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Salem Community Patriot

8 Home Improvement - April 23, 2010

Simple fixes deliver resort style to your own backyard

Sure you would like to live the

fantasy this summer, spending a week lounging at a luxury resort, sipping colorful beverages, sinking into a plush chaise lounge beside a crystal blue pool while a cool breeze wafts through the fronds of a nearby palm. But... there’s this whole thing about the economy. Even though things are getting

better, you may still hesitate to spend your hard-earned or hard-saved cash on something as transient as a luxury summer vacation. Instead of splashing money away on travel, why not bring the luxury home by creating a resort- like outdoor environment that will both enhance your enjoyment and improve the value of your house? Improving your outdoor living

space continues to be a good investment. Great outdoor living spaces continue to top the list of most-desired features for both homeowners and potential buyers. And for what you might spend on a luxury vacation, it’s possible to create your own personal oasis of luxury that you can enjoy for the entire summer, rather than just for a week.

Not sure where

to begin? You can add home- style versions of the high-priced appointments such as pools and wall murals that you would find in luxury resorts around the world.

Water play

A pool is

a must-have for a high-end resort. Thanks to kits that include everything from the pool walls and liner to the filter, it’s possible to cheaply install an above-ground pool in your backyard - provided homeowners association rules allow it. Prices range from a few hundred dollars for basic pools to a few thousand for more upscale versions. If a pool is out of your budget, or

prohibited in your neighborhood, or your yard is just too small for it, consider adding a different kind of water feature that takes up less room. Modestly sized fountains, rain chains, even a bird bath, can all deliver a restful mood and the charming sound of flowing water.

Set the stage

If you don’t already have a deck

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or patio, adding one is a great investment. You can go totally over the top – if that’s in your budget – or start with a modest deck that can be expanded later. If you already have a deck, consider upgrading it, along with the regular seasonal maintenance you already do. You can add designer touches like metal balusters on railings and decorative caps on posts. Accent lighting, built-in seating and firepits also can enhance a deck’s appeal.

Artful accents

Resort designers recognize the

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power of a wall mural to transform a space from merely beautiful to exotic. Virtually any smooth outdoor surface can host a wall mural, thanks to easy-to-mount wallpaper murals available from websites like www. MuralsYourWay.com. Adding a mural to an architectural niche, outdoor wall or even a sliding glass door can create a conversation piece for outdoor gatherings.

Luxury lounging

Outdoor furniture is one area

where it pays to spend a little more to get a durable, well-made set that you love. For maximum luxury, you’ll need more than just a table and four chairs. Consider love seats, lounges and ottomans to impart depth, variety and comfort to your outdoor seating arrangement. If you already have a well-made set that just needs a little sprucing up, invest in quality new cushions. Metal sets can easily be freshened with a coat of spray paint and wooden sets can be refinished or painted to look like new. Instead of spending money on a

luxury vacation, keep the money and the value home this summer. With a few custom design touches you can turn your outdoor living space into your own personal resort.

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