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June
7

New England Garden

When people ask our real estate agents for home improvement tips, gardening and landscaping are usually at the top of their list. 

Colorful flowers and lush greenery can always put a smile on your face. In addition to the visual delights, there are other great reasons to take up gardening.

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June
8

Garden Maintenance

Our real estate agents know one of the biggest reasons many people look forward to owning a home is to have a garden. Gardening is a fun and rewarding hobby, but it also means staying vigilant for that ever-present pest: Weeds.

National Weed Your Garden Day is June 13, a Saturday this year. It's the perfect time to get some fresh air and work on the best ways to protect your garden from weeds. Here's how to stay one step ahead of these troublesome invaders:

  1. Minimize Soil Disturbance
    Most lawns have been heavily infiltrated by weed seeds. So, why aren't there weeds everywhere you look? It's because only seeds that reach the top two inches of soil get the sunlight needed to germinate. To prevent weed seeds from seeing the light of day, dig only when you need to. 
  2. Mulch Early and Often
    Mulch helps your soil stay cool and moist while also keeping light away from weeds. Organic mulches can be attractive to crickets and beetles that actively feed on weeds, too. Mulch is best at a depth of about two inches – more than this can reduce the oxygen content in the soil. Spread mulch over a thin layer of biodegradable fabric to maximize your weed protection.
  3. Choose Your Mulches Carefully
    Mulch is vital. But, it can give cover to unwanted guests. Get rid of all existing weeds before you mulch, and use only weed-free mulches from a reliable source. Leaf compost is a great option for most garden beds. When making your own mulch, use a straw instead of hay. Straw is virtually always weed-free, but hay can be rich in weed seeds.
  4. Weed at the Right Times
    Believe it or not, there's a best time to weed. Weeding is best done right after a major rain. If you have gone a long time without a good rain, you have options: Weeds sliced off just above the soil line will quickly wither away. After severing a weed, settle mulch over the area.
  5. Optimize Your Plant Spacing
    Shading the soil between plants helps prevent weeds from emerging. Design your garden with drifts of closely spaced plants, and you'll be off to the races. Many plants will thrive even with about 25% removed from the recommended spacing. The exception? Plants that are vulnerable to foliar diseases. These plants need space and shouldn't touch other plants even at maturity.
  6. Use Irrigation and Fertilizer to Your Advantage
    A whole book could be written about the best way to irrigate your garden – and has! The right irrigation approach will make your plants healthier and save you money at the same time. Drip hoses are ideal for this, as you can place them beneath mulch directly around your thirsty plants. Don't forget to give your garden a fresh helping of good compost regularly.
  7. Use Cover Crops and Low-Growing Plants
    Cover crops can be a terrific way to add character to your garden and defend yourself against weeds at the same time. Clover, barley, and wheat are just a few of your options. Not only are they beneficial to most other plants, but they will happily block out weeds for you. Always look for ways to prevent bare spaces, since these are where weeds are likely to pop up first.

Contact us for expert advice on buying or selling your home.

April
20

Landscaping Trends to Try

Now is the time of year when many homeowners start looking for ways to spruce up their curb appeal. If you're thinking about selling your home, this is particularly important. When dealing with springtime sellers, our real estate agents always recommend paying extra attention to the outdoor space. 

When it's done right, a landscape refresh will have a major impact on your home's value and will bring you a positive return on your investment. Before you start making changes, it's a good idea to check in with the latest trends. Here are four fun and exciting ideas you may want to consider incorporating into your new design. 

  1. Verticle and Container Gardening
    If you live in a home with a small outdoor area, you may have thought you didn't have many landscaping options. However, verticle and container gardening are both trending right now, and the results are stunning. There are kits available that make it easy to create "living walls," or you can add multiple rows of planter boxes to your fence. If you don't have a fence or wall to work with, try making a fun container garden. Choose a variety of plants and large decorative pots, then create your design by strategically placing them around your outdoor space. While owners of small spaces have embraced this trend, it works well in many different outdoor areas regardless of the size. If you have an outdoor kitchen, consider adding a living wall made up of a variety of herbs and spices. This creates a unique and beautiful addition to the space that's also incredibly functional. 
  1. Pops of Blue
    Blue is the color of the year, and it's popping up everywhere! Since it's a natural color that's both calming and relaxing, so it's the perfect addition to any outdoor space. There are a wide variety of ways to incorporate it into your landscape design. Start by adding some blue-hued plants like hydrangeas, grape hyacinth, globe thistle, delphinium, or blue fortune. Then, choose a blue-colored focal point to pull it all together. Since water features are also trending this year, a blue fountain or birdbath are both excellent options. 
  1. Edible Landscaping
    Many homeowners are embracing the "farm to table" experience they can create by opting for edible landscaping. Full-sized vegetable gardens are making a comeback. However, if you don't want to put in that much effort, you still have plenty of options. Consider planting raspberry or thornless blackberry bushes in place of traditional shrubs. It's also a great idea to combine edible landscaping with vertical and container gardening. This is the ideal way to grow lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, and more while saving space and avoiding the effort of maintaining a full garden. 
  1. Smart Irrigation
    The smart-home trend has made it outdoors! The latest high-tech irrigation systems make it easy to keep your landscaping looking beautiful with a minimal amount of effort. These new systems give plants the exact amount of water they need. This helps ensure that they stay healthy while also minimizing water waste. Homebuyers generally love houses with the latest technology, making this upgrade something worth looking into. 

If you're thinking about listing your home, you need an excellent real estate agent by your side. Contact us today to learn how we can help. 

December
20

Winter elements present a challenge for curb appeal. Unless it's within the first hours after a fresh blanket of twinkling snow has fallen, cold weather can leave properties barren and debris-ridden. While you won't be able to get blooms growing in your garden, there are some things you can do to boost your curb appeal this season.

Keep pathways clear

From the driveway to the front door, the sidewalk to the garage, and areas surrounding the back yard, all pathways should be clear of snow, ice and debris. Cleared pathways also make a home appear cleaner and more well-kept than properties that haven't seen a shovel. Picking up snow will ensure prospective homebuyers can safely navigate the home and back yard. Always have a shovel on hand and use it before any showing.

Keep the winter equipment hidden

Leaving a shovel on the front porch allows homeowners to easily clear a pathway. No matter how practical it is to keep the winter equipment and tools handy, keep these items hidden when trying to increase curb appeal. This is especially true if the items are taking up space on the front porch or can be seen from the road.

Forbid the snow fort

If you have little ones in the home, it can be hard to keep them from building a snow fort. While most people will smile at the idea of a child's creativity, it could prevent interested parties from seeing the home as a blank canvas for their family. Keep the front lawn clear of snow forts and snowmen. The same rule should also be applied to holiday decorations. While an inflatable Santa Claus may seem like a great way to bring attention to your home, it can be more of a distraction than anything else.

Keep the exterior lights bright

Potential homebuyers often drive past homes for sale to check them out prior to investing their time at a showing. If the exterior lights aren't on, they will drive right by without thinking twice. It is important that the outdoor lighting shines brightly and is in working condition at all times. One flickering bulb or dimmed light can make a home appear unkempt.

 

Make your home appealing this winter with these tips for stellar curb appeal.

December
9

Winter Curb Appeal

When winter arrives, it's time to put away warm-weather clothing, boats, and other summer items. But when it comes to New England homes for sale, there's no offseason.

According to Money.com, average home sales net a higher amount above asking price during December through March, even in cold-weather areas. Make your home stand out above the competition with these tips from our REALTORS® to boost winter curb appeal. 

  1. Clear the Snow
    This is the top winter yard care rule for two reasons. In addition to making a home look untended, snowy walkways are a hazard to family, visitors, and potential buyers. Be sure to clear the driveway as well.

  2. Organize the Garage
    While it's not visible from outside, a messy and cluttered garage is an immediate turn-off to buyers. Today's garages often multi-task as vehicle shelters, storage and workrooms, so it pays to make yours look as spacious and organized as possible.

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