Raised garden bed kits, unique products fuel America's new favorite pastime – gardening

In 2009 more than 41 million Americans planted vegetable gardens—a number expected to increase as food costs climb, according to a recent Gardening Trends Research Report. When you factor in flowers, herbs and fruits, it’s difficult to find a home where people are not working the soil on a warm sunny day. Aside from the obvious benefits of fresh flowers and produce, gardening provides low-impact, calorie-burning exercise. One hour of gardening burns as many as 375 calories. While love of gardening has not changed, methods continue to evolve. And one of the top trends is raised-bed gardening.... read more

Indulge your exotic side with tropical hardwood decking

When you want to create a unique look for your outdoor living space, consider tropical hardwood decking from Aljoma Lumber; it's a sure-fire way to catch some attention. Tropical hardwoods come in a multitude of species. Aljoma markets one of their tropical species as Abaco decking. Abaco shares some of the same features and characteristics as other popular hardwood choices like Ipe and Cumaru (see Abaco / Ipe comparison). Ipe and Cumaru, two durable and long lasting tropical hardwoods, help create an exotic look for your deck and outdoor living area.IpeIpe is a strong, super-durable hardwood... read more

Lattice—a versatile deck add-on

If you have a deck or are planning on constructing a deck, then consider installing wood lattice or plastic lattice as an accent or barrier. Installing lattice on your deck is a great way to accent your outdoor living area and add privacy. Commonly used as skirting, lattice is a perfect solution for keeping pets and other animals from digging or nesting under the deck. Adding lattice to your composite lumber deck or pressure treated decking frame also allows you to create a hidden storage area and helps conceal the otherwise exposed wood deck support posts. Lattice can be used in a variety of... read more

Add a finishing touch to your fence and deck railing

The surge in popularity of outdoor living space has brought many new options to decorate railings, like outdoor lighting, decorative balusters and eye-catching post caps. It’s no surprise virtually every big box retailer, lumber dealer and garden house is stocking many of these unique and affordable add-ons. Ornamental fence and deck post caps help define your area by putting the finishing touch on wood or vinyl fence posts and treated wood or composite wood deck railings. Post caps come in an array of designs and can be multifunctional to accent your outdoor living space and to spruce up your... read more

Defining fence options

There are many different fence styles designed for a myriad of reasons. When deciding on a type and material of fence, several criteria must be taken into consideration. Items like a home’s architecture, décor and outdoor living area along with the final application of the fence are keys to determining the proper fence. The choice of fencing will dramatically impact the look and feel of your outdoor living space.The most popular fence material today is still made of wood, but there are other great options on the market worth considering: vinyl, composite lumber, iron, aluminum and chain link.... read more

Universal Forest Products is the nation's leading manufacturer and distributor of wood and wood-alternative products to the retail building materials, industrial packaging/components, manufactured housing, residential construction and commercial construction & concrete forming markets.