Monday, July 27, 2015

Matching a Vinyl Shade Structure to Your Dallas House

Thinking about making your outdoor living space more livable by adding a vinyl shade structure to your home in Dallas? Along with thinking about the advantages of vinyl over wood and where you want the structure to go, you’ll also need to think about matching the structure to your house. Here are a few things you’ll want to consider when trying to match a shade structure with the style of your house:


Dallas Vinyl Shade Structures

Obviously the biggest aspect of matching an outdoor structure with your existing home is getting the color scheme right. Many people like to match the color of their vinyl structures with the color of their house, and this ensures a consistent, pleasant appearance. However, some people instead choose to make their vinyl structure the same color as their home’s trim or accents, or even to make it a complementary color (such as dark brown for a tan house). This can add some extra visual interest to the shade structure and give it more “weight” in the landscape.


One of the chief benefits of working with vinyl is how easy it is to create custom shapes and designs to fit your exact specifications. For instance, say you want a vinyl pergola for your back patio, but the design of the patio is curved or irregular. Instead of a straight-edged pergola that hangs out over the lawn, a vinyl pergola can be built to exactly match the curvature of your patio’s edges. The extreme customization that vinyl allows means almost any design is possible, and it also means you can get something that exactly matches the existing style and limits of your house.


Many shade structures feature accents that add to their visual appeal or change their look significantly. These accents can be as simple as the railings or posts on a gazebo or the shingles on top of a cabana. In most cases, it’s good to try to match these accents with the design of existing accents on your home so they appear consistent. Look around the outside of your house for existing accented elements such as shutters, roof edges, columns, and railings for cues about how your shade structure should look.


One thing many people don’t consider about their shade structure is that the size should be proportionate to the rest of their house. For a patio cover or attached structure this is easy, but standalone structures can often look too big or too small when compared to the home they’re next to. If you want your vinyl shade structure to look like it belongs in your backyard, consider how it will look when viewed alongside your house and whether it would look better if it were bigger or smaller.


It can be tough to determine in advance whether or not an outdoor structure will “flow” well with the rest of the house, but there are a few ways you can help make sure your vinyl structure’s flow isn’t bad.

For attached structures like patio covers, try to avoid placing pillars or posts in high-traffic areas or sight lines, and make sure the roof is high enough to keep it from feeling too enclosed. For standalone structures in the yard or apart from the house, think about how people will get to the structure - will there be a path or walkway? Also, make sure your shade structure feels comfortable and not crowded. You can look at our recent blog on creating a comfortable outdoor room for more tips on that.

A vinyl shade structure can be a great way to make your backyard more livable and comfortable during the hot Texas summers. Plus, vinyl shade structures are durable enough to last for years without needing any maintenance or treatment.

If you want to learn more about getting a quality vinyl shade structure for your Texas home, contact us today at Future Outdoors®. You can also visit our Facebook or Twitter pages to get more advice and read what others have to say about our products and service.

Friday, July 10, 2015

5 Vinyl Fence Myths You Shouldn’t Believe

After working for decades as vinyl fence experts in Dallas, we’ve heard plenty of myths and misconceptions about vinyl fences. Many people still think vinyl fences are inferior products to fences made from wood or other materials. The truth, however, is that vinyl fences are very far from the cheap “plastic fences” you might be thinking of. Take a look at some of these common myths about vinyl fence and learn the truth about this durable, versatile fencing option.

Future Outdoors Vinyl Fence Installation Dallas

Myth 1: Vinyl Fences Will Fade Over Time

If you grew up in the 60s or 70s, you probably remember people replacing their old wooden siding with fancy vinyl on their houses. And then you got to watch as that siding slowly faded and turned yellow or brown with exposure to the sun, rain, and time.

It’s true that old or cheap vinyl fades with exposure to solar radiation and outdoor conditions. However, vinyl produced using modern processes - such as the vinyl we make our fences out of here at Future Outdoors - is very different from those old-school vinyl products. Modern vinyl makes use of special blends of UV protectants and tougher materials to produce a product that never loses or changes its color. When you buy a quality vinyl fence, you’ll get a fence that will keep its amazing good looks for decades. Compare that to a wooden fence that needs to be restained every few years just to look nice.

Myth 2: Vinyl Fences Don’t Handle Cold Weather Well

One of the most enduring myths about vinyl is that it becomes brittle and easy-to-break when it’s exposed to cold weather. While this isn’t much of a problem for most of the year in Texas, our occasional ice storms and sub-freezing winters give many fence buyers pause. After all, why would you want a fence that’s going to snap if it gets too cold out?

Fortunately, this is one myth that is simply untrue. Vinyl does lose a little flexibility when it gets cold out, but the change is almost unnoticeable. Vinyl fences, much like other outdoor vinyl products, are plenty tough enough to handle wide temperature swings over the course of the year without bending, breaking, or becoming weak and brittle.

Myth 3: Vinyl Fences Aren’t As Strong

When you buy or build a fence on your property, you want something that will last for a long time and stand up to years of weather, use, and abuse. It’s easy to think that vinyl won’t be up to the challenge, but you would be incorrect if you did.

In truth, vinyl fences are some of the toughest and strongest fences you can buy. While not all vinyl is created equal, a quality vinyl fence will outlast virtually any other fencing material. Because vinyl is slightly flexible, it stands up to impacts from normal use and occasional accidents better than wood or metal. Vinyl also doesn’t rust, warp, or rot - exposure to outdoor conditions like wind and rain will not make it weaker over time. Plus, vinyl isn’t susceptible to damage from insects or pests, either. In almost every way, vinyl fences are tougher and more durable than wood or metal fences.

Myth 4: All Vinyl Fencing Looks the Same

We’re frequently asked by potential customers if they can order a vinyl fence in any other color than white. In the past, vinyl fences did tend to look similar, and it was difficult to get lasting color to adhere to the vinyl.

Today, however, this is simply no longer true. Modern vinyl fencing comes in huge array of colors that can match the color of your house or even be styled to resemble wood fencing. Additionally, vinyl fences come in many styles, including privacy, semi-privacy and accented privacy, picket fence, and even ranch rail fence. You can truly get the perfect look for your home, even if you want a very particular style.

Myth 5: Vinyl Fence is Bad for the Environment

There’s an unfortunate connection in many people’s minds between plastics and pollution. Many people think vinyl products are naturally bad for the environment, and that wood and other materials are more environmentally friendly. But in truth, vinyl is one of the “greenest” materials you can use for your fencing project.

Vinyl takes very little energy and resources to produce, which means it can be made more cheaply than wood or metal fences. It doesn’t require you to cut down any trees - just think of all the forests that go into making wood fences every year! Since vinyl fences last longer than wood fences, they also require less replacement, which in turn means they use even less resources over time. And finally, vinyl is fully recyclable, meaning your vinyl won’t end up in a landfill if you ever get rid of it; instead it will simply become part of something else.

If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of owning a vinyl fence, contact us today at Future Outdoors. We’re the vinyl fencing experts in the Dallas, Texas area, and we can answer any questions you have about vinyl fence, vinyl shade structures, or any other vinyl products. Call today at (972) 576-1600 or visit our Facebook or Twitter pages to learn more.

Friday, June 19, 2015

How to Fix a Leaning or Sagging Fence in Texas

One of the biggest problems with wooden fences is that, unlike quality vinyl fencing, wood doesn’t always hold its shape and strength over long periods. Over the years, the constant exposure to wind, water, heat and cold can cause your once-attractive fence to sag, bow, lean or buckle. Fixing these problems isn’t exactly the work of a moment, but it is possible to rescue a leaning fence and give it a longer life.

Dallas Leaning Fence

Fixing Leaning Fence Posts

In most cases, fences will begin to lean at the posts. There are many things that can cause a fence to lean, including excessive moisture softening the ground, rot weakening the fence posts, and wind or ice putting too much strain on the fence panels. Regardless of the cause, you don’t want to ignore a leaning fence post - it will only get worse as time goes on.

To fix a leaning fence post, you’ll need to perform the following steps:

Dig out the old post - You’ll need to dig a hole around the old post on both sides of the fence until you hit the bottom. Most posts are set at least two feet into the ground, though some might be deeper.

Break up the footing - Often, fence posts are set in a concrete footer that keeps them weighted down and in place. If your fence has concrete footers, you’ll need to break it up with a sledgehammer and chisel or a jackhammer in order to free the post. Make sure you remove the concrete debris from the hole as well - it will only get in the way later.

At this point, you’ll need to determine exactly what the problem with the post is. In some cases the fence post itself will still be in good condition, in which case you can skip to step 4 below. However, if your fence post is rotten or broken you will need to replace it first.

Replace the Old Post - Use a claw hammer to remove the nails holding the fence panel to the post. Remember to brace the fence panels with some boards before removing the post - you can use 2x4s positioned at a 45 degree angle on both sides of the fence to keep it from falling over. Once you have the old post free, replace it with a treated 4x4 post - never use untreated lumber for a fence.

Plumb the Fence Post - The next step will be making sure your fence post is straight and level. Use a carpenter’s level or square level to position the post correctly, and then nail some long 2x4 boards to the post at a 45 degree angle to brace it against the ground and hold it in place. Once the post is temporarily secure, pour a new concrete footer around the base and allow it to cure according to the instructions. This should be enough to secure the post and ensure it doesn’t move again.

Fill in your Hole - The final step to resetting your fence post is to fill in the hole you dug. When this is complete, your fence should be as good as new.

In some circumstances, a fence can be badly damaged by leaning, or it might be too much work and effort to get it back in shape again. And sometimes, even after you repair your fence, it can still look old and ready to break down again soon. In these cases you might be better off replacing your entire fence with a new, stronger fence such as a vinyl fence.

Besides the fact that they stay looking like new for decades, vinyl fences are also stronger than wooden ones and less likely to lean or buckle due to weather or shifting ground. And since the fence posts never rot, you’ll never need to replace them due to old age or moisture. This makes them perfect for the homeowner that wants a dependable, long-lasting fence for his or her yard.

If you’re interested in replacing your current fence with a high-quality vinyl fence, contact us today at Future Outdoors®. We’ve installed hundreds of miles of tough, dependable vinyl fencing in and around the Dallas metropolitan area, and we’d love to make your fence our next project. Call us today at (972) 576-1600 or visit our Facebook page for more information and helpful advice.

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Advantages of Building a Vinyl Fence

For more than 20 years, Future Outdoors® has been building and installing vinyl fences and shade structures throughout the Dallas, Texas area. Often, we get customers asking us what makes vinyl fences so much better than fences built from other materials. Here are just a few of the things that make vinyl fences the best fence you can buy:

Dallas Vinyl Privacy Fence

They Last Longer than Other Fences

The chief benefit of vinyl fences is that they are tougher and last far longer than fences built of wood or most metals. Vinyl stands up to outdoor elements like sun, rain, wind and hail better than any other material, and it doesn’t fade or warp over time. Even if you have your fence for decades, it won’t break down or age. That means that a vinyl fence offers a tremendous amount of value - once you buy it, you won’t have to replace or repair it.

Vinyl Fences Are Virtually Maintenance Free

Another major benefit of vinyl fences is the fact that they take far less maintenance than wooden or metal fences in order to keep them looking brand-new. Here is a comparison of some different fencing materials and the maintenance tasks they require:

Wood Fence
  • Regular painting or staining to keep the fence looking good.
  • Periodic replacement of boards or panels when they rot, break, or warp.
Chain-Link Fence
  • Painting or cleaning to prevent rust and corrosion from damaging the fence over time.
  • Replacement of panels or potentially the entire fence if it breaks down or gets bent.
Vinyl Fence
  • Very occasional washing with a hose or power washer to remove dirt or grime.
As you can see, vinyl fence requires far less maintenance and upkeep than fences made of other materials. That means you’ll spend less money over time and perform less work to keep your fence looking brand new and beautiful.

Vinyl Fencing Comes With A Variety of Options

One of the most common misconceptions about vinyl fence is that it all looks the same. In the past this was somewhat true - most vinyl fence came in only a few colors, and there was very little you could do in terms of customization. Today, however, the situation is very different.

With modern vinyl fences you can choose from more than 30 colors and styles, including vinyl that simulates the look and feel of real wood but without the need to paint or stain to keep the fence looking good.

We can also build vinyl fence in a variety of styles, including privacy, semi-privacy, picket, and ranch rail fence. Plus, since we fabricate our own vinyl, we can customize your fence to your exact specifications including height, base material, color and style.

Ready to Buy A Vinyl Fence?

If you think a vinyl fence would be right for your home, contact Future Outdoors® today. We’re the number one supplier of vinyl fence, vinyl shade structures, and vinyl decking in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. To learn more about our vinyl fences and other products, call us today at (972) 576-1600 or visit our Facebook or Twitter pages to get more tips and information.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Fencing Tips to Avoid Neighbor Disputes in Texas

Often, customers install vinyl fences in Dallas because they want privacy from their neighbors and passers by. It’s ironic, then, that fences can cause many of the disputes they’re meant to help avoid. Putting in a new fence on your property without consulting your neighbors, and without following proper neighbor etiquette, is like asking for trouble. To help you avoid any neighborly disputes over your vinyl fence, we’ve put together some tips for installing your new fence problem-free.

Things You Should Do When Installing a Fence

There are a few things you definitely must do when installing a new vinyl fence, such as:

Check the Property Lines - Property lines are one of the biggest causes of fencing disputes, so it’s vital that you check the property lines before getting your new fence installed. Don’t just rely on where your old fence was or what you’ve always thought the property line was. Doing so could land you in hot water if your neighbor takes issue with the fence. Instead, hire a surveyor and study the property map or plats to be absolutely sure your fence is where its supposed to be. You can also ask your Dallas vinyl fence company to install your fence slightly inside the property line to be sure it’s safe.

Obey Fencing Regulations - Every township has its own specific code rules and regulations for fencing, and not knowing what they are isn’t an excuse for doing the job wrong. Your vinyl fence company will probably know the rules for your area, but double check your fence against the code before it goes up. If you don’t, you could be forced to tear it all down and redo it on your own dime, plus pay a fine. A non-regulation fence can also affect your neighbor’s property values, leaving them upset.

Respect Your HOA - If your neighborhood has a homeowner’s association, make sure to clear your fencing project with them beforehand. Just like with city codes, you’ll need to either provide the HOA with plans or run the design by them to ensure it fits within their statutes. If it doesn’t, they might fine you or order you take it down - and your neighbors might also complain about your non-regulation fence. It’s much easier to get the proper clearance first than to deal with all the headaches after.

In addition, there are a few other things you can do that, while not strictly required, are definitely nice gestures to your neighbors and community:

Share Fencing Intents Beforehand - One good idea that will help smooth over any potential fencing disputes is to let them know about your plans to install a new fence before you begin installation. You don’t necessarily have to show them your plans - the fence is on your property, after all - but it can help if you think your neighbor might be interested in paying for part of it. However, you should show them where you intend to place the fence, and let them know if there are any property line problems you discovered when you ordered the survey.

Ensure Your Fence Doesn’t Stand Out - A sure way to invite the ire of your neighborhood is to install a fence that looks out-of-place for its surroundings. Even if you personally like a particular fencing style, try to match the look of your neighbors’ houses and fences to keep the neighborhood looking good. A vinyl fence is a great way to keep your property looking nice season after season, since they don’t break down or rot over time. They also come in a variety of colors and styles to match the look of any neighborhood or development.

Install it the Right Way Around - In addition to choosing a fence design that matches the look of your neighborhood, you should also install your fence so that the fence rail (if your design includes one) is on the inside. One benefit of vinyl fencing is that the panels often look the same on both sides, making it easy to get a clean and finished look on both the inside and outside of your fence. With a vinyl fence, there’s no “nice side” to worry about - every side is the nice one!

Maintain the Fence - When you install a fence on your property, it’s your duty to take care of it and make sure it looks good on both sides. Vinyl fences are a perfect way to lower your maintenance obligations. Vinyl doesn’t need heavy cleaning or staining to keep it looking good year after year - it will keep its good looks for a long time all on its own.

Do you want to know more about installing a fence in Dallas without causing neighborhood problems? Call us today at Future Outdoors®! We’re the number one provider of vinyl fence and vinyl structures in the Dallas-Forth Worth metro, and we’d be happy to bring our experience and expertise to your vinyl fence project. Just call today at (972) 576-1600 or visit our Facebook or Twitter pages to learn more.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Creating a Functional Outdoor Room with Vinyl

Whether you have a small back patio or a huge backyard, your outdoor space doesn’t have to be plain and boring. A vinyl fence, deck, or shade structure from Future Outdoors® can help you turn the outside of your home into a functional and beautiful outdoor living space. Here are a few tips and ideas for making any outdoor area into a new outdoor room.

Dallas Vinyl Shade Structures

1. Landscaping is Important

Just like with a room inside your house, an outdoor room or living space needs to have a good “flow.” You can’t just put up a shade structure and set some furniture down and have a functional space. Consider the entrances and exits to the space, any paths or walkways, and your own ideas for what you want the area to be - for instance, a dining room, a conversation space, or a comfortable lounge. You can also add additional elements like planters, shrubbery, or deck rails to change the flow and create a more cohesive space.

2. Have a Goal in Mind

It’s important to have an idea of what kind of room you want to make - after all, you wouldn’t confuse a living room and dining room inside your house, even when they don’t have any furniture or decoration. When you’re creating an outdoor space, try to design it so that it naturally fits your goal. If you want a space to encourage conversation, keep it close and intimate. If you want a space for food or lounging around, give it some extra breathing room and plenty of places to serve or cook.

3. Don’t Forget the Fire

A fireplace, fire pit, or outdoor chimney is a great addition to almost any outdoor living space. Fireplaces and fire pits can encourage conversation and make your outdoor space usable through the fall and spring (and even the milder parts of winter). Also, make sure that your fireplace or fire pit conforms to Dallas-area regulations by calling your local fire department or checking your town’s building codes.

4. Seat Yourself

Depending on the type of outdoor space you want, you’ll need to find or invest in a variety of seating options. An outdoor dining area might use chairs or benches, but a conversation area or lounge might do well with sun chairs, stools, or even a sofa or bench built into your deck or patio. More seating options will also make your space more flexible and livable, which will encourage you and your guests to use it more.

5. Use Shade to Your Advantage

While it can be nice to feel the sun on your face, trying to read a book outside or enjoy a quiet conversation while the sun shines in your eyes isn’t our idea of relaxing. A shade structure such as a vinyl pergola or gazebo is a great way to keep the sun at bay without restricting your view or blocking your space in too much. Plus, these shade structures can be a great way to “zone” your outdoor space, creating separate areas with their own feel and function.

6. Incorporate the Inside and Outside

If you have a large sliding door or double door that leads to your backyard, you can easily use that as a starting point for incorporating your indoor and outdoor spaces together in one cohesive arrangement. You’ll be more likely to use your outdoor space if it’s easy to get to, after all.

7. Make Sure it Lasts

The last thing you’ll want to do after setting up an outdoor living room or dining room is take it all apart again just to clean and stain the wood. However, if you don’t take care of your outdoor living area, you won’t have it for very long. A better option is to construct your deck, fence, or shade structures from long-lasting vinyl. This will allow you to use your outdoor space for years without needing to worry about expensive and time-consuming maintenance - not to mention avoiding rot, pests, and ugly warping and fading.

Future Outdoors® is the leading vinyl fence expert in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. We’ve installed hundreds of miles of vinyl fence and more vinyl shade structures than we can count, and we’ll bring our expertise and amazing products to your home with just one call. Call us at (972) 576-1600 to arrange your free quote for a new vinyl fence or vinyl shade structure, or visit our Facebook and Google+ pages for more tips on creating beautiful outdoor spaces.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Outdoor Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Dallas Fence

Now that spring is under way, you’re probably thinking about going outside one weekend and giving your yard and house a thorough spring cleaning. One area that homeowners often neglect, however, is their fence. Cleaning a vinyl fence in Dallas isn’t difficult, but it can help it stay fresh and new-looking throughout the rest of the year. Read on to get some helpful tips for revitalizing your fence and yard this spring from Future Outdoors®.

Vinyl fence Dallas

Cleaning a Vinyl Fence

Though it might seem like a big job, cleaning a vinyl fence is actually very simple and painless. Over the winter, wind and ice can cause grime to build up on your fence, and mud and dirt can also accumulate near the bottom due to splashing rain. Fortunately, this grime is very easy to wash off - usually a simple spray with the garden hose is more than enough to clean a vinyl fence. If it’s been a while since you’ve washed yours off, you might want to wipe it down with a soapy cloth or towel (much like you would when you wash your car) or spray it with a power washer. Either way, it shouldn’t take much time or effort to clean your vinyl fence this spring.

Here are a few tips to make your cleaning go quickly and smoothly:

  • If you need to scrub your fence down, use a simple, biodegradable soap or cleaner to avoid sickening your grass or garden.
  • Power washers are a great tool to make the cleaning go faster. You can even add cleaning solutions to many power washers to increase their effectiveness.
  • You can use the same strategies to clean vinyl decks and shade structures if they need it!

Cleaning a Wood Fence

If you don’t have a vinyl fence, you’ll probably need to invest some more time and effort into your spring cleaning. Wooden fences tend to grab and hold onto dirt and moisture, and they deteriorate at a much quicker pace than vinyl. Keeping your wooden fence looking new and clean will take some work.

Like a vinyl fence, you can use a pressure washer to remove the worst of the dirt and debris from a wooden fence. However, this is only if your fence is stained and not painted. If you did paint your fence, be wary of using high-pressure cleaning, since it can easily strip the paint right off your fence. Test an inconspicuous area first, and avoid any places where the paint is chipped or peeling.

If your wooden fence has mold or mildew on it, you can use a bleach-based cleaning solution to kill the fungus and remove dirt at the same time. You’ll need to scrub the affected areas thoroughly with a stiff brush, and you should be sure to wear gloves to protect your skin.

Here are a few more tips for cleaning wooden fences:

  • If you pressure-wash your fence, be sure to wait until it’s fully dry to paint, stain, or seal it. Water in the wood can affect the way these substances adhere.
  • If your wood fence is warping or bowing, don’t worry too much - that’s relatively normal for wooden fences more than a few years old. It shouldn’t be too hard to pull off boards or panels and replace them with new ones.
  • Cleaning your fence from the top down prevents sections you’ve already cleaned from getting dirty again.

Fence Repairs & Replacement

Occasionally you’ll need to do more than clean your fence to get it ready for the next year. Spring is storm season in Texas after all, and high winds, hail, and debris can easily damage your fence. Depending on the type and extent of the damage, you may need to do some significant repairs or even replace your fence entirely.

Some homeowners choose to go the DIY route, and there are a few benefits to that choice. First, you can save money over hiring a contractor by doing the labor yourself - but remember that contractors often do the same work with better quality and in less time. Also, doing your own fencing is a good way to get exactly the project that you want, assuming you’re skilled enough to create it.

For most homeowners, though, fencing isn’t a DIY project. In that case, you should call an experienced Dallas-area vinyl fence contractor such as our team at Future Outdoors®. We can repair or replace any vinyl or wooden fence, and we’ll also help you choose the exact style and color to meet your needs and match your home. Call (972) 576-1600 to schedule your free estimate or visit our Facebook and Twitter pages for more information and tips.