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.

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.