Category Archives: Bamboo

Restore Your Bamboo to Its Original Color

Summertime is just around the corner and it’s time to start getting our outdoor space ready for entertaining. In the previous years, you may have purchased, built or installed a bamboo fence to add a tropical flare to your backyard. However, over the past season perhaps this once tan or cedar colored fence has weathered to a silvery gray and perhaps this new “worn in” color does not match your island themed perceptions. Not to worry, bamboo can be easily restored to close to its original color with a few quick steps.

First of all, it is not recommended to stain bamboo until at least after its first season of weathering. The waxy cellulose fibers that cover the cane do not absorb stains or seals very well; the stain requires a grittier texture to adhere to. If desired, you can sand new bamboo with sandpaper and then apply stain; use lower grit sandpaper for a more thorough application. After sanding, be sure to wipe the bamboo clean with a tack cloth or rag.
To stain, dip a rag or a sponge into the stain, seal or varnish and apply directly to the bamboo. Before the liquid dries on the bamboo, wipe it off with a clean rag. Allow the stain to dry and gently sand the surface to ready it for another staining. Repeat until the color is to your liking.

To avoid weathering you will need to repeat the sealing/waterproofing process up to annually. This will also protect against rotting, water damage and bug infestation. However, if you don’t mind the silvery gray weathered color, no maintenance is required for a bamboo fence to last multiple seasons – given correct installation and appropriate climate.

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The Benefits of Bamboo Are Not Lost on Dell

These days, just about everything can be made from some derivative of bamboo. At Backyard X-Scapes we try to make our dedication to the environment and our belief in bamboo as a viable renewable resource apparent in everything we do. With the increase in technology we see more and more of our everyday commodities constructed from better, more eco-friendly materials. Recently Dell Incorporated figured out how to integrate bamboo into their shipping and packaging practices.

Dell’s Inspiron models and their Streak tablet are now packaged and shipped in environmentally responsible, custom designed bamboo shells that fit neatly into an outer box made of 25% recycled materials. Currently, the bamboo casings are constructed specifically for these two Dell products but Dell hopes to expand the use of bamboo across its product line as well as initiate an industry-wide trend.

In addition to its eco-friendly construction, bamboo packaging is entirely compostable. That is, the packaging will biodegrade as well as other all-natural materials and produce soil capable of sustaining plant growth. Composting at home is a virtually effortless way to go green while simultaneously creating all-natural gardening fertilizer. Simply pile organic materials on top of each other outside and wait. After about a year, the bottom of the pile will have decomposed into an effective soil additive. Keep adding organic waste to the pile to ensure you always have a supply of supplement.

Whether or not you are a Dell consumer, their packaging methods and environmental conviction are certainly up-and-coming trends to keep your eyes on. And remember, when it comes to protecting our planets, every little bit helps.

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Bet You Didn’t Know Tiki Culture is (mostly) an American Tradition

American Tiki culture claims influence from Polynesian-style dress, culture and religion. However, the tiki tradition we know today is more an American perception of island spirit than anything out of the Polynesian islands. Born in the 1930s in Hollywood, tiki culture has influenced American bars, restaurants, fashion and home décor ever since.

1934 saw the birth of first American Tiki-themed bar and restaurant in Hollywood, California. Don the Beachcomber was opened by Donn Beach, who is credited with single-handedly inventing the tropical drink genre with his mixing of flavored syrups with rum. His inventions include such staples as the Scorpion, the Zombie and the Mai Tai. The huge success of Don the Beachcomber’s theme spawned numerous knockoffs and copycats in the LA area. The trend spread up the coast of California and took off in the Bay Area where Victor Berge opened his Trader Vic’s restaurant in Oakland before it became a national chain.

Later, World War II largely contributed to the spread of the tiki trend, with sailors and other veterans returning home from tours in the South Pacific. With them came stories, souvenirs and the memories of tropical tradition. Tiki bars provided them with a place reminiscent of their time spent in the islands and led to a proliferation of bars and restaurants coupling sweet cocktails and Asian-inspired food across the country. The tiki influence spread like wildfire, influencing hit movies such as Waikiki Wedding, the Polynesian/Asian/Latin-inspired jazz of Les Baxter, Arthur Lyman and Martin Denny, and the still widely-produced musical “South Pacific.”

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Featured in Outdoor Rooms Magazine

Although temperatures may be warming and it may feel like summer’s upon us, the official day of summer isn’t until June 21st, which gives you just enough time to give your backyard that new look.  Outdoor Rooms is a Better Homes and Gardens special interest publication and their theme for this months magazine is “Take a Vacation in Your Own Backyard.” Throughout this issue, they are giving readers a “Passport to Style” through different types of backyards and since Backyard X-Scapes is all about helping you to “Create Your Great Escape,” they featured many of our products.

Jane Austin McKeon (Outdoor Rooms Editor) describes the essence of summer entertaining and backyard enjoyment perfectly.
My favorite time of year to entertain is summer.  A barefoot and blue jeans sort of girl, I would much rather wave the neighbors over for a spur-of-the-moment glass of wine on the front porch or serve a picnic-style supper for my family on the deck than put a lot of planning and primping into a fancy dining room affair. Backyards cater to impromptu entertaining.

Tropical flare and that “Polynesian Pop” never goes out of style.  Outdoor rooms showed that with some colorful elements, playful arrangements and various lively foliage, you can create a vibrant island getaway right in your backyard.  Some of the products used included Tiki Signs, Bamboo Signs, an African Thatch umbrella kit, a stainless steel BBQ island, tiki statues, and a pool table for easy entertaining.

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5 Reasons to Go Green With Bamboo

It’s nearly impossible to not hear about going green, the 3 Rs (reduce reuse recycle) and the infinite ways in which you can help the planet.  For your next home decorating or landscaping project, we wanted to give you 5 reasons why we are buzzing about Bamboo and what makes it so great!

1) Bamboo is STRONG
Different species of bamboo are stronger than oak, harder than cedar and have the tensional strength comparable to steel.  By purchasing bamboo, you’re getting a quality building material at a fraction of the cost, and is also incredibly versatile.

2) Bamboo is GREEN
Being that bamboo is not a woody tree but in fact a weed like grass, it grows at an incredibly fast rate.  Unlike traditional trees that can take years or decades to grow, Bamboo can be grown and harvested at a much quicker rate.  It’s a renewable resource that serves as an alternative material that can be used for an infinite number of possibilities for goods.

3)Bamboo is VERSATILE
From sheets to cutting boards, fencing, tiki bars, furniture and so much more, Bamboo is being used world wide in various types of production.  You can even customize your own building project with rolls of fencing or individual poles.

4)Bamboo is AFFORDABLE
Let’s face it, economic times have not been at their greatest in the past few years and investing in upgrading your home or landscape can be a hefty investment.  Bamboo offers an affordable way to instantly give your home and garden that tropical or zen revival.  Replacing a wall or fencing around your yard can also be quite expensive but at times necessary if you’re looking to sell your home or are required by home associations;  Bamboo fencing can offer a cost effective and easy solution.

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The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Size of Pacific Garbage Patch

Floating in the Great Pacific is an enormous patch of garbage in which is composed of 80% plastic and said to be twice the size of Texas.  Also known as the “Pacific Trash Vortex”, the garbage in these areas of water are so dense with debris and garbage that have been collected by the water currents of the North Pacific Gyre.  Water samples taken from recent years in comparison to collected samples in the past, shows an increase in the abundance of broken down plastics in the water.

garbage beaches

“Researchers believe this enormous trash zone accumulated over many years from trash being dumped off boats and ocean-going ships, and from trash accumulated on beaches, where it eventually washed in the Pacific Ocean and into the huge zone.”

Water bottles and plastics from consumer packaging rarely make it to the recycling bin and are the largest contributors to our landfills and in our waters.  The pollution of plastics in the ocean not only presents eco-system and environmental concerns but also health risks as well.  Larger plastics breakdown into smaller pieces in which small fish eat and as they are eaten by larger animals and fish, the toxicity concentration of the plastics multiply by the time they reach our food supply.

The Great Pacfic Garbage Patch on Good Morning America

Because of the abundance of debris, and the constant accumulation of more trash, cleaning up the waters is becoming a near impossible task.  The best way to start is to prevent the further build up of pollution in our oceans.  The next time you’re at the beach or by a river, be mindful of the garbage left and dispose of trash properly.  Save money buy investing in a re-usable water bottle!

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How to Clean Your Bamboo Fence

Bamboo Fence Zen Garden

What makes Bamboo Fencing so popular is it’s versatility and low maintenance.  Despite how easy it is to utilize and care for bamboo fencing, since it is a natural material, there are still things you should periodically do to ensure the life and look of your bamboo.

To prevent molding on your bamboo we always suggest keeping it from being submerged in wet ground.  If you live in an area with frequent rain or if your grounds are constantly wet from a sprinkler system, we suggest placing a spacer of some sort between the actual bamboo fence and the ground.

To remove dirt and some stains, you can use a mild detergent and water to clean your fence.  Once a year, or depending on need, you can use a pressurized spray to remove any caked on debris.  Once your bamboo fence is dry, it is recommended that you use a waterproofing sealant.  Depending on your climate, you can re-apply this sealant once or twice a year, this will also help maintain the color of your bamboo.  Remember that certain colors such as Mahogany, are more prone to fading than the natural color.

Remember that can also paint or stain your bamboo.  You can do this by first sanding the natural coating, then applying your stain/color of choice.  After you reach the desired color, and your bamboo is dry, you can apply the sealant.

Some solutions to getting rid of mold on your bamboo are using either vinegar or a fungicide spray on  your fence.  It is important to ensure that the mold is gone and that your fence is dry before applying sealant.

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The Many Ways You Can Use Bamboo Fencing

The trend of eco-friendly living has spawned the positive trend of using Bamboo and a building material.  Incredibly versatile, bamboo is being used commercially to produce everything from roofing and bridges to towels, bedsheets and cutting boards.  What makes bamboo “green” is it’s ability to grow incredibly fast, unlike  traditional woods.

We wanted to focus on one specific product that can be versatile to use in an infinite amount of ways.  Here are 5 different ways in which Bamboo fencing can be used.

In Place of Traditional Fencing

Rather than going through the hassle and costly efforts of replacing an old fence, bamboo fencing is a cost effective way to give your old chain link fence or brick wall a brand new look.  The rolled bamboo fencing is connected by a sturdy galvanized wire, so bending it and customizing it to match various landscape terrains is easy.  Installation takes a fraction of the time that installing a new fence would, and bamboo offers a unique look which is different from the traditional planked wood fencing.

Accenting Your Patio

Your front or backyard patio serves as a place for you to escape from the rest of the world and relax on those beautiful Sunday mornings or after a hectic day at work.  Rather than the typical white picket fencing, try adding a bit of tropical flare by using bamboo as fencing for your front porch, or even as a roof for your patio.  Typical awnings and wood floorings are not only expensive but can be costly and time consuming to replace or maintain as well.

Adding Feng Shui to Your Home or Garden

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