First impressions count: How to improve your home’s curb appeal

I’m sure you already know the importance of a good first impression – after all, there’s a reason why we show up to job interviews in suits instead of sweat pants. It’s the same reason why we clean the house before guests come to stay. The interior of your home, however, is not what people will notice first. Curb appeal describes the visual attractiveness of your house when it is seen from the street. Before guests get a peak at the entryway, the living room or the guest room of your home, they will notice your home’s front yard and exterior. Boost your home’s curb appeal and make a great first impression with some of the ideas listed below.

1. Give your home a facelift with a fresh coat of paint.
Photo credit: Piece of Cake/ Piece of Mind

Photo credit: Piece of Cake/ Piece of Mind

If you’re not in love with your home’s current exterior color, choose a new one to dramatically change the appearance of your home. A new coat of paint of the same color can improve the look of your exterior and also helps protect your home from the elements.

2. Consider adding shutters.

Photo credit: PinterestI think shutters are charming and add character to one’s home. If you love shutters as much as I do, consider adding them to enhance your windows and exterior.

3. Light up your home for evening curb appeal.

landscape lightingAt night, it’s hard to make your home look inviting. Adding landscape lighting can give your home a welcoming appearance in the dark, and it also increases safety for you, your family and guests who are moving about the exterior of your home.

4. Dress up your mailbox.

mailboxI rarely see stylish mailboxes, and I think it’s a missed opportunity for homeowners to have some fun with their outdoor decor. You can either buy a new decorative mailbox or keep the one you have and give it some color. Small details like this can have a huge impact on curb appeal.

5. Add decorative touches where you can.

planterUse things such as planters next to the door or a welcome mat on your front porch. Just like the inside of your home, decorative pieces can add style and visual interest to your home’s outward appearance.

Does your home have curb appeal? If not, it may be time to dress up your home’s exterior and make a better impression to those walking by.

By Wendy Weinert

Backyard camping: enjoy the great outdoors without leaving home

Backyard camping

Photo credit: Pinterest

Camping is one of my favorite summer activities, but sometimes it’s hard to set aside a week or even just a weekend to get away. That’s why I love the idea of backyard camping. It gives families the opportunity to spend time outdoors and bond. Plus, staying close to home is often recommended for young children who are not ready for the full camping experience.

Backyard camping seems like a simple concept, but there are some strategies you can use to create an experience that is similar to an actual camping trip. For example, you can:

Set up a tent
Backyard camping

Photo credit: Daily Mail

Okay, I know it seems silly to sleep outdoors when you have comfortable beds inside waiting for you. However, your backyard excursion will feel more like a bonfire than an authentic camping trip if you head inside after the fire dies down.

Design a sitting area
Seating area next to camp

Polywood Adirondack Chairs

Most campsites have benches for dining and generally people bring their own chairs. Set up your backyard to mimic an actual campsite by arranging outdoor chairs and tables near the tent area.

Install a fire pit
Fire pit

Firescapes Fire Pit

In my opinion, it’s not camping without a fire and s’mores. If you don’t already have one, consider adding a fire pit to your backyard space; you can use it all summer long! On chillier nights, make sure you have extra blankets for sitting around the fire!

Add a sprinkler

If you live within walking distance of a lake or ocean, head out for a swim in the afternoon. Otherwise, a sprinkler can add a splash of fun for the kids (and the adults).

Keep technology indoors

Phones and laptops are hard to leave behind — believe me, I know. Camping, however, is all about taking a break from technology and connecting with nature. While you might not have a forest in your backyard, you can at least enjoy the sunshine and breeze without having to check your cell every five minutes.

Roasting marshmallows

Photo credit: Pinterest

Are you ready to roast marshmallows and tell ghost stories? A simple camping trip in your backyard can be a special memory you and your family will cherish for years.

By Wendy Weinert

5 solutions for common outdoor patio problems

5 solutions for common outdoor patio problems

During the spring and summer months, there’s nothing better than relaxing on your patio or porch. Don’t let your outdoor oasis be spoiled, however, when a swarm of mosquitoes crashes the party or your neighbors decide to argue loudly next door. Enjoy the outdoors this season more fully by setting up your space to fix these five common annoyances.

5 solutions for common outdoor patio problems

1. Noise

It’s hard to enjoy socializing with friends when all you hear are cars driving by or the TV playing in a neighboring house. Eliminate some of that noise with noise of your own. A decorative wind chime is relaxing and will provide sounds you actually want to hear.

Tips for improving your outdoor space

2. Bugs

Nothing is worse than having to swat at bugs the entire time you’re outside. Besides spraying yourself with bug repellent, you can keep the bugs away by not wearing perfume, removing any standing water around the area (for example, rainwater left in an empty bucket) and lighting a citronella candle. If you have a porch, consider installing an outdoor fan, which also keeps biting bugs away.

5 solutions for common outdoor patio problems

3. Harsh sunlight 

During the winter all we wish for is the sun. But then the summer comes and the sun shines a little too bright. Prevent sunburn by incorporating shade into your outdoor space. There are lots of ways to add shade. You can use a simple trick like an umbrella or cloth canopy, or you can build your own shade in the form of an outdoor gazebo or arbor.

5 solutions for common outdoor patio problems

4. No light

After the sun goes down, you won’t have to worry about getting sunburned, but you will have to worry about being able to see. Depending on where your outdoor space is located, you can consider wall lights, lamps, landscape lighting or ambient lighting placed underneath furniture.

5. Heat/cold

During the day you might be too hot, but when it starts to get dark you might feel chilly. Combat both problems by installing an outdoor ceiling fan and setting up an outdoor heater in your patio. An extra supply of blankets will also come in handy at night and shade will help you stay cool, especially if you can’t hang up a fan.

You’ve spent a lot of time setting up your outdoor space, so why not enjoy it? Keep the annoyances away with these five solutions, and spend this season soaking up the fresh air!

By Wendy Weinert

Keep the bugs away with an outdoor ceiling fan

Keep the bugs away with an outdoor ceiling fan

Is your patio or porch roof not doing enough to keep you cool during hot summer days? Are you tired of being pestered by numerous summer insects? If so, it may be time to start considering an outdoor ceiling fan for your space.

You already know that indoor ceiling fans are beneficial because they reduce energy bills and keep your various rooms nice and cool. But did you know that outdoor ceiling fans provide many of the same advantages as your indoor fans, and more? Along with creating a nice breeze for you and your family to enjoy, outdoor ceiling fans can also help control your annoying pest problem. The downward draft that outdoor fans create makes it very difficult for insects like mosquitoes to fly, helping you enjoy your patio bug-free! Don’t you think most people would enjoy an outdoor patio without pests?

Keep the bugs away with an outdoor ceiling fan

If you look at outdoor and indoor ceiling fans right next to each other, you might consider them one and the same. If you install an indoor ceiling fan outdoors, however, you will regret that decision soon enough, as they are not designed to handle outdoor elements such as the sun, wind, humidity and cold. An indoor fan would rust very quickly and you wouldn’t be able to enjoy its benefits for very long.

Keep the bugs away with an outdoor ceiling fan

Now that outdoor ceiling fans are becoming a popular addition to many people’s outdoor spaces, you have the option to choose from numerous styles and materials. As we continue to enjoy warmer weather and sunshine, consider installing an outdoor ceiling fan in your patio or porch to keep your area cool and bug-free.

By Wendy Weinert

Get your home ready for spring with these easy decorating tips

Get your home ready for spring with these easy decorating tips

Photo Credit: Happy Mundane

March is finally here, and you know what that means. Soon it will be spring and we can all finally put this long and frigid winter behind us! As the temperatures start to warm up, and you start to put away your sweaters and thick coats, take some time to refresh your home as well. With these four simple decorating tricks, you can get your home ready for spring and warmer weather.

Get your home ready for spring with these easy decorating tips

Photo Credit: World of Bea

Replace your thick curtains If your windows are covered with heavy curtains for insulation, replace them with curtains made from a sheer fabric that allows the sun to shine into your room. When the weather warms up, you’ll appreciate having the natural light and will no longer need to keep out the cold.

Get your home ready for spring with these easy decorating tips

Photo Credit: HomeBunch

Rearrange your furniture Spring is a time for change, but that doesn’t mean you have to remodel or buy a whole new set of furniture. Simply rearrange what you already have and maybe add a few new pieces to give your space a new look. You might even find you like the new layout better anyway.

Get your home ready for spring with these easy decorating tips

Bellacor Number: 835789

Decorate with spring accessories The great thing about home décor accessories is that they can easily be switched out and replaced. If your home is decorated in rich, warm colors that are often found in fall and winter settings, lighten it up with pastels instead. A new throw pillow or piece of artwork can change the tone of the room to become more seasonally appropriate.

Get your home ready for spring with these easy decorating tips

Bring plants into your home Spring is all about life, so what better way to welcome in the new season than with a new plant in your home? If taking care of plants is not your specialty, simply trick everyone with a beautiful fake plant instead. You’d be surprised at how real a fake plant can actually look and you will never have to worry about watering it! It may seem like wishful thinking now, but spring is just around the corner. Be ready when the weather starts to warm up with these four tricks and give your home a refreshing new look.

By Wendy Weinert

Outdoor showers – are they right for you?

Outdoor showers are becoming more and more popular these days, and when the temperature is nice it’s not uncommon for people to bathe in their backyard rather than their bathroom. Outdoor showers are a great way to take your daily routine to the next level and turn it into an exciting and pleasant experience. Even with a busy schedule, an outdoor shower allows you a little time each day to enjoy the fresh air and beautiful blue sky.

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Photo Credit: Home Bunch

If you give the idea a chance, you might just realize that an outdoor shower is right for you.

Outdoor showers aren’t just a luxurious addition to one’s home. They are practical too! If you have a pool, live by a beach or spend a lot of time gardening, an outdoor shower allows you to clean up before entering your home. Just do a quick rinse to get the sand, dirt or chlorine off and you’ll prevent tracking in dirt or carrying unpleasant smells with you indoors.

Living room by the beach

Photo Credit: http://thitomaz.tumblr.com/

Once you’ve made the decision to install an outdoor shower, carefully consider its location for an optimal experience. Even if you’re the perfect candidate for an outdoor shower, the wrong location can quickly make you regret the decision. Keep the shower away from shaded areas and make sure it gets direct sunlight. Not only will the sun enhance your shower experience but it will also help prevent scum from forming by keeping the walls and floor drier.

Enclosed outdoor shower

Photo Credit: Remodelista

Privacy is obviously another factor you will want to consider. Depending on your setup and how you plan to use the shower, you might add an enclosure. If there are windows that allow people to look straight down onto the shower, a louvered roof will keep people from being able to see into the shower, without blocking out the sunlight.

Ready to change up your daily routine? Consider moving your shower outside and enjoy an exciting new experience!

By Wendy Weinert

Add a water fountain to your outdoor décor

Home owners spend a lot of time and money making sure that the inside of their home looks perfect, but then often ignore their outdoor space and leave it unadorned. Depending whether it is in the back or front yard, adding some visual appeal outside can create a welcoming environment or help to design a nice, relaxing space for you and your family.

BrassBaronOutdoorStatue

Even though you want your yard to look nice, finding ways to decorate can be tricky. Much of the lawn décor that is available today just looks tacky. There is, however, a solution to your decorating problem: outdoor water fountains.

Fountains have the ability to turn your outdoor space into a relaxing oasis and can become the focal point of your front or back yard. The fountain size that you choose largely depends on the amount of space you have. If you live out in the country, or just have a really big yard, you could probably get away with using a large, showier fountain, but for most people’s yards, a simpler, medium-sized fountain works best. If you have almost no yard at all, place a small floor or table fountain somewhere near the house and you’ll still get that soothing sound of trickling water.

50194SS_Lifestyle_Fountain

53265CT_room_FountainThe size and style you choose for your fountain might also depend on where you want it to go. Are you struggling to figure out what would be the “appropriate place?” Well, there isn’t any rule as to where you should place a water fountain – basically, wherever looks best! People who have gardens or flower beds can use a fountain to be a part of a larger display. Or, the fountain can stand alone and become the center of attention. Whatever you decide, you’ll love your new outdoor décor.

As we turn the corner towards the winter, now is the time to start planning ahead and budgeting for what you may want in the spring when you want to living in your outdoor areas. Water fountains and outdoor statues may be just the thing!

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