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Determining the Landscaping for Your Home

by Melissa Dierks

Your Home and GardenImproving the landscape around your home is not just about good looks. Home value can also increase with fine-tuned and maintained landscaping. Before hiring a landscape designer to reconstruct your home, it’s helpful to compile a list of questions. You may share images of design styles and verify license and insurance, as well. The right landscaping combines local elements and weather conditions, as well as energy efficiency.

Your outdoor landscaping can also serve as a sound or visual barrier. Many options are available from furniture placement to the planting of tall shrubs along a home’s border.

According to Better Homes and Gardens, the Top Trends for Your Home in 2013 Include:

  • Fragrance Producing Gardens
  • Variation in Color of Flowers & Greenery
  • Bulb Gardens
  • Vegetable & Fruit Combination Gardens
  • Grocery Gardens
  • Old Fashioned Looks
  • Paver Designs Incorporated in Gardens
  • Garden Seating
  • Herb Gardens
  • Butterfly Gardens
  • Hanging Plant Gardens
  • Texture Gardens

Whether you are in a new home and just beginning your gardening plans or are in the home you’ve had for years, many of these gardening ideas may appeal to you.  As you consider your home and the landscape style that will surround it, consulting with a professional landscaper may give you additional perspective and save you from a expensive mistake.  Please call me for recommendations, should you need a referral.

Closets and Your Home – the Other Mommy Make-Over

by Melissa Dierks

Closets & Your HomeSearching for more organization in your home but hesitant to start a big project? Consider revamping your closet space! Known as the “Other Mommy Make-Over,” a newly dressed and carefully arranged closet is sure to bring a smile to your face (and make any Mommy cheer, too!)

Before you start removing, adjusting, and purchasing closet materials, however, you should take a step back and really study your closet and it’s contents. Perhaps you have need for multiple rods or find that shelving is a must to keep your sweaters, camis and boots organized. Maybe your closet doubles as a dressing area necessitating space for a mirror and the ability to twirl. It may even be feasible that your closet needs a sitting area if you anticipate spending much of your time assembling your clothing ensembles or sorting through shoes.

No matter your personal needs for closet space in your home, there are some universal principles that apply to a well-designed closet space, regardless of the system and style you implement in your home.

  • Closet rods and the items which hang from them need breathing room. Generally speaking leave 13-15” between the closet rod and the closet wall and hang multiple tiered rods in at least 40-44” intervals.
  • Cleanliness is essential to keep your clothes smelling fresh and looking their best. While it may initially make sense to keep your clothes hamper in your closet, it may be wiser to find an alternate location in your home.
  • Do it up! Repainting the interior of your closet while the contents are removed may introduce a cheery aspect to the space and, if you have the means to replace the flooring in your closet, consider using materials that are easy to clean and do not attract mildew and dust.
  • Use florescent lighting as a safe non-heat-producing lighting option. Lighting from a nearby window could cause uneven fading of clothing over time so it’s best to consider a light fixture that will illuminate your clothes, while still preserving them, and allow you to see well enough to distinguish between black and navy apparel. Make sure the light is above your clothes and located in front of where you will stand, so you will not shadow your shelving and items as you piece together outfits!
  • Plan the use of bins, boxes, buckets, bowls, and other brilliant organizational tools to make the most of your space and have them match accordingly. You’d be amazed at what you can find in most organizational stores these days. Have fun as you embark on recharging your closet and yourself as you complete your “Other Mommy Make-Over.”

Curb Appeal for Condo Sellers

by Melissa Dierks

shutterstock_88948273You know that curb appeal is important to buyers of single-family homes, but you are selling a condominium in a large building full of similar units. How do you make yours stand out? Here are a few tips for prompting that positive first impression that makes your home memorable:

  • Make sure the entry way is clean, clear and clutter free. Relocate bulky furniture that makes the entry seem smaller. Avoid coat racks and umbrella stands that jut out from the wall as well.
  • Consider placing a fresh potted plant inside the doorway to bring the outside in. Make sure the plant is healthy and in an attractive pot, does not block the walkway and does not shed or drop leaves.
  • If you have a mail slot and your home is likely to be shown after delivery, make sure to place a basket under the mail slot.
  • Make sure the insides of your windows are clean. If your HOA is responsible for the outside windows, request that they be cleaned before showing your home or having an open house.
  • If you live in a bug prone area, be sure to have your condominium treated for pests—and make sure you sweep up any dead bugs.
  • Make sure the hallway or walkway to your unit is clean. If you need, to, sweep it yourself. Make sure to pick up any junk mail or papers cluttering the outside.
  • When your home is likely to be shown, turn on the lights and have soft music playing. This may raise your utility bill slightly, but will give a warm greeting to visiting homebuyers.
  • As with any home, make sure the countertops and floors and clean and personal effects are out of sight. Consider placing a bowl of fruit or bouquet of flowers on the table to add some color and interest.
  • If you have pets, consider boarding them while your home is being shown, or ask a neighbor to collect them before the potential buyer shows up.

Most of all, call your real estate agent to learn what features to play up (or down) in your unit to place it in the best light.

Create the Best Jack-O-Lantern for Your Home

by Melissa Dierks

Jack-o-lantern for your homeAs the days count down to Halloween you may find yourself trying to determine the best way to enliven your porch pumpkin.  While many techniques have been developed for jack-o-lantern carving and design, the following basic principles can guide you to well-lit spooky success as you entertain trick-or-treaters who visit your home and neighborhood.

Choose Your Pumpkin - Traditional jack-o-lanterns are round, but you may want a flat pumpkin or one that’s been scarred if it works better with your overall design.  Variety is rampant in pumpkins these days, allowing you to get just the right style and color for your home.

Carving Prep – Before beginning your project, gather your materials from around your home, from knives and scoops to newspaper and patterns, so that you can create quickly and avoid making a big mess.  Prior to carving your pumpkin face or design, you’ll need to create a cap or lid by cutting a circle/zigzag shape around the stem at a slant so you can scrape and scoop out the pumpkin insides.  Another option is to cut from the base to avoid interference with a patterned pumpkin.

Determine Your Design - Choose from a combination of basic shapes or explore using paper to create a stencil pattern once you begin designing the look of your jack-o-lantern.  Once your stencil is in place, use a pushpin to transfer the design from paper to your pumpkin and then carve by following the pin pricks.  You can also draw directly on your pumpkin with a washable marker and carve on the lines.  Carve the smallest areas of your design first as they can be tricky and if you mess up, you’ll be able to modify your design if needed.  When your carving is complete, simply wash off any remaining marker to see your finished product.

Choose Your Light - While a candle will definitely contribute a more eerie glow, if you have small children or pets, it may be wiser to use LED lights for your jack-o-lantern.  Disposable glow sticks are a possibility, too, if you prefer to try out differing colors at little expense.  Either way, make sure your pumpkin is well lit on Halloween, so that little goblins and ghouls will know that they can visit your home for a special treat.

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Photo of The Regal Team Real Estate
Melissa Dierks
Keller Williams Professional Partners
7025 W Bell Road, Suite 10
Glendale AZ 85308
Direct: (623)229-0154
Office: (623)643-1092
Fax: (623)201-7562

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