DOES LANDSCAPING INCREASE YOUR HOME’S VALUE?

Written by Andrea Davis on Monday, 13 October 2014 3:14 pm

After spending hundreds to thousands of dollars on landscaping, how do you know if you’ll recoup your investment? Homeowners may wonder if their efforts are worthwhile compared to interior projects. In actuality, landscaping comes back in resale value more than you may think.

According to a publication from Virginia Tech, a home landscape has been valued at around 15 percent of a home’s total value. Furthermore, certain landscape aspects add more to the home than others, including:

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Design: 42%

Plant size: 36%

Diversity of plants: 22%

The study cited that a $150,000 home could go from $8,300 in worth to almost $19,000 more with the addition of a landscape.

That’s a lot for just adding a front yard to your home.

Here is more information about these elements and how to increase the value of your home.

 

Landscape Design


Photo courtesy of Jardin Passion Landscape ConHow you design the landscape is the first step in creating a beautiful and valuable front yard. If you plant shrubs, flowers and trees without a design in mind, you could run into maintenance issues down the road. This is why you might call in a landscape designer to help. Landscape designers have the knowledge when it comes to creating landscapes to match homes and climate conditions. They know which trees, shrubs and flowers mix versus which ones might be troublesome. The end result will be a manageable, uncluttered and beautiful landscape that you can enjoy for little to no hassle.

Plant Size


Photo courtesy of Applegate Landscape Co.On a visual level, adding different plant sizes will make your front yard look more appealing. Adding different shapes and colors complements your home and the lawn. On a maintenance level, mixing small and big plants will cut down on clutter in your yard. If you have too many bushy plants, their roots and branches could get mixed together and cause maintenance issues. So plant different trees, shrubs and flowers to make your landscape colorful and varied to add onto your home’s appeal and save on trouble.

Diverse Plants

Lawn Flower CurbingPhoto courtesy of M&M Garden DesignsIntertwined with the plant sizes you choose are how diverse they should be. You don’t want to plant only shrubs and trees with leaves. Vary it up with fruit trees or shrubs that have flowers to add color to the front yard. You also might choose annual and perennial flowers to sprinkle across your yard. You will need to replace annuals every year, but that gives you the chance to try out different flowers. Perennials, on the other hand, will last for many years and can endure harsh winter conditions.

Conclusion

Whether you hire a landscape designer or decide to tackle the front yard landscape yourself, be sure to include these three elements. Adding them to your front yard will pay back dividends in your home resale value, and it will make your home more attractive to buyers.

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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.

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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.

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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.

A Guide To Landscaping Around Your Home

By on Mar 5, 2015 (she’s great!)
Your home is looking good! You have repainted the inside of your house. You have redecorated the inside with new furniture. And, you have put in new lighting so your home is nice and bright. However, the inside of your home is only half the battle. You also need to look and work at the outside of your home.

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Other than painting the outside of your house, there are a number of other ways homeowners can improve the look, and just as important, the value of your home. One of the easiest ways to improve your home is through the use of landscaping around the house. Landscaping the areas surrounding the house can make your home look nicer and improve the look of your neighborhood. These are factors that can help improve the value of the house.  Adding borders, for example, on your sidewalk keeps the mulch in, and your grass out!

Homeowners have many different ways to help landscape their homes. Many can be accomplished by yourself at minimal expense. Landscaping can take different forms such as planting flowers, trees, bushes and maintaining a healthy looking lawn. There are also other methods of improving your home including having a nice looking deck or patio, improving your outdoor lighting and even having a water feature in your yard. Another important part of landscaping is keeping pests away from your lawn, trees and gardens.

All of these methods of landscaping can help improve the look of your home and raise the home’s value. To learn more about landscaping around your home, please take a peek at the following resources. We hope that you learn how to properly landscape and also work on your own around the house. Also, please feel free to share this information with others looking for information on landscaping.

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Why you should give your home an outdoor makeover

Published Carson Arthur – March 20, 2015     Looking for our Share & Win contest?

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Spring has finally arrived! Well, at least the calendar says so. That means the home renovation industry is shifting gears and moving home improvement projects outside. Outdoor design expert Carson Arthur has talked to us about the importance of landscaping, but stresses the benefits of giving your home an outdoor face lift. Arthur educates us on how to do just that. 

The Shift: From landscaping to complete outdoor makeovers

For my entire media career in landscape design and outdoor living, I have been trying to convince homeowners that focusing on the outdoors not only improves their own way of life, it also increases the value of their homes. As new information comes out each season from national companies like Century 21 Canada and regional organizations like Landscape Ontario, I have been adding to my own messaging to help homeowners make truly informed choices.

Now I am officially crowing at the top of my lungs that not only does good landscaping positively impact a home’s perceived value…outdoor renovations have taken over the top five home improvements according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2015 Cost vs Value report. Step aside you interior experts…its time for the landscapers to take center stage!

These outdoor improvement projects knocked kitchens and baths out of the usual top spots:

A New Front Door

This is the only improvement for the entire house that is worth more money the moment you install it! Adding a new solid steel door to the front of your home is expected to see a return of 101.8%! Even I was surprised by this one. Although, it does make sense. A front door for your home is like the wheels on a new car. Nobody buys a car because of the wheels, but everyone checks the wheels before they buy a car. The front door doesn’t sell a home, but it is the very first item that a potential buyer checks when walking in. If the front door is solid and in good condition, buyers assume that the rest of the home will be up to the same standards.

landscapinganddesign

In case you missed it: Read our handy guide on choosing a front door. We discuss the pros and cons of door materials and how much they’ll cost you.

Manufactured Stone Veneers

More companies are entering into this market everyday and with an expected rate-of-return of 92%, consumers are happy to have the choices. Having stone veneers at the front of your home is a great way to add visual impact without rebuilding your house. Stone gives the impression that a home is solid and able to withstand the elements (and the children). The key to successful veneers is in the colour saturation. More colour in the stone means that the colour will last long – holding its value longer too!

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A Wood Deck

I’ve always been an advocate of expanding your living space into the backyard. For most of us, a wood deck is a simple and effective way to create an outdoor room…with an 80.5% return-on-investment! Traditionally, cedar has had the best-perceived value, but with rising material costs, this has been changing. MicroPro Sienna, the brown version of pressure treated is poised to take over the top spot. With the rich look of cedar at significantly reduced cost, more homeowners are opting for this new style of wood over the green alternative.

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Surprised? Don’t be. When it comes to home renovations, most homeowners want to achieve the following:

  1. Add value to the home;
  2. Let the home speak for itself by making a good first impression for future buyers;
  3. Stay on budget while updating and improving the space.

In order to get people inside, you have to draw them in from the outside, which is why we should stop thinking about landscaping, flowers and gardens and start thinking about the house as a whole.

Ready to get that outdoor project underway? We can put you in touch with the right professionals. Scroll through our database of landscaping and design professionals. If you’re looking to replace your front door, we have experts for that too.

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A to Z of home ownership and the spring home show

Consider a water feature, like this one by The Pond Clinic, which is opening the Aquatopia Conservatory this spring.
Consider a water feature, like this one by The Pond Clinic, which is opening the Aquatopia Conservatory this spring.

Karma Creative Solutions / Ottawa Citizen

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Home ownership involves a lot more than just meeting those monthly mortgage payments. Fire protection, troublesome trees, elegant bathroom upgrading: they’re all part of being king or queen of your castle.

The upcoming Ottawa Home & Garden Show is one way to meet the professionals who can help you and your home with everything from eavestroughing to gardening. There’s also scads of online resources to help, whether you’re trying to hire the best renovator or stay on top of your insurance coverage. And you can do your own seasonal checkup to make sure your home stays in tip-top condition.

Our A to Z of home ownership will help with all this and more.

Antlers on the wall is a trendy decor misstep unless you’re redoing your hunting cabin, says interior decorator Lee-Ann Lecroix. Her seminar at the home show will help you separate the timeless from the merely trendy. “I’ll talk about wallpaper, fabrics, paint colours. It’s about how to spend wisely,” she says.

Birds, rodents and attics don’t mix, so check animal barriers spring and fall. Also check your attic for water leaks caused by ice buildup (stained roof sheathing or wet insulation are giveaways). Call a roofer if in doubt.

Make sure chipmunks and other critters can’t get into your attic.
Make sure chipmunks and other critters can’t get into your attic.

Central air conditioner: A spring cleaning and tune-up will cost you roughly $125 to $150 but can also save you money thanks to better efficiency and fewer repairs.

Decks: Stone Deck Landscapes, exhibiting at the home show, uses stone instead of maintenance-needy wood for new and reno projects. Renos costs about $12 to $15 per square foot; new construction costs vary depending on size, number of footings and other factors.

This Pennsylvania project uses real travertine but in Ottawa's harsh weather Stone Deck Landscapes owner Greg Borger says he would only use it on covered decks. For others, he uses a manufactured travertine stone.
This Pennsylvania project uses real travertine but in Ottawa’s harsh weather Stone Deck Landscapes owner Greg Borger says he would only use it on covered decks. For others, he uses a manufactured travertine stone.

Stone Deck Landscapes / Ottawa Citizen

Extinguishing fires is tricky if your equipment isn’t easily accessible, has low pressure or is damaged. Get information on fire extinguishers here.

Fires involving clothes dryers top 15,000 per year, according to the U.S. National Fire Protection Association. Most result from lint build up. Get dryer fire prevention tips here.

Gutters and downspouts: Have snow and ice loosened or damaged them? Are they debris-free? Do they carry water well away from your home? If needed, call in a pro.

Check your eavestrough for debris and winter damage.
Check your eavestrough for debris and winter damage.

Hot water heaters need periodic cleaning for maximum efficiency and long life. It’s as easy as shutting off the circuit breaker and draining the gunk with a garden hose. Citizen columnist Steve Maxwell explains how.

Insurance: Is your home and contents coverage up to date? What about your inventory of belongings? Is your cottage fully covered? Visit the Insurance Bureau of Canada for tips.

Just a few minutes — that’s all it takes to clean/vacuum refrigerator coils. The fridge will run more efficiently and use less electricity.

Kitchens: Sure, renovate yours but not at the expense of general home maintenance like window and door caulking and upkeep of your HVAC filter. Tarion.com has a monthly checklist to help prevent pricey repairs.

Welwyn Wong redesigned the landscape around an existing pool to create a resort feel that accommodates several activities —socializing, lounging, dining or swimming.
Welwyn Wong redesigned the landscape around an existing pool to create a resort feel that accommodates several activities —socializing, lounging, dining or swimming.

Mike Bonomo / Ottawa Citizen

Landscape designer Welwyn Wong presents a home show seminar on creating a resort-like backyard with water features and even a shaded daybed. “It’s going to remind people of their little winter getaway to Cancun or the Mediterranean,” she says.

Moisture levels rise in the spring so maintain your sump pump (allstate.com shows how).

Native plants, why you need them in your garden and where to find them: just one of the many subjects on the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s guide to spring gardening tasks.

Check out the Nature Conservatory of Canada’s spring guide at natureconservancy.ca.
Check out the Nature Conservatory of Canada’s spring guide at natureconservancy.ca.

Outdoor electrical fixtures: Check for rust, debris, insects. Ensure all exterior outlets have an operational ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), and test them and inside GFCIs regularly. Call an electrician if in doubt.

Pre-fab homes: Bonneville Homes brings its Exalt bungalow to the home show. Its glass-walled terrace with whirlpool and fireplace converts for indoor or outdoor use.

Bonneville Homes brings its Exalt bungalow to the home show. Its glass-walled terrace with whirlpool and fireplace converts for indoor or outdoor use.
Bonneville Homes brings its Exalt bungalow to the home show. Its glass-walled terrace with whirlpool and fireplace converts for indoor or outdoor use.

Quicksand: That can be the sensation as you sink into the nightmare of hiring an unscrupulous or incompetent renovator. The Canadian Home Builders’ Association has good advice and worksheets for hiring a renovator.

Roof: Every spring and fall, inspect for loose, buckling or missing shingles, inadequate caulking and faulty flashings. Excessive shingle granules in the drainpipe mean an aging roof: Call a roofer.

Smoke detectors: Change the batteries twice annually and check your carbon monoxide detector. The Ontario Building Code now requires all home smoke alarms to have a visual component like a flashing light.

Trees: Have you inspected them for winter damage and pruning needs? Are you planting new trees this year? Sites like treeottawa.org and services like Davey Tree Expert (at this year’s home show) can help.

Layout, colour palette and cabinetry create a timeless appeal in this kitchen, says decorator Lee-Ann Lacroix, while accessories can be used to accent current trends.
Layout, colour palette and cabinetry create a timeless appeal in this kitchen, says decorator Lee-Ann Lacroix, while accessories can be used to accent current trends.

Ashley Fraser / Ottawa Citizen

Ultra energy efficiency defines Edelweiss Lakes, a new Gatineau Hills community with homes by Raya EcoHomes that claim an annual heating cost of as little as $350. “We’ve come to realize people are pretty green about green,” says Edelweiss Lakes president Luc Belisle. “But it’s not that complicated: passive solar design and a good envelope goes a long way.” Edelweiss Lakes is at the home show.

Ventilation: To maintain effectiveness, clean your kitchen hood ventilation system and bathroom fan at least once a year (doityourself.com tells how).

Water features soothe the ear and please the eye. Aquatopia, the expansive new home of The Pond Clinic Water Garden Centre opening on March Road in May, offers everything from fountains and ponds to nursery stock.

X and Y, as in Generations X (aged mid-30s to late-40s) and Y (late teens to early 30s), may be overly optimistic about the probability of owning a home, according to a recently released survey by the Bank of Montreal Wealth Institute. Higher costs for almost everything mean it’s time to get real about owning a home, paying for their childrens’ post-secondary education and enjoying early retirement, according to BMO.

Woody Properties is a popular real estate website that includes surveys, trends and creative ideas. According to a Zillow survey, bad-boy Justin Beiber was the least desirable celebrity neighbour in 2014.

Proudly brought to you by Curb Appeal Concrete Landscaping Borders – your Central Florida resource in 1997!

407-957-9208

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A Guide To Landscaping Around Your Home

By on Mar 5, 2015
A Guide To Landscaping Around Your HomeYour home is looking good! You have repainted the inside of your house. You have redecorated the inside with new furniture. And, you have put in new lighting so your home is nice and bright. However, the inside of your home is only half the battle. You also need to look and work at the outside of your home.

Other than painting the outside of your house, there are a number of other ways homeowners can improve the look, and just as important, the value of your home. One of the easiest ways to improve your home is through the use of landscaping around the house. Landscaping the areas surrounding the house can make your home look nicer and improve the look of your neighborhood. These are factors that can help improve the value of the house.

Homeowners have many different ways to help landscape their homes. Many can be accomplished by yourself at minimal expense. Landscaping can take different forms such as planting flowers, trees, bushes and maintaining a healthy looking lawn. There are also other methods of improving your home including having a nice looking deck or patio, improving your outdoor lighting and even having a water feature in your yard. Another important part of landscaping is keeping pests away from your lawn, trees and gardens.

All of these methods of landscaping can help improve the look of your home and raise the home’s value. To learn more about landscaping around your home, please take a peek at the following resources. We hope that you learn how to properly landscape and also work on your own around the house. Also, please feel free to share this information with others looking for information on landscaping.

Proudly brought to you by Curb Appeal Concrete Landscaping Borders.  Serving Central Florida since 1997!  Call us today for your FREE estimate!

407-957-9208

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5 Kid-Friendly DIY Garden Projects

Welcome spring into your backyard with these garden DIYs that the whole family will love.

Even though it’s still cold outside, it’s not too early to start livening up your backyard garden.

These projects are all about re-imagining classic garden elements in a fun, easy way that the whole family will love. From making your own rain barrel to using rain boots as plant containers, there’s no limit to the creativity you can bring to your backyard garden. Best yet, these ideas are so easy, they’re great to try with kids. Which projects will your family try this spring?

1. Painted Rain Barrel

Annie's Omnium via Apartment Therapy - painted rain barrelPhoto courtesy of Annie’s Omnium via Apartment Therapy

Rain barrels are a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to water your lawn and garden, and they are easy and inexpensive to make. Get the complete instructionshere. If you’re feeling extra artsy, you can even add a personal touch by painting or drawing on the exterior.

2. Eggshell Succulent Garden

Karine Brighten - mini succulent gardenPhoto courtesy of Karine Brighten

This mini succulent garden only takes a quick trip to the hardware store to make, and it’s beautiful enough to display on your coffee table! Full instructions here.

3. Outgrown Rain Boot Planters

Mom's Crafty Space - rainboot plantersPhoto courtesy of Mom’s Crafty Space

When little feet outgrow their winter boots, don’t trash them–instead, turn those brightly-colored shoes into fun-filled planters. Get the project here.

 

4. Hop Scotch Pavers

Happiness is Homemade - hopscotch paversPhoto courtesy of Happiness is Homemade

Nothing brightens up a backyard or garden like these rainbow hopscotch pavers–and they’re super-easy to make. Get the tutorial here.

5. Strawberry Stones

Recyclart - strawberry stonesPhoto courtesy of Recyclart

These strawberry stones are not only fun to make and pretty to look at–they also deter birds from stealing your berries! Also try painting stones like carrots, potatoes, cucumbers, and corn to mark your veggie garden plantings, or just paint pretty things likecacti and ladybugs for fun decorations. Full tutorial here.

Proudly brought to you by Curb Appeal Concrete Landscaping Borders – serving Central Florida since 1997!

Curb Appeal, Concrete Landscaping Borders 407-957-9208

Curb Appeal, Concrete Landscaping Borders
407-957-9208

They Laughed When He Said ‘I Live in a Garage’. But After Seeing It? Pure Jealousy.

I loved this tour of a space that seemed impossible – but to the right frame of mind, it can be incredible!  No wasted space!  Just like Landscaping!

lighterside-staff-authorBy Lighter Side Staff  | and Curb Appeal Concrete Landscaping Borders

transformed-garage-top

Jeremie Buchholtz needed a spot to stay when he was splitting his time between Paris and Bordeaux, France. This photographer’s budget was limited, and he wasn’t up for staying in roach motels everytime he visited Bordeaux. He happened to find a garage for sale within his budget and wondered if he could turn it into something livable.

As luck would have it, his friend, Matthieu d Marien, specializes in converting odd spaces into homes. With his genius, and a lot of tenacity, they turned this run down garage into an abode worth vacationing in!

De Marien knew his friend had found a special space. But he had some restrictions when remodeling – the roof couldn’t be touched, which meant sunlight would have to come in another way. De Marien carved a 129 square foot patio out of the small space, leaving only 441 square feet of living space.

In order to make the interior space feel larger, De Marien created a “house within a house”: one large piece of furniture that includes the bathroom, bedroom, office, closet, a sofa bed and all of the home’s storage. With everything contained in this large furniture box, there’s plenty of living space left over.

Take a look at the video below to see Jérémie’s garage home now! It’s an amazing redesign of a small space!

Via Kirsten Dirksen
Curb Appeal, Concrete Landscaping Borders 407-957-9208

Curb Appeal, Concrete Landscaping Borders
407-957-9208

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