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Exteriors

7 things to consider when buying a home with a pool

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Image result for backyard pool

7  Things to Consider When Buying a Home with a Pool

Between hosting neighbourhood pool parties, the convenience of cooling off when the mercury rises, and having a solid excuse to buy cute, doughnut-shaped air mattresses, there are plenty of reasons why buying a property with a pool may seem like a no-brainer. But despite all the pros, consider the cons before you dive into a pool purchase.

Inspector Gadget

 

If you’ve fallen in love with a house that has a pool, book an appointment with a certified pool company to conduct a full inspection. The water lines should be leak-free, the pump pressure tested and the heater in top-notch condition. The equipment, such as the cover and safety fencing, need to be looked over too. Problems begin to arise as pools age, so ask the sellers for installation dates and any repairs that have been done over the years.

Search and Employ

When it comes to pools, knowledge is key. Find out what the municipal bylaws are around private pools — there may be restrictions that need to be taken into consideration. Talk to a reliable pool company about maintenance and annual repairs costs, and think about who will clean it and treat the water. It’s also smart to look at recent, in-the-neighbourhood sales of properties with and without pools to see if their investments of time and money paid off when it came time to resell.

High Flyer

 

Cannonball competitions are super fun, but they aren’t going to fund the pool’s heating bill or yearly maintenance costs (unless you charge admission). Get an idea of what the sellers spend so that you have a clear picture of what your financial commitments would be. Also, protect yourself from unexpected water-related costs by putting a condition in the offer for a full pool inspection.

Time Management

 

Beyond the financial commitment, think through how much time you’re realistically able to spend cleaning, treating, covering, uncovering, draining, scraping and scrubbing that pool. If you go on extended yearly vacations or head up to cottage country every weekend, will you actually have time to enjoy the pool? Look at your life and see if there’s room to really use this backyard investment to its fullest.

Safety First

 

An outdoor pool can be the fun, family-friendly focal point of a backyard…but only if you feel safe having it. Secure pool fencing and locking gates are a must to protect kids — and pets — from getting into deep water. Taking out liability insurance is something to consider too, especially if you plan on hosting summertime pool parties or have friends (and their friends) use the pool, particularly when you’re out of town.

Value Added

 

To figure out if a pool will increase or decrease the resale value of your new property, take a good look around you. Is it in a good location? Does it get plenty of light? Survey the other properties in the area to determine if there are a plethora of pools; not having one could affect future pricing because it’s an expected asset. But if the house is perfect and a pool is still not for you, don’t be deterred — there are economical ways to fill it in.

 

With all the pros and cons neatly listed for your consideration, all that’s left to do now is figure out what’s best for your family. Sure, there are costs involved, but no one can deny that having a backyard pool is loads of fun for a family and can be a backyard memory maker. Decisions, decisions… 

And if a home with a pool is in your foreseeable future, give me a call and I’ll help you find the perfect place!

Summer Lawn Care

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Summer Lawn Care

Summers in Houston are fantastic for getting in pool time and catching some rays, but they can often be detrimental to that beautiful lawn you’ve worked so hard for. If your lawn is browning or patchy, this is the blog post for you!

Grass turns brown when roots can no longer grab nutrients or water from soil, or when soil doesn’t contain enough food or water.

Here are the typical culprits, and tips on how you can green up your grass again!

Drought/Heat

During periods of high heat and low water, many kinds of turfgrass go dormant. This is a normal condition; your grass will recover when the temperature drops and rain resumes.

To determine if a drought is leading to brown grass, look for prematurely dropping tree leaves that are folded up like they’re praying for rain.

To sustain a drought-dormant lawn, apply a ½ inch of water every two or three weeks during the drought. To green it up again, apply 1 inch of water every 6 or 7 days — about 2 hours of sprinkler use. Or wait until temperatures drop and rain resumes, when it will turn green again on its own.

Sprinklers Misadjusted

If your lawn sports brown patches during heat waves, make sure your sprinklers are reaching all areas. Most sprinkler heads are easily adjusted with a small screwdriver. Low-to-the-ground pulsating (sometimes called impulse) sprinklers are easier to fine-tune than oscillating sprinklers.

Weeds

Common weeds can win the competition with your lawn for water and food. Controlling these weeds is tricky. Apply a pre-emergent herbicide in spring to prevent weed seeds from germinating. Or, hire a professional lawn care company that will customize an annual lawn maintenance and treatment plan.

Disease

Dozens of diseases and fungi can turn your lawn brown. If your grass is covered with white, black, or brown substances, then lawn disease is probably your problem and should be diagnosed and treated by a lawn specialist ($280-$700). Proper lawn care — sufficient water in the early morning, regular mowing, good lawn aeration, and thatch management — will raise a healthy lawn more likely to resist lawn disease.

Chinch Bugs

These drought-loving bugs drain plant juices like tiny vampires. First, your lawn will look wilted, then yellow, and eventually brown. Pull back a wilted patch and look for small red, orange, brown, or black bugs (1/32 to 1/5 inch depending on life stage) with white markings. 

Thatch removal and consistent moisture are good preventative measures; insecticides are a last-ditch effort because many contain harsh chemicals that run off into the watershed and can harm beneficial insects.

Grubs

These beetle larvae feast on turf roots and mimic drought damage. Use a shovel to undercut a 1-by-1-foot square of turf, then peel back the patch and look for more than 10 grubs/square foot, which indicates a problem. 

To control grubs, let your lawn dry out thoroughly before watering again. Or, plant low-maintenance turf grasses that are more grub-tolerant than Kentucky bluegrasses or perennial ryes. Also, you can try spreading milky spore powder (40 oz., $76, treats 10,000 sq. ft.), a natural organism that controls grubs.

Pet Waste

Round patches of dead grass indicate animals are peeing (urine contains acid) on your lawn. If you know a pet has a favorite spot, flush the area with water to dilute the acid.

If Necessary, Call in the Experts

Diagnosing the problem can be tricky, and your local extension agent or a lawn care company can help you determine exactly what ails your lawn.

Ounce of Prevention

Here are some prevention tips that will help your grass stay green, courtesy of Kevin Doerfler of Grass Seed USA.

  • Aerate and inter-seed (add seed to existing grass) in fall when the weather has cooled and rain is likely.
  • Fertilize in spring and fall. Don’t fertilize when your grass already is stressed or during drought.
  • Water in the early morning to combat fungal diseases. Water deeply to nourish roots.
  • In summer, raise mowing height to 3 inches or above. The taller grass will shade roots and reduce water loss from evaporation.
  • Perform a soil test to determine what amendments your lawn might need.

10 Ways to Create a Welcoming Front Entrance

By | Design, Exteriors, Homeowner Tips | No Comments

 

Brightly colored doors with stylish door knockers are a great way to make a statement with your home's exterior! This bright purple door and matte brass door knocker are stunning and bring out the purple in the surrounding brick. Check out this blog for more door color and knocker combinations.

10 Ways to Create a Welcoming Front Entrance

Wouldn’t it be nice to approach your home’s entrance with a grin instead of a grimace? Take our tips for beating a clear, safe, and stylish path to your front door!

First impressions count — not just for your friends, relatives, and the UPS guy, but for yourself. Whether it’s on an urban stoop or a Victorian front porch, your front door and the area leading up to it should extend a warm welcome to all comers — and needn’t cost a bundle.

Here’s what you can do to make welcoming happen on the cheap.

#1 Get Rid of Overgrowth
The path to your front door should be at least 3 feet wide so people can walk shoulder-to-shoulder, with an unobstructed view and no stumbling hazards. So get out those loppers and cut back any overhanging branches or encroaching shrubs.

A brick pathway leads you to the front door. Patterson Custom Homes. Interiors by Trish Steele, Churchill Design.

#2 Light the Pathway
Landscape lighting makes it easy to get around at night. Solar-powered LED lights you can just stick in the ground, requiring no wiring, are surprisingly inexpensive. We found 8 options on Amazon for under $60. 

Solar Flickering Lantern to light the way “#stopmakingexcuses” “#pintowin” “#BLACKandDECKER”

#3 Paint Your Door
Borrow inspiration from London’s lovely row houses, whose owners assert their individuality by painting their doors in high-gloss colors. The reflective sheen of a royal blue, deep green, crimson, or whatever color you like will ensure your house stands out from the pack.

#4 Add a Door With Glass
A door with lots of glass is a plus for letting light into the front hall — but if you also want privacy and a bit of decor, check out decorative window film. It’s removable and repositionable and comes in innumerable styles and motifs. Pricing depends on size and design; many available for under $30.

13. A decorative window film that'll give you privacy while still letting lots of natural light in — and just make your glass look expensive.

#5 Replace Door Hardware
While you’re at it, polish up the handle on the big front door. Or better yet, replace it with a shiny new brass lockset with a secure deadbolt. Available for about $60.

9 Front Door Ideas For Instant Curb Appeal

#6 Add a Knocker
Doorbells may be the norm, but a hefty knocker is a classic that will never run out of battery life, and another opportunity to express yourself (whatever your favorite animal or insect is, there’s a door-knocker in its image).

NEW Solid Brass Hare Door Knocker

#7 Plant Evergreens
Boxwoods are always tidy-looking, the definition of easy upkeep. A pair on either side of the door is traditional, but a singleton is good, too. About $25 at garden centers. In cold climates, make sure pots are frost-proof (polyethylene urns and boxes mimic terracotta and wood to perfection).

These plants and pots could be cool for our front porch.

#8 Make Your House Numbers Stand Out
Is your house number clearly visible? That’s of prime importance if you want your guests to arrive and your pizza to be hot. Stick-on vinyl numbers in a variety of fonts make it easy, starting at about $4 per digit.

Take your affection for our favorite Luciana Bench and Swing one better with the coordinating Luciana® Crown Chair. Complete the look of an existing seating group, or create a personal open-air retreat made just for you.

#9 A Nice Door Mat
A hardworking mat for wiping muddy feet is a must. A thick coir mat can be had at the hardware store for less than $20. Even fancier varieties can be found well under $50. Try layering your mats for a colorful and personalized look!

#10 Porch Lights
Fumbling for keys in the dark isn’t fun. Consider doubling up on porch lights with a pair of lanterns, one on each side of the door, for symmetry and twice the illumination. Many mounted lights are available well under $100.

Episode 07 - The Baker House - Magnolia Market

Whatever you choose, make it your own! And if you need a new front door, on a new home, contact me and I’ll help you find exactly what you’re looking for!