Best Backyard Fire Pits

A backyard firepit is an attractive and valuable addition to a home. Firepits can range from simple, standalone portable pits to professionally installed large units. This week, we’re giving you a look at all of the unique options out there for outdoor firepits. 

The Classic Campfire Look

The classic, above-ground stone option is one of the most popular looks for an outdoor pit. These fire pits are among the easiest to DIY and can even be purchased in kits with all of the necessary materials for easy assembly. Build your dream fire pit over a weekend with our top pick, the RumbleStone Round Concrete Fire Pit Kit No. 1

Fire Tables

Fire tables are a unique and functional option for staying warm outdoors during the cooler months. Our top pick, the Wayfair Muskegon Outdoor Fire Pit Table, creates an instant gathering spot for your backyard, patio, or garden. This table is made of aluminum in a powder-coated bronze finish that’s resistant to rust. It has a 60” round shape and a square pedestal base. This table’s central burner comes with glass fire beads. It’s propane-fueled, accommodating a standard 20 lb/ tank (not included), and features an adjustable flame. This fire table emits 40000 BTU, so you can keep your outdoor space cozy. Plus, the burner comes with a protective cover when it’s not in use.

Fire Pit Bowls

Fire pit bowls are an elegant, convenient option for bringing a fire pit into your backyard. They are typically lightweight and easy to move around when not in use. The Aqua Blu Mosaics Moderno 2 Fire Bowl is our top pick for portability and style. Hand-crafted using a custom patina finishing process, these gorgeous gas fire pits are a one-of-a-kind feature sure to become the center of you and your loved one’s favorite memories! Each outdoor fire pit provides 65,000 BTUs of energy, providing the perfectly lit ambiance to keep your family and friends warm all night. Made of glass fiber reinforced concrete, it’s lighter and stronger than standard concrete, making it durable enough to withstand the elements.

Chiminea Style Fire Pits

A chiminea style is another classic in the world of fire pits. They are versatile and can be fueled by wood, propane, or natural gas. Chimineas maximize the heat produced, as most of it is directed out of the front opening. Chimineas also eliminate the hassle of dealing with smoke or safety concerns, as the cover directs all smoke upwards and away. Chimeneas are an excellent choice for homes with young children or pets. Our top pick is the Wayfair Ebner Clay Charcoal Outdoor Fire Pit. This simple yet striking and attractive design adds vintage appeal to your outdoor decor. Decorate your lawn and garden while adding a warm and cozy vintage charm!


Are you interested in creating an outdoor fire pit of your own? Contact us today!

Top Insulation Options

When you start a new construction project, one of your priorities should be making the right decisions about insulation. Insulation is key to keeping temperatures of a space comfortable year-round, saving on heating costs, and preventing air and sound from transmitting through the walls. This week, we’re outlining the pros and cons of the most popular types of insulation on the market.

Fiberglass Blanket Batts & Rolls 

This option is one of the most commonly used in new builds. The materials can consist of fiberglass, mineral wool, or natural fibers. It works well on unfinished walls, including foundation walls, floors, and ceilings. 

Batts and rolls are designed to fit the standard width between wall studs, attic rafters, and floor joists, making it a relatively easy installation process. This option has remained popular as it is relatively simple to DIY with little experience and is one of the most inexpensive options. However, it’s important to know that fiberglass is a lung and skin irritant, and protective clothing, gloves, and masks must be worn when handling the material.

Foam Insulation

There are several types of foam insulation that are popular among consumers. Open cell foam is sprayed in an open cavity while it’s still in a liquid state and gradually expands and fills the cavity. 

Closed cell foam is pumped into an existing cavity, like walls, which makes it great for insulating existing homes that are drafty or poorly insulated from previous construction.

These types of insulation are also great for irregularly shaped areas, and around obstructions. This type of insulation tends to get pricey but is well worth the cost.  

Rigid Foam

Rigid Foam, which comes in boards and panels, is a versatile insulation option that can help save on energy costs from the foundation all the way up to the roof. Rigid insulation provides thermal resistance up to two times more than most other insulating materials of the same thickness and reduces heat conduction through structural elements. This type of insulation is best used in unfinished walls, including foundation walls, floors and ceilings, and unvented low-slope roofs.


Have questions about which insulation option is best for your project? Contact us today!

Inground vs. Above Ground Pools

As we continue to face summers that are hotter, dryer, and longer than years past, you may consider adding a pool to beat the heat from the comfort of your home. This week, we’re outlining the key differences between inground and above-ground pools. 

An inground pool is built directly into the ground as a permanent fixture, usually using concrete as the primary material for construction. An above-ground pool is a semi-permanent structure made of steel, aluminum, or resin. Here are the factors to consider when deciding which type of pool is right for you:


The most apparent difference between above-ground and inground pools is price. Almost 100% of the time, an inground pool will cost more than an above-ground pool because inground pools require excavation, professional installation, pricier materials, and permits that above-ground pools do not. 

Even above-ground pools with a deck attached cost tens of thousands of dollars less than inground pools. According to HomeAdvisor, Above-ground installation ranges from $3,500 to $15,000 on average, while in-ground varieties run $20,000 to $65,000 not including fencing, patios or other extras


When it comes to safety, above-ground pools are typically the better option, especially when it comes to pets and children. This is because above-ground pools are more challenging for pets and children to wander into mistakenly, however both types of pools can be made significantly safer with fencing and pool covers.


Above-ground pools have much less opportunity for customization than in-ground pools do. Inground pools can be designed with any depth, shape, layout, or features. Above-ground pools are not customizable outside of diameter and can only be about 4 feet deep. 


In-ground pools are viewed as a major perk to buyers, who are reported to pay 5 to 8 percent more for a home with an inground pool. Above-ground pools are less permanent, harder to maintain, and not as aesthetically pleasing, and as a result, will not add nearly as much value to a property. 


Trying to decide what kind of pool will work for your home? Contact us today!

Never Make These Mistakes When Building a New Home

Building a home is one of the most significant projects you can take on. Getting to pick out every detail of your dream home is exciting, but be sure to remain cautious and knowledgeable throughout the process. This week, we’re talking about the mistakes people make when building a new home and how to avoid them. 

Don’t Set Unrealistic Expectations 

It’s easy to get caught up in the big picture when designing a custom home. While you may find yourself over the moon at the thought of certain home features, be reserved that they might not be possible with your budget, building code requirements, and other structural issues. Don’t anticipate that your build will be done in the set schedule, as delays are expected due to issues such as structural inadequacies, material shortages, and bad weather conditions. Budget your time realistically to avoid setting yourself up for disappointment. 

Hire The Right Builder

Renovating your home is a big deal, and you and your home contractor must be on the same page for the most seamless possible process. That being said, picking the perfect contractor that understands you can seem like a challenging and scary task. It is essential that your home contractor know your needs and vision and actualize these items within your budget. Asking the right questions about your potential home renovation before signing any contract with them will make your home renovation process exciting and pleasant rather than stressful. Our helpful guide will safeguard you and your home from fraudulent contractors and a home makeover disaster.

Don’t Move Too Fast 

The last mistake you want to make is jumping into the process of building a new home and committing too early. Instead, do your research by visiting home improvement stores, attending home shows, and searching around online to get a clear picture of what you want. You should be able to provide your contractor with plenty of photos and ideas of elements you want to include in your new home. 

Stay Organized

A new build introduces a lot to keep track of. Be meticulous in your tracking of important paperwork, timeline, pricing, and all communication about the project. 

Hope For The Best, Plan For The Worst

While everyone envisions their dream home coming together perfectly, there are errors that will occur during the process. Learn how to accept and adapt to issues, especially during the construction process. It is also well worth it to periodically visit your new build site to get ahead of issues or mistakes that arise. 


There are many careful considerations you should make before committing to building a new home, but the process doesn’t always have to be stressful. Have more questions about new projects? Contact us today!

What Makes a Great Builder?

When it comes to renovating your home, you need to become accustomed to making good decisions. Of course, your first and most important decision is who you’re going to build with. The number of builders out there is overwhelming, so this week, we’re talking about all of the qualities that make a great builder.


You must choose a builder with longevity that has been building homes for many years. Having a great deal of experience enables a builder to understand a lot of the critical elements in the design of a home and avoid mistakes. 

Collaborative Skills

Any builder you work with should be able to enthusiastically listen to your needs and adapt to them seamlessly. A home renovation is your process, and a great builder should be able to hear out your ideas and collaborate with you effectively.


Great builders are constantly learning new tricks of the trade. Construction professionals need to be internalizing important information relevant to building codes, material costs, and top options on the market for every project. 

Strong Community Ties

A strong connection to the community is a solid marker of a great, reputable builder. Builders should value forging lasting relationships with clients that will depend on them for years to come, especially in a business that is based on reputation. Positive reviews from people close to you signify that you’ve found a builder that you can trust. 


We strive to ensure high-quality and sustainable outcomes for future buyers and tenants and their surrounding communities here at the Horton Group. Have more questions about what makes a great builder? Contact us today!

What Renovations Give the Highest Value?


Even though sellers are at an advantage in the current real estate market, it’s still wise for homeowners to do everything they can to increase the value of their homes. Whether you are just trying to make your home a happier place to live or seriously considering selling, many easy renovations will significantly increase the value of your home. This week, we’re outlining the easiest upgrades to produce the highest return on investment. 

Minor Kitchen Upgrades 

Minor kitchen upgrades can refresh the look of a home without costing too much. For example, installing granite countertops and cabinets could completely transform the look and feel of your kitchen. Updating appliances with modern technology will also make a huge difference. 

Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are among the most favored renovations and a sought-after feature by homebuyers. Fronting the money to install new floors will bring your home into the 21st century while significantly increasing its value. 

Fresh Paint

Painting is one of the most transformative renovations a homeowner can do without breaking the bank. Light-colored neutrals and earth tones are the most widely appealing color schemes. If you’re looking to get a home sold, definitely get rid of any bold colored paint jobs, such as a child’s old room. A new paint job can do wonders for areas that need brightening up.

Improved Lighting 

Brightening up a home can make it feel cozier and inviting. While you don’t need to go out and buy some fancy chandeliers, investing in some new lighting fixtures that match the style of your home will increase its value. Better lighting is also a great way to make a room look and feel bigger. 


Before you go out and spend too much money on trying to make your home as modern and valuable as possible, it’s essential to educate yourself on which renovations truly make a difference. Curious about increasing the value of your home? Contact us today! 

Benefits of Adding a Breakfast Nook


Breakfast nooks are a fun use of space in any kitchen and have remained extremely popular since their peak in the 1930s. A practical breakfast nook can refresh a kitchen and create an intimate space for family time or entertaining while saving big on space. Often, breakfast nooks get a bad rap for being too cramped. This week, we’ve outlined a few benefits of adding a breakfast nook to your kitchen. 

Comfortable and Versatile 

Breakfast nooks are much more comfortable than a traditional kitchen table. Small and self-contained, they make every meal feel a little more intimate. Adding a breakfast nook will bring a more casual feeling to your home. Whether you’re enjoying a family dinner, doing work, or having a drink with a friend, a breakfast nook certainly doesn’t have to be limited to its name. 

They Add Charm & Style to a Home 

Usually, breakfast nooks are conveniently placed closed to bay windows or other natural light sources. Natural light has the power to make any space seem inviting, and this is especially true for breakfast nooks. Breakfast nooks are great for adding charm to your home and making the area a little more quaint. If you already have specific design elements in your home, a breakfast nook can be designed to match the pre-existing decor style of your home. Breakfast nooks can be created to reflect modern, minimalist, or traditional looks. 

Great for Entertaining 

Another benefit of installing a breakfast nook is its ability to serve as a space for entertaining. The different elements of design you choose to incorporate will allow you to create a place that feels open and intimate at the same time. It’s not always necessary to have a formal dining room to entertain guests, and many people make the mistake of writing off breakfast nooks for entertaining because they are “too cramped.” When you work with the right designer, it will 

be easy to create a space that feels as open and inviting as any other entertainment area in your home. 


The kitchen, for many, is the focal point of a home. Adding a breakfast nook can make the space all that more useful. In addition, a breakfast nook provides a great space to entertain without sacrificing comfort or capability. Are you considering taking on a kitchen remodeling project? Contact us today!

Kitchen Remodel Myths Debunked

Kitchen remodeling can be a daunting task, and common myths about the renovation process can make planning and execution even harder. However, spending time renovating your kitchen can refresh the feel of your entire home. This week, we’re debunking a few of the most common myths about remodeling a kitchen.

Myth #1: Kitchen Remodeling is a DIY Job

Unless you have experience as a contractor yourself, doing a kitchen renovation on your own will be complicated and messy. While many people think a kitchen renovation is pretty straightforward, they are likely not prepared to DIY when managing electric work or staying in accordance with codes. Many things can go wrong without a team of professionals who know what they’re doing, so avoid trying to DIY a major kitchen renovation.

Myth #2: Interior Designer = Kitchen Designer

An interior designer is concerned with the aesthetic of the space as a whole, while a kitchen designer’s primary focus is the usability and functionality of the kitchen space. While kitchen designers incorporate interior design elements, that’s not their main focus. If you’re looking to completely reimagine your kitchen space while prioritizing its functionality, look into finding a kitchen designer who can also appreciate interior design. 

Myth #3: The Kitchen Triangle

The kitchen triangle is a layout that organizes a kitchen’s three primary workspaces (the sink, refrigerator, and stove) into a triangle to optimize efficiency when cooking. While the triangle is a practical layout for appliances, it may not be the best choice for your specific project. As the number of appliances we use in our daily life increases, many designers have begun to stray from the traditional triangle design and opt for different work zones. Some kitchen work zones include separate cooking, cleaning, serving, and eating areas. 

Myth #4: Kitchen Islands are a Must

Kitchen islands have skyrocketed in popularity in the last decade, but they might not work for every space. Including an island in your new kitchen can often take up extra space and provide less storage than cabinets. When deciding if a kitchen island is right for you, consider the amount of prep space you’ll need for cooking and how much clutter you can deal with. 


Getting started with renovations can be overwhelming. Have questions about remodeling? Our team is here to help. Contact us today!

4 Things You Can Do With an Old Garden Shed

Do you find yourself strapped for space in your home? Do you want to find a better use for your old garden shed that doesn’t get much use? Many people opt to transform their sheds into extensions of their homes to accommodate jobs and hobbies. This week, we’re talking about all of the potential spaces you can create from your old garden shed. 

A Peaceful Office Space

Are you working from home but feeling constantly distracted? Transform your old shed into a peaceful workspace. You can make sure to incorporate lots of natural light, office essentials, and personal touches to create a dynamic space where you can maximize productivity. 

A Functional Workshop

Have an interest in recreational shop work or side hustle in Carpentry? Create a workspace that incorporates plenty of electrical outlets, storage for power tools, and shelving for materials. 

A Fun Playroom

Want to provide a fun space for your kids to play without dealing with the constant hassle of picking up toys and games from all over the house? Outsource playtime to an area designated for all things fun. 

A Functional Home Gym

Want to focus on fitness but don’t have the space for a traditional home gym? Make 2022 the year you prioritize health by utilizing your old shed as a home gym. It could be as simple as a few yoga mats or as involved as a treadmill and weight machines. 


There are various ways you can transform your old garden shed into a great space. Have questions about new renovation projects? Contact us today!

4 Easy Ways to Make Your Construction Project Eco-Friendly

The construction industry has been known to negatively impact the environment with different types of pollution. For example, construction can often cause improper waste disposal, air pollution, paper waste, and an overall increased carbon footprint. However, there are ways to reduce the environmental impact of construction projects, and this week we’ve outlined four ways to make your construction project more environmentally friendly. 

Buy Sustainable Materials

If you’re looking to approach your construction project through a more eco-friendly lens, begin by using sustainable building materials. For example, instead of using concrete, which is notorious for releasing tons of greenhouse gases, explore the idea of using a concrete alternative. In recent years, engineers have identified alternatives to concrete, such as timbercrete, ferrock, rammed earth, or recycled plastic. 

Prioritize Natural Light & Energy 

A more obvious way to scale back on energy use is to simply use less of it. For example, you can save energy during your actual project by having work done early in the day when there is more natural light and by opening doors and windows to cool the space down rather than relying on your air conditioning system. In terms of planning, you can incorporate energy-efficient windows, solar panels, and more natural light into the design of your new project to maximize sustainability.

Reuse & Recycle Any Waste Generated

Garbage, unused materials, and old rubble are massive byproducts of construction. Many contractors will dispose of this material at a designated landfill site. Instead, you could reuse or recycle material such as plastics, wood, glass, masonry, and lumber for future projects, which will benefit the environment while saving you money. As the world finds sustainable alternatives, there are increased recycling options for construction-related materials. 

Go Digital

Digitizing constructions plans is a small yet effective step to help the environment. By eliminating paper waste and using computer software to draw up plans, budgets, and invoices for projects, you reduce the risk of losing important documents and subtly help reduce deforestation. 


Construction projects have historically been a significant contributor to pollution, but there are simple ways to help reduce waste and become more eco-friendly. Have questions about how to make your next project more eco-friendly? Contact us today!

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