What to Know When Planting a Tree

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Thu, Aug 11, 2016


Do you have an area on your property that would be perfect for a young tree? I've always had a weakness for beautiful shade trees like the brilliant red maple and American elm. Perhaps you've considered planting a tree in your yard but pushed the idea aside, thinking it would be too complicated. Well, you'll be glad to know that planting a tree is easier than you think! Here are some things you should know before planting a tree on your property.

What Type of Tree Should I Get?

First, you have to decide on the right tree for your yard. Naturally, you want to choose a tree that will flourish in your area of the country. For instance, if you live in a northern state and want to plant a conifer in your yard, a white pine would fare well in a colder climate. Alternatively, a loblolly pine would be a better choice if you live in a southern climate. The type of soil you have as well as the amount of rainfall you receive should factor into the type of tree you select.

Choosing a Spot and Preparing to Plant

Take some time to choose a great spot in your yard for your new tree. One question to consider is whether the tree will have enough room to grow. For instance, you wouldn't want to plant a shade tree beneath power lines knowing that its branches will probably interfere with the lines one day. The best time to plant a tree is in the fall. The ground is still warm then, which gives your tree time to start establishing its roots before winter arrives.

Planting the Tree

After choosing a location for your tree, take a shovel and dig a hole that will hold the root ball while leaving its root flare exposed. The hole should be two to three times the width of the root ball. Next, using a garden fork, loosen the dirt in the hole so it's easier for the tree's roots to expand. After placing the root ball in the hole, fill it halfway up with dirt. Pour water around the trunk of the tree to moisten the soil and give the roots a long drink. Shovel the rest of the dirt around the tree trunk up to the soil line. Use your hands to dig a two-inch 'moat' around the trunk so rainwater has no trouble making its way down to the tree's roots. Put a two- or three-inch thick layer of bark mulch around your tree's trunk to give it some protection in the wintertime. Make sure that the mulch is not packed up against the trunk.

Staking a Tree

It's best to allow your young tree trunk to develop without the support of stakes, but there are some cases when stakes are necessary. For instance, if your tree has bare roots or is in an area with no protection from harsh winds, then it can be staked. Wooden or metal stakes are both good choices. Place a stake on either side of a young tree. Make sure you avoid the root ball when you push each stake into the ground. Gently push the trunk of your tree to see where it starts to bend. This is the point where you should secure it to a stake using a pair of old pantyhose or a long strip of cloth. Don't use wire to stake your tree because it can cut into the trunk, damaging the wood.

Tips on Caring for Your Tree

For the first two years, give water to your tree on a regular basis so its roots continue to establish themselves. The soil should be moist to the touch, especially during times of drought. One suggestion is to allow a garden hose to run for 30 seconds at the base of your tree. Depending on what type of tree you have, you may need to prune it to keep it in healthy condition.

Good luck with your new tree, and thanks for reading! - Alan

Topics: planting a tree

Choosing the Right Swing For Your Backyard

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Mon, Jul 25, 2016


Picture of an Amish made wooden pergola kit in a backyard on a patio.

Do you dream of sitting in a comfortable swing enjoying the peaceful surroundings of your backyard? Well, you can bring that dream to life! There are plenty of options for backyard swings that adults can enjoy. The trick is choosing the right swing for your property. Look at some tips on how to go about selecting a swing that is perfect for your backyard.

Stand-Alone Backyard Swings

Maybe you're interested in a stand-alone swing that you can simply put up in one corner of the backyard. One of the advantages of stand-alone swings is that they are available in many styles and can seat two or more people. Plus, you'll likely have no problem finding a swing in a size that suits your backyard. Also, you can get a canopy for your swing to shield you from the sun and colorful cushions to make the seat more comfortable. A wooden stand-alone swing is a wise choice for people who live in temperate climates without much rainfall. If you do get a lot of rainfall, be sure to choose a stand-alone swing that is resistant to mold. One of the risks of having a stand-alone swing with a canopy is that they can sometimes blow over in high winds and sustain damage. If you live in a place where winter brings a lot of snowfall, you may want to cover the swing to provide it with some protection until the snow melts in the spring. A backyard swing with a steel frame is another durable option to consider.

Hanging a Swing From a Tree

There are some backyard swings designed to hang from a tree branch by strong chains. This is a great option if you have a sturdy tree in your backyard that could handle the weight of a backyard swing for two. Another advantage of this option is that it can be especially relaxing spending time beneath a lovely, mature tree. I love sitting in a backyard swing listening to the leaves move in the breeze. One disadvantage of this swing is that if you have young kids who like to test their climbing skills, they may want to use your swing as a way to climb up into the tree. This could result in a hurt child or a damaged swing. Also, these swings can be difficult to take down if you ever decide you don't want a swing there anymore.

DIY Backyard Swings

If you're a do-it-yourselfer, you may want to take on the challenge of creating your own backyard swing. One advantage of this is that you can ensure that your swing is made of quality wood and other materials. You can also have the satisfaction of seeing others enjoy the swing you made. A disadvantage of this choice is that you have to find all of the right materials yourself and haul them to your home. Plus, you have to have access to saws, drills, and other tools that are necessary for this type of job. This could end up being an expensive DIY project.

Whether you make this your next DIY task or go searching online for a stand-alone swing, I hope you end up with one that makes your backyard complete! Thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: swing for backyard

How To Lower Your Energy Bill This Summer

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Fri, Jul 8, 2016


Fully enclosed metal building available at Alan's Factory Outlet.  The color of your metal building can make a few degree difference.

We're into the month of July, which means the hottest days of summer are soon to come. On especially hot days, it's so tempting to keep the AC running almost all of the time. Not surprisingly, this can result in a high energy bill at the end of each summer month. Luckily, there are a variety of things you can do to keep your energy bills low throughout the summer. Try these ideas on for size.

Changing the Filter in the Air Conditioner

The filter in an air conditioner can become clogged with dirt, dust, and pet hair in a relatively short period of time. When an air conditioner's filter is clogged, it takes longer for the system to cool down a home. Putting a clean air filter in the air conditioner helps the system to operate in an efficient way.

Hang Laundry to Dry Outside

Using the clothes dryer every day can certainly add to your monthly energy bill. One alternative is to hang clothing to dry on a clothesline outside. Aside from helping to lower a household's energy bill, clothing that dries outside can take on a fresh scent that many people appreciate.

Adjust the Ceiling Fan

Setting the ceiling fan to turn counterclockwise in the summertime is another idea for folks who want to lower their energy bills. When a fan's paddles travel counterclockwise, they force air downward, creating a breeze underneath. Turning off the air conditioner for a while and turning on the ceiling fan can help to save energy.

Close the Curtains

I love large windows that let lots of sunlight into the rooms of a home. However, this sunlight can heat up a room, causing an air conditioning system to work overtime. One solution is to close the curtains on these windows when the sunlight starts to pour in. You may have to close the curtains for just two or three hours a day, but this simple practice can prevent the temperature from rising inside.

Install Window Film

Installing window film is an inexpensive way to keep too much heat from coming into a home. You simply apply it to the inside surface of any window that lets in a lot of sunlight. The film filters the sunlight and allows you to maintain a comfortable room temperature without having to close the curtains.

Unplug Appliances and Other Devices

Appliances burn electricity even when they are not being used. This can needlessly add to a household's energy bill. Unplugging appliances such as the toaster, microwave, blender, and coffee maker can help lower your energy bills. Also, try unplugging your computer at night to give it a break and to keep it from using electricity.

Turn the Lights Off

Turning lights off in unoccupied rooms is another way to save on the monthly energy bills. Plus, burning lights can raise the temperature in a room, causing the air conditioner to kick on. Teaching kids to turn off the lights when they leave the bathroom, laundry room, etc., can also help them establish a lifelong habit of energy conservation.

Operate a Dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers are relatively inexpensive and can lower the temperature in a room. Sometimes, running a dehumidifier for a while allows you to give your air conditioner a well-deserved break. Be sure to give your houseplants a drink with the water you collect in your dehumidifier.

Thanks for reading! - Alan

Topics: Summer Energy Bill

6 Important Safety Tips For Your Next Campfire

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Thu, Jun 30, 2016


A lean to barn building can be used as a nice shelter or you could use it for storage with the option of closing one or both sides or fully enclose it.

Camping can be a fun activity for families throughout the summertime. For some families, this involves building a campfire, whether it's in the backyard, the woods, or a nearby resort. I don't know about you, but I like roasting marshmallows by the campfire and enjoying a delicious s'more or two. Consider a few tips that can help make building a campfire a safe, pleasant experience.

Six Important Safety Tips for Your Next Campfire

  1. Keep a Bucket of Water Nearby. Whether you intend to build a small fire or a large one, it's always a good idea to have a bucket of water nearby. Consequently, if the fire begins to get out of control, you have water right there to put it out before the situation goes any further.
  2. Don't Build a Fire Near Hanging Branches. If you plan to make a fire in the backyard or in the woods, it's best to build it at least ten feet away from hanging branches. A fire that suddenly flares up can touch low-hanging branches, spreading the fire to a tree. This could lead to a very dangerous situation in a short amount of time.
  3. Never Leave a Campfire Unattended. When you're camping in the woods or at a resort, it can be tempting to leave your campfire to go exploring. Unfortunately, it only takes a few seconds for a fire to flare up and get out of control. A campfire that is monitored at all times has less opportunity to create a dangerous situation.
  4. Pick a Safe Place to Store Extra Wood. If you're building a campfire in your backyard or in the woods, make sure you place the stack of extra wood upwind from your campfire. This way, if the wind picks up and your fire starts to spread, your wood pile will be safely out of reach.
  5. Prepare the Area for a Campfire. Spending time preparing the area for a campfire can help to prevent any accidents. The first step is to find an open spot to build your fire. Next, clear stray sticks, needles, roots, and other flammable items away from the edges of your fire ring. As a note, green pine trees and their needles are especially flammable. The goal is to keep your fire contained within the fire ring at all times.
  6. Make Sure to Completely Extinguish the Fire. Pour water on your campfire to extinguish it. Next, use a shovel to mix the wet embers and ashes with the soil. Wait several minutes, and then lightly touch the embers and fire ring to make sure they feel cool. If not, pour more water on the mixture. Before leaving, walk around the campsite and look for burning embers that may have escaped the fire ring.

If you plan to build a fire at a campsite or in your backyard, be sure to consult your local laws regarding building fires. Some cities and towns have specific regulations about where a fire can be built and how large it can be. Happy camping, and thanks for reading! - Alan

Why You Should Make A Garden Nook Your Summer Project

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Wed, Jun 29, 2016


A pergola kit from Alan's Factory Outlet may be just want is need to transform your backyard into a place of serenity.

Would you like to have a relaxing place in your backyard where you can sit and enjoy nature? If so, you may want to consider creating a garden nook. A garden nook can be a hideaway in a corner of your backyard or at one edge of your garden. You can put plants, flowers, trees, and other items in your garden nook to establish a peaceful atmosphere. A garden nook is a great place to read, listen to music, talk with friends, or simply absorb the sights and sounds around you. Take a look at why creating a garden nook should be the next item on your summer list of DIY projects!

Choosing a Location

The best garden nooks are the ones that offer a quiet, shady environment, so try creating a nook beneath a large, shady tree. Another idea is to create a sitting area beneath a pergola. A pergola draped with hanging vines can provide you with shade as well as privacy. If you have a privacy fence around your backyard, you may want to set up your nook in a far corner away from the house. This decreases the amount of noise you'll hear coming from your home as well as your neighbor's yard.

Peaceful Surroundings

Fragrant plants and flowers add to the appeal of a garden nook. Clematis or wisteria draped on a pergola or growing on a nearby fence can add fragrance and color to the area. Other attractive, fragrant blooms include heliotrope, roses, angel's trumpet, jasmine, and ginger lilies. In addition to a collection of colorful flowers, you may want to set up a rock garden with a fountain. I think the sound of trickling water adds to a serene atmosphere; don't you?

What Type of Seating Should I Choose?

When it comes to seating in a garden nook, there are plenty of options to choose from. You could put a small wooden bench in your garden nook or set up a free-standing porch swing with a canopy. If you want to maintain a rustic theme for your garden nook, you could put in some tree stump seats. These are tree stumps that have been sanded to make them more comfortable to sit on. Plastic or fabric lawn chairs are two more great options for a garden nook. Lawn chairs are easy to clean and to move around if you have guests over for a visit.

Special Touches in a Garden Nook

Hang up a couple of bird feeders in your garden nook to make it more bird-friendly. You can spend some time admiring the variety of feathered guests who visit your nook. A small fish pond can make for an interesting addition to the area. You can fill it with aquatic plants such as water lilies, frogbit, or water lettuce. Don't forget to get some pretty fish! A tree stump table is perfect for holding a glass of cold lemonade or iced tea. If you have a fence nearby or a couple of solid trees, you may want to put up a hammock so you can enjoy a nap on a summer afternoon. Finally, think about getting some solar path lights so you can spend time out in your garden nook after the sun goes down.

Have fun making your garden nook, and thanks for reading! - Alan

Topics: Garden Nook

Driveway Maintenance That Won't Make You Sweat

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Tue, Jun 28, 2016


The above pictures showns a metal carport with an optional front gable and it is anchored to asphalt.

When visitors arrive at your house, the first thing they see is your driveway. So you probably want it to look as nice as possible, right? Fortunately, there are some easy things you can do to maintain the appealing condition of your driveway. Here are some examples.

Concrete Driveways

One simple way to maintain the condition of your concrete driveway is to get out the old broom to sweep once or twice a week. I consider it good exercise, and you can wave to your neighbors while you're working! You may be sweeping away sharp pieces of metal or glass that can scratch the surface of your driveway. Another maintenance tip is to get rid of stains right away. For instance, you may move your car out of the driveway one day only to discover an oil stain. Cat litter can absorb oil and grease on concrete. You could also try to remove small stains with baking soda and a scrub brush. If it's a large stain, you may want to buy some degreaser from the hardware store. De-icers contain chemicals such as ammonium nitrates that can sometimes leave stains behind or even cause chipping in concrete. To avoid this damage, try using sand to improve the traction on an icy driveway. Patching cracks is another way to maintain your driveway. Power-washing can get rid of mildew and mold that may be on the surface. Using a sealant every two years is another effective way to maintain your driveway.

Asphalt Driveways

An asphalt driveway takes a little more maintenance than one made of concrete. One tip for maintaining an asphalt driveway is to seal it every three to five years. It's also important to remove oil stains from asphalt. Put a commercial degreaser on the stain, rinse it with water, and sweep the mess away with a broom. If cracks appear in the asphalt, it's best to repair them immediately. Crack filler can be purchased at home improvement and hardware stores. First, you must clean the dirt out of the crack with a wire brush. Next, rinse it with water, let it dry, and apply the crack filler. Over time, potholes can appear in an asphalt driveway due to changes in temperature. Fortunately, there are ways to fix a pothole in a driveway. You can buy asphalt patch products to fill in these holes so they don't damage your car tires or impact the overall condition of the driveway.

Tips for Avoiding Damage to a Driveway

One of the best ways to keep your driveway in good condition is to avoid certain practices. For instance, don't change your car's oil in the driveway. No matter how careful you are, there's a good chance that you could spill oil. In addition, avoid shoveling snow with a metal shovel that has a gnarled steel edge. Sharp points on the steel edge of your shovel can scrape and scratch the surface of concrete or asphalt. A little extra care can keep your driveway looking great.

Thanks for reading! -Alan

Topics: driveway maintenance

A Simple Weekend Project: DIY Bird Feeders

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Mon, Jun 27, 2016


A metal garage makes a perfect wood working shop to build a bird feeder or a place to work on your vehicle on your own property.

Birds that flew south for the winter months are here again around our area. I enjoy watching them build their nests in preparation for their new families. One way to attract birds to your yard is to make a bird feeder. Creating a DIY feeder is a fun project and gives our feathered friends some extra nutrition throughout the spring and summer months. Luckily, many bird feeders can be made with simple, inexpensive materials.

Ideas for DIY Bird Feeders

  • A Mason Jar Bird Feeder: The supplies for this bird feeder include a canning jar, bird seed, and a small metal feeder for baby chicks. Mason jars are available at any craft store, and chick feeders can be found at a farm supply store. Placing an order for a baby chick feeder online is an option if you don't have a farm supply store near you. Fill the jar with seed, turn it upside-down, and sit it inside the opening of the chick feeder. Birds can retrieve seeds out of the openings in the chick feeder. You can put this feeder on a table in one corner of your patio or deck.
  • A Plastic Bottle Bird Feeder: For this bird feeder, you'll need a 20-ounce clear plastic bottle with a cap, two wooden spoons, bird seed, and twine. Put a hole in each side of the bottle so you can push one spoon handle through. Repeat this step in a lower area of the bottle. Fill the bottle with bird seed so it spills out onto the spoons. Put the cap on the bottle and you can hang this unique bird feeder in your favorite tree with twine or floral wire.
  • Bird Seed in a Tea Cup: Turn some old tea cups and saucers into bird feeders. The first step is to find two or three balusters from a staircase. Next, use caulk or wood glue to affix each saucer to the top of the baluster. Then, glue a cup onto each saucer. Push the baluster into the ground, and fill each tea cup with bird seed. These bird feeders are an attractive addition to any backyard.
  • Pine Cone Bird Feeders: If you're looking for an especially easy bird feeder, this may be the idea for you. Find a few whole pine cones and secure a piece of twine to the top of each cone so it can hang from a tree or fence. Mix some peanut butter or lard together with bird seed. Coat each pine cone with this mixture. Finally, hang up your coated pine cones. These bird feeders will be especially popular in the wintertime with cardinals, jays, and other birds that are looking for food to sustain them during the cold weather months.

Where to Place Your Bird Feeder

Once you make your bird feeder, take some time to decide where to put it. Remember that birds like to visit a feeder that allows them an easy escape route if they feel threatened. For example, a tree out in the middle of the yard is a good place to hang a bird feeder. If you place your feeder on a table on your patio or deck, make sure that it's not surrounded by outdoor furniture or too close to a wall.

Good luck with your DIY bird feeders! Thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: diy bird feeders

Creating An Allergy Friendly Garden

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Mon, Jun 27, 2016


Do you find yourself coughing, sneezing, and blowing your nose at this time of year? If so, you may have spring allergies. Fortunately, being allergic to pollen doesn't mean you can't create and enjoy a colorful garden. All you have to do is fill your garden with plants that have a low level of pollen or even no pollen. Let's look at several types of plants that fit into those categories. Enjoy!


Hydrangeas are a wonderful choice for an allergy-friendly garden because they contain almost no pollen. Pom-pom hydrangeas can easily be the highlight of any garden area. They are available in several colors, such as pink, purple, and blue. Hydrangeas should be planted in moist, rich soil. They need full sunlight during the morning hours and partial shade in the afternoon. Hydrangeas require regular watering so their leaves won't wilt.


You won't catch a lot of bees around petunias because they have very little pollen. But these flowers come in a variety of bright colors that will attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your allergy-friendly garden. Choose petunias in blue, pink, red, white, or all of the above, and plant them in a place where they'll receive partial sunlight. These low-maintenance flowers are sure to brighten up your garden!


There are some varieties of sunflowers that don't have any pollen. Look for Sunbright, Sunbeam, Moonbright, or Sunrich sunflowers for your allergy-friendly garden. Not surprisingly, sunflowers flourish in an area that receives full sunlight, and they need just one inch of water per week.


When I think of springtime, I think of pink and red tulips waving back and forth in a garden. Tulips are another popular favorite with people who want allergy-friendly plants because they produce very little pollen. Decorate your garden with red, pink, white, or yellow tulips. You could even plant some purple ones to give your garden a royal air. Tulips need full sunlight to flourish. Give these hardy flowers water only when there has been a dry spell.


Impatiens are low-maintenance flowers with very little pollen. Look for these blooms in red, white, orange, purple, yellow, or pink to add personality to your allergy-friendly garden. They need regular watering as well as partial sunlight to grow. These flowers grow very quickly!


A fern is an ideal choice if you're looking for a houseplant with no pollen. Besides being allergy-friendly plants, they are attractive and help to clean the air. Ferns grow well in indirect sunlight and humid conditions. Some people put their ferns in the bathroom so they can enjoy the steam from the shower. Ferns can also be a part of an outdoor garden. They need moist soil to grow and should be put in an area that receives partial sunlight.


Roses do produce pollen, but they are still suitable for an allergy-friendly garden. Rose pollen is heavy, which makes it less likely to become airborne. Roses are fragrant and can be found in many delightful colors, including pink, red, and yellow. Your roses will need two inches of water per week and a minimum of six hours of sun per day.

Good luck with your allergy-friendly garden, and thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: Allergy Friendly Garden

6 DIY Deck Decor Items for Under $10 Each

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Fri, Jun 24, 2016


What sorts of items do you have on your deck? You probably have a table, some chairs, a grill, and maybe even a big umbrella to put up over your table. If you want to make your deck area more interesting, try creating a few unique items to add to the décor. Look at these six simple, inexpensive projects for inspiration!

Six DIY Deck Decor Items for Under $10 Each

  1. A Decorative Mirror. Make a tiled mirror for your deck using tiles, a foam-core board, glue, some spare fabric, and a mirror from the dollar store. One of the best things about this easy project is you can use tiles in a single color or choose some that feature a fun pattern. This mirror will add appeal to your deck area by reflecting sunlight during the day and candlelight at evening gatherings.
  2. Wrapped Flower Pots. Dress up your flower pots by wrapping them with rope. If you already have flowers in terra cotta pots on your deck, then you're halfway done with this project! Of course, small terra cotta pots are inexpensive if you need to purchase some at the dollar store. You'll also need some rustic-looking rope and glue. Slowly wrap the rope around each pot, securing the ends with glue. This instantly gives your flower pots a textured look.
  3. Unique Deck Lights. What do clothes pins, battery-operated tea lights, and several empty tuna cans have in common? Not much. But they are the materials you need to make these unique deck lights. Put them on your table, arrange them on the deck railing, or set them on a windowsill to add some subtle lighting to your next evening gathering.
  4. A Personalized Doormat. Chances are good that you need a doormat on your deck so people can wipe their feet before entering your home. Why not personalize it? First, visit a home and garden store or the dollar store to find an inexpensive natural-fiber doormat. Buy a bottle of craft paint, a paintbrush, and an interesting template. Of course, you could always create your own template with a piece of construction paper and scissors that you have at home. Paint your last name on the mat, print a funny quote, or just go with the traditional "Welcome."
  5. Hanging Glass Lanterns. Make some hanging lanterns for your deck with just a few basic materials. You'll need some canning jars, battery-powered tea lights, small decorative stones, and 18-gauge wire. If you don't want to buy jars, just use some that you have around the house, but make sure that the opening of each jar is large enough for you to put in the battery-powered tea light. I like this idea because it's a safe way to supply your deck with soft lighting for those summer evenings.
  6. Personalized Place Mats. Get the kids involved and make some unique place mats for the table on your deck. Place mats can be made using foam-core board, clear contact paper, and markers, stickers, watercolor paint, or even crayons. These materials can be found at a dollar store. Each piece of foam-core board should be the size of an average place mat. After the kids decorate their place mats, cover the surface of each board with clear contact paper to protect the design.

I hope these DIY projects brighten the look of your deck. Thanks for reading! - Alan

Topics: DIY Deck Decor

Choosing Mortar or Concrete For Your Next Outdoor Project

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Tue, Jun 14, 2016


This metal 2 car garage was built on a concrete slab which is the most popular foundation for the steel buildings.

Are you thinking about taking on an outdoor project this spring, such as building a new set of stairs, a low brick wall, or a patio? If so, you may be wondering whether to use mortar or concrete for the work. Some people think that these two materials are interchangeable. After all, they are made with the same ingredients. But the truth is that each material serves its own purpose. Discover the difference between these two materials and look at some of the advantages of each one before you make your choice.

What Is Mortar?

Mortar is made with sand, cement, and water. When these elements are mixed together, the substance becomes very thick. It's important to put the proper quantities of each element into the mixture so it can be spread in an even way. Mortar is like glue, and once you put it on a brick, it is going to be there for a very long time. Mortar is available in different strengths for different types of building projects. For example, there is Type M mortar. This is the type with the highest level of strength. Type M mortar is often used when building stone structures. Type S mortar is known for its medium-level strength. It is sometimes used on exterior walls. Another type is Type N. This type is for general-purpose use. If you're thinking about building that low brick wall I mentioned, then you may want to consider Type S or Type N for the job.

What Is Concrete?

Concrete is similar to mortar in that it's made with sand, cement, and water. It also contains gravel, which gives it added strength. While mortar is a thick substance, concrete is more of a thin mixture. There are different types of concrete that vary in the amounts of water, cement, and sand that are put into them. It tends to be stronger than mortar, but its consistency makes it hard to use for gluing bricks together.

The Advantages of Using Mortar for an Outdoor Project

Mortar is a bonding material. It would be the ideal material to put between the bricks of a low brick wall in a garden or around a fire pit. It has a thick consistency and can easily be spread with a trowel. Mortar in a brick wall or other building project can last from 25 to 50 years.

The Advantages of Using Concrete for an Outdoor Project

Concrete is ideal if you want to build a set of stairs or a new patio; it's very strong, and it's relatively easy to work with in significant quantities compared to mortar. I like the idea of putting in a new patio. A patio can be used for barbecues during the warm months. Plus, on warm autumn evenings, you can sit out on the patio and enjoy the changing colors all around you. In many concrete building projects, steel rebar is put down before the concrete is poured. Rebar helps a structure to remain stable even as the ground settles beneath the concrete. There are some concrete buildings that have been standing for 100-plus years!

The most reliable advice is to think about the type of outdoor project you are undertaking and then choose the right material for the job. Thanks for reading! - Alan

Topics: Mortar or Concrete


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