Where to get your Landscaping Supplies

Many of us work by word-of-mouth for our business.  When a client is happy, they recommend their supplier.  We’d like to take this opportunity to recommend vendors that we’ve done business with over the past years.  We’ve had many calls asking who we recommend, so today, we’re dedicating a post to just that – people that we have worked with and would recommend.

Landscape Supplies – such as mulch, stone, fountains etc.

Evers Wood Products Inc.

website: http://www.everwood.com

2881 Old Canoe Creek Road in St. Cloud, FL

Phone: 407-892-7930

Nursery – such as plants, mulch, trees and expertise.

VanderPol’s Nursery

Website:  www.vanderpolnursery.com

4898 Starline Drive – St. Cloud, FL 34771

Phone: 407-957-2744

Irrigation and Landscaping:

Aaron Victor’s Outdoor Services.  

He does things like landscaping, installs trees, rock, mulch, sod, drains and irrigation/repairs.

407-436-4724

Landscapers (such as design, installation, maintenance, renovations, seasonal foliage and WOW – Mosquito Control.

Landscape Builders

http://www.landscapebuilders.com

Not only can they transform your landscape, but they also can install a system within your irrigation to make your yard Mosquito Free all-year-round with Green Products!  Check them out!

407-509-1011

Concrete (driveways, slabs, sidewalks and more).

John Hansen Concrete – 407-891-5250

Please tell them that Curb Appeal Concrete Landscaping Borders referred you.  We all would appreciate your business!

Thank you!

Scott Bailey

Kangaroo

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Want to Gain Control of your Lawn?

I must admit that this season has been incredibly busy!  So I’m just checking in to show you some photographs of our latest work this past week.    For the job on the left, we were hired on by a Master Builder for a project in the Dr. Phillips area.  It was a large job, so we had to prove that we had insurance and workers’ comp for them – no problem!  Curb Appeal Concrete Landscaping Borders has been established since 1998, completely insured!

Kilgore Pavers

We showed up on time and completed the job as agreed.  I do want to point out that the pavers were installed by another company, but just look at that straight line!  Isn’t that great!  The homeowners were extremely happy, so we were too!

Another photo from a job a few days prior that I wanted to show you was on a sidewalk.   Simply artistic and beautiful, as well as manageable for lawn mowers.  It keeps the mulch in, and the grass out!  This particular design, I believe, enhances to landscaping and “frames” everything beautifully!

Kilgore Class

Need some help? What are you waiting for?  You can control mulch and keep your maintenance to a minimum by having concrete landscaping borders installed.

Call us today for your free estimate!  407-957-9208.  Serving most of Central Florida.  Call me, I can help get your lawn back into shape!

Kangaroo407-957-9208

 

 

We accept most major credit cards!

Put Your Tax Dollars to Work

With tax refund season rapidly approaching, you might be entitled to a refund!  Have you ever thought of reinvesting it back in towards the equity of your home?

Whether you’re planning on living in your home for the next 20 years, or just another year; Curb Appeal is very important to anyone who drives by.  After all, if your average ‘Joe’ in the neighborhood drives by every day and actually admires your landscaping, then don’t you think that he’ll think that your home is impressive?

Here are a few ideas of what some of our customers have done in the past.  I think you’ll agree that having a manicured and framed landscape can make a huge difference in the appearance of your living domicile  to everyone!

Owners elected to paint the curbs with Driveway Paint, which can be any color that the homeowner chooses! Note: Don't use concrete stain!

Owners elected to paint the curbs with Driveway Paint, which can be any color that the homeowner chooses! Note: Don’t use concrete stain!

Pavers-Driveway Pavers Lawn Flower Curbing Curb on Paver
curb1 Curb 15

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keeps mulch in, while also keeping grass out!

Also keeps your sidewalk and driveway safer by containing the mulch.

Contact us today for your FREE estimate!  Proudly serving most of Central Florida since 1997 – we’ve weathered the storm, and we’re still on top!

Give us a call – just ask for Scott.

407-957-9208

407-957-9208Kangaroo

New “After” Photographs

We had some things to do in town on Friday, January 1, 2016.  Roads were pretty clear in the morning, so after the errands we decided to visit one of the homes that we had done curbing for.  We knew that the homeowners were supposed to add landscaping and rocks after our borders were put in, but WOW, was I surprised to see how the pictures came out after everything was done.  It’s unusual that we get to see the finished product, but I’m sure you’ll agree, this looks great!

Owners elected to paint the curbs with Driveway Paint, which can be any color that the homeowner chooses!  Note:  Don't use concrete stain!

Owners elected to paint the curbs with Garage Floor Paint, which can be any color that the homeowner chooses! Note: Don’t use concrete stain!

Just because we install the borders doesn’t mean that we’re not willing to help and point you in the right directions to save a few dollars. In this case, the homeowners went to a local paint store and purchased Garage Floor Paint (don’t ever buy concrete stain), and they ordered a color that enhanced their home, and made their borders blend in wonderfully, which saved them money in the long run!  Now their landscaping looks like a piece of art!

Garage Floor paint contains sealant, which protects your borders from mold, mildew, etc., but you only have to apply the paint in one coat! It is made for smooth concrete, and holds its’ color for many years.  Not only does this save money, but it protects the borders, keeping the color intact for many years!

For those of you who do not want to physically paint your borders, we also offer color added to the mix, and we do offer a commercial brand sealant – better than what you can buy at your local hardware store.  It’s your choice!

Beautiful design on existing asphalt driveway.

Beautiful design on existing asphalt driveway.

This was actually the first time for me seeing the borders placed on asphalt as opposed to concrete driveways or sidewalks, and I have to admit, I was impressed!  This looks so wonderful!  Don’t you agree?

The homeowners did a beautiful job, and I would be proud to say that Curb Appeal Concrete Landscaping Borders, LLC helped make the Curb Appeal of this home even better!

Keeps mulch in (or in this case, gravel), and grass OUT!

Call us today for your free estimate within Central Florida!  You may find that the prices are quite affordable, and will do nothing but enhance your home, adding equity!

407-957-9208407-957-2908

10 Money-Saving Tips for Landscaping

10 Money-Saving Tips for Landscaping

Landscaping_Tips_Full_Size

A yard with a beautiful landscape is one of the few home investments with a value that increases over the years. Buyers love mature plants and trees, so giving your yard some love even if you’re not planning on selling for a few years is a smart way to go. What’s even smarter? Employing these money-saving tips:

1. Free mulch.
Many municipalities recycle the yard waste they pick up curbside throughout the year into mulch, which is then made available to residents for free or a very low price. Surrounding your shrubs and trees with a layer of the stuff not only makes them stand out visually, it also helps conserve moisture and stave off bugs.

2. Don’t Buy Screens.

Instead of buying the weed screening to keep weeds from growing, try newspapers under the mulch.  It will last two years, and then it will be time to replace the mulch anyway!

3. Look to the list.
Craigslist’s “farm and garden” section can be a treasure trove of outdoor planters, border stones and even “used” trees and shrubs. Check here first before heading to the nursery.

4. Go big with your neighbors.
Bedding plants are often less expensive when you buy them in bulk.

5. Compost.
Instead of buying bags of fertilizer, generate your own black gold for gardens by composting your kitchen waste. It’s not as hard – or smelly – as you’d think.

6. Chat with a master.
Master gardeners often hold free Q&A sessions at garden centers or local libraries. Before investing in new plants, seeds or shrubs, check with an expert to find which options will thrive without expensive maintenance.

7. Rein it in.
Trim back any trees, shrubs or vines that hide or overwhelm your windows, porch or patio. Sometimes the most effective landscaping upgrade can come from removing greenery, not adding it.

8. Pull your weeds.
It’s the outdoor equivalent of de-cluttering your home, an inexpensive way to boost your yard’s visual appeal.

9. Powerwash fences and patios.
It can take years off your fence and patio in just minutes. You’ll be amazed at how much brighter they’ll look with just a bit of effort that requires little more skill than running a vacuum. Rent a machine at your local home improvement box store for about $30.

10. Add Curb Appeal Concrete Landscaping Borders.

By framing your landscaping, not only will it add “curb appeal” to your home, but it will keep mulch in, and grass out – making it easier to mow, mulch, and edge.

Proudly brought to you by Curb Appeal Concrete Landscaping Borders, LLC.  Locally owned and operated here in Central Florida since 1997!  Free Estimates!  Give us a call today!

407-957-9208

It Looks Like Rain

Now that the torrential summer downpours are here, are you noticing that your mulch is floating out of your flower beds into your lawn?  Perhaps the mulch is spilling over onto your sidewalks making it more dangerous when you walk outside?

You should consider getting Curb Appeal Concrete Landscaping Borders.  Not only will you “frame” your landscaping, but it will keep your family safer, and your lawn more appealing.  Our borders are designed with the homeowner in mind.  Our mower style makes it simple to ride the wheels directly upon the edge, reducing “edging” time.

 

No EdgingThe picture to the right here shoes no border whatsoever.  Grass can grow straight in, and the mulch can flow right out into your lawn.

 

Black Plastic BorderHere, to the left, you’ll see black plastic borders.  I don’t think we need to tell you what is wrong with this picture.

No Edging woodBut, I can’t leave out the trusted ole wooden ties that are sometimes used.  See the difference?

What you need to control and manage your landscape are concrete landscaping borders, and as a matter of fact, that’s exactly what we specialize in.  For over 18 years, this has been our sole business – creating a beautiful manageable landscaping design for thousands of Central Floridians.

Keep your landscaping under control!  We invite your to look at our website, as we give you options, advice and testimonials as well as recommended vendors that we’ve worked with throughout the years and found them to be exceptional.

Lawn Flower CurbingTackle the upcoming rainy season by calling us today for your free estimate.  We’re located just a stones throw from Orlando, which would be St. Cloud, Florida.

 

407-957-9208

407-957-9208

 

 

 

 

Payment Options:  Cash, Check and all major credit cards accepted.

Curbing – Top 3 Things to Look For

Today, we were replacing curbs from some ‘other’ curbing company in St. Cloud.  The unfortunate thing about it was that the owners didn’t know what to look for when it came to curbing.  And, the ‘other’ company obviously installed their curbs before a rain-storm hit, so the curbing was badly pitted.  They should have covered the curbs if a storm were pending, not just leave the job site.

However, the damaged and crumbled curbs were picked up by  Curb Appeal Concrete Landscaping Borders and transported quickly to the landfill!  After-which, new borders were installed – with color!   I should have the complete pictures for this job tomorrow, which I will share with you.

Curb 17 - NOT Curb Appeal

Anyway, what I’m boiling down to is; do you know what to look for?  Here is an example of what you definitely DON’T want with your borders.

This picture was actually taken in 2003 by someone that hired us.  For the record, these are NOT our borders. Notice how uneven and wavy the top is?  This is just “crap installation” here.  Can you see the difference?

curb1

In this second picture, you see straight lines that are easy to mow around.  For the record, these ARE our borders.

You want your borders to “frame” and complement your landscape – not distract from it.  You don’t want “roller-coaster’ curbs – you want straight, smooth and level curbing.  THAT’s how you frame your landscaping.

And, a big plus (know that the rainy season is upon us); concrete landscaping borders keeps the mulch in – and the grass out!

So; when investigating this avenue for your landscaping; think about the following:

  1. How long have they been in business?
  2. Can they provide customer names for references?
  3. Guarantee’s?  Will they come back for repairs?

You wouldn’t believe how many companies fade in and fade out.  We can proudly say that we’ve been doing Concrete Landscaping Borders in this area for 18 years.  Shouldn’t you go with a successfully locally owned and operated company?  This is the only business we have – full time!  That’s us!

Homework:  You as a homeowner should do due diligence to determine if the company you select will be able to perform the job to your satisfaction; are able to complete repairs if needed; have a solid foundation of customer service; and a fair price.  Research this site to give you prices, curb styles, color options, and how to measure.

Curb Appeal Concrete Landscaping Borders has been operating since 1997, with thousands of satisfied customers.  Please contact us today for your FREE estimate!

Proudly serving Central Florida.  Call 407-957-9208.

407-957-9208

407-957-9208

 

Payment Options:  Cash, Check and all major credit cards accepted.

 

8 Essential Outdoor Upgrades for Selling Your Home

Whether you’re selling acres of land or a tiny urban terrace, it’s time to spruce up your outdoor space.

What sells real estate? Location, location, location. We’d like to add one more item to that list: outdoor space. Because regardless of your location or property type, an outdoor space can make or break the sale of your house — especially in nice weather.

“I once had a client willing to sell her condo and spend tens of thousands more for the same interior space, just so she could have a 3-by-5-foot terrace,” says Brian Murray, a real estate broker in Hoboken, NJ.

In other words, outdoor space matters, whether it’s a tiny patio or acres of landscaped gardens.

Motivated to improve yours? Experts advise focusing on fixes or upgrades — not major overhauls — that are low maintenance, decent quality, energy-efficient, and not too costly.

Here’s what to know about sprucing up your green space, from the front door to the back 40.

1. Pump up your curb appeal

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so make that front entry burst with welcome.

Most importantly, paint, repair, or replace your front doorway. A new steel door consistently ranks among the best home improvements, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2015 “Cost vs. Value Report,” with a 100% return on investment (ROI).

Next, prune any plant overgrowth and add inexpensive shrubs and potted flowers.

Make sure the doorbell works too.

2. Add (or repair) a wood deck

According to the same report, adding a wood deck has an ROI of 80% — better than remodeling a bathroom — and constructing one costs a fraction of building an addition, but dramatically adds to perceived living space.

If you have an existing deck (or patio) in need of repair, now is the time to start swinging that hammer.

3. Check the roof

According to the National Association of Home Buyers, house hunters focus primarily on quality and appearance, so don’t let a sagging roof or leaky gutters drag you down.

A roof in ill repair indicates to a buyer that more unpleasant surprises may await, and a home inspection will quickly reveal if your roof needs work. Most roofs last between 20 and 30 years; if yours is nearing the end of its useful life (or it looks like it is), expect the buyer to talk you down on price.

4. Wash or replace siding

Attractive siding is second only to a nice front door when it comes to curb appeal, and worn siding can cost you 10% of your home’s value.

If yours is in good shape, get out the pressure washer and clean it up. If not, think about replacing it; the long-term ROI is up to 84% for fiber-cement cladding. Vinyl siding is an inexpensive, durable, and low-maintenance choice, though it won’t get you points for environmental friendliness, and some buyers may find it tacky.

5. Make landscaping attractive

Sure, your Pinterest page is full of sprawling gardens and rose-clad trellises, but in reality, most buyers want low-maintenance, unfussy landscaping.

Mature, healthy plantings are a bonus, but if your yard is still under development, try to maintain a green lawn. No buyer wants to imagine serving burgers to pals with a side of sad, browning grass. If you don’t have time to reseed, consider laying sod.

Next, add green shrubbery in a few key spots and prune unkempt trees or bushes, especially those darkening interior spaces or obscuring views. Finally, mulching gardens is another good way to add appeal.

6. Tidy up walkways and stairs

While you’ve got out the power washer, make sure pathways, stairs, and other paved areas are looking their best.

View your home with fresh eyes or ask a friend to provide an honest report. Are the stairs unsafe? Is the walkway ugly and cracked?

Listen up, and patch up those eyesores.

7. Avoid money pits

Real talk: Unless you live where it’s sunny all the time, a pool is not a good investment. It’s expensive to install and maintain, and not everyone wants one.

Thinking about adding an outdoor kitchen? Most buyers aren’t. Instead, put your money into universally appealing amenities; buyers can add niche amenities (a tennis court, a hot tub) later.

Your job is to focus on creating an outdoor space that looks nice, is functional, and is in good repair.

8. Sweat the small stuff

Whether you live in a city center or bucolic countryside, little things can have a big impact on buyers.

For example, you can easily and inexpensively add functional exterior lighting, cover an air-conditioning unit with a trellis, add a grill that says easy entertaining, install a cozy firepit, or stage a table with a glass of wine.

“Remember, buyers aspire — they want to see themselves living an amazing life in the place they’re going to buy,” advises Murray, the Hoboken-based broker. “Trust me, people will buy based on seeing the grill.”

Ultimately, spend the money on smart landscaping and universally appealing exterior elements to make your property look taken care of — it’s well worth it.

cropped-curbappeallogo.jpg

Payment Options:  Cash, Check and all major credit cards accepted.

– See more at: http://www.trulia.com/blog/8-essential-outdoor-upgrades/#sthash.ZGgwoY0e.dpuf

Eat Your Yard! How to Design an Edible Landscape

Many of us are lucky enough to have at least a small plot of land surrounding our homes. Yet we often choose to occupy that land with grass, marigold and azalea beds, wisteria, and the occasional privet or maple—plants that look nice, but don’t give us anything in the way of food or value. Edible plants are equally beautiful, and nearly any homeowner could grow a meaningful amount of food in her yard—a much more noble use of the soil. Consider replacing the typical landscape with decorative borders of herbs, rainbow chard and striking paprika peppers. Instead of the fleeting color of spring azaleas, try the year-round beauty of blueberries—or pear and plum trees, which put on a spring show of flowers, have colorful summer fruits and produce yellow fall foliage. These plants aren’t just pretty—they provide healthy food and save money and resources.

In addition to being a viable design option, an edible landscape (if maintained organically) is the most compelling landscape concept for the future.

Edible landscapes offer these incredible benefits:

Energy Savings: Food from your yard requires no shipping and little refrigeration. Plus, conventional farms use a large amount of energy to plow, plant, spray and harvest produce—planting and picking tomatoes in your front yard requires a miniscule amount by comparison.

Food Safety: You know which chemicals (if any) you use.

Water Savings: Tests show that most home gardeners use less than half the water to produce the same crop compared with large-scale agricultural production. Drip irrigation saves even more.

Money Savings: You can grow an unbelievable amount of food in a small, beautiful space. When I meticulously calculated the value of a 100-square-foot edible landscape I grew a couple of summers ago, I was amazed to find it had saved me more than $700! (Visit rosalindcreasy.com for exact figures for some popular crops.)

Better Nutrition: Fully ripe, just-picked, homegrown fruits and vegetables provide more vitamins and nutrients than supermarket produce, which is usually picked under-ripe and is days or weeks old when you eat it.

Designing Your Edible Landscape

Any landscape design begins with establishing the “bones” of your garden—choosing the location of the paths, patios, fences, hedges, arbors and garden beds. This is critically important in an edible garden because the beds are more apt to have plants with a wide array of textures, sizes and shapes, such as curly carrot leaves, mounding peppers and climbing beans. Edible garden beds may be filled with young seedlings or even be empty at times. That’s when paths, arbors, fences, hedges and even a birdbath are vital for keeping things attractive.

After you’ve determined the setup of the landscape, it’s time to choose the plants. Herein lies the true subtlety of the landscaper’s art. First, make a list of edibles you like most. Find out which ones grow well in your climate, and note their cultural needs. Our sister publication Mother Earth News offers a searchable list of plant recommendations and planting times, organized by region.

With your list of plants in hand, create special areas of interest. You could plant a curved line of frilly-leafed chartreuse lettuces or a row of blueberry shrubs whose blazing fall color can lead your eye down a brick path to your entry. Instead of the predictable row of lilacs along the driveway, imagine a mixed hedge of currants and gooseberries. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

Edible Plant Selection

Your choice of plants is determined by local growing conditions. When choosing the plants, ask yourself: First, will this plant grow well in my region and yard? Second, does the plant produce something I want to eat? And, last, what does the plant look like (size, form, leaf texture and color)?

Size: The single biggest mistake all garden designers make—professionals and amateurs alike—is underestimating the eventual size of plants, especially in foundation plantings. Large plants can quickly cover windows or look out of scale for the space. Conversely, a fully grown plant might prove too small to serve its intended purpose. Consider the probable end height and width before making your final selections.

Form: Form (or shape) is usually a plant’s mostobvious characteristic. Many woody edible plants, such as apple and peach trees, are rounded. Another typical shape is upright, as seen in raspberries and bamboos. Some plants, such as pomegranates and highbush blueberries, are vase- or fountain-shaped, while others, including thyme and cranberries, have a matlike form. Plants such as gnarled fig trees or grapevines are considered accent plants for their striking form alone. Such forms dominate the area where they grow; give them ample space so they can be enjoyed as the focal points they deserve to be.

Texture: Texture describes the size and shape of the leaves and the spacing between them. Bold banana leaves, which can grow 6 feet long, and the dainty leaves of asparagus exemplify two texture extremes. Fine-textured plants work well in small gardens. Coarse plants, which give a bold look and substance, make a superb foil for large structures.

Color: Color is the most versatile design tool for an edible landscape. Unlike patios or arbors, adding color doesn’t require a large commitment of time, money and labor. If you don’t like the look of lots of red peppers and yellow containers, simply change the dominant colors next season.

Plants add color to the landscape in a variety of ways—multihued flowers, showy fruit or vivid seasonal foliage—but only for a relatively short period. The leaves, in every hue and intensity of green, help tie the design together, from the rich deep green of strawberry leaves to the bright light green of lettuce to the gray-green of sage. Green becomes the neutral color against which you see all the other colors in a landscape.

After choosing the basic foliage hues, add colors with trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants that bloom at different times of the year. I limit myself to two or three basic colors in simultaneous bloom; other gardeners like a full palette, a riot of many colors. It’s all about individual taste.

Produce Pointers

If you’ve never grown produce before, it’s wise to invest in a classic book such as The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible by Edward C. Smith or How to Grow More Vegetables by John Jeavons. Follow these tips for prize-winning plants:

• Make sure your yard has rich, organic, well-drained, fluffy soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0; it’s critical for growing healthy vegetables. You can test your soil pH with an at-home kit, available at nurseries and garden centers. The next step is to correct the pH if necessary. For acidic soil, raise the pH by liming the soil (some call it “sweetening”) with pelletized calcitic or dolomitic limestone. For alkaline soil, add sulfur. In both cases, follow the directions that come with the test results.

• Position plants so tall ones such as corn and staked cherry tomatoes are in the northernmost part of the yard, where they won’t shade shorter plants.

• Interplant long-lived tomatoes, peppers and other such plants with fast growers such as spinach, lettuce and radishes; harvest them before the larger plants fill in.

• Provide support for sprawling plants—including most tomatoes, cucumbers, pole beans and peas—to save space, prevent diseases and make vegetables more accessible for harvesting.

• Allow ample room between plants so they can grow to their full size without rubbing elbows with their neighbors. Good air circulation prevents many diseases.

• Determine the first and last frost dates for your area and plan your landscape accordingly. Planting recommendations on seed packets, in plant catalogs and in garden books are based on those dates.

Get Started!

Finding ways to grow more of our own food and reduce our homes’ resource use is a worthy goal. Start your edible landscape simply. Try replacing a few shrubs with easily grown culinary herbs and salad greens. The next step may be to add a few strawberry or rhubarb plants to your flower border. Or maybe this is the time to take out a few hundred square feet of sunny lawn in your front yard to create a decorative edible border instead.

If you’d like to try a fun, helpful garden-planning tool as you get started on your edible landscape, check out the handy Vegetable Garden Planner from Mother Earth News.

Inspiring Plant Pairings

Combining edibles and ornamentals can lead to a harmonious, productive garden. Consider these colorful combinations:

• A geometric design of orange tulips underplanted with mesclun salad mix and bordered with parsley or frilly lettuces.

Red or orange cherry tomatoes growing over an arbor planted with blue or purple morning glories

• Cucumbers climbing a trellis as a backdrop for a splash of coral gladiolus

• Gold zucchini and yellow dahlias bordered by red zinnias and purple basil

• A bed of fernlike carrots surrounded by dwarf nasturtiums

• A path bordered with dwarf red runner beans backed with giant, red-and-white-striped peppermint zinnias

• A wooden planter overflowing with strawberries and burgundy-leafed cannas

The Real Cost of Lawns

An organic lawn area can be wonderful for frolicking children, but those large, “well-maintained” areas of verdure generally are the landscaping equivalents of gas guzzlers parked in the driveway. Consider the following:

• Lawn mowing uses 300 million gallons of gas and takes about 1 billion hours annually.

SafeLawns.org estimates that Americans spend $5.25 billion on petroleum-based lawn fertilizers and $700 million on lawn pesticides annually.

• According to the EPA, running the average gas-powered lawn mower for 1 hour can create the same amount of pollution as driving a car 340 miles.

• Nationwide, home landscape irrigation accounts for almost one-third of all residential water use—more than 7 billion gallons a day. Lawns gulp more than half of that.

High-Yield Tips for Beginners

Apply techniques experienced gardeners use to make their efforts more productive. To get the most food from a small garden area:

• Plant mesclun salad and stir-fry green mixes; they produce a lot in a short time.

• Choose plants that produce over a long period of time such as eggplants, chile peppers, chard and kale, which yield a large total harvest for the space they take.

• Grow indeterminate tomato varieties, which produce more fruit over a longer period than determinate varieties.

• Plant pole beans, peas and vining cucumbers, which grow vertically and for a longer season. They are more productive than bush types.

• Choose day-neutral strawberries, which bear from early summer through fall and outproduce spring-bearing types.

• Include plants that are in and out of the garden quickly—radishes, lettuce, arugula and green onions—among your other edibles.

Rosalind Creasy has been growing edibles in her northern California garden for 40 years. The expanded second edition of her landmark book, Edible Landscaping, is available at naturalhome andgarden.com/shopping. This definitive book on designing with edible plants provides detailed advice and more than 300 inspiring photos.

Curb Appeal, Concrete Landscaping Borders 407-957-9208

Curb Appeal, Concrete Landscaping Borders
407-957-9208

The 7 Best Home Improvements for $500 or Less

March 13, 2015

AG-Trac Enterprises, LLC

Give your home’s look a makeover without breaking the bank.

When it comes to upgrading our homes, there seems to be a never-ending list of things to do. There are the upgrades we’d love to make, like buying new furniture or replacing countertops. And then there are the things we have to fix, like inefficient appliances or a leaking roof. But there are a whole range of inexpensive improvements that don’t take much effort but can go a long way toward increasing your enjoyment of your home—and adding to its value too.

Here are 5 such upgrades you can make for less than $500.

1. Increase curb appeal

Even if you’re not planning on selling your home, curb appeal is important. For you, that might mean pressure-washing the driveway (rent one for about $100 per day), repairing broken stairs, or updating your mailbox (anywhere from $50 to $200, depending on style). Sometimes upgrading curb appeal is simply a matter of spending time in the yard and getting your hands dirty by edging the lawn, trimming hedges, or pulling weeds. You could get concrete landscaping borders (average $450=100 linear feet) to frame your yard, and keep your landscaping defined.  To keep costs down, plant perennials that keep their greenery all year long and invest time in maintaining your garden tools so you don’t have to purchase new ones.

Read more about budget-friendly curb appeal projects

Paulsen Construction Services Inc
Paulsen Construction Services Inc

2. Fix the front door

Your front entrance can say a lot about your home. Upgrading to a high-end fiberglass door can cost more than $1,000, but you can get a whole new look for a lot less simply by adding new hardware and a fresh coat of paint. Installing a new doorbell (kits cost about $50 to $100) or updating the lighting (anywhere from $25 to $100) are also inexpensive fixes that can add instant appeal to the front entry. Pair your newly painted door with a clean doormat ($20) or fresh pot of flowers, and you’ll have a whole new entrance for under $500.

3. Repair interior walls and paint

If your walls are a standard height, it’s easy to make simple repairs like patching holes or sanding. It’s also fairly easy to prime and paint your walls, which can instantly upgrade the look of any room. You’ll need to buy paint and primer (most brands start around $30 per gallon) plus painter’s tape, brushes and rollers. (Read this to learn more about how to budget for your painting project.)

Painting can get complicated and expensive if you need to repair a significant amount of drywall, remove mold, or have really tall ceilings, so always consult a professional if you feel you might be in over your head.

4. Update lighting and change bulbs

The lighting fixtures in your home are like jewelry on an outfit—they can instantly add pizzazz or look dated. Switching out a chandelier or sconce is a fairly easy, budget‐friendly project. Shop big-box stores for inexpensive pendants, or ask about floor sample sales at retail outlets. Plan on spending at least $200 for a large fixture, about $100 for a bathroom vanity light, and $100 or less for a wall sconce. If you’re on a tight budget, consider using the fixtures you already have but updating them with a coat of spray paint, a new light shade, or a dimmer switch. To make sure you’re really adding value, switch to energy efficient bulbs like LEDs (about $7 for a 60W equivalent) or CFLs (about $9 for a 60W equivalent) bulb. Although both are more expensive than an incandescent bulb, they last longer and require less energy.

Normandy Design Build Remodeling
Paulsen Construction Service Inc.

5. Install new toilets

Your motivation for buying and installing a new toilet may be for aesthetic reasons, but newer toilets can also save you money. Toilets installed prior to 1995 use as much as 6 gallons of water per flush; newer WaterSense models use as little as 1.2 gallons.

Over time this can represent thousands of gallons of water you won’t have to pay for. Additionally, older toilets are more likely to leak, wasting even more water and money. A slowly running toilet can waste as much as 200 gallons of water a day. Replacing a toilet (about $100‐$200) isn’t hard for an experienced DIYer. But call the plumber if you have other leaks in the bathroom or kitchen; getting them fixed will save you water and money.

6. Maintain your mechanics

Just like maintaining a car, regularly having your appliances and mechanical devices inspected and tuned up can save you lots of money in the long run. Major repairs or replacements can run into the thousands, but a simple check up might be as little as $100. Ask your serviceperson to let you know about any special customer care programs. Sometimes long-term customers are rewarded with free inspections or discounted servicing. (Thinking about DIY appliance repair? Read this first.)

7. Monitor energy usage

There are many smart-home devices on the market aimed at letting you get to know your home habits and helping you save money on energy or utility costs. Devices like Iris (Comfort & Control kit is $80) can help you regulate the temperature of your home and alert you to any unexplained changes. Add-on devices like the Utilitech Water Leak system ($30) can alert you to water leaks. Ultimately these devices help you save money on your energy and utility bills and keep you from expensive repairs down the line.

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Anne Reagan is editor-in-chief of Porch.com.

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