Living Plein Air: How an Outdoor Living Space Improves Your Quality of Life

Designers often talk about “bringing the outside in” when it comes to interiors—likely why natural fibers, plants, and window focal points never seem to fall out of vogue. But what about the opposite—bringing the inside out?

A thoughtfully composed outdoor living space doesn’t just add aesthetic appeal. It provides an oasis for family and friends to enjoy the fresh air and each other’s company in comfort and style. And though they’re fast becoming must-haves for many design lovers, outdoor rooms are more than a passing fad. They can significantly improve your quality of life.

Consider this: according to the International Journal of Environmental Health Research, even spending just twenty minutes a day in an outdoor space can result in less stress, less risk of depression, and a general sense of well-being. And we probably don’t need to point out that, in our socially-distant world, outdoor living spaces seem like the last strong-hold for safe entertaining. If you haven’t yet created your own personal sanctuary yet, here’s a few points to ponder:

  • Natural light supplies our bodies with vitamin D, which helps prevent several diseases, including diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and depression. Natural light also helps regulate circadian rhythms, helping you to stay more alert during the day and have a more restful nights’ sleep.
  • A little time in outside does a lot for your mood, with specific therapeutic benefits for anxiety and depression.
  • An outdoor living space lets you stay connected to friends and family. There are many documented benefits to socializing, though in today’s health crises, it’s not that easy. A well-designed outdoor space lets you to safely and comfortably enjoy your loved ones’ company.
  • In a world that’s increasingly online, spending time in an outdoor space has shown to have profound effects on attention, creativity, and our ability to relate to others.

Elements of Style: Outdoor Room Essentials

To reap the benefits, you’ll want to create a space that invites lingering. While there isn’t a one-size fits all approach, the best and most useable outdoor living spaces usually incorporate several (or all) of the following:

  • Privacy fencing and/or plantings
  • A defined patio or deck area
  • A shade element such as a pergola
  • An aesthetic focal point, such as an arbor or trellis
  • Outdoor lighting
  • A firepit, outdoor fireplace, or other heat source
  • An outdoor kitchen or food preparation area
  • Textured plantings and flower gardens

Adding elements like comfortable seating, outdoor textiles and rugs, candles, vases, and planter boxes let express your personal style and create a welcoming space you’ll want to take advantage of again and again.

Meet friluftsliv, the new hygge

With fall in full swing and winter upon us, an outdoor living space may seem like less of priority. But we’d like to take a note from our friends in Northern Europe, who don’t let a little thing like the cold keep them banished inside.

It’s no secret that Scandinavia has long been a trendsetter in terms of design when it comes to form and function—midcentury modern pieces have stuck around for good reason. In 2016, designers (and all of Instagram) obsessed over hygge, the Danish concept of cozy indoor living. Appropriately for 2020, friluftsliv is the latest Scandinavian influence taking hold—and goes hand-in-hand with health and mental well-being. A Norwegian word that translates to “free-air living, ”friluftsliv is about spending time outside, no matter the season.

Since Norway perpetually tops the list of the world’s happiest countries, fritsluftliv is worth welcoming. Creating an outdoor living space you can enjoy year-round lets you fully embrace the benefits of the great outdoors, especially when entertaining inside might not be a viable option.

Time Outdoors is Always Time Well-spent

When enjoying the outdoors is as simple as stepping into your backyard, it becomes that much more satisfying. Your outside room can be extension of your home—and no less comfortable or luxurious. Fortunately, outdoor living options have taken great strides in both form and function, making it possible for you to create a linger-worthy space that remains beautiful year after year. At Walpole Outdoors, we’ve been helping families creating exceptional outdoor spaces since 1933. For those who don’t want to settle for anything less than the best for their home, we’ll help you live outside expectations. Contact us today to get your outdoor room project underway.


If You Build It, They Will Come: Improve Your Outdoor Dining Space with a Pergola

There’s nothing like a global pandemic to bring the things that truly matter into sharp focus—be it in life or in business. Thanks to COVID-19, the importance of having an attractive, useable outdoor dining space at your restaurant or on your commercial property has been substantially amplified. If you’re in the restaurant design business, you’re likely familiar with the added benefits of an outdoor dining space—enhanced atmosphere, extra seating, increased revenue, and, if positioned correctly, free advertising to passersby. Likewise, in commercial settings, a thoughtfully designed outdoor dining space is an attractive amenity to office, retail, and luxury high-rise apartment tenants alike.  

But outside dining spaces also have their obvious challenges, with unappealing aesthetics and discouraging weather being top of the list. One of the fastest and most visually appealing ways to address both is with the addition of a pergola. Pergolas consist of beams, rafters, and posts and add function and desirable aesthetics to virtually any outdoor dining space. They can be either attached or freestanding—either of which will enhance your property’s useable space and increase value.  

An Enticing Al Fresco Experience 

It’s no secret that people love to eat outside— it’s festive, casual, and lets people take in the world around them and a pergola greatly enhances that experience. With their distinctive design, pergolas welcome clientele and signal for them to sit and make themselves comfortable. In fact, the simple addition of a pergola can turn an unspectacular building, patio, courtyard, or rooftop into an inviting and memorable space.  

Aside from being aesthetically inviting, a strategically constructed pergola helps direct foot traffic, allowing for customers or clients to move comfortably, and for waitstaff to move efficiently. If needed, a short fence and/or arbor can further help direct flow while adding appealing definition to your outdoor space. Likewise, latticework can block or add dimension to unattractive walls, creating the ultimate outside veranda.  

Year-Round Beauty 

In the warmer seasons, pergolas offer shade and help reduce ambient heat from adjacent concrete surfaces. Unlike awnings, they also offer pleasantly diffused natural light—diners can be kept cooler and more comfortable, yet your outdoor space remains light and airy feeling. They also provide the framework for climbing greenery and hanging plants, further enhancing your outdoor space.  

When the weather is less than ideal, a pergola can assist in keeping your patio or rooftop open for business. The addition of a retractable pergola canopy or shade protects diners from intense sun and light rain, maximizing your outdoor investment. Likewise, combined with fencing or latticework, a pergola can significantly reduce the impact of wind.  

As the months turn colder, a pergola can even help retain heat generated by outdoor space heaters (provided you use them in accordance with the manufacturer). And in the winter season, they can be downright magical when outfitted with holiday lights and evergreens.  

Making the Most of Your Investment 

If you are considering upgrading your outdoor space with a pergola, consider this: quality goes a long way when it comes to enticing returning clientele. People care about aesthetics, whether they realize it or not. Aesthetics inform experience, which in turn leads to recommendations and revisits. Partnering with a vendor that produces high-quality outdoor structures can be the difference of a substantial, architecturally beautiful space, or one that’s simply unremarkable.  

At Walpole Outdoors, we only use superior materials, such as the finest natural woods like Northern White and Red Western Cedar. We are also the nation’s most experienced fabricator of cellular PVC (AZEK), and use the highest standards of aesthetics, symmetry, and balance, resulting in stunning structures that stand the test of time. With everything from easy-to-install pergola kits to custom CAD designs, we support your vision from design to production so your pergola can go up without a hitch. If you’re ready to enhance your outdoor space, we can develop a solution that matches your needs. Discover the difference quality craftsmanship makes. Discover Walpole Outdoors today.  



Perfect Fall Container Garden

Can you feel that nip in the air? No? Well - it's coming! Fall is nearly here and that means it's time to break out the boots and sweaters and everything pumpkin you can stomach. It also means it's time to get in the spirit around the house! With all of us spending more time at home than ever before creating a fun and festive space is important. We grabbed one of our popular planter boxes and created a few fun fall inspired gardens to get you in the spirit.

Some of us are more into ghosts and skeletons than pumpkins and leaves. For those who embrace the spooky this adorable Halloween planter is perfect to adorn the exterior of your home! All you need is a few cuts of wood, various Halloween decor, lights and a Jack O' Lantern. You can decorate with a little whimsy like in the image or you can skip the faces and go with a black, white and orange motif with lights and solid pumpkins. Us the pieces of wood to create height with different sizes throughout. Place items or pumpkins on top to create a dimensional look. For lights you can find some black and orange strands at your local store or just grab some simple white Christmas lights and wrap them around your decor.

You can't go wrong with a planter decorated in a classic autumn motif. This Square Rockport Planter is the perfect blank canvas for your creativity. You can create this with real or fake plants depending on your green thumb. To start grab some hearty greens of your choice. If you are planting something real you want something that can stand a frost. Second find two or more fall flowers that you like in autumn colors like red, orange, yellow or white. Disperse them among the greens. If you like add in some grasses and berries to create texture. In this garden the creator added some lovely fall leaves to add a bit more color.

If you love fall but also love color you can easily create a container garden that embraces both! This container garden features several vibrant colors while keeping on the fall theme. A great color to choose that is a little different is purple. Purples that are deep and gem tone are a great addition to fall decor. Grab a few of your favorites and nestle them in with some hearty greens. A great way to enhance your new container garden is to add a few pumpkins of varying size either to the planter or right beside it. This is also an excuse to get crafty and paint your pumpkins complimentary shades. Are you inspired yet? Show us what you come up with by tagging us on your photos on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #walpoleoutdoors.



4 Home Projects For Fall

Fall may signal the end of the growing season but it doesn't mean the outdoors doesn't matter anymore. There are many things you can do around the house and yard to keep your property looking wonderful throughout the season. Looking to give your home an update without spending more than a few hours on one project? Here are 4 things you can do in less than a day that will make your home look and feel better heading into fall.

Paint Your Front Door

Something you can do in a couple of hours that will give life to your home is painting your front door. How does your front door look right now? Maybe it's a little dingy or maybe it's just plain boring. Bright and bold front doors are very trendy in home design and can be a real boost to your curb appeal. Think about what color would look best for your home and go for it. A great exercise if you aren't sure is to brows through Pinterest and check out all the bold front doors on a variety of home styles. You are only a couple coats of paint away from a refreshed look!

Power Wash Your Home

A great use of the crisp fall weather is to get your home completely clean with a good power washing. You can get this done in a few hours or less! You can easily hire a professional, rent a power washer or can use your own if you already have one. If you choose to do it yourself do a quick Google search beforehand to make sure you know how to operate the washer and how to spray your home without getting water under shingles and into places it doesn't need to be.

Clean The Gutters

How often do you think about the gutters on your home? Gutters aren't exciting but serve an important function and lack of upkeep can cause expensive and extensive damage to your home. Take an afternoon and clean them out so they are free of debris and damage and can serve their purpose easily. Winter is right around the corner and if you live in a snow area gutters become even more important.

Repair Walkways

Before the temperatures start to drop it's time to repair those walkways! Once the weather becomes chilly cracks in your walkway will only get worse. Water gets in and then when the temperature dips below freezing it freezes and expands -- causing an even bigger crack to form. Avoid that entirely this year by sealing up cracks now before they have a chance to grow. This will also make your walkways safer for anyone that comes to your home. Thinking about fencing in your yard or creating a new outdoor living space with a custom AZEK pergola? Walpole Outdoors can help make that dream a reality. Contact us today!


Home Is Where The Happy Is

2020 has already taught us a lot. One of the major takeaways is the importance of home. Is your home a place to retreat and relax? Investing in your home is a smart move that will greatly increase your quality of life especially during tough times. Where can you start?

Create An Outdoor Space

If you don't already have a designated seating area outside now is the time to create one! Creating a space outside where you can sit, relax, eat and entertain is key in enjoying your home more. While we are all social distancing this space will also be useful to meet up with family and friends safely outdoors. Start by simply defining a set space with furniture. Once you know where you want this space and what kind of furniture you want to fit into it you can purchase new pieces to set the scene. A great second step is to add in a pergola to provide shade and make the space enjoyable in every season. 

Upgrade Your Existing Space

Adding a few new touches to your existing outdoor space is enough to bring new life into your home. Maybe you add a pergola over an existing patio area. Maybe your outdoor furniture has seen better days. Maybe it is time to really take that plunge and get the outdoor kitchen you've always dreamed of. Bringing a little newness into your backyard is an easy way to instantly transform your home and your opinion of it. A few new pieces may be all you need to spend some more time enjoying the outdoors.

Check Projects Off Your List

Since we are spending more time at home we have more time to see its flaws. What better time is there to get one of those big projects off your list? Adding or replacing a fence can give your property a huge boost in curb appeal and will help keep your home safe and private. Now that you've been home for a few months you probably have a great idea of what your space needs.


Pergolas: Statement Structures

Looking to add something to the exterior to your business or development that will help it stand out? You don't need something gimmicky to make a lasting impression - simplicity can sometimes be more memorable. A pergola is a structure with grace and simplicity that adds charm to a building or home and purpose to an outdoor space. Pergolas add value to just about any kind of space. At a restaurant it provides shade for diners to enjoy a meal or drinks outdoors, expanding seating and adding an amenity that will be popular in the warmer weather. At a housing development, senior center or country club it provides a communal area for people to gather and relax while still enjoying the outdoors. At a shopping center or public business area it adds a hint of charm and structure that can keep people there longer and give them space to relax. Adding an outdoor structure like a pergola to a space only expands its usefulness but even if it isn't utilized often it's still a handsome structure that can be dressed up with decor and plants. Pergolas are aesthetically pleasing and will leave visitors to your business or development with a positive impression. All of our pergolas can be constructed in natural cedar wood or our state-of-the-art wood alternative, AZEK. AZEK is a cellular vinyl like material that has the look and feel of wood but won't split or rot. AZEK is virtually maintenance-free and has a long life free of chips and weather related damage. You are going to want to invest in AZEK! Pergolas come in priced kits or can be made to your custom specifications. 



Create Your Best Backyard

What does your dream backyard look like? Is there a pergola? Maybe a seating area? With your vision and our know-how we can make your dream backyard a reality this year! Your Dream Outdoor Kitchen

Wouldn't it be great to cook and eat all of your meals entirely outside? If you enjoy dining outdoors an outdoor kitchen is the perfect addition to your backyard. Danver Outdoor Kitchens are top-of-the-line installations with rich finishes and quality appliances. Customize your kitchen with exactly what you need in whatever color or finish suits your outdoor space. Pick and choose from a large selection of grills, cookers, refrigeration, sinks and lots of storage.

Your Dream Seating Area

Is your ideal backyard full of places to sit and relax? A pergola is ideal for those who love spending some time outside but would like a little added shade from the elements. Walpole Outdoors pergolas come in pre-measured "kits" or fully custom pergola installations constructed out of wood or AZEK wood alternative. An AZEK pergola is a great choice for a homeowner who wants their new pergola to last a long time and require very little maintenance. Choose from a straight or arched top, square or round columns, attached or freestanding as well as with or without a retractable shade canopy. 

Your Dream Pool Area

What do your ideal pool area look like?[/caption] You have the pool, but is the area around it enjoyable? You can add a lot of use to your pool by simply making your pool area more useful. Adding a few touches like outdoor furniture, a shade pergola or an outdoor shower can add hours to your yearly pool use. A few quality chaise lounges or a set of table and chairs is a great place to start to keep the party poolside! An outdoor shower is the best way to finish up your poolside project. Keep the chlorine or salty water outside and enjoy a shower in the warm summer air or under the stars. 


Custom Enclosures For Unique Spaces

Sometimes a standard structure just isn't what you are looking for. Your home, business or development is a unique space and deserves an enclosure that will both stand out and blend in as well as suit your specific needs. Enclosures can be utilized for a myriad of reasons - to conceal garbage cans or outdoor equipment, conceal outdoor storage, create a safer space for gardening or composting or as a barrier for a beautiful new outdoor shower. Whatever the need, we can build it. One of the most popular enclosures for residential spaces is outdoor shower enclosures. An outdoor shower is ideal for a home by the beach or with a pool or hot tub that sees a lot of activity - but they are great for any home if you want to shower under the stars! Outdoor showers keep the chlorine, sand and dirt outdoors throughout the summer so you don't have to worry about damaging the interior of your home after using the pool or swimming in the ocean. Outdoor shower enclosures can be purchased in standard kit form or custom built by Walpole design experts. Both options are designed with beauty and function in mind and will last season after season. Many of our other popular enclosures involve concealment. Walpole offers many types of concealing enclosures from the duly-concealing board fence to lattice enclosures seen here. Each enclosure does what you need it to while still allowing easy access to the area inside. Enclosures can be built to match existing fencing and can be custom pained to blend in seamlessly with your home or business. Take a garbage enclosure for example. These enclosures are built to house two (or more) garage bins. Not only do they conceal the bins but also protect them from pests (including raccoons) and keep them secure in the event of a storm or high winds. Not having to clean up your yard after a raccoon has gone through a bin or the wind has taken it for a spin is worth the investment itself!

Browse through more of our custom and kit enclosures on our website to get some inspiration then setup a free design consultation to see what we can create at your home or business!


Handcrafted Post Caps & Finials

In addition to crafting beautiful custom fencing Walpole Outdoors also specializes in creating decorative post caps and finials. Whether you choose something classic like a Sphere Finial or Acorn Finial or a custom design it will be handcrafted in our Maine facility out of our durable wood-alternative AZEK material. Take a look at how these pieces are crafted in the video below! 

Custom Finials: The Linden House

We also specialize in recreating and updating historical designs like we did at the Linden House in Washington, D.C. The Linden House is the oldest all natural wood residence in D.C. The house itself originated in Boston and was shipped to Washington D.C. in the early 1900's and rebuilt. The house has weathered many storms and today is a lovely three story home with solid oak varied plank floors and multiple fireplaces. When replicating the historic design of the exterior the fence and gate fabrication was made to exact dimensions but crafted in a wood-alternative material to last longer. The home features a number of unique post caps and finials that were replicated to exact dimensions to preserve the beauty of the original home.



Cleaning Your Outdoor Structures

With the warmer weather coming in you will be spending more and more time outdoors. So naturally you will want your outdoor structures looking their best! Here are some tips to giving your outdoor structures, including fencing, a good clean to get them back to looking their best.

Wood and Natural Structures

If you have natural wood fencing you know that it requires a little maintenance to keep in tip-top shape. Whether your wood is natural or stained you generally clean it the same. The first step is to make sure there is no rot or warping - no weak sections. Once you have given it a thorough inspection you can now clean it. We recommend power washing it simply with water to preserve the look. If the structure has heavy staining clean it with a solution of three-parts water to one-part bleach. This should remove the stains without damaging the wood. 

AZEK and Cellular PVC

Cleaning your AZEK structures is easy! If you have an AZEK outdoor structure you know that it generally requires less upkeep than its wooden counterparts. You will want to give your AZEK structure a similar power wash with water to remove normal weather related dirt and stains. Generally AZEK won't stain like wood but if it has significant staining then using the three-parts water to one-part bleach solution is recommended. You can also things like Magic Erasers and Simple Green Cleaner to clean your AZEK structure if you would rather do it by hand or only have a few spots that need attention.