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Not everyone has extra time to spend taking care of their front yard. While outdoor spaces are important, it’s easy to let yard upkeep fall by the wayside. Luckily there are lots of things you can do to make your yard attractive and inviting without spending hours working on it every week. Here are some of the best tips for creating and maintaining a low-maintenance front yard:
Always Research Your Plant Choices Beforehand
Grass lawns are notorious for requiring time and effort to maintain, but other plants can be just as bad. It’s easy to plant a lot of beautiful flowers and shrubs only to find that it’s a full-time job to keep them alive and looking good. The best way to avoid this is to research and plan your plant choices before you buy.
Some things to consider when looking for plants include:
Climate Zones - Most plants are labeled according to their respective USDA Hardiness Zones. You can use this information to make sure your choices of plants have a chance of surviving in your climate. While it’s possible to grow plants outside of your zone, it’s definitely not an effortless task. Choosing plants for your zone will keep your workload smaller.
Compatible Needs - It’s important to stick with plants that need similar amounts of sunlight and water. This will save you time and potential frustration over patches of your yard perishing in the heat while others thrive. For example, if you have lots of shade in your yard, group shade-loving plants together rather than mix in those requiring lots of sun.
Upkeep Requirements - Some plants simply require more attention than others. Many flowers need pruning and dead-heading every week during the growing season in order to stay beautiful and fresh. It might not sound like much, but that time can add up especially if you have a lot of plants to take care of.
Plant Perennials Wherever Possible
Perennials are plants that go dormant in the winter and spring back to life every year when the weather gets warmer. All perennials have slightly different growing seasons, so you can plan strategically to stagger them and always have some color in the yard. Perennials will save you a lot of time and money—you only need to buy and plant them once for years worth of foliage or blooms. Hardy perennial flowers like coneflower, geranium and chrysanthemums are excellent choices for low-maintenance color in your front yard.
Don’t Forget Mulch
Mulching your yard will keep your plants healthy and keep your work to a minimum. Mulch has several different benefits, primarily helping the soil maintain the right moisture and temperature levels. It also deters pests from preying on your plants and also keeps weeds from growing. Weed-prevention alone is a huge time-saver, but you’ll find that with proper mulch application you won’t need to water as frequently or worry about many common pests.
These are some basic guidelines to help you create and keep a low-maintenance front yard that still looks healthy and beautiful. As long as you stick to these tips and do your research you’ll be able to save time and money while having the best looking yard in the neighborhood.
When a loved one needs a bit more help to get around the house, whether they have simple physical limitations or rely on the use of a wheelchair, you’re going to need to make some major changes both inside and outside the home. You may be overwhelmed with the idea that you need to overhaul your entire home in order to make suitable accommodations. The good news is that you can boost safety around the property and make your home easier for you or loved ones to get around without huge renovation projects that will take months at a time. Below, you’ll find some of the most important projects that will need to be completed in order to make a home handicap accessible as well as safe and healthy.
Check The Doorways
If wheelchair use is part of the accommodation, you’ll need to check the width of the doorways. Some doorways may need to be modified in order for wheelchairs to move freely about the home. Widening doorways can cost anywhere between $500-$1,000 to complete depending on where the throughway is in the home.
Adjust The Showers
The safest way to make a shower handicap accessible to is make it a walk in tub or a wheelchair accessible tub. Depending upon the extent of the accommodations that are needed, you can go a cheaper route and install a bench seat in an existing shower. Hand rails can also be added to the tub for extra safety.
Think Of The Entire Bathroom
The simple addition of grab bars can make a big difference in the safety of a bathroom. Make sure that the bars are installed in easy to reach places. Also any supplies that are needed in the bathroom like soaps, shampoos, and toothpaste should be easy to reach. A toilet riser can also be considered to help people who have issues bending down in order to make the toilet easier to use.
Don’t Forget The Kitchen
The kitchen should be a place where accommodations for handicap individuals are definitely present. First, all supplies should be easy to reach. Next, appliances should be adjusted accordingly. Grab bars should also be installed in the kitchen to make safety a priority and accessibility easy.
Whether or not a disabled person uses a wheelchair, installing a ramp can make a huge difference in the home for a disabled individual. Converting stairways to ramps actually isn’t as expensive as you might think it would be, with costs starting at just $100 for a basic ramp. Custom ramps can run a bit more expensive- as much as $1,000. These make it easier for disabled people to get in and out of the home or around the inside of the home with ease. The total cost can vary based on the size of the ramp and the type of materials being used.
Mind The Floors
To make a home handicap accessible, thick carpets should be removed. Any types of flooring that make it hard to maneuver a wheelchair or walker should be modified.
Real estate transactions have so many steps and moving parts they can feel unending. Your hard work and patience will pay off when you reach your closing day—as long as there are no unforeseen issues. Unfortunately, there are some common reasons that a closing can be delayed. While you cannot predict everything, you can familiarize yourself with some of the typical problems that can occur in order to prepare for them. Here are some of the most common reasons closing can be delayed:
The Buyer’s Mortgage Is Not Approved
Mortgage approval issues are the most common cause of home transactions being delayed or even terminated. During the approval process, a lender will observe your financial situation to monitor for any risky credit behavior. If they find something, it could either cause them to change the mortgage terms or deny the request outright. To avoid this, buyers should get full preapproval from their lender well before making an offer on a home but they should also avoid borrowing more money or opening new credit accounts until closing.
The Appraisal Is Too Low
Your mortgage lender requires an appraisal on the home to figure out its value. They then compare this appraisal with the listing price. If the appraisal comes back lower than the price of the home, you might have to negotiate with the seller to make up the difference. This can cause delays even if the buyer or seller can come to a quick agreement. The lender might require certain repairs to the property or a second appraisal done.
The Inspection Found Something Serious
Even if you take care of home inspections well in advance, there’s always the chance something will come up in a final walkthrough. You may also face a situation where the initial inspection found something serious, but the repairs are causing the delay. There are also some specific types of inspection (termite, mold or radon, to name a few) that lenders might require before granting final approval for the mortgage. Any delays in checking these boxes will push back your closing date.
There’s a Claim on the Title
You must acquire a title report as part of the escrow process. If the report shows anything negative on the title — either true or in error—the issues must be resolved before the sale can move forward. It’s common for homeowners to be completely unaware of title issues until they sell, which can cause delays and frustration. Getting a title insurance policy will help you in case there are any liens or claims to the property, but correcting the issue can still take time.
The Buyer Backs Out
Sometimes people simply change their minds. Unfortunately, this can mean a sudden cancellation of the entire transaction in the event a buyer walks away. A common part of real estate contracts is to have the buyer put down a deposit known as earnest money that shows their intent to follow through with the purchase. This gives the seller some extra monetary protection if the buyer leaves. However, it won’t make up for any lost time or effort.
Not every problem can be prevented but the more you know about potential issues before they arise, the better. Always go over contracts carefully and do things like appraisals and inspections as early as possible to prevent the more common.
While house hunting, it’s always a good idea to drop your pets off at doggy daycare or get a pet sitter for the afternoon. If you have no choice but to leave them at home, you can keep them safe by properly preparing the space ahead of time. Here’s a look at just what it takes to create a safe area for your pets to stay while home alone.
Always Secure Them in a Safe Area
Even if they are trained to behave while having the full run of the house, pets are best kept in a safe area while you’re away. You can put them in a bedroom, for example, or block off a section of the living room instead.
Pets that are not fully house-trained or cannot resist the urge to chew stuff up are best kept in a crate while you’re out. Either way, limit your time out to about a few hours or so to avoid mishaps as your pets grow lonesome.
Get Down to Their Level
Given just a little time unsupervised, pets can get into a lot of trouble. Chewed furniture, pilfered snacks and messes on the carpet are just a few ways pets can wreak havoc while you’re out. Thankfully, you can prevent a lot of issues by getting down to their level and looking for ways to misbehave.
While looking around, you might find:
- Exposed cords
- Loose shoes
- Errant throw pillows
- Low-lying snacks
- Vulnerable plants
- And more
Think like your pet and just imagine what trouble you could get into with the items you find. Then, put the items well out of reach to help all your pets remain on their best behavior.
But Don’t Underestimate Their Abilities
Pets are natural athletes who are frequently known for their incredible feats and daredevil antics. Dogs chilling on top of refrigerators and cats standing on the tops of doors are not an uncommon sight, after all.
So, as you button up the house for the safety of your pet, keep that in mind. It may not be sufficient to simply put items a little higher than they were. It’s often best, in fact, to hide the items behind closed doors and in cabinets fitted with child locks.
Skip the Toys and Chews Until You’re Back
Although it seems wise to keep your pets preoccupied with toys and chews, most of those items are meant to be used under strict supervision. Pets can easily bite off more than they can chew and choke even while gnawing on the toughest of pet-friendly objects.
Instead, wear them out before you leave the house to encourage them to rest while you’re away. Then, give them a toy or chew when you return home to reward them for staying out of trouble. With that move, you create a positive connection with your absence and return that encourages them to behave each time you go out.By moving through these steps, you can keep your pet safe while you’re out looking for your perfect house. You won’t be distracted by worries about what they are up to or come home to disaster when you’re done.