Eco-Friendly Spring Gardening Tips

 

Eco-Friendly Spring Gardening Tips

The Pacific Northwest prides itself on maintaining our natural resources and keeping our lifestyles eco-friendly. According to the Planet Natural Research Center, 40-60% of nitrogen from fertilizer runoff ends up in ground and surface water. It’s important to read labels on chemicals and common lawn and garden fertilizer to create a safe and healthy home for your family. Here are our top chemical-free lawn and gardening tips for this Spring.

Want a Lush & Healthy Lawn?
Raise the blade on your mower 3 inches to allow for longer grass and reduce the stress on your lawn. Leave the lawn clippings to decompose as a natural fertilizer. This helps crowd out weeds and maintain moisture in the soil, keeping your lawn healthy. 

Ready to Plant Your Garden?
Become knowledgeable on your yard, notice where the afternoon shade lands and which areas have clay soil vs. rich mulch. Above ground garden beds are great alternatives for clay-rich soil. This advantage will determine the success of your plants and ensure longevity. The Portland Metro area’s last spring frost date falls around March 11th and the Seattle Metro area’s last frost falls after March 17th. Once frozen ground is no longer a threat, you can plant your starters in the garden.  

Alternatives to Roundup
Toxic weed killer is harmful to our water supply, crops, pests, and animals. Try safe alternatives like orange oil, a natural acid you can spot treat weeds with. Add one cup of orange oil to one gallon of vinegar and a tablespoon of dish soap. This method is more efficient in a sprayer and strong enough to kill tough poison ivy. Vinegar is a great alternative, but you may need to look for a stronger version for weeds. Look for horticultural strength vinegar, with 10-20% acetic acid, this will make a much better impact on stubborn weeds than the kind we use on our salad. Be sure to wear gloves and protection from potent vinegar burns.  

Alternatives to Fertilizer
Corn gluten meal is often something people keep off their plate, but it doubles as a clean fertilizer to use on a yard with children and pets. This pre-emergent weed control can be used in a spreader with a ration of 20 pounds of corn gluten meal to every 1,000 square feet of yard with a spreader opening of 95%. Because it acts as a pre-emergent, make sure you start this process early in the spring, before weeds appear to keep them away. 

Build a Pollinator Garden
Now that your home is a safe, pesticide-free area for plants and animals, you can build a pollinator garden. This will attraction will create a welcoming environment for honey bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Start by planting effervescent lavender, vibrant hibiscus, low maintenance sunflowers, and zinnias. If you’re looking to add pollinators to help your vegetable garden bloom, try adding basil, oregano, mint, and garlic chives to the area.


Protect Your Pacific Northwest Home From Mold 

Protect Your Pacific Northwest Home From Mold

 With rainy and humid winters, its no secret Pacific Northwest homes are susceptible to mold and mildew growth. If left untreated, serious health issues like respiratory or sinus irritation can form from exposure.  

Three things you should monitor to protect your home from growing mold:

1) Temperature: Mold thrives in environments between 41°–100° Fahrenheit. 

2) Moisture: Our wet winters and drawn out, rainy spring can bring mold as well. Make sure to keep your home’s humidity levels between 30–60%. 

3) Food: Bacteria or splattered food particles that don’t get cleaned up run the risk of becoming common breeding grounds for mold. 

Combat and Clean Up Mold

Monitor high use areas in your home that see a lot of moisture or house water. Washing machines without floor drains can cause a buildup of moisture underneath from either leaks or overflow and cause water damage as well as mold. 

Remodeling your bathroom? Water-resistant drywall for a tile backer will likely degrade over time when being subjected to moisture repeatedly. Instead, use cement backer board for a long-lasting mold-free product. 

Bathrooms are high traffic mold areas, cut down on spores by using moisture-wicking shower curtains. This prevents the harboring of soap or bacteria, which acts as a food for mold growth. As a good rule, leave your bathroom fan on for at least 30 minutes after showering. 

Humidifier machines can help with allergens by keeping pollen at bay, but it can also hinder allergy sufferers by distributing mold growth. Make sure to clean and treat your machine with an antimicrobial solution often. If you don’t need a humidifier, use a dehumidifier to get your home back to the safe levels of 30-60%. 

Mold and mildew can be strong adversaries if you want to keep your home and air healthy, but they can be easily defeated by knowing which areas of your home to monitor. 

 

Article inspired by Better Homes & Gardens.


Top 4 Paint Colors of 2019

Top 4 Paint Colors of 2019

 

    1. Refresh your home with a revitalizing coat of the most popular paint colors of the year. Captivate a statement wall in the wanderlust palette of cavern clay’s naturescape or revive your living room with an enthusiastic pop of living coral on a statement chair. The top four U.S. paint companies share their colors of the year.

 

 

      1. Pantone’s color of the year gives a nod to nature with Living Coral. This vibrant swatch plays on the influence of our chromatic ecosystem. Tie in Pantone complexion shades like Rose Dawn, Coral Sands, Burnt Henna, and Candlelight Peach. Continue the tropical color scheme by combining warm Martini Olive, Twill, Forest Biome, or Mauvewood by Pantone.

 

 

 

      1. PPG’s paint color of 2019 seeks timelessness over trend. Designers are showing deep blues as a compliment to the upcoming roaring ’20s in design (for 2020). The roaring 20’s design features deep blues mixed with brass fixtures and rich velvet is on trend. This year features the dark hue Night Watch, accompany this mysterious hue with Magic Dust, Blue Willow, or a warm Horseradish.

 

 

      1. BEHR’s 2019 color of the year is Blueprint, reminiscent of the night watch shade. This universal blue compliments earth tones like Mars Red, Kindling, and jewel tones like Ecological, Rasin’ in the Sun, and Vine Leaf.

 

 

    1. Sherwin-Williams paint collection color of the year features Cavern Clay. This tone is a bite of bohemian and has the liveliness of nature in a Southwestern desert landscape. The color experts suggest pairing with paint colors like Origami White, Moth Wing, or Dark Clove. A great trend with the Southwestern theme is an accent wall in Cavern Clay with stacked textiles either in rugs or throw pillows.

Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes this Winter

 

Our weather in the Northwest can wreak havoc on our homes and water pipes. The last thing you want to invite into your home for the holidays is a plumbing emergency. Take these steps to prevent a costly frozen pipe disaster. 

Outdoor plumbing tips

• Close all foundation vents and fill the vents with styrofoam blocks or wood to prevent cold wind from reaching unprotected pipes. 

• Disconnect garden hoses and be sure to drain all in-ground irrigation systems. 

• Cover outside faucets or hose bibs with insulation. Use molded foam insulation covers, newspaper, or rags and wrap in plastic. 

Indoor plumbing protection

• Check your attic, crawl space, basement and other non-heated areas to insulate and protect. 

• Open cupboard doors in the kitchen and in your bathrooms to allow plumbing to gain more heat from your home. 

• If you’re planning on heading out of town, put your furnace on a low setting to help prevent freezing pipes by keeping the temperature of the home slightly elevated. 

• When temperatures drop below freezing, use a slow drip of cold water to keep your faucet from freezing. 

What to do if pipes freeze

When a pipe freezes it can cause a buildup of pressure inside the pipe, causing it to burst and leak. Safely thaw plumbing lines with a carefully monitored heat lamp, hot wash cloth, or common hair dryer. When thawed, leave a small amount of water dripping to ensure it doesn’t happen again. 

What to do if pipes break

• Shut off the main water line to prevent additional water from damaging your home. Open the faucets to relieve any remaining pressure.

• Turn off the water heater and shut-off the valve on the cold-water inlet. 

• If there is any water damage to the area, be sure to clean quickly to prevent mold. 

• Call a professional plumber to repair the issue.


‘Tis the Season to Sell Your Home

 

Winter is a time for rest and relaxation, but it’s also the most wonderful time of the year to sell a home before the competitive spring market picks up. These tips explain how to take advantage of the holiday shuffle and expose your home to more interested buyers for a quick turnaround.

Illuminate Interested Buyers
Classic soft white holiday lights will attract interested buyers and make any home look and feel timeless. With daylight savings creating dark showings, there is no better way to put your home on center stage than to brighten up the street with the warmth of your home wearing a layer of soft lights.

New Year, New Home
The winter rush brings good tidings and inspiration for new beginnings. Buyers anticipate being settled in their new home by Christmas, if not by the New Year. Work on decluttering and having minimal decorations to ensure buyers can envision their future holidays and their own decor in the home. Having an overabundance of holiday ornamentation or family photos can hinder that vision. Many families face job relocation at the beginning of the year, having your home on the market now ensures you can capture newly transferred employees as your audience.

Time Stops for House Hunters
This time of year, casual window shoppers are at the mall instead of strolling through homes they’ll never buy. Serious buyers take advantage of time off work and are usually willing to work around their house hunting schedule.

Tax Benefits
Shopping discounts bring benefits to the housing market too. Consult your tax advisor to learn more about tax benefits for buyers and sellers who close on a property before the end of the year.

Ask your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate broker about the many ways you can market your home with minimal disruptions during the holiday season.


Top 2018 Design Trends We’re Thankful For

 

The modern home is always evolving. Here are top 8 design trends we are thankful for in 2018.

A Pop of Color

Adding a pop of color in the kitchen allows for a featured item to be accented in a creative way without spending a lot of money. Try painting your island or lower cabinets a bright color. We’re thankful for this trend bringing a bit of a personal touch to any kitchen.

 

Hidden Appliances

Magic appliances are a new trend catching on to new homebuilders and designers. Homeowners are hiding ‘stainless steel fatigue’ with wood paneling to conceal large appliances. With these eye sores out of view, the space looks and feels larger. Imagine how clean your kitchen would look as you cook a Thanksgiving feast using your disappearing appliances.

 

Curves

A large piece of furniture featuring soft lines, ruffles, and even ruching creates an inviting space while allowing family to gather and fit harmoniously in one space.

 

Wallpaper

Wallpaper has made a big comeback! High-end designers are picking this trend up and embracing it unlike ever before, by creating beautiful statement walls. You won’t see this artsy trend going out of style anytime soon.

 

Dining Rooms with an Open Floor Plan

Create an open floor plan dining room to instill an impactful sense of togetherness that flows through the space from kitchen to table and allows you to spend more time with family.

 

LED Lighting

With a new holiday season comes new advancements in tech gear. We’re thankful for the smart technology featuring LED tape lighting. Place a strip under your kitchen cabinets to illuminate your backsplash, counter tops, or to highlight your favorite kitchen gadgets.

 

Large Tiles

Make a statement with flooring in your bathroom, kitchen, entry-way and more! Play with intricate tile design playing with the lines of the room.

 

Detailed Ceilings

Creative ceiling designs can range from new crown molding, natural wood or stained shiplap, gold leaf detailing, and metallic painted ceilings. Discuss with an interior designer to find out which element would best complement the style of your home.

 

 

Article courtesy of HGTV. com

Images courtesy of Houzz.com


Halloween Home Selling Tips

 

Don’t spook buyers this Halloween season, take note of these simple décor tips to sell your home fast.

Halloween is the best time in the fall to invite people to experience holidays in their potential new home. Start prepping days to weeks before Halloween by adding in additional lighting. With open blinds, your well-lit home will become a showpiece. While kids are snagging your sweet treats, parents will naturally snoop and view your beautiful home through inviting bright windows.

Trick-or-treat goers will be making their way to your door, so make sure bushes and shrubs are trimmed neatly and are properly shaped. Think ahead to ensure all slip hazards like loose stones or steps are secure. Add lighting on the outside of your home as well; small solar powered walkway lights can make a large difference in highlighting your neatly kept pathways or shrubbery.

Make your home a statement piece. Set up a photo area for trick-or-treaters to take photos. Situate the ‘For Sale’ sign to be incorporated in the photo-op for a free marketing piece. However, you should error on the side of caution and not go all-out in terms of decorations. Stray from decor that will deem your home creepy to sellers, like clowns, cobwebs, zombies, ghost children and gore.

Too much seasonal décor can be a turn-off for buyers. If you can, hold off doing the bulk of any major decorating until the day of Halloween, and clean up the décor the next morning. Instead of highlighting the spooks of the Halloween season in your home décor, highlight the notes of the fall season. Start by lighting the fireplace to bring warmth in the home and warm reds and burnt oranges with natural tones to tie in the majestic beauty of fall.

Be prepared for potential buyers to ask to see the home as they walk through the neighborhood. Have shoe covers or your agent’s business card available to schedule showings. Your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate agent can assist you with all of that. With these few simple tricks, you can take advantage of the free traffic to your home this Halloween to sell your home quicker.


Pumpkin Spice Fall Decor

Pumpkin Spice Fall Decor

Get the most out of fall’s favorite accessory for your home.

The celebrated pumpkin spice latte is back in stores for the season. Jump on this fall trend by adding small but impactful touches to your home for a cozy and nostalgic fall.

Decor

Bring in fall colors to warm up your home. Incorporate deep reds, burnt orange, and rich pumpkin shades to usher in the fall spirit.

Add pumpkins in new and exciting ways, such as adding a table runner with Cinderella pumpkins and crystal wine glasses to draw in a warm ambiance. Add mini pumpkins of various colors to your tablescape as place settings, and use calligraphy to write each name on their appropriate pumpkin place holder.

A pumpkin spice painted front door is particularly effective for curb appeal. Or imagine sipping a pumpkin spice latte on a velvet burnt orange chaise lounge. If this seems far-fetched, start smaller and decorate your furniture with rich orange throw pillows or cushions with various textures.

Scent

When scenting your home, be careful to use only natural scents that won’t offend visitors with chemical sensitivities. For an easy stove-top aroma, add 1 cup water, a dash of vanilla extract and several dashes of pumpkin pie spice. Heat on low or place in open crockpot for a lingering pumpkin spice latte scent that will make your home cozy in an instant.

You can also create an aroma using your essential oil diffuser. If you don’t have a dedicated diffuser, you can add 1-2 drops to a light bulb when not in use. As the light warms up, the aroma will diffuse your pumpkin spice scent.

In a glass bottle, combine:
20 drops cinnamon essential oil
20 drops ginger essential oil
20 drops nutmeg essential oil
15 drops clove bud essential oil
5 drops cardamom essential oil

Taste

To create your own pumpkin spice latte, combine the following ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl:

1 cup milk product of choice
2 tblsp of pumpkin puree
¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice, plus more for the topping
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 tblsp sugar or sweetener of choice

Microwave 1-2 minutes or heat on the stove until the milk is hot. Then, whisk vigorously until the milk mixture is foamy. Pour the ¼ cup strong brewed coffee or hot espresso into your mug and add the milk mixture. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with more pumpkin pie spice.

Recipe courtesy of the Food Network.


No air conditioning? Beat the heat indoors with these 8 tips.

 

Not everybody in the Pacific Northwest has air conditioning, but there are ways to keep your home cool during the hottest days of summer. 

1) Utilize window treatments. Blinds and heavy blackout curtains keep the summer heat out while your fans work hard to keep you cool.

2) Close off unused rooms. Closing the doors will keep any cool air from entering, keeping it in the spaces you use the most.

3) Hack an A/C unit. Put a bowl of ice or an ice pack behind a fan to imitate a cool sea breeze.

4) Switch the bed up. Change your sheets to cotton and try a new buckwheat pillow. Buckwheat pillows don’t retain your body heat, keeping you cooler.

5) Go backwards. Set your ceiling fans rotating counter clockwise for optimum airflow.

6) Control your body temperature. Cave men survived without air conditioning, and you can too! Just remember, it doesn’t matter what the room temperature is, focus on controlling your body temperature. Consume cool drinks and apply a cool cloth at the back of your neck and on your wrists.

7) Outsmart your windows. Generate a cooling pressure current by opening the upper section of windows on the side of your home that falls downwind and simultaneously have the lower section of windows open on the side of your home that is upwind. You can increase the flow by placing a fan on the window pulling in air and a fan (backwards) on the downwind window pushing hot air out of the home. Hack an even cooler breeze by wetting a bedsheet and hanging it in front of the window bringing in a breeze.

8) Invest in window films. They work like blinds and reject up to 70% of the sun’s solar energy while also reducing glare.

Article courtesy ot Huffington Post.


Summer Home Staging Tips

 

Show off your home to potential buyers by embracing the longer hours and warmer weather, both indoors and outdoors. Make these simple tweaks to your home and stand out above the rest on the market this summer.

Outdoors:

Add curb appeal 

Give your house number a new stance. Painting your address on pots or planters can be a great way to show off your home in a modern way. If your tired concrete slab is showing age and is a little too worn for wear, try replacing with a sleek modern look in slate tile.

Lights, camera, outdoors!    

Highlight your backyard with unconventional outdoor lighting tricks to enhance the enjoyment. Utilize the ambiance and warmth of a fireside glow. Hardware and outdoor stores now sell up-lighting which can be placed under large potted plants to showcase your favorite blooms. Switch out standard small sconces with impactful colorful lamps. Tiny ‘fairy lights’ in mason jars are a good way to add subtle artsy ambiance to any backyard dining spot.

Play up water features

Backyard doesn’t boast a pool? Show how buyers can beat the summer heat by upgrading your outdoor oasis with a cooling/misting system under any porch, pergola or umbrella. Help visitors imagine relaxing in their new backyard with a good book, or soaking up the rays by creating a lounging area. You can even surround this outdoor hangout space with surround sound faux stone speakers for a natural look that rocks all night long.

Indoors:

Discourage dingy light

Bring light indoors by removing heavy winter drapes and if needed, use drawn back lightweight and light-colored curtains. Switch out throw pillows (both inside and out) for lighter and brighter colors.

Declutter

It is exceedingly important to declutter if your children are home on summer break. Make sure to utilize hidden storage to the fullest potential to keep clutter from view. Box up family pictures and mementos on the fireplace, it deserves a new summer look too. If wood burning, switch out logs in the fireplace with tall candles at various heights and add a large floral arrangement or colorful wreath above the hearth to bring a touch of the outdoors, in.

Don’t be a summer Scrooge 

If you have it, don’t skimp on air-conditioning come open house day. Although you may not be in the home during a showing, it’s important to keep the air at a comfortable level. Fill the sink with ice cubes and fill it with summer refreshments that encourage potential buyers to linger in the home longer.

Sources: HGTV.com and thebalance.com.


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