The Ultimate Spring Cleaning Checklist

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Spring is in the air and everyone is beginning to have those “out with the old, in with the new” urges. One way to remedy this is to dive into your spring cleaning. Whether you live at a cute little American Avenue apartment or a spacious house it can be difficult to keep track of all you’re spring cleaning needs. Here is a helpful list to follow to make sure you get everything feeling shiny and new or, at least clean.  

Declutter

While you’re in the mood to get rid of things, you should start with the places that need the most decluttering. If you have things that haven’t been used in years it might be time to say goodbye. Just think, if you throw out that random useless item now, that will be one less thing to clean out next year.

  • Bedroom Closet
  • Hall Closet
  • Under the stairs
  • Cupboards
  • Under the bed
  • Attic
  • Basement

Dust

After months with the doors and windows shut tight against the cold, there is plenty of unnoticed dust build up in the corners and cracks of your home. It is time to say farewell to the dust bunnies and get all of the dust out of your home.

  • Baseboards
  • Ceiling corners
  • Crown molding
  • Ceiling fans
  • Light fixtures
  • Lamps
  • Kitchen cupboards
  • Picture frames
  • Bookcases
  • Window blinds

Polish

The urge to buy all of the new things is strong in the spring, but before you go spending an arm and leg on stuff try helping your old things feel new. A bit of wood polish and some elbow grease can do wonders for a dusty piece of wooden furniture.

  • Furniture
  • Kitchen cabinets
  • Bathroom cabinets
  • Kitchen table

Remove dust

You’ve dusted but you haven’t necessarily removed all of the dust from your house yet. In some cases, you just transferred it from one place to another. Now it’s time to get the dust out of the house.

  • Beat rugs outside
  • Vacuum air vents
  • Schedule chimney sweep (if you have a chimney)
  • Change air/furnace filters

Floor

At some point, you knew you’d have to get down on your hands and knees to scrub. Well, that time has come. Your floors need attention and you’ll want to embrace your inner Cinderella so you can have the most thorough cleaning completed.

  • Move furniture to vacuum/sweep everything
  • Scrub gout in tile
  • Shampoo carpet
  • Deep clean linoleum
  • Deep clean/polish wood floor

Laundry

It is a rare person that actually enjoys doing laundry, but even if you aren’t one of those lucky souls, that doesn’t mean you can just ignore it. Whether you decide to do all your laundry in one day to get it out of the way or space it out through your week you’ll definitely want to do some spring laundry.

  • Sheets
  • Blankets
  • Towels
  • Curtains
  • Spot clean pillows
  • Spot clean fabric furniture

Deep Clean

To help your home feel extra clean and ready for spring you’ll want to give a little bit of extra attention to the things listed below. They will be the difference between a tidy home and an actually clean home.

  • Fridge
  • Freezer
  • Stove
  • Oven
  • Bathtub
  • Shower
  • Microwave

With your cleaning list in hand, you are ready to tackle your home and get it fully ready for spring. Throw open your windows, tie back your hair, and blast your favorite tunes while you finally get the winter grime out and allow the fresh spring breeze to sweep through your home.

guest post • photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash


Rustic Design Trends For Your Home

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While some home trends that have been popular for the last few years are definitely on their way out some are still going strong. Rustic home design is one of those trends that is just getting stronger this year. While rustic home accents have been on design blogs and social media for years the rustic farmhouse design with modern elements is one of the hottest trends this year. Homeowners that want to give their home a timeless look and a chic upgrade are embracing rustic elements that give their home a cozy country feel. The best ways to add rustic design elements to your home are to upgrade your home with:

Distressed Hardwood Flooring

Distressed hardwood flooring adds character to your home while still giving you the beauty of natural hardwood flooring. Because distressed hardwood flooring is made from recycled wood it’s sustainable and good for the environment and it also gives your home a gorgeous rustic look and feel. Aged wood has a unique look that comes from the patina that builds up on the wood over the years and the wear pattern that is created over time. When you have distressed hardwood flooring installed in your home your floors will be totally unique with an individual personality that can’t be duplicated. The warmth and charm of your distressed hardwood floors will transform any room.

Rustic Kitchen Countertops

Rustic wood countertops are the perfect finishing touch for a modern farmhouse look in the kitchen. If you’re tired of your granite countertops and want a truly unique look for your kitchen replacing your countertops with reclaimed wood countertops will make your kitchen one a kind. The warm tones of reclaimed wood will make your kitchen truly the heart of the home. You can also install new rustic countertops to give a light rustic feel to dark kitchens that need brightening up. Light wood countertops that contrast with black, dark navy, or gray kitchen paint make the kitchen seem warmer and move inviting while maintaining that sleek modern look that comes from colored cabinets.

Faux Wood Beams

Faux wood beams installed in a living room, family room, dining room, or kitchen give the room a dramatic rustic look without the weight of real wood beams. Wood beams are a fantastic design element that can help make a room seem more inviting. They can also help frame the space in a room with very high ceilings. Real wood beams can be very expensive to hang because they are exceptionally heavy but faux wood beams that are hollow inside are light and easy to install. They give you the wonderful rustic look you want without all the expense and hassle of installing real wood beams for decoration. They also are practical because wiring for lights, smart home devices, and other projects can be run through the beams to keep them out of sight.

Rustic Siding

If you have always wanted your home to have the charm and appeal of a log cabin, replacing your existing siding with rustic siding can give you the look that you want with easy maintenance and installation. Wood look siding that mimics the look of real wood will transform your home into the cabin you’ve always wanted without requiring a lot of effort to keep it looking great. Low maintenance modern rustic look siding gives you the best of both worlds.

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An Alternative Material For Your Cabinets

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Plywood is the best choice for your cabinets if you want cabinets that are going to look great but also hold up to the wear and tear of daily use. For kitchen cabinets, bathroom cabinets, or custom cabinet storage in a playroom, sewing room, office, or in the garage plywood is the best choice. That’s because plywood is stronger than medium-density fiberboard or MDF and will last for years even with heavy use. Plywood cabinets can also resist moisture and perform even in high humidity environments like in the bathroom or in some garages.

Plywood Kitchen Cabinets

Plywood kitchen cabinets might cost a little more than MDF or particle board cabinets but the money is an investment in durability. Kitchen cabinets are used every day throughout the day and need to be strong enough to withstand years of constant use without warping, cracking, or falling apart. Plywood has the beauty and strength to create kitchen cabinets that will look great and be sturdy enough to stay strong no matter how much wear and tear they take. Plywood kitchen cabinet designs are worth the extra cost because they will last longer and stay looking great longer than MDF cabinets. You can also customize the look of plywood cabinets to get the look that you want in your kitchen.

Choosing the Best Plywood

When it comes to choosing the best plywood for your cabinets you should consider both the strength of the plywood and the veneer that gives the plywood the decorative look used for cabinet fronts. If you are choosing plywood for your garage or shop cabinets you might not need to spend extra money on a highly decorative plywood because strength is more important than the appearance of the plywood for work cabinets. But in the kitchen the appearance of the veneer might be the deciding factor and not the cost. When you are choosing the best plywood take into consideration where the cabinets are going to help you make the right decision about which plywood is the best plywood for the job.

Prefinished Plywood

Traditionally kitchen cabinets and other cabinets have been made of unfinished plywood and then finished after construction. However, using prefinished plywood can be the right choice for custom plywood cabinets. Using prefinished plywood might cost more up front because the cost of the materials for the cabinets will be higher but using prefinished plywood has a lot of advantages that will make up for the extra up front cost.

One of the biggest advantages of using prefinished plywood is that it will shorten the time needed to create and install the cabinets. When your new cabinets are made from prefinished plywood they can be completed fairly quickly because they don’t need to go through all the finishing steps to get the look that you want. If time is a factor when you are getting new cabinets made you should consider choosing prefinished plywood.

Prefinished plywood is also available in a wide range of colors, finishes, and coatings so that you can choose the exact color or finish that you want for your cabinet and you will get a uniform look because all of the cabinets will be made from the same prefinished material. You won’t need to waste time worrying about stains or paint colors and making sure that all the cabinets match when you choose prefinished plywood for your custom cabinets.

Choose Plywood For Your Cabinet Needs

Plywood is a great material for any room of your home. From stunning and unique kitchen cabinets to extra storage in your garage or shed for your tools such as levels, nails, or even just craft necessities like paint. Cabinets made out of plywood can give you extra storage that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Be sure to consider plywood as a material for your cabinets for your next renovation or upgrade.

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Behind the Scenes in DIY Home Renovation

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Have you ever imagined a home renovation to totally change the look and appeal of your home? While there are many reasons homeowners seek renovations, the two leading reasons for a DIY project are cost and enjoyment. Believe it or not, some of the coolest DIY home renovation projects have been undertaken by homeowners who could easily afford the services of professional contractors but simply enjoy a hands-on approach.

Unfortunately, many people don’t understand all that is involved when working beyond their area of expertise and this is where problems can arise. Whether you are considering a home renovation project to your current home or a ‘fixer upper’ you’ve found on the market for a good price, let’s take a look at what goes on ‘behind the scenes.’

The Dangers of Airborne Particles

Have you ever wondered why even contractors will buy planks and boards which have been cut and sanded at a lumber mill as opposed to working on them on-site? Many times, even with face masks, the dust inhaled is a very real health hazard. That’s just a simple example of airborne particles you might be subjected to. Companies that manufacture many of the products you will be working with have what they call ‘clean rooms’ in which particles are evacuated through complex filtration systems.

If their airborne particle counter reads above a certain safe level, steps are taken to eliminate the hazards to workers. Obviously timber is a very basic example, but what about compounds being used such as certain epoxies which need to be worked with under specific parameters? It’s vital to know any dangers which might not be readily visible to the naked eye before working with any harmful substances or materials.

When Permits and Licenses Are Required

Unless you are in the business, it can be difficult to know when zoning in your area requires special construction permits or professional licenses. Electrical wiring is a good example of when you might be required to have the work completed by a licensed electrician. Some wiring can be overseen and signed off on by a licensed electrician, but other jobs may require the actual work to be done by licensed and insured professionals. Then there are building permits you may not realize you need. Some zoning ordinances are more stringent than others.

For example, you will almost always need a roofer if doing an attic conversion into an apartment or extra living space if the roof line is to be altered, but you wouldn’t need a roofer if the area just needs interior finishing. Don’t get slapped with a code violation and a hefty fine, so always be aware of those seemingly ‘little’ things which can land you in a world of trouble.

When Repairs Cost More than the Original Labor

The final thing to consider is when you aren’t really sure what you are doing but are trying to save a buck or two. Some homeowners have found that repairs to their DIY work cost more than a professional job would have cost. Some things are simply better left in the hands of a pro.

Are you looking to get your hands on a DIY home renovation project? If so, always know what you are getting yourself into before starting any project whatsoever. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

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How Reclaimed Wood Is Recycled

Using reclaimed wood is a fantastic way to add some unique style to your home and it’s environmentally friendly. Wood that is reclaimed from old homes, barns, and other sources goes through an extensive recycling process that gives it new purpose without diminishing the beautiful aged look and charm that it already has.

In order for reclaimed wood to be ready for use in modern homes, first, the wood is taken from demolished homes, barns and outbuildings, and old factories along with other buildings. All old nails, staples, ties, and other items are removed from the wood by hand to make sure the wood is free of anything but the actual wood.

Then it’s cleaned with simple soap and water to wash off any dirt, debris, or oil that has built up on the wood over time to reveal the wood’s true color and natural beauty. After that the wood is milled to break it down to the right thickness for whatever project it’s going to be used for. It’s also then planed and ripped to make it functional wood.

After that it goes through a kiln drying process to kill any mold that might be on the wood from years of exposure to the elements or to water. The kiln drying process also gets rid of any insects or pests that have taken up residence in the wood.

The wood is then molded into a new shape that’s suitable for whatever purpose it’s going to be used for and it’s cross-cut and processed so that it can be turned into flooring, cabinet doors, stair treads, wood paneling walls, and other accents that can be used in any home. The color of the wood and the natural grain lines remain and make each piece of reclaimed wood a unique treasure that brings style and warmth to any home.

For more information on reclaimed wood, check out the infographic below:

Elmwood Infographic


5 Ways to Improve Your Backyard

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Your backyard is a place to relax and unwind. It should be your family’s own little slice of heaven after a busy week of work, school, and stress. Before it can become your perfect oasis though, you’ll probably need to put a little time into it. Here are a few things you can do that will make a large impact on the look and feel of your yard.

A Privacy Fence

To make your backyard your own private getaway you should consider adding a privacy fence. This will make your backyard feel more personal and comfortable. If you have children this will also limit the stress of sending them outside to play. You’ll know where they are and that they are safe and sound. Homeadvisor.com says that it will likely cost between $10 - $45 per linear foot to construct your wood fence, depending on the material you choose to use.

Plants

If your backyard is just a dirt mound or grass pad then you might want to consider adding a few trees. They may not be impressive now, but in a few years you’ll be grateful you have them. Trees add privacy to your back yard and shade for those hot summer days. There are also so many things you can do with trees; hang hammocks, build a tree house, put in a tree swing, the options are endless!

Outdoor Lights

Whether it is one large spotlight on your back porch or a string of lights hanging between your trees, lighting is a nice touch to any backyard. The lights will especially come in handy when your children want to play outside as the sun sets or if you decide to host a neighborhood BBQ. Lighting your yard doesn’t have to cost you an arm or a leg either. Check out Electrical Wholesale to find great deals on outdoor lighting options.

Add a Hammock

If you aren’t in the mood for a big project but want to increase the overall appeal of your yard, just add a hammock. The amount you want to spend on the hammock completely depends on you. There are some for as cheap as $20 online. The nice ones that will last longer will be close to $100. Either way, the setup isn’t time-consuming and the hours of enjoyment you will get out of your new tree swing are well worth the effort.

Create a Fire Pit

A fire pit is a nice addition to any back yard. You can always purchase a fire pit. This makes an easy setup and the option to move it around the yard at your leisure. If you're confident of the placement of your pit and have the time then building your fire pit right into the ground is always a lovely option, and it adds some semblance of permanency to your yard.

It doesn’t take much to make a remarkable difference to your backyard. A little time and effort can go a long way in providing for the privacy and comfort of your family. Good luck on your next project, and have fun!

guest post • photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash


Why are high-quality workwear and PPE so important?

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Investing in high quality workwear and PPE is important if you are an avid do-it-yourselfer or conduct manual work. Workwear such as work trousers can improve productivity whilst PPE such as knee pads can help protect from injury. Many novice DIYers neglect their own safety by not wearing the correct clothing and equipment to keep them safe.  The purpose of this article is to highlight the importance of PPE and workwear at home or in a workplace.

WHY WEAR PPE?

PPE, otherwise known as personal protective equipment, is designed to keep the wearer safe and reduce the risk of injury. PPE is a broad category of protective equipment. Equipment such as hard hats and goggles can provide head and eye protection and are therefore classed as PPE.

Injuries and fatalities are thankfully on the decrease due to a stronger emphasis on health and safety in a workplace due to law. People working on their own personal building projects often do not wear all the appropriate equipment. These people are running the risk of serious injury.

PPE should always be worn when there is a potential risk present. For example, loud noises from machinery may cause hearing damage and therefore ear protection must be worn. Falling debris can cause head injuries, which means hard hats should be worn. A construction site will conduct risk assessments before any manual work begins. The same risk assessment is not always applied when at home. Not identifying risks in the first place makes it harder to prevent them. In addition to this, some people have the attitude that they will be fine without PPE. This attitude is dangerous and can increase the chance of accidents occurring. PPE is one of the most important components of DIY and should not be overlooked.

WHY IS WORKWEAR IMPORTANT?

Wearing high quality workwear will provide both comfort and convenience. Protective workwear such as hi vis clothing can help increase the visibility of the wearer. This dramatically decreases risks of injuries from cars or people operated machinery. Flame resistant clothing will help reduce fire hazards and reduce damage closed by fire. Everyday workwear such as jackets or trousers can make manual work easier. Some work trousers and jackets are equipped with multiple pockets to provide easy access to tools and essentials. In addition to this, knee pad work trousers are equipped with knee pad pockets, which allows for knee pads to be slotted in. This can help prevent long-term damage to knees.

The quality of the workwear and PPE is extremely important. High quality workwear can help protect the wearer from harsh weather. PPE must be of high quality to meet safety standards. Cheaply made PPE may not be suitable for use and could put the wearer in danger. It is important to ensure that both workwear and PPE is in great condition to ensure safety and comfort. Another benefit of high quality workwear and PPE is that it will be a lot more durable.

In conclusion, you should always wear the appropriate workwear and PPE to prevent risks, no matter how big or small the task is. The higher the quality, the better it will be in terms of durability and safety.

guest post • cc-licensed image by Tom Fowler


6 Simple Steps To Create A Pallet Porch Swing for Your Home

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Every good porch or large old tree is just begging for a swinging bench rocking in its shade. If you only have a little time to dedicate to a project than this is the activity for you!

Do you have any old wooden pallets laying around? For most people, they see these scraps of wood as fuel for a bonfire or another trip to the dump. Fortunately for you, this is the beginning of your swing.

Patio Bench Swing

Before doing anything else you’ll want to make sure you have the right materials. You will need:

  • 2 large wooden pallets
  • Corner Metal Fasteners  
  • Metal chains
  • Screwdriver
  • Screws
  • Hammer
  • 4 U-bolts

This type of project is one you can take as much or as little time as you want getting it done. If you just want something to sit on, but not to look at, you’ll have this thing done in no time. However, if you’re going for looks then you’ll probably want to sand and paint or stain your wood to give it that finished feel.

Just follow these 6 simple steps and you’ll be swinging on your porch in no time.

Step 1

Cut your seat and backrest. This is as easy as cutting one pallet in half. Cut the pallet so the top and bottom wood are laying horizontally across the pallet.

Step 2

Make your armrests. You can just rip off a few pieces of wood from the other pallet to form your armrests. You will use this wood (the armrests) to help you secure the backboard to the seat.

Step 3

Connect the backboard to the seat. Use your corner fasteners, screws and screwdriver to attach the back of your bench to the seat.

Step 4

Attach the armrests to the bench. Using your screwdriver attach your armrests to the bench that you made.  

Step 5

Screw the u-bolts to the top front and top back of the armrests. The u-bolts will be where your chain will hold the chair so be sure your armrests are secured tightly to your bench.

Step 6

If you were going for super easy then you are now finished. All you have to do is decide where you’re going to hang your bench.

If you wanted to make your bench a little nicer, now is the time to sand away and then paint or stain your bench.

Step 7 (optional)

I would suggest getting an outdoor-friendly cushion to place on your bench. Not only will this make your bench more comfortable but it will also help it to be more inviting.  

As simple as that, you have made something useful from those wooden pallets and created something that you’ll be able to enjoy for years to come. If you still have a few more pallets laying around, you might consider a few other simple projects like a standing park bench, coffee table, bed headboard or even a lounge chair for the yard. All you’ll need are some pallets, screws, and a bit of creativity.

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Curb appeal: 4 must-implement tips to abide by

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Ask any real estate agent worth their salt about curb appeal and you’ll be met with the same answer. This is the holy grail and if you are serious about selling your home, you need to master this down to a tee.

Of course, you don’t necessarily have to be in the market to sell your home. Let’s not forget that while curb appeal might be a term mainly utilized in the real estate industry, in truth any homeowner can use it to their advantage. Suddenly, your home becomes the envy of neighbors and even if you aren’t the jealous type, this is certainly something that is nice to have.

Following on from the above, we will now delve into four tips that you simply must implement if you want to perfect your curb appeal.

Look after your lawn

Nothing quite shouts out “neglected” to potential buyers than a brown and patchy lawn. This is something that is all-too common nowadays though; lawns are difficult to maintain at the best of times and it can feel like an uphill battle to keep them in pristine condition.

The solution? Well, there are two. Some people will buy some lawn paint as a hack to make their lawn look lusher than it really is, while others might go a step further and replace the grass altogether. This creates something of a maintenance-free front yard, which alleviates some pressure when it comes to curb appeal.

Don't dismiss front yard lighting

Once upon a time installing external lighting was something of a pain. Now, with solar lights so popular, there are no excuses.

Not only do they aid from a security perspective (what thief wants to be watched in the glitz and glamour of garden lights?) but they can make your home feel a little more premium. Whether it’s to light up a path, or to symmetrically illuminate your front door, this is one of the easier ways to make your front yard look a lot nicer on the eye and ultimately impress suitors or neighbors.

It's not all about the garden; stay on top of your windows

A lot of the advice through today’s guide has been about the garden, and rightly so. However, curb appeal really can venture much further than this. This suggestion is about your windows and specifically, how dressing them appropriately can give the best impression to passers-by.

Of course, the premium option here is shutters, but not everyone can afford such luxury. Blinds are perfectly fine, and with so many different types now available you really can dress your window to your hearts (and homes) desire. Installing them is surprisingly simple as well although for those looking for a helping hand, handyman services across WA will always cover such a task.

The dreaded dirty front door

Something that a lot of homeowners always fall foul of is their front door. This is something that can cost a small fortune to install, yet as so many homeowners then opt to neglect it. It quickly gets covered in dirt and all of the other debris from the outside elements - leaving anything but the example of perfect curb appeal.

All it takes is a regular clean, and you'll be shocked at how the first impressions of your home transform.

guest post • cc-licensed image by Leslie Archard


How to turn your fixer-upper to your dream home

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It may seem like you have a lot of work ahead of you, but soon this fixer-upper will turn into your dream home.

When deciding to buy your fixer-upper you took a huge leap of faith that with a lot of blood, sweat and probably some tears you could turn it into the place you always wanted.

You were ok with the idea that you had to be a bit of a visionary to imagine the potential of everything it could become because you knew you were the person that could do it.

But now that you actually have it and are ready to start the transformation you are probably feeling pretty overwhelmed and don't really know where to start.

Luckily, with one foot in front of the other and one step at a time, you can begin the process of turning your fixer-upper into your dream home, and here are a couple suggestions on where you can start.

Go bottoms up

When it comes to a fixer upper it’s best to start with the bottom and then work from there.

It's important to check to make sure the foundation is strong and up to code, especially since you are most likely going to add a lot to the house and want to make sure it’s structurally sound.

From there you can fix what you need to and then go room by room, and then you can do the roof and the exteriors.

Consult a professional

If you don’t know where to begin and how to check if things like electrical, gas, and even the foundation are sound and up to code, it’s definitely a good idea to consult a professional.

In fact, that may be the first thing you want to do right after purchasing your fixer-upper and before you move in and start any repairs because they can be the ones to advise you about permits, insurance, electrical wholesale for the wiring throughout the house, cost efficiency, etc.

Make a plan

After you talk with a contractor or designer about your dreams and goals for your home you can then lay out a plan on how you want to get it done.

You can take into account how much time you have, how soon you want to be in the house, how much work actually needs to be done, and of course your budget.

Fixer-uppers are not always going to be like you see on TV and will take time and a lot of effort. You may have to pick and choose what’s most important and most practical at first versus what you were envisioning.

But eventually it will all come together and you will be glad you came up with a plan along the way.

Know you can do it

A fixer-upper can seem super overwhelming, and while you are in the middle of it all it may seem like next to impossible.

But understand with these types of projects everything looks much worse before it actually comes together and you just have to keep your vision of what you want in mind and persevere through it.

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Five Landscaping Trends to Help Sell Your Home

Selling your home is an extensive process. Preparing the proper documentation can take weeks or even months. While you’re waiting, you can pursue a few landscaping trends that will make your home a perfect choice for future homeowners. Let’s explore a few factors that will turn your home into an ideal purchase.

  1. Efficient Drainage Solutions

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Standing water can potentially damage the home and soil around the landscape. To prevent flooding install a patio drainage system onto the landscape. More than likely, you’ll need a combination of drainage systems. Here a few types of drainage systems that’ll help increase your chances of selling your home:

Types of Drainage System

  • French Drain Systems – Installation of French Drains require grading and digging channels into the landscape. These channels are filled with pipes (corrugated or PVC) that follow a gradual decline in elevation to push water away from the home. A catch basin is installed at the center point where water will flood. Use gravel rock over drainage pipes to hold the installation in place then cover the gravel rock with the soil you initially dug up.
  • Trench Drains – These are ideal for pathway, patios, and driveways. Measure the length and width of the designated area. Dig a trench into the soil according to the measurements of the outdoor flooring structure or the edge of a pathway. Install the trench drain. Be sure that the trench drain design sits a little lower at the edge of each structure, this will allow the water to drain much easier. Like catch basins, trench drains come with a grate to filter out debris.
  • Balcony Drains – If your patio or deck is built high above ground, you may have to use a balcony drain. Balcony drains have a much smaller catch basin with a slim piping channel to funnel water from the area. They can be used for patios as well.
  • Rock Drainage System – Take it a step further and use the elements to show a great cosmetic design of your home with river rock drainage. It may take some grading on your landscape, but there will be creative display that will awe potential home buyers.
  1. Revamping Outdoor Wood Floors

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Years of innovation have given us better material for outdoor wood flooring. Homeowners are leaning more toward composite decking solutions. Composite wood floors are much more durable against the inclement weather and are likely free from insect damage. Use this opportunity to turn classic hardwood decks or patios into composite outdoor wood floors.

Give your home a design and turn the classic deck design into multi-directional steps complemented with matching railing. Or trade the stone patio for outdoor wood floors that transition from the outside to the edge of your home.

  1. Adding Flair during the Night

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Most buyers won’t see your home at night. Invest in some eco-friendly lighting to show off the landscape during the evening hours. For those who love the outdoors, you can add a fire pit on the patio or create a benching area beside the pool. Speaking of benching, consider some under seat lighting for your patio or deck chairs.

You can find eco-friendly lights such as lights powered by solar panels at local retailers. Set up lights to bring a twilight feel to your landscape. Don’t forget to take photos.

  1. Use Simple Garden Designs

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You want the landscape to be neat and spacious. This will give the home buyers ideas they can envision about the home. Of course, make sure the area is clean. Trim the hedges, mow the lawn, and extract leaves that may be on the landscape. Next, add these factors to help your chances:

  • Select Pine Straw as a Ground Cover– With lawn and garden beds clear, find a ground cover that’s both cost-efficient and cosmetically sound like Pine Straw. Pine straw is much cheaper than mulch and can be installed much faster.
  • Plant Annuals – As you approach home tour days, think about planting annual flowers in garden beds to bring vibrancy to your landscape.
  1. The Advantages of a Pergola

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Pergolas are majestic structures that supplement any patio, deck, or pathway. Combine a pergola with lighting to illuminate the imaginations of homeowners who enjoy home social events. If you’re a new homeowner looking to sell in the future, plant a Wisteria vine and twine it above the pergola. Over the years, the vine will create a natural canopy.

Also, you can install a swinging bench on a pergola. With the right structure and placement, it’ll give your landscape a community feel that’s inviting for any guest.

How these Trends Better Your Chances

In terms of landscape, you want to give potential buyers a clear canvas of the area. Be sure the lawns and garden beds are well kept. Maintenance it every week until the home is sold. As you maintain the residential landscape, assess any issues that may occur around the landscape. Improve the cosmetics of the landscape the first chance you get.

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Home Improvement Trends To Up The Value Of Your Home

Owning a home is an investment that grows in value as the years go by. Of course, keeping your house up to date is important to ensure the highest value possible when you may be prepared to sale your home. That’s why implementing the newest home improvement trends can be pivotal towards adding more value to your home. In this article, we’ll cover some of the newest trends that will safeguard your home’s value and increase its value for the future.

Choose A Low Maintenance Siding

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If there’s one thing that adds value to your home, it’s the ability to add low-maintenance materials that avoid the constant upkeep that homes require. Potential homebuyers appreciate this, so using materials like steel log siding and fiber cement siding brings a visual appeal and ecological benefits. There are plenty of siding options to choose from that are low maintenance allowing you to achieve any look you want whether it’s rustic, modern, or chic.

Install A Durable Countertop

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Considering that your kitchen is one of the most widely used spaces in your home, installing a countertop that can withstand years of potlucks, parties, spilled coffee, and all of the inevitabilities that come with home cooking is a wise decision to boost your home’s value. For durability, nothing beats stone, as it is a non-porous material that can be resurfaced inexpensively as needed. This is why black and white quartz countertops and quartz that looks like marble are the go-to for adding to your home’s appeal. After all, when potential buyers come to view your home, they want to imagine what will eventually need to be replaced and what adds an “earthy” quality to a kitchen, bathroom, dining room, and so forth.

Brighten Up Your Home With New Windows

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Health-consciousness and personal wellness are some of the key trends in the 21st century. Getting your daily dose of natural vitamin D from the sun isn’t just restricted to a brisk morning walk. Instead, brightening your home with new windows can have holistic benefits to its occupants—something that prospective buyers are sure to take into considering (especially in sun-starved areas, like the Pacific Northwest). Plus many people prefer more natural light in their homes as this can help decrease their overall electric and utility bills.

Incorporate Wood Accents

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Adding wood accents to your home is not only visually appealing, but can also subconsciously boost the mood of its occupants. Therefore, adding decorative wood wall panels to an accent wall or wide plank wood flooring to outdated carpet or tile can create a more inviting ambiance to your home’s interior, while also being extremely cost-effective. This can be a great improvement for modern homes that may be poorly constructed or have a “one size fits all” look. With some tasteful placements throughout your home, wood accents can add immense value to an otherwise ordinary home.

Invest in Energy Efficient Appliances

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Thanks to our modern technology, energy efficient appliances are a trend that homebuyers deeply consider when purchasing a property. First, using energy-efficient appliances uses less energy, making them more ecological and sustainable for the environment. But there’s also a correlation just for the benefit of the money saved which is attractive to many homebuyers. To make your home more modern, look at replacing washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, etc. and incorporating appliances with Energy Star appliances (which are certified by the U.S. Department of Energy). Additionally, homebuyers may be pleased to find out that there are tax rebates for using energy-efficient appliances, something that any homebuyers is keenly interested in.

There are many ways to improve your home and ultimately up the value if you’re looking to sell soon. Keep in mind what potential buyers are looking for and try to fit their wants and needs. After all, if the buyer likes your home they will be willing to spend more to ensure they seal the deal!

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6 Things to Do Before You Move Into an Old House

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Congratulations! You found the perfect fixer-upper that you can turn into a home. It’s important to find out if the home is safe and has passed all inspections before moving. You may also want to add some additions, like a stair lift, to your old home to make it more appealing.

Moving can be a chore. The last thing you want to do is to add more tasks to your to-do list. If you put off these tasks, it’ll make it harder to enjoy your house in the long run. Do each of these tips before moving in, and you'll be able to enjoy your home.

Change the Locks

First thing is first. If you’re moving into a fixer-upper, you need to get the locks changed. It’s important for you and your family to stay safe in your new surroundings. You don’t want the former homeowner or some other stranger with access to your front door.

Changing the locks on your exterior doors is the first task that you need to complete. As soon as closing is complete and you got the keys to your home, install new locks or have a locksmith change them out for you. Do this as soon as you move in and you'll prevent yourself from staying up and worrying late at night.

Clean the House

While most homeowners leave the house clean for you, that’s not always the case. Even if they claim they do, you'll want to clean everything down yourself. You can hire a housekeeper or cleaning service to do the work for you. If money or time is tight, you can do it yourself. When you do it yourself, you’ll feel better about moving into an old house.

Set up your area with a few cleaning tools to get the job done: brooms, buckets, mops, vacuum cleaner, and cleaning products for each type of surface. Don't forget to use a pair of rubber gloves. Wash down your kitchen cabinets, countertops, plumbing fixtures, toilet, and clean the flooring and carpeting. Taking this extra step will make you feel better about the house.

Check for Leaks

Your home inspector may have said your new home doesn’t have any leaks. But with a second check, you can give yourself greater peace of mind. Check the water meter before using the water. Wait two hours and check the water meter once again. Make sure your family doesn’t use the water during this time.

The water meter should read the same within these two hours. If it doesn’t, it means you have a leak. While you may not want to deal with it right away, this will keep you aware of the condition of your pipes. It’s easy to check your water meter when everyone’s out of the house or busy packing.

Change the Toilet Seats

This is a must if you’re moving into an old house. Changing all of the toilet seats will make your house feel like a home. It’ll prevent you from worrying about what happened to the toilet before you moved in.

Get a detachable toilet if you want greater peace of mind. No matter how many times you scrub your toilet seat hinges, you’ll feel that they’re never really clean, making for an uncomfortable situation. A detachable toilet seat allows you to remove the entire thing and clean every part.

Install Switch Places and Other Devices

Many older houses have dirt or discolored switch plates and electrical outlets. Replacing these creates uniformity in your home and makes your home feel newer and cleaner. While replacing switch places only requires a screwdriver, keep in mind that replacing electrical devices shouldn't be considered a DIY project. It’s always best to hire an electrician for these small tasks.

Have the Mechanical Equipment Cleaned and Serviced

You should get this done as soon as you purchase the house. Getting your heating and cooling system cleaned and maintained is an important part of the move-in journey. Get a service contract if your system stops working in the dead of winter, so you don’t have to worry about paying to have a technician visit your home. Ask your friends, family, or neighbors for references if you’re not sure which company to choose.

Paint the Walls and Ceilings

Sometimes this job can be more time consuming than moving process itself. You may want to hire painters to come to your home. This is also a desirable option if you never painted a house before.

If your walls and ceilings have holes and cracks in them, a new slab of paint isn’t going to do them any good. Unless you have a friend or relative who can help, save yourself time by having the professionals do it. If you're short on time or money, opt for neutral colors. This will give your home a much-needed update and make it more cohesive.

Once you get some of these tasks out of the way, it’s time to move into your home. That old house you bought will feel like a new home once you’re settled.

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Tips for Landscape Design for Beginners

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For new landscapers, finding the right design can be a challenging feat. Lack of experience can lead to serious mistakes as it relates to creating an appealing design. Here's are some tips you should take into consideration when designing a landscape for the first time:

Make Sure that the Lawn, Trees, and Shrubs are in Good Condition. Prior to starting any design element be certain to check the health of your lawn, trees, and shrubs. If any trees or shrubs need to be removed do so with care. If need be, employ the services of a professional arborist to conduct a tree survey to assess the health of your trees. Decaying trees can be extremely dangerous to your person and to your property.

Decide Which Elements the Outdoor Space Requires. All lawns are not created equal. Considering the specific needs of your family or business when landscaping is the essential first component to creating a great design. For instance, if you have children or pets you may need a significant amount of green space. On the other hand, an elderly couple may need a low maintenance yard that has very little green space. You have to be prepared to design a space that reflects your lifestyle and your specific needs.

Find a Focal Point. Place the largest or most significant object in an appropriate place, then establish your design based on this focal point. This will create a balanced landscape design. This focal point can be natural such as a tree or shrub. If there is no natural focal point, you can add a bench or a water feature. Make sure this focal point is appealing and adds interest to the landscape.

Add Flowerbeds, Mulch or Rocks. Flowerbeds add instant color and character to any lawn. Be sure to use native plants and flowers to ensure their health and growth. In addition, material such as mulch and rocks are essential for proper drainage so that flowers and plants can thrive. Rocks and mulch also provide a lovely aesthetic and come in a variety of sizes and colors.

Be Aware of Scale and Pacing. Even for established landscapers, scale and pacing can be one of the most challenging elements of landscape design. Scale and pacing have to do with the scope and size of the materials that compose the landscape. For instance, many landscapes have tall trees and short plants. In addition, the presence of flowers brings in the element of color. All of these materials need to be balanced to create a landscape that is aesthetically pleasing.

Employing each of these tips will greatly assist you in designing a landscape that looks beautiful and also satisfies your needs. Keep in mind that becoming a great landscaper takes a great deal of time and practice. Be patient as you attempt to use these design elements and learn from any mistakes you make during the process.

guest post • cc-licensed image by Michael Cheng