Five budget-friendly outdoor living space solutions

(BPT) – As summer approaches, you’re probably dreaming of a luxurious outdoor retreat ideal for al fresco lunches, cookouts with friends or lazy afternoons spent sunbathing. While you also may be wondering if this project fits within your budget, it is possible to construct a completely customized outdoor oasis without breaking the bank.

The experts at Trex, world’s largest manufacturer of wood-alternative decking and railing, offer the following tips for creating an affordable and enjoyable outdoor living space in time for warm weather:

* Find ideas online. From inspiration to installation, you can reference trusted home improvement and do-it-yourself websites for guidance through every step of an outdoor living project. Take advantage of complimentary online resources, such as sample deck plans to spark your creativity, deck designers to create virtual outdoor living spaces with customized layouts, colors, textures and accessories, and material calculators to help you stay on-budget.      

* Research financing opportunities. As with other significant purchases for the home, it’s possible to obtain special financing on a variety of outdoor living products – including decking, railing, lighting and furniture. Visit before June 30, 2013 to apply for a line of credit through GE Capital, or work directly with a participating dealer or TrexPro contractor to determine the options available.

* Decide to do-it-yourself.  By building a dream deck with your own two hands, you’re saving money on labor costs. Before getting started, however, make sure you’re confident in your DIY abilities and that you have the necessary tools (such as a circular saw, framing square, wheelbarrow and socket wrench) and plenty of help from family or friends. Be certain that you also can commit the time required to obtain local permits, draw up your design plans and complete the build.

* Choose the right decking materials. Offering superior durability and beauty at an affordable price point, new Trex Select defends against wear and tear from years of heavy foot traffic and severe weather – as well as everyday mishaps like dropped grill tools, scratches from heavy outdoor furniture and wet planter pots. Available in four nature-inspired colors that pair beautifully with railing in a complimentary white hue, Trex Select never requires sanding, staining or painting because food and drink spills wash off easily with just soap and water. This high-performance wood-alternative decking is wrapped in the signature Trex protective shell, which resists both stains and mold – and guards against fading better than traditional composites. It also comes with the additional peace of mind of a 25-Year Limited Residential Warranty.

* Dress up your deck. Even if your budget is tight, add vibrant throw pillows or tropical flowers and plants as quick and colorful pick-me-ups. If you enjoy entertaining outdoors, incorporate bright and bold tableware or vases into your dining area – or set out a few pieces of comfortable, durable outdoor furniture with all-weather cushions in eye-catching fabrics. Finally, consider installing dimmable LED deck lighting. Not only will it add ambience and security to your outdoor living space, but its energy-efficiency also may reduce your electricity bills.

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