5 Landscape Projects That Make Sense

P: 411homerepair.com

P: 411homerepair.com

Warmer temps and sunshine have us itching to get out and enjoy the outdoors. When Spring hits, it’s prime season for yard work –  you don’t want to be slaving away in the gorgeous summer weather when you could be sipping lemonade (or a margarita!) in the shade of your perfectly manicured outdoor paradise.

But where do you start? What projects are really worth it? Here are our top 5 landscape projects that offer the best return on your investment:

  • Spruce up what you have. Start with a spring yard cleanup – pull out the weeds, prune trees and bushes and rake up any leaves you may have missed in fall. Freshen up your mulch by flipping and fluffing with a rake, once you’re finished you may not even need to buy new mulch for the season!
  • Renew your deck. A wood deck will take a beating being exposed to our crazy VT weather. If your deck is looking a little worn, start by power washing to get a completely clean surface. Once dry, you can stain and then follow with a waterproofer designed for unsealed wood to protect your deck.
  • P: sheknows.com

    P: sheknows.com

    Plant flowers for a pop of color. Choose some colorful perennials to dot your yard, these plants will last for years so you will not need to replant every spring/summer like an annual. Cone flowers, daylillies, and hydrangea are good choices for VT. Annuals come in so many pretty varieties, you can add them in to your landscaping or plant in window boxes and colorful pots. Choose a variety of flowers that bloom at different times, as well as a mix of heights, colors, and shapes.

  • Plant some trees. As trees grow, they appreciate in value providing fantastic ROI. Trees also provide privacy, which tops most buyers’ wish lists. Emerald Green Arborvitae are a great option for privacy, and are perfect for VT as they resist snow and ice damage. Other trees that thrive in VT include spruce trees and of course the sugar maple.
  • P: lockerdome.com

    P: lockerdome.com

    Create an outdoor living space. Pick out some stone pavers that complement your house and landscape to build a patio and/or fire pit. Permeable paving and fire pits rank high in outdoor elements that buyers desire. Learn how to lay a paver patio on Lowe’s website.

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Spring Cleaning Tips

P: lambertwm, flickr

P: lambertwm, flickr

Spring is just around the corner (March 20th to be exact), which means warmer temps, green grass, beautiful blooms and everyone’s favorite – Spring cleaning!

Here are 6 of our top Spring cleaning projects to get you started:

Complete a Thorough Dusting – You may swipe your Swiffer duster through the surfaces of your home on weekly basis, but we’re talking about getting down and dirty here. Remove all of the items from shelves and tabletops and give the surface a good wipe down with a multi-surface cleaner or furniture spray. Now is also the time to tackle ceiling fans and the top of cabinets.

Wash Walls, Cabinets, and Baseboards – Vertical surfaces may not look dirty, but enough dirt and dust cling to these surfaces to justify a seasonal cleaning. Use a clean sponge and water mixed with a few drops of dishwashing liquid to wipe down walls, cabinets, and baseboards.

P: Total Perfection Cleaning

P: Total Perfection Cleaning

Wash Windows – Step it up a notch from your normal Windex and paper towel routine and really take a minute to get your windows to sparkle. Vacuum the inside panes, sills, and window frame. Choose a cloudy day to clean your windows to prevent streaks – heat from the sun will dry the glass too quickly. Create a window wash solution by combining 1/2 cup sudsy ammonia (which is a specific type of ammonia), 1 pint of rubbing alcohol, 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid, and 1 gallon of water. Recipe from Better Homes & Gardens

Refresh Window Treatments – Just like your walls, they may not look dirty, but dust clings to everything! Take down and throw washable fabrics in the washer and air dry. Intricate curtains and draperies can be cleaned using the upholstery attachment on your vacuum, or you can take them to be dry cleaned. To remove dust from sheers, toss them in the dryer on low with a fabric softener sheet.

Clean Carpets – Rent a carpet cleaner and start with a hidden spot of carpet to make sure the treatment will not cause discoloration. To save yourself some time, move furniture slightly rather than clearing out a room. Place wax paper squares under the feet of furniture to protect the carpet and keep the furniture from getting wet as the carpet dries. Open windows to speed up the drying process. Don’t feel like all the work? Hire a professional to take care of the carpets for you.

P: trendecoration.com

P: trendecoration.com

Freshen Your Space – Not so much a cleaning project, but a quick and easy makeover for any room is changing up or adding textiles! Put a brightly colored table linen on your dining room table, spruce up your living room with fun throw pillows or a patterned rug, swap out your bedding, or switch out the towels in your bathroom – any of these will revive your home for Spring.

If you need a list to stay focused, or if you love the satisfaction of checking off a task when completed, we found a very thorough downloadable Spring cleaning checklist on the blog The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking.