Adding Value: Cost-Effective DIY Projects for Homeowners

Increasing your home’s value doesn’t have to be an overly expensive or ambitious proposition, not when you can add significant value with home improvement projects that you can undertake for no more than $100. If you’re not sure where to begin, consult a realtor who can show you where to concentrate your efforts to get the most value for your efforts. (more…)

Tips to Get Your Home Cozy and Ready For Fall – Inside and Out

With kids going back to school and temperatures dropping, fall is a time of change. It’s also a great time to take stock and prepare for what’s to come, especially the needs of your home and garden as winter weather and holidays approach. Follow these tips – inside and out – to refresh your home, make sure it’s safe and warm, and get ready for winter. (more…)

Tips for Home Improvements: From Hiring Professionals to Tackling It Yourself

Whether or not a project is a DIY’er or better left for the professionals entirely depends on the type of project, your quality expectations for the job, and how much confidence you have in your own abilities.

Let’s say the right man for the job isn’t you. Your first decision is figuring out what type of contractor to hire. Utilize all sources of research. Online reviews are not the end all be all of finding the right person for the job. Ask around your community. See what your friends and neighbors have to say about a specific contractor. Enlist the help of your Facebook community.

Once you’ve found someone you think is good for the job, your work is not done. Find two or three more. It’s vital to get multiple quotes on a single project. Not only can you use them as leverage to negotiate a better final price, but you’ll be able to determine if the contractor is on the up and up. If a contractor refuses to give you a solid estimate, it’s time to look elsewhere.

Finally, once you’ve decided on someone, do a deep dive into their work history.

Keep in mind safety when doing your own home improvement projects. The Family Handyman has good advice when it comes to DIY safety, from wearing the proper attire to using power tools.

Save Water & Still Have A Beautiful Yard

One of the pleasures of owning a home is having a great yard. A beautiful front yard can improve the value of your home, while a backyard gives your family a great space to play. In fact, taking care of your landscaping can be even great exercise.

But it’s hard to keep your lawn looking great when you’re under drought conditions. All plants need moisture to survive, so when you can’t water your lawn, things start to look rough. Thankfully, there are some things you can do today to help, including xeriscaping and changing how you cut your grass.

The Problems With Droughts

If it seems like you’re facing more droughts recently, there’s a reason for that. National Geographic reports that in 2012, 70% of the US had drought conditions. There are many reasons for this, but the largest is climate change. As weather changes across the globe, rain and wind patterns shift. Places that traditionally had plenty of water can now suffer droughts.

When you’re trying to keep a lawn looking nice, that can be a huge problem. A drought in your area means you cannot water as much — if at all. Your grass and plants start to turn yellow and brown as they suffer from a lack of moisture. Your soil can dry up as well, making it harder for plants to stay rooted.

Xeriscaping To The Rescue

What can you do to avoid losing your landscaping? Redfin explains that xeriscaping might be just what you need. Developed in the southwestern states, xeriscaping is a method of landscaping that works even in drought conditions. You start by replacing water-hungry plants for ones that don’t need as much water to still grow and look great. Some of these include:

  • Succulents
  • Special types of grass like purple needle or blue oat
  • Lupines
  • Native flowers like suncups and blue flax

But xeriscaping is more than just picking the right plants. You need to check the slope of your lawn, as steep slopes lead to run-off and lost moisture. You should also make sure your soil has a good mix of sand, silt, and clay, as these will hold onto moisture longer.

Other Eco-Friendly Landscaping Tips

Xeriscaping is a great idea for keeping your landscaping looking great in times of drought. But there are a few tips to make any lawn survive.

If the drought is seasonal, Gilmour.com recommends watering and fertilizing your lawn regularly when drought restrictions are lifted. This builds the health of your grass and plants so they can better survive a time with not enough water.

Here are a few tips for managing your lawn during drought restrictions:
Adjust your mower to leave the grass longer. This helps them develop deeper roots to reach more moisture.
Spread clippings evenly across your yard. They serve as protection from the heat, and they’ll eventually add nutrients to the soil.
Aerate your lawn so moisture can reach farther down into the soil.

Whether you’re officially in a drought or not, you also need to conserve water. Use an automatic irrigation system instead of traditional sprinklers, and water in the early morning or late evening so less water evaporates in the heat.
Your Lawn Can Still Look Great
Having a green, well-trimmed yard is rightfully a point of pride for homeowners. You can still have that even in a drought by focusing on xeriscaping, your choice of plants, and taking care of your yard when water is available. This way, you can still be the envy of the neighborhood while taking care of the planet.