problem is that as summer approaches, patios (and decks) can become very hot in the afternoon hours, limiting enjoyment time. The traditional solutions have been to gain some shade by installing either a pergola or an awning. The problem is that pergolas work… sometimes, so long as the sun isn’t directly above. The problem with awnings is that they’re an all or nothing solution. The Equinox® Louvered Roof system solves both those problems for residential and commercial properties.

When the louvers are in the complete upright position, the effect is the same as a pergola. What’s different is that the louvers are powered by a 12 volt DC motor and can rotate over a 160 degree range. So, as the sun makes its way across the summer sky, so can the shade, controlled either by a switch or by remote control. And ironically, that very sun can power the motor via an optional solar panel.

To learn more about this and locate a dealer (or become a dealer), contact Equinox Louvered Roof. Summer is coming; enjoy it to the utmost.

Top 10 plants for a thriving patio container garden

Growing potted plants is convenient because you can resituate them when needed and move them out of stormy weather. These portable gardens can soften and bring life and color to any small space around your home. A container garden on your patio keeps you close to the plants you love. Consider these top 10 plants for containers, all of which last years with proper care.

Golden Sword Yucca

Ideal for Growing Zones 4-11, Golden Sword easily combines with a variety of seasonal flowers. The 2-inch-wide leaves grow 2 to 3 feet long and have attractive dark green, light green and golden yellow stripes.

Green Mountain Boxwood

This slow-growing shrub thrives in Zones 4-9 and maintains its green color all winter long. Living in a container keeps it smaller than its typical 5-foot height, and rotating the container balances light exposure to prevent bare spots.

Golden Creeping Jenny

If you love cascading plants and live in Zones 4-8, this plant is perfect. It spills out over the container’s edge for a beautiful appearance.

Japanese Pieris

Hardy in Zones 6-8, this plant features evergreen foliage with beautiful red, pink or white blossoms in spring.

Emerald Arborvitae

If you want a vertical accent in your Zone 2-7 container garden, this evergreen plant fits the bill. The shape and texture of the foliage makes it a great accompaniment to many seasonal flowers.

Bergenia

This strong grower, ideal in Zones 3-8, has glossy oval leaves that add a bold element to any container garden. Bergenias blossom with beautiful pink flowers in spring.

Variegated Redtwig Dogwood

This shrub grows in Zones 2-8 and serves as a handsome focal point in your container garden with its deeply colored variegated leaves.

Heucheras 

A low-growing, purple-leaved perennial that thrives in Zones 3-8, this plant provides interest beneath taller container plants.

Blue Star Juniper

This slow-growing juniper found in Zones 4-9 provides a uniquely colored backdrop for flowering container plants.

Fuldaglut Sedum

Growing in Zones 4-9, this bronze-colored plant boasts cerise blooms in late summer and turns red in winter, dressing up your container garden in any season.

A motorized patio cover from Equinox Louvered Roof could be the perfect complement to a beautiful container garden on your patio. With just the touch of a button, the adjustable roof transitions from a solid covering to an open pergola-style covering. For your patio container garden, it providing protection from the rain when needed and allowing direct sunlight to shine in when desired. To learn more about enjoying a relaxing and controllable patio lifestyle, please contact your local Equinox dealer.