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10 Ways to Enhance Your Home’s External Appeal

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Outdoor Spring Cleaning

Spring is here, and it’s time to tidy up! Read on for our handy checklist of outdoor spring cleaning ideas.

Windows and Screens

It’s best to clean windows when the sun isn’t out to prevent the cleaner from drying too fast and causing streaks. Be careful on that ladder! In addition, it won’t matter how clean your windows are if your screens are dusty and damaged. Remove your screens and vacuum with an attachment. If they are damaged, screens are fairly inexpensive to replace.

Garden Appeal

It’s amazing how quickly weeds can pop up in the spring – get a head start as soon as they show up. In addition, clear out any dead foliage and prune your shrubs and trees – this will make your garden area more appealing and encourage new growth. After weeding and clearing out old plants, lay down a new layer of mulch and take note of any plants that need to be replaced. Be sure to clean out and re-plant any pots or baskets as well!

Sweep All the Things

It’s not just your floor that needs sweeping! Take a broom to the ceilings and walls of your porches and eaves to clear out dust and cobwebs. Sweep out your garage from all your winter projects and then sweep the driveway and cracks. Replace any caulking in the driveway that may have been damaged over the winter.

Break Out the Furniture

Patio furniture can take a hit during the winter. Wipe down all furniture with a damp cloth and beat the dust out of cushions. Clean or replace rugs and umbrellas if necessary.

Get Ready to Grill

Wipe down the outside of your grill and give the inside a good scrubbing with a steel brush before first use. It’s not uncommon for creatures to take refuge in your grill during the winter, so take care when opening the lid the first time.

A New Life for Doors

Doors are one of those things we always touch but rarely clean. Give your exterior doors a good washing and touch up paint where necessary. For a fun project, repaint your front door a fun color like red or yellow!

Exterior Touch-up

There’s nothing like a hose to clean the exterior of your house! Especially with brick or vinyl siding, using a spray attachment on your hose to wash down the walls can instantly increase curb appeal. Now is a good time to spot-check your roof as well – if gutters or shingles are damaged, it’s time to replace.

Outdoor Lighting

Check your light fixtures – they can accumulate dust and bugs. Replace bulbs if necessary.

Maintain the Fence

Winter can be hard on fences and gates – walk the perimeter of your property and check for areas that require repair. A new coat of stain or paint certainly helps bring life to your property as well.

A New Lawn

Whether you have a lawn in place or you’re thinking of installing one, green grass in your yard adds wonderful curb appeal. Lay fertilizer down before a spring rain to bring new life to your lawn and replace any dead areas with sod. 

What other outdoor spring cleaning do you accomplish each year? Tell us in the comments!

Keep Your Home Safe from Pests & Critters

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Critter Control

Spring is in the air! The sun is out, flowers are popping up in your yard, and it’s starting to warm up during the day. The saying ‘spring cleaning’ exists for a reason – many of us see these signs of the seasons changing and are ready to shake off the doldrums of winter by cleaning house.

One big item on your to-do list should be ridding your home of any pests that may have moved in during the cold winter months. In partnership with our friends at Critter Control, here’s a list of some things you can do to make sure those pesky critters evacuate your home and fast.

Clean, Clean, Clean!

Often critters are seeking refuge in your home because there are so many delicious things for them to eat! Make sure your food is stored on high shelves in sealed containers. Have pets? Elevate their food off the floor so pests don’t have access. Regularly sweeping your kitchen and dining areas for crumbs and taking out your garbage at least once a week will help too. Make sure that your sinks and bathtubs have no standing water while not in use.

Seal the Entrances

Regularly check your home, especially doors and windows, for holes and other gaps that allow pests to get inside. If you find them, close them up! Make sure your doors have tight seals and install screens on all the windows. Check places you might not see without looking, such as cabinets and outlets. Home improvement stores are stocked with sealants and pastes especially designed for repairing any cracks and crevices.

Plant a Pest-Fighting Garden

Many common garden plants can deter pests naturally. Basil, lavender and catmint can help deter mosquitos. Garlic and sage prevent ticks from taking up shop. Planting some rosemary close to your home scares the moths away. And of course, if you are able to prevent these pests from coming near your home, you’ll also diminish the number of spiders taking up residence. Win win!

Call Critter Control

If certain household pests like mice, ants, or snakes have made a home in your home, it’s time to call in the experts. Invading nuisance wildlife can wreak havoc on residential properties and structures and if left unattended wildlife and pests can cause costly damage to your property. Check out the Critter Control website to find out more information about these critters, and then give them a call!

Top Home Improvements for 2019

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Luxury Upgrades

“Luxury” means “a state of great comfort and extravagant living”. These days, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to drive a Ferrari or buy a solid gold toilet - small improvements in your home can make all the difference. A 2019 trend in home improvement is to add luxury touches to your home, rather than starting from bare bones. Buying a fancy coffeemaker, re-painting your kitchen cabinets with chalk paint, or even upgrading your furniture can loan a luxury feel to your home.

Home Automation

With advances in technology like Nest and Google Home, you can operate anything in your house with the touch of a button. From advanced security systems to remote operation of utilities, the phone that’s constantly in your pocket will allow you to manage your home from near or far. Want to use alternative energy sources? Charge up your solar panels from afar during a sunny day. Kids home from school and you’re not there yet? Grant them remote entry with a touch of your keypad. You can even set when your dishwasher starts from your iPhone, but you still have to load it - for now.

Natural Light

Increasing amounts of research demonstrates what natural light can do for our homes and our moods. The trend in 2019 is toward bigger and bolder windows, with light fixtures in the less sunny parts of our homes that can create the same ambience. More natural light equals more Vitamin D, which can boost our moods during the cloudiest parts of the year. In addition, sunlight boosts our body’s production of serotonin, known as the ‘happy hormone’. Finally, natural light is beneficial for your sleep/wake cycle – allowing natural light into your home will help your body know when it’s time to be awake and when it’s time for bed.

Open Floor Plans

These days, we’re knocking down the walls and blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor. Main floors are spacious, with kitchens looking into the living rooms on one side and opening up to a patio on the other. Top floors are open too! In addition to being the place that we live and sleep, our homes are the place that we entertain friends and family – it’s much easier to do so with big, open spaces. Especially look for kitchen and dining areas that emulate open air bars and restaurants, with collapsible doors, durable rugs, and patio bars.

12 Easy Ways to Winterize Your Home

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Being cold is not cool. Luckily, with our helpful collection of 12 easy projects, you’ll have your home ready for winter long before the snow flies.

1. Caulk Windows and Doors

It can’t be said enough that windows and doors are the two leading culprits for winter heat loss in your home. With these caulking tips, you’ll be able to keep your home warm and ensure a tight seal around interior trim. And as a result, warm air stays in your home. Don’t forget to check your external caulk as well and fix any gaps before the snow flies.

2. Add Insulation

Beefing up the insulation in your home, particularly in basements and attics can keep your home warm. And will promote a more even temperature and eliminate cold spots. Better yet, adding insulation is a cost-effective solution to what can be an expensive problem over time. Follow our guide to insulating your house, and you will have a toasty home before you can say ‘winter.’

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