4 Lawn Care Tips For a Lush Spring

Longer days and blossoming flowers of spring mean that it is time to prepare your lawn to spend more time outdoors! These lawn care tips can ensure that your lawn is lush and ready to go for the season and into the heat of summer.

1. Dethatch

Dethatch to rid your lawn of dying or dead grass. Lawns do well with less than a ½ inch of thatch, but will begin to suffocate if there’s too much. A sturdy rake is often all you need to get the job done, but if you have a large yard or a lot debris (more than 1 inch of thatch), consider using a power rake. Dethatching can be rough on your lawn so make sure to do it in early spring to allow the grass to recover properly.

2. Check for Bare Patches

Winters can be tough on lawns, and grass seeds don’t always survive the winter season. If you see thin or bare spots that were created by winter storms, you’ll need to replant. Simply loosen up the soil with a rake and sprinkle grass seed to the affected area. Be sure to water the area regularly to make sure that the seedlings take to the ground. Also, be sure to clear your lawn of any winter debris or fallen limbs that may hinder grass growth.

3. Mow Early

It’s time to break out the mower. Just don’t wait too long. Letting the grass grow too long can cause stress and potentially damage the grass seed. On the other hand, you shouldn’t cut the grass too short; grass seed does best when a mow takes no more than 1/3 of the total grass height off. If you aren’t sure what height to mow at, consider doing a first mow at a higher cut level to get a good feel for what length your lawn would do best at. Check the suggested mowing heights for the grass seed in your lawn as they differ.

4. Aerate In Late Spring

Grass grows better in soil that isn’t compacted down. Aerating your lawn loosens up the dirt and provides air and room for necessary nutrients to deeply penetrate the soil. There are many different tools on the market to help you aerate, the most popular one is the gas-powered aeration tool that leaves small tubes of soil all around the lawn. For smaller lawns, you can use manual push aerators or even aeration shoes that attach to your footwear. If you choose to aerate, be sure to do so in late spring so your lawn can heal before the arrival of summer.

Some of these measures, like aeration and dethatching take a bit of effort, but they’re well worth it in creating a lush, green lawn. Spring is the best time to prepare your lawn for a vibrant growing season. With a little bit of extra care this time of year your lush lawn will be ready for outdoor living.

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4 Ways to Use Your Tax Return to Boost Your Home’s Exterior

Planning to receive a nice chunk of change with your tax return? Consider using it for home improvement projects that will increase your home’s curb appeal. The following upgrades are all under $3,000.

  1. Replace door No. 1

As one of the first things a prospective buyer sees, your front door is critical to your home’s curb appeal. Buy a new door and spruce it up with shiny new knobs, locks and knockers. An energy-efficient door can help you save money on bills and may make you eligible for federal tax credits next year.

  1. Refresh the garage

That dented garage door panel you no longer notice? Prospective buyers will. Two new garage doors will set you back just under $3,000 and do wonders for spiffing up your home’s exterior.

  1. Get lit

Illuminating your walkway, installing motion-sensor lights or adding lighting fixtures that highlight your home’s architectural features or landscaping help your property look as appealing at night as it does during the day. Added light also helps keep your property secure.

  1. Add outdoor living space

Decks and patios are among the top features buyers look for. Use your refund to install a stamped-concrete patio or a small deck, and it’s almost like adding another room to your home.

All spruced up and ready to sell? Or know someone else that’s considering a move? Contact me; I’ll be happy to help!

The 9 Hottest Interior Design and Decor Trends You’ll See in 2018

When it comes to home design and decor, we’ll be the first to tell you to stick with what you love, no matter what the pros say. But if you can’t escape that sinking feeling each time you walk through your front door that your decor is looking a little tired, well, don’t despair. We’ve got you covered! From splashy color palettes to bright yellow sofas and mixed metal everything, our stable of designers and tastemakers have given us the ultimate insiders’ scoop on what’ll be hot in 2018.

Read the Realtor.com article…

Online Resources for Caring for Your Home

The internet offers so many resources, it’s hard to know where to begin: endless images for inspiration and even step-by-step how-to videos to walk you through projects. Here are our favorite places to get started.

For cleaning advice:

Goodhousekeeping.com

The experts here have been helping people clean up their acts in one form or another since 1885, so you can be sure they know their stuff. The site features everything from recipes for DIY household cleaners to answers to age-old questions like: Does microwaving your kitchen sponge kill the germs on it?

Homeadvisor.com

While this site’s main focus is matching homeowners with professional service providers, it offers a handy library of articles about cleaning, including not-so-stainless stainless steel appliances and hard-to-reach windows.

For decorating advice:

Houzz.com

With a highly searchable index of over 11 million photos of professionally designed homes, this site provides inspiration and nuts-and-bolts practical design advice. Want to know how a dark-colored hardwood floor will look with stainless steel appliances? Search and browse tons of examples.

Apartmenttherapy.com

Whether you live in a house or a high rise, you’ll find nifty décor tips and inspiration to make your home more beautiful and livable. If you’re having trouble envisioning how things will look in your space, choose from a variety of free virtual room-planning apps to help you design room layouts, choose appropriate furniture sizes and even see what different paint shades will look like on your walls.

For landscaping advice:

Gardendesign.com

A resource from Garden Design magazine, this site offers instruction on landscape design principles in addition to inspirational pics and solutions, so you can begin developing an understanding of outdoor aesthetics before you start buying and digging.

For maintenance advice:

DIYnetwork.com

Here you’ll find a massive wealth of information about how to fix, renovate and maintain nearly everything home-related along with tons of videos (of course) that show you how it’s done.

Familyhandyman.com

The Family Handyman experts have been helping homeowners DIY since before the Property Brothers were born. Their website offers practical advice and step-by-step instructions and videos to help you do everything from fix a running toilet to install a dimmer switch.

3 Design Tips to Enhance a Home’s Good Vibes

A space can have an instant effect on your mood. How can you make sure a home gives off positive energy and style? A recent article at The New York Times shares tips from designers on creating a home that supports a person’s well-being. Some of these tips could also apply to creating a more welcoming vibe in the staging of properties.

Embrace the two-foot rule.

Justina Blakeney, author of The New Bohemians Handbook: Come Home to Good Vibes, abides by a rule that passageways within the home be at least 24 inches between furnishings. “Even in small spaces, if you can leave two feet for these passageways, you tend not to bonk as much and get as cluttered,” she told The New York Times.

Let more light flow in.

“If I had to pick one tool that makes a home feel good, I would pick natural light,” Blakeney says. “Having a big window where there was none is a huge game changer. I would choose that over the sofa of my dreams.” Mirrors can also help add in more light by strategically reflecting whatever natural light the space does have.

Add in more plants.

“Anyone who spends a day hiking in the forest can attest that being in nature is good for the soul,” Blakeney says. “Why not bring that feeling home?” She has 52 houseplants in her 1,100-square-foot home. The plants range from small succulents to large palms in every room. “Living energy in your home is positive energy,” she said. “It’s people, pets, and plants that make a home.”

Source: “Designing a Feel-Good Home,” The New York Times (Jan. 23, 2018)

4 Feng Shui Staging Tips

The Chinese system of Feng Shui is believed to bring people into harmony with their environment. The practice uses design to manage the way chi, or energy, flows through a building. Could feng shui help you, your guests and potential buyers enjoy your home even more? Here are a few general tips:

  1. Energize your entry

Give your front door a fresh coat of paint, preferably in a color that contrasts with your siding. This helps invite energy (as well as guests and prospective buyers) into your home. Add a potted plant on each side of the front door. The living plants attract energy. Plants with rounded leaves are more welcoming than plants with sharp, spikey leaves, which can give off a more aggressive impression.

  1. Create a “room of first impression”

Draw everyone to the most attractive room in the home by arranging the directional flow of furniture toward it. Or hang a bright piece of art in the room where it can be seen, like a beacon, from other parts of the home.

  1. Produce positive energy

Clear your kitchen counters of clutter and set out a bowl of fresh fruit. Food, especially round produce, symbolizes wealth and prosperity.

  1. Lids down

Martha Stewart would surely tell to you to close the lid on your toilet. Feng shui advocates the same, but for a different reason. The philosophy holds that water, energy and good fortune can swirl right down the drain.

Considering a new home, or know of someone who is? I’ll be happy to help; contact me today!

5 Holiday Recycling Tips

After the holidays, your home can look a bit hung over, with piles of wrapping paper and fallen tinsel trailing under everyone’s feet. It all feels like a hazy eggnog memory. You may be wondering how you’ll possibly clear out all the trash. Well, maybe it doesn’t have to be trash. Here are five tips for keeping the planet in mind as you clean up this holiday season.

1. Wrapping Paper
Wrapping paper with glitter and foil is fun, but unfortunately can’t be recycled efficiently. Don’t just toss it in with your everyday recycling. Check with your sanitation department for seasonal recycling guidelines.

2. Christmas Trees
Many communities provide a service that will compost or chip your holiday tree into mulch for free or a low fee. Be sure to remove all tinsel, lights and wires before taking advantage of this opportunity.

3. Cardboard boxes
If you don’t need them to store your new goodies, cardboard boxes can usually be recycled curbside.

4. Ribbon
Ribbon generally can’t be recycled, so save it! Curling ribbon can be “re-curled” for another special occasion by zipping it along a scissor blade.

5. Electronics
You’ve unwrapped this year’s latest gizmo, now what should you do with last year’s model? Many computer companies, like Apple and Dell, will recycle your machines, and box stores such as Best Buy accept phones and all sorts of gadgets for recycling.

If your home still seems too cramped after you complete your holiday recycling and you’re considering a move, contact me; I’ll be happy to help!