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decorative metal brackets for wood beams

Decorative metal brackets can take your pergola from plain to stylish.

The pergola is the crowning feature of many backyard gardens. It gives your yard presence and a naturally beautiful area to relax and socialize in. On a summer day, it may even be your favorite thing about your home.

Recently, while at a regular client’s house doing some deck work, I noticed that the connectors and ties on his pergola were stainless steel. The hardware looked unsightly, standing out like a sore thumb compared to his wood deck accented in black iron. He had been worried about using weak decorative ties on his pergola and didn’t want to use hardware that would look nice for a season or two, but then need replacing once the bad weather rolled around. I gave him a pat on the back before mentioning, “You really ought to give me a call before a big project like this, buddy. It’s what I’m here for.”

See, there are indeed decorative black iron connectors and ties that are strong, durable, weather-resistant—and would have tied in perfectly with his deck, no pun intended. In fact, there’s a wide selection of decorative hardware that you can use to build a beautiful pergola designed to stand up to the elements, year round. You just have to know what you’re looking for when you go searching for decorative metal brackets for wood beams to compliment your favorite outdoor space, your pergola.
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DIY Outdoor Privacy Screen Ideas

Privacy screens can shade your backyard from sun and prying eyes and take your outdoor living area to a whole new level.

Decks are an extension of our homes’ living spaces—a spot to dine, to read, or to sit back and soak in the sun. But, while they may feel like an outdoor living room, they often lack the privacy offered by the overstuffed sofa in our family room.

Last summer, after staining and sealing a raised deck for a client, she mentioned that as excited as she was to decorate her new outdoor living space, she wasn’t thrilled about the view into her neighbor’s unkempt backyard. I told her I had a solution that would turn her exposed deck into a haven of privacy and then proceeded to introduce her to the wide world of privacy screens.

DIY outdoor privacy screen ideas are limited only by your imagination. Not only do they make your deck more private, they can also cut down on wind and offer some shade—all ways to improve the coziness of your home’s outdoor room. Installing a privacy screen, like lattice work, decorative panels, or a freestanding fence, is also a DIYer’s dream—relatively easy, fast, and low cost with a big payoff. And trailing vines, or the addition of potted plants, can easily add a natural element as well. You could run to the home improvement store this Saturday morning and be done early enough to show off your handiwork to friends at an afternoon BBQ—a private, invite-only deck party (no nosey neighbors allowed).
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how to install a fence post without cement

Wood post anchors are some of the easiest ways to install a fence post, and offer other benefits, like protection from water and weed eaters.

Last week I met up with a nice couple who were looking to have a fence installed. Their home was part of a new subdivision just outside of town that boasted beautiful houses with immaculate yards. Their main request was that I didn’t use cement plugs for the posts because they wanted to be able to easily remove the fence if they decided to go with a different style in the future. Thankfully, there are a lot of ways to install a fence post without cement.

I often get requests to forgo using cement to install fence posts; it’s messy, there’s a lot of labor involved with the removal of cement plugs, and some people believe that it accelerates post rot. Whatever the reason you want to avoid it, it’s always good to know what the alternatives are when cement is not an option. Your method of choice for installing fence posts will depend on the terrain and the type of soil in your yard, but there are a variety of ways to go about it. We’re going to take a look at some of the methods I’ve had the best success with.
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decorative hardware for wood gates

Adding decorative hardware to your gate is an easy way to spruce up your yard.

The other day I got home from the store in a rush to get dinner started. I wanted to surprise my wife with her favorite meal but, in a mad flurry, I ended up slamming the gate behind me a bit too hard. After a deep breath and a few choice words, I turned around to find that the hinges had completely detached from the fence. Needless to say, my wife wasn’t very happy, but we finally agreed it was probably time for a gate makeover anyway. A few days later I began what I expected to be a laborsome, time-consuming task, but it ended up being both simple and enjoyable.

Adding decorative hardware for wood gates is actually one of the quickest and easiest improvements you can make to your yard. It only requires a few simple tools and a little bit of cash. Your gate is the first and last thing that your guests and family see when they come and go. By combining creativity with quality, decorative products designed for your wooden gate you can add curb appeal—and value—to your home and yard.

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keep your fence posts from rotting

Fence post anchors are an easy way to protect your fence posts from water that might rot them.

Remember that beautiful fence you installed a few years ago? It took a whole weekend, but every time you look at it, you’re filled with a sense of pride and accomplishment. So, when you notice that the carefully-installed wooden posts are starting to show signs of rotting, you can’t help but be upset.

There are few things more frustrating than spending time and energy on a project only to see it disintegrate, especially if you could have prevented it. Fortunately, there are several methods to keep your fence posts from rotting out without having to spend another weekend breaking your back.
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Right fastener for an ACQ Pressure Treated Lumber Project

Pressure-treated lumber can be corrosive to metals, so you’ll want to choose specially-designed fasteners.

It is starting to warm up outside and you’ve finally decided to get to work on some yard projects, maybe replacing that gate that was damaged last year, or building some raised beds in your garden. But when you’re loading up your lumber you notice the tag “Pressure Treated” or “ACQ”. What exactly does that mean?

Pressure-treated lumber undergoes a chemical process that may cause the accelerated corrosion of metals that come in contact with the wood (like screws and other fasteners). Once the fasteners have corroded, replacing them can be an immensely time-consuming repair for you, depending on the project.

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hardware that won't rust

When you live in a hurricane-prone area, make sure you use hardware that won’t rust such as powder-coated, hot-dipped galvanized or stainless steel fasteners for your building projects.

You’ve been hunkered down for the last two days while the wind and rain ripped past your house, but it’s time to head outside to view the damage. A few shutters are swinging, part of your fence came down, and your mailbox went AWOL. It’s nothing that can’t be fixed in a weekend, right? Then you find the pergola you worked so hard to build a few years ago. It’s still upright, but it looks like it could come down at any minute. If you’ve been through a few hurricanes, you can probably blame the fasteners.

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