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6 bright trends in outdoor lighting

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6 bright trends in outdoor lighting

When the weather cooperates, our backyards become the go-to spot to relax, entertain, and enjoy some much needed time in the sun. With so many new and stylish options, adding modern outdoor lighting to your backyard means you can extend your outdoor time past when the sun sets. If you’re looking for new ways to illuminate your space, try these bright trends in outdoor lighting.

1. Statement lighting

Photo: HGTV

No longer just for inside the house, statement lighting looks great above an outdoor dining set. Add a little drama to your backyard by incorporating a show-stopping chandelier. Or, go for something more natural, like wicker orbs wrapped in fairy lights. Adding statement lighting that you would normally see inside the home helps to make your backyard seem like even more of an extension of the indoors. Adding a little indoor glamour to your outdoor lighting is easy. Connect with a pro who can help install your desired fixture to add the right amount of statement lighting to your backyard.

2. Floor lamps

Photo: Just Home It

Another trend being borrowed from indoors is adding floor lamps to backyard design. A practical idea if your ideal night is doing some light reading outside, the addition of a floor lamp creates soft adjustable lighting perfect for small tasks. Due to their portability, you can easily move them around for their best use. A floor lamp helps to also create a cosy room atmosphere which can sometimes be lost when you head outside. If you need additional outlets or cables run to accommodate your new outdoor lighting plans, be sure to get an electrician’s help. Electrical jobs can be dangerous, so be smart and leave this job to the pros.

3. Stair lighting

Photo: Deck Store

Practical and beautiful, adding lights to your stairs can help you see where you’re going at night so you don’t trip and fall when trying to go back inside. There are many options these days, from stairs with lights built right into them, to getting a little crafty and adding your own rope lights to your stairs. Your guest will certainly appreciate being able to see where they’re stepping at night, especially after enjoying a beverage or two in your beautiful backyard. To better illuminate your stairs, connect with an outdoor lighting specialist who can install lights on your stairs.

4. Pathway lighting

Photo: Delta Lighting

Another way to help guide your guests through your backyard is to install pathway lighting. This can be done in a number of ways. When you think of pathway lighting you probably think of those little lights stuck in the ground along the way. While this is still a great option, we’re now seeing homeowners getting creative with their path lights. Try incorporating different trends like orbs or lanterns to guide the way. Another bright idea is to use solar lights so that you don’t even have to think about turning the lights on. Simply wait for it to become dark and your little lights will shine bright and safely guide your path.

5. String lights

Photo: Antihero

String lights are a trend that’s taken over the internet the past few years, and your backyard is no exception. The great thing about string lights is that they can be used anywhere, are relatively inexpensive, and add instant sparkle. You can string them above to create a canopy of little lights, wrap them around your stair railings, put them in trees, or anywhere else you can think of! An electrician can properly wire your backyard if you want to add as many string lights as possible.

6. Lanterns

Photo: Decoist

From paper to Moroccan inspired, lanterns are steadily gaining momentum in outdoor lighting design. Use them to light your pathways, hang them from trees, group them together on a tabletop, or randomly disperse lanterns throughout your garden. They help add a touch of whimsy and playfulness to any landscape. As they continue to grow in popularity, you’ll see there are lots of options these days. From solar powered, to candlelight, to LED bulbs, there’s a lantern for every backyard out there.

Adding additional lighting to your backyard is the perfect way to keep enjoying the outdoors well after the sun has set. When you’re ready to light up your backyard, be sure to speak to a specialist who can help design and execute your vision.

Cover image: Decorilla.

Jessica Greaves

As Senior Content Marketing Specialist at HomeStars, Jessica’s main goal is providing readers with the tools to turn their fixer-uppers into dream homes. When not busy browsing Pinterest, Jessica can be found wandering through vintage shops and baking desserts with varying degrees of success.

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5 outdoor projects to enhance your backyard

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5 outdoor projects to enhance your backyard

As the weather begins to warm up, we Canadians get excited at the thought of spending time outdoors. It’s amazing how quickly we forget how much we once hated stepping outside in the winter. If you’re planning to spend as much time outside as possible while it’s warm, you should consider adding some outdoor updates to make the most of your space. Take a look at these five outdoor projects that will enhance your backyard.

1. Fire pit

A fire pit is a great addition to any backyard, provided you’re allowed to have one. Before you can start roasting marshmallows, you need to check with your local government that you can have a fire pit in your backyard. Once you know you’re allowed, you can start planning.

A fire pit helps create a focal point and adds ambience to any space. To get started on this project, you will need the help of a landscaping company. Creating a fire pit is relatively easy depending on your design. A landscaper will dig a hole and then cover it in stones to create your fire pit. Get started this week by finding a company that can carry out your vision, quickly and easily.

2. Pergola

If you like the idea of having something to congregate around but don’t want to endure more heat, think about adding a pergola. A pergola adds a beautiful focal point to any backyard and can also be used for shade and climbing plants. Adding a pergola is a relatively inexpensive project that can be done over a weekend. Depending on how elaborate your design is, you can expect to pay anywhere from $750 to more than $9,000. The materials used and your design will greatly affect the cost. Be sure to have a design in mind when you speak to a pro about what you want. This way they can help you design and build the perfect pergola for your backyard at the right price.

3. Privacy fence

No matter how much you like your neighbours, it’s likely you don’t want them watching your every move in your backyard. Installing a privacy fence gives you the separation you’re looking for while also providing an opportunity for visual enhancement. While chain link and wood are standard options, there are many other materials out there that can be used to create a unique look. Consider using concrete, metal sheeting, or a mix of traditional and unconventional materials. A privacy fence doesn’t have to blend into the background, it can become a beautiful focal point of your yard. Speak to a fencing expert about your options to create something truly unique.

4. Water feature

The addition of a water feature is a great way to add a little zen to your backyard. Not only is a water feature pleasing to look at, but the gentle sounds of running water can also help relax you after a long day. One of the most common water features is a pond. You have many options when it comes to size and styles. You can either have one dug on your existing property or use a container above ground. It all depends on your personal style and what you want. With so many options, it’s always a good idea to consult with an expert who can give you their opinion on what will help to enhance your space the best.

Consider adding a pump to your pond to create moving water. The benefits of moving water are that it will deter mosquitoes and aerate the water should you add fish. A small pump will cost you about $30 but will greatly improve how your water feature looks.

5. Shed

A shed is not only a practical addition to your yard, but it can also enhance the space. Whether you’re a master gardener or just starting out, a shed is a perfect place to store all your tools and materials. This way you will have a proper space for everything and you will be able to find what you need when you need it. Without a shed, it’s likely your garden tools will end up all over your house and yard. Another benefit of adding a shed is that it will increase your property value. Whether you’re planning to sell in the near future or not for many years, having additional storage on your property is always a plus. If you’re looking for the perfect shed for your yard, speak to a specialist who can build one specifically for your needs.

As the weather continues to warm up and we continue to fantasize about long weekends spent outdoors, it’s important to get started on these projects before all the best pros are booked up. Get started on your next project so you can be relaxing by the time the first summer long weekend arrives.

Jessica Greaves Being the Senior Content Marketing Specialist at HomeStars, Jessica’s main goal is providing readers with the tools to turn their fixer-uppers into dream homes. When not busy browsing Pinterest, Jessica can be found wandering through vintage shops and baking desserts with varying degrees of success.

Article courtesy of HomeStars

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Find your perfect match with HomeStars’ newest offering

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Find your perfect match with HomeStars’ newest offering

Finding a verified home service professional has never been faster or easier, with the latest offering from HomeStars. The company is continuing to redefine the way homeowners connect with home service professionals and this latest advancement uses matching technology to further simplify the process.

The matching process is simple and found on the HomeStars homepage using the Get a Quote search function. To use the service, some basic information is required, such as postal code, category of job and job urgency which is used to match up to three top-ranked service providers in the area. With an average response time of 30 minutes or less, homeowners can quickly compare quotes and hire immediately, or use the website to further investigate and explore these companies as well as other larger home projects. HomeStars is a free service for homeowners.

HomeStars receives more than 8,000 reviews each month from homeowners and the online marketplace has more than 300,000 home service providers across the country. Established in Toronto in 2006, the company was acquired by Denver-based HomeAdvisor in 2017.

HomeAdvisor is part of IAC, which owns more than 100 brands in 150 countries, including match.com, Plenty of Fish and Tinder, to name a few.

A proprietary algorithm developed in collaboration with HomeAdvisor is what allows HomeStars to instantly match homeowners with service pros. The innovation has made it easier than ever before to connect with trusted professionals for anything from fence repair to basement waterproofing and everything in between.

“We have been helping homeowners find top-rated and reputable pros for over a decade, and now our matching technology delivers much faster results,” says Nancy Peterson, founder and CEO of HomeStars. “HomeStars has more than 1.1 million registered users and, so far, we’ve already had over 500,000 requests using the matching technology, which offers on-demand service in an underserved category.”

HomeStars is the only Canadian company in the home services space to offer this sophisticated matching technology. While all different jobs can be quoted, the most popular categories are carpenters, roofing, handyman services, appliance repair and house and apartment cleaning.

In September 2017, HomeAdvisor merged with Angie’s List to form ANGI Homeservices Inc. ANGI Homeservices is the world’s leader in digital home services marketplaces, with Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor and Handy in the U.S., HomeStars in Canada, Instapro in Italy, MyBuilder in the U.K., MyHammer in Germany, Travaux in France, Werkspot in The Netherlands, and CraftJack and mHelpDesk for the trades.

For more information, visit @HomeStars on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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HomeStars helps you reach #deckgoals this summer

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HomeStars helps you reach #deckgoals this summer

Before starting the process of finding, interviewing, and hiring a contractor for any home project, you’ll want a solid understanding of how much you should expect to pay and the quality of the product you will receive in return. When it comes to deck installation, the final cost of your project in large part is determined by the deck’s material and the deck’s size. While this seems simple enough, it can be hard to envision how those these abstracts will look when they eventually appear in your back or front yard. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, so here are some of our favourite review photos of HomeStars deck projects at four different price points.

Under $10,000: Basic deck or porch in Toronto

Toronto-based The Custom Deck Company took on these two projects for under $10,000. They incorporated planters and a privacy fence into the rear deck, while the front porch is made entirely of cedar and incorporates a beautifully detailed railing. These are both fantastic designs for homeowners looking for decks on the smaller side, with some basic add-ons. Cedar decks tend to be slightly more expensive than pressure treated lumber, so there is a trade-off between size and material. If you like either of these designs, it’s time to find a deck specialist in your area who can help bring it to life.

Under $15,000: Deck with add-ons in Markham, Ont.

Infinity Decks completed this beautiful backyard deck construction in Markham. These homeowners wanted to replace and extended their dated deck, as well as add a privacy fence and bench. This deck is constructed of pressure treated lumber, includes a bench with planters and a small privacy fence. Costing just over $10,000, this project is a great example of the fantastic quality a mid-range budget can get you. For projects of this size, pressure treated lumber will most likely be the most economical option. If you’re considering a design with similar add-ons for your backyard, we recommend consulting a number of deck installation pros before committing to a final concept.

Under $20,000: Composite deck in Toronto

Royal Innovation built a beautiful composite deck for this Toronto backyard. This deck features lights on the stairs and a beautiful glass and aluminum railing. Composite is typically longer-lasting than organic alternatives like cedar and pressure treated lumber, which explains why this deck project cost approximately $15,000. There are many different kinds of composite, so be sure to consult with a deck installation company who specializes in composite models.

More than $20,000: Multi-level composite deck in Calgary

Calgary’s Gray Jay Carpentry installed this beautiful multi-tiered composite deck for $30,000. The upper level of the deck is the perfect size for a dining table is complete with additional seating in the form of a built-in bench. The lowest level is perfect for casual seating and hosting larger groups. If your household loves to entertain, get started on a deck project like this with the help of a pro.

If you’re feeling inspired by these projects, it’s time to find a pro who can bring your vision to life. From material to size and add-ons, there are many ways to customize these designs to suit your budget and backyard. Don’t spend another long weekend indoors – get your deck project started today!

*Costs based on data provided by homeowners.

by Karen Rhamey

As Social Media Coordinator, Karen is constantly online sharing the latest design trends, home improvement hacks, and seasonal maintenance reminders with homeowners across Canada. Follow us at @homestars!

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What you need to consider before renovating your home

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What you need to consider before renovating your home

Whether you bought a fixer-upper or a brand new home, there are always little projects you may want to do to make your house a home.

First-time homebuyer or seasoned pro? Whatever it is, we’re willing to bet that no home is going to be exactly what you want. There are always going to be little projects you’ll want to around the house so it’s just to your liking.

There are five important things you should know before getting started on any renovation and we’ve laid them out below:

What improvements will give you the biggest return?

Maybe your laundry room could use a little extra storage space but will it really add monetary value to your home? Consider the big money makers like your bathroom and kitchen. Even the front of your house is a good investment for increasing curb appeal. Contact your realtor and ask for their opinion. They’ll be a good sounding board on what can make you more money when it’s time to sell your home.

Where will the money come from?

It may seem like an obvious statement, but before jumping into any renovation you’ll need to consider where that money is actually coming from. You may not always be able to fund your improvements with cash so knowing what other options are out there is important. Sit down and do the math on refinancing, opening a line of credit or taking out a loan. There are some tax breaks for certain home renovations which can help save you money as well.

Consider the timing

There are some projects that are better suited for the summer, and others for the winter. Before you jump all-in consider the time of year and roughly how long it will take to do the project. You won’t want to be putting an extension on your house in the middle of winter, nor would it be ideal to be in redoing your basement floors in the height of summer.

Find the right contractor

Above all, you’re going to need to find someone you trust to help you with the renovations. Websites like HomeStars and RenoMark are great resources for finding the right people. Don’t be afraid to interview a few different contractors for the job. It’s super important that there is mutual trust. At the end of the day your money is important and you want to make sure it’s going to the right place.

Find your inspiration

Saying you want to redo your bathroom is one thing, but knowing exactly how you’re going to redesign it is something else entirely. Using websites like Pinterest or Reno & Decor can help give you ideas from the experts you may never have thought of. It’s also great to clip photos and bring them with you when shopping for items like tiles or vanities so you don’t forget your vision.

Madisyn is a freelance writer and social media obsessed traveller based out of Toronto. Always looking for her next adventure but glued to her phone, you can contact her at madi@therestlessworker.com or visit her at www.therestlessworker.com

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HomeStars Sold

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HomeStars Sold

The popular online service, HomeStars, started in 2006 by Canadian Nancy Peterson, has been purchased by HomeAdvisor, a U.S.-based platform offering a similar service. HomeStars is a free for homeowners to use to find various contractors and tradespeople whose work has been rated by other users. (Contractors can pay a premium for increased exposure.)


“We are thrilled to join forces with the company on the front lines of transforming the way homeowners discover and connect with a wide variety of vetted home services – from plumbing to painting to remodeling,” said Peterson in a press release announcing the sale.


Meanwhile, another Canadian tech company, eRenovate.com, which connects homeowners with contractors who’ve verified that they have the required licensing, insurance, and experience to bid on jobs, is launching eLandscape.ca, a portal offering similar services for landscaping work. The project’s frontman is gardening expert Frankie Flowers.

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