Bamboo and Tikis gets recognized for supporting the “Green” Movement

Now more than ever, with threats to the environment looming ever closer, and Earth Day being a recent holiday, concerns for the environment are being analyzed all around the world. Green living, bio-friendly construction, eco-friendly cleaning products are helpful, but what about all the other concerns, political and otherwise, that the average citizen has no real way of observing or finding credible information for? Relax, there is finally a source of information online where everyone find exactly what they’re looking for as far as the environment, energy crisis, and other related topics are concerned. Actually, the Cenvironment Blog has been around a while, –took us a while to find it, –but that’s okay, because that means it is packed with information for the serious environmentalist.

The Cenvironment Blog contains sections on each of its staff members; from its major staff, to its volunteer crew, and each of the main staff members have their own profile which outlines a list of their personal info, and their list of blogs. Continuing down the Cenvironment Blog’s left sidebar, we see a list of sites for center’s all over the country, and even the globe. Further down the left column is a list of each of the centers’ current projects, each containing important news and updates of their development; a valuable tool for anyone following serious environmental advancements. After that on the left there’s a list of current presidential projects for energy changes, and recent energy and environmental laws passed, “special items”, –like featured articles, and then onto the blog’s extensive archive of past posts.

One of these posts is especially pertinent to our cause; –basically, raising awareness in the ecological and economic importance of bamboo’s uses in home and garden products. The post, entitled “Bamboo Can Be Used To Make ‘Green’ Products“, gives a quick outline of the environmental importance of bamboo as a consistently renewable resource for the world’s timber needs. Then they’re kind enough to reference our site, as being a major provider of green products, with our vast collection of bamboo homewares and garden furniture. The main point of this entry is to outline in detail how well bamboo fits our planet’s needs.

Bamboo is described as an alternative; however, there’s nothing further from the truth. Bamboo shouldn’t be just an alternative to traditional, oak, maple, or teak woods. Other trees take years to grow. Bamboo grows at exponential rates in just months, and some varieties can grow up to three feet in a day! It is known around the planet to be the world’s fastest growing plant. Plus, it can be grown without the use of fertilizers, insecticides, or other chemicals. The article goes on to describe even further benefits, such as bamboo’s natural biological ability to consume carbon dioxide; every acre significantly increases oxygen and reduces CO2 emissions.

This in depth article goes on to describe our bamboo products, starting with our bamboo fencing, made in southeast China, from Tonkin cane which is just as strong as cedar fencing, –and even stronger than some steel alloys. They go on to describe our Moso bamboo rugs, both strong and attractive, for use on any surface. Another one of our best selling housewares is bamboo Tambor paneling; it can be used for ceilings, walls, even countertops and tables when resin is applied to the surface to create a flat, even top. Cloth backing is applied in order make it easier for designers to use the necessary adhesive. The article goes on to describe our thatch roofing panels, in different designs inspired by tropical locations such as Mexico, Fiji, and Africa. By then, the praise gets pretty out of control. But we’re proud to be exonerated by the Cenvironment Blog, and hope that we live up to their high standards, as well as the standards of our esteemed customers, every day we’re in business.

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Transformations from the Outside In

“Home, the spot of earth supremely blest, A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest” ~ Robert Montgomery

Throughout our daily bustles, fighting traffic, hours at work, and running errands, coming home is like dropping the heavy baggage and falling into a comforting place of reprieve. Many times, in efforts of revamping the home, people forget about landscaping and think mainly towards renovations or adding a pool. Although it may appear that landscaping only serves an aesthetic purpose, one can get so much more value from planning and cultivating a land area that includes real estate equity, monetary gain and personal benefits as well.

Whenever enhancing a home, the initial thoughts generally gear towards renovating, either a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, patio, or adding a pool. Working from the inside out, since landscapes aren’t considered as functional as the innards of a house, financially conscious planners will head there first. The truth is though, enhancing your landscape can be more cost effective than renovating, and can yield a higher return. Studies have shown that home owners can actually earn back anywhere from 100-200% of their landscape investment, whereas renovations to the kitchen earn about 75-125%, bathrooms 80-120%, patios/decks 40-70% and pools 20-50%. The common misconception with when homeowners spend large sums of money on a swimming pool is that it will add an aesthetic and functional appeal to a home, but forget about the cost of heating the pool, maintenance, water, and safety for kids and pets.

During our current tough economical times, where real estate isn’t as flourishing as it was, it is of interest to home owners to get the most value out of their property as possible. Often times, a well maintained and attractive backyard suggests to buyers that the home is just as well cared for. Event though you may not be looking to sell, the higher value your home is worth means the more equity you will have.

Another gain from landscaping that includes being earth friendly along with saving money is how certain landscape details can reduce utility fees by 25%. Structures and additions such as trees, thatch kits, umbrella kits, or other bamboo products, can provide shade by absorbing sun rays, or deflect wind during cold wind-chills.

The other side of landscaping is that it doesn’t have to be expensive. By using quality and inexpensive materials such as bamboo, you can create a dynamic aesthetic to your property without breaking the bank. Renovations, although can be helpful and practical if needed, can cost more in the long if additional work to electrical wires, or removing or adding walls, and consulting various specialists for certain tasks.

The truth is when creating your sanctuary of solace; the project is ongoing and may never be complete. This process should be a positive one that grants you satisfaction in seeing the fruition of your work, planning and investment. Similarly to why we take vacations, your home and garden should provide you with that same sense of relaxation.

Items such as garden statues, tiki statues, bamboo fencing and water fountains can provide your backyard with colorful blooms of texture and visual aesthetics to invigorate your senses.

Benefits of using Bamboo versus Other Wood Materials

The use of bamboo for various décor projects in place of other types of wood has become extremely popular. This is because bamboo products possess remarkable qualities, in comparison to other varying types of wood. Additionally, utilizing bamboo accents create a pleasant, relaxing and tropical feel to one’s home. People are using bamboo fencing, bamboo poles, bamboo thatch, bamboo rugs, bamboo flooring, and much more to turn their homes into tropical paradise. The appeal that bamboo has over other varying woods is its unique aesthetic, affordability, functionality and strong quality.

What is Bamboo?

Bamboo is technically a group of woody perennial evergreen plants. Simply put bamboo is a tree-like grass. It is considered extremely renewable because it is the fastest growing woody plant in the world. Bamboo can betreated and can also form a very hard, lightweight, but durable wood. This durable wood works effectively for construction, architecture, decoration, furniture, and more.

Environmental Benefits of Bamboo Products

Bamboo has a number of environmental benefits. It has been and will continue to be considered the “green” building and decorating material. The extremely rapid growth, sustainability, and natural regeneration properties of bamboo are what primarily responsible for bamboo being considered the “green” material.

There are thousands of species of bamboo that grow around the world, including some species right here in the United States. Bamboo grows very rapidly, making it extremely renewable. Unlike traditional types of wood, bamboo can grow from cut stems and shoots have been observed to grow over 3ft in one day. Since bamboo regenerates so quickly, cutting it won’t affect its growing power. Unlike other types of woods, bamboo can easily and speedily be re-grown in a reasonably short period of time.

Strength of Bamboo

Contrary to popular belief, bamboo is very durable and resilient. In fact, although bamboo is flexible and lightweight, it has received hardness, or strength, ratings higher than many hardwoods. Also, bamboo has been likened to maple wood, which has been observed as one of the hardest woods available. Additionally, bamboo is also a naturally water resistant material and part of the manufacturing process of bamboo includes lamination which increases its resistance to warping.

Versatility of Bamboo

Bamboo is tremendously versatile. It can be used for construction, architecture, decoration, food, musical instruments, medicine, furniture, fishing rods, and much, much more. In the United States, bamboo is typically used for decorative purposes for home and garden. Bamboo’s durability also allows it to be used for flooring, fencing, wall coverings and area rugs in high traffic or weathering areas.. With such numerous uses for bamboo, it’s not wonder why bamboo products offer such versatility for one’s home or landscaping needs. For example, because of its water resiliency, bamboo can be used in places where typical woods cannot such as bathrooms, outdoor patios, and kitchens.

Another convenience factor is, unlike many other hardwood products, bamboo flooring needs no finish work and is factory pre-finished with a laminate varnish. Bamboo fencing or applying bamboo poles to a pre-existing fence is an affordable and eye pleasing way to really spruce up any area..

Regardless of the decorating project at hand or how you choose to incorporate bamboo elements, the use of bamboo will turn your home or yard into an island getaway right at home, that will provide you and your friends comfort, entertainment, relaxation, and unique beauty for years.

Reed Fencing is an Elegant Tropical Solution

Transforming your backyard into a tropical oasis is one of the easiest ways to bring a sense of the islands into your everyday life. A key way to accomplish the transformation is the easy to apply bamboo fencing, thatch and Bamboo products.

Bamboo fencing is a great solution for covering existing fences and structures, or hiding unsightly pool pumps or dog kennels. It is sturdy, durable, and does the work of a traditional fence. At times though, a solid fence is not what you are looking for, but rather something with a lighter weight and texture. The answer is reed fencing. Reed fencing serves as an excellent screen while its cousin bamboo fencing serves more as a fence.

Reed fencing is created from a beautiful tropical grass banded together with a fabric based thread. Once installed, reed fencing provides a 25% opacity allowing for sight through the fence and onto the other side. It is perfect for an interior pool screen or to semi-disguise a side yard or garden. The ability for light to pass through the fence heightens the sense that you have truly slipped away to a tropical paradise.

Reed fencing also serves as an excellent interior wall covering because of its relatively light weight and minimal thickness. It can be stapled or tied directly to the wall and creates the illusion that the room you are in is actually a Tiki hut in some far away island paradise.

Bamboo and Tikis delivers excellent quality reed fencing in 6’ X 16’ foot rolls that can easily be cut to your specifications. Try reed fencing today and feel the difference a little tropics can make in your life.

Backyard X-Scapes takes SCORE Lessons

Jamie Kocher and Steve Raketich relied on the agency for guidance.

As many small businesses struggle with sales and financing in the current economic climate, San Diego-based landscape retailer Backyard X-Scapes uses SCORE San Diego’s free counseling and low-cost workshops to remain financially sound and profitable.

While setting up national distribution of faux waterscape products more than six years ago, Jamie Kocher and Steve Raketich became convinced they could streamline the process by purchasing direct from the factories. As a result, they started Backyard X-Scapes, a landscape retailer/wholesaler specializing in fountains, pottery, bamboo fencing, bamboo products, thatch palapas, thatch products, artificial turf, artificial rocks, and rock waterfalls.

The partners also sell accessories including fountain pumps, lights, pond supplies, and much more. Utilizing over 70,000 square feet, Backyard X-Scapes is now the largest supplier of outdoor products in San Diego County.

In need of financial planning and marketing guidance, Kocher and Raketich contacted SCORE San Diego and attended several workshops, including Internet Marketing, Small Business Marketing, and Business Plan I: How to Develop Your Competitive Advantage.
The internet marketing workshops proved beneficial as the Backyard X-Scapes and their Bamboo and Tikis Websites currently account for more than 25 percent of total sales. To further expand their horizons, Backyard X-Scapes has hired an online marketing team to increase sales and awareness of the Backyard X-Scapes name.

Kocher and Raketich also received financial planning guidance from SCORE San Diego counselor Paul Hollenbach.

“Paul explained how important it is to have open lines of credit for future expansion.” says Kocher. “We supply bamboo fencing, carved tikis, and faux rocks to more than 120 Home Depot stores nationwide, and when The Home Depot wants us to supply more stores, we now have the ability to finance this expansion immediately. Having great cash flow and this solid line of credit has also allowed us to purchase our products in container load quantities directly from the manufacturer and sell at wholesale prices, which gives us an advantage over any and all competitors. We guarantee the lowest pricing of everything we sell.”

Kocher and Raketich continue to use SCORE San Diego’s services to stay in touch with the latest developments in the business world.

“Six months ago, Steve and I handled most aspects of the day-to-day business, but with Paul’s guidance, we hired Ray Valdez as controller and general manager to solidify operations for the future,” says Kocher. “SCORE has been a great source for information and guidance. I cannot say enough good things about them and how much they have helped us.”

Even in the current economy, Backyard X-Scapes continues to prosper, with sales up 27 percent this year. Because of its success, Torrey Pines Bank has nominated Backyard X-Scapes for the Small Business Association 2009 Small Business of the Year award. For more information about Backyard X-Scapes, visit the website at http://www.backyardxscapes.com/ or http://www.bambooandtikis.com/. The company’s showroom is at 10835 Sorrento Valley Road, San Diego. The phone number is (858) 643-9030.

For more information about the SCORE San Diego workshop series and counseling, call (619) 557-7272 or visit http://www.score-sandiego.org/.

SCORE is a national association of active and retired bsuinessmen and women who volunteer to share their expertise with small business as well as new business startups at no cost. The objective is to help America’s small business grow and prosper. SCORE San Diego offers its services to the entire small business community and consists of more than 90 couselors from diverse age groups, ethnicities and business backgrounds.