9
Apr

10 DIY Projects To Complete This Weekend

10 DIY Projects To Complete This Weekend

By Jaclyn Crawford on Mar 9, 2017

10 DIY Projects To Complete This Weekend

Project

When it comes to DIY, there are an endless number of projects you can do in your home. From larger upgrades to smaller details, a little bit of time and DIY expertise can go a long way.

If you have a free weekend, why not spend it on a few home improvements? There are many ways you can use your free time this weekend to spruce up your home. The hardest part is choosing what fun project to work on next! See a few DIY ideas to inspire your next home project.

Some projects are not made to DIY. If you’re thinking of a home improvement that might require some help, contact a pro today for up to four quotes from contractors in your area for free.

Paint Your Flooring

1. Paint Your Flooring

Paint is an instant transformation for any room. But would you ever consider painting your flooring to change your look? Vinyl flooring can be painted and is cheaper than a complete flooring replacement. You can even paint in different patterns to give it a unique look. See this tutorial from Designer Trapped for more instructions on how you can complete this project.

Change A Window Treatment

2. Change A Window Treatment

If you’re looking to change the look of your room without making a permanent change, swapping your window treatments is a smart choice. For a custom look, a sewing machine may come in handy to hem the fabric into your own window covering yourself. The average cost to install window treatments is $161, but this largely depends on how many new treatments you’ll be adding in a room.

Paint Your Trim

3. Paint Your Trim

If you change the look of the trim, it can change the entire look of the room. It’s a small detail in your room that you may not think about often. This is a great project for DIY beginners to tackle, as it can easily be done in a weekend and has simple instructions. See our tutorial for How To Paint Trim.

Recaulk A Bathub

4. Recaulk The Bathtub

Not only does freshening up the caulk give your bathtub a clean look, but it also helps prevent mold and mildew buildup. Recaulking a bathtub is an easy project that those beginning with DIY can take on. Even better, this project can be done on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon!

Hang A Gallery Wall

5. Hang A Gallery Wall

Do you have a stack of photos or prints you just don’t know what to do with? Hanging a gallery wall is a great way to dress up a bare wall with what you already have. This project won’t require as many materials as it will time to measure and space out your photos just right. Gallery walls up staircases are very trendy right now, however, it might require a bit more expertise and measurement to look its best.

6. Add Shelf Storage

If you’ve been seeking out more opportunities to get organized, adding new storage shelves will be helpful. Local hardware stores may sell kits with all the items you need to build your own shelf. But, more intricate shelving units might require custom parts that you’ll have to cut and measure yourself, requiring more DIY experience.

Install A Light Fixture

7. Improve Your Lighting

Statement light fixtures are hot right now. They provide a talking point for all in the room. Take a free weekend and replace an old light figure with a new, stylish one. Additionally, you may want to consider upgrading your current light switch to a dimmer switch, allowing you to control the amount of light in the room. It’s also an eco-friendly update for your home energy. Most homeowners spend between $13.50 and $40.50 per dimmer switch unit.

Replace Your Toilet

8. Replace Your Toilet

One of the biggest reasons homeowners decide to upgrade their toilet is for energy efficiency. Newer models often use less water than older models. If your bathroom needs an update, this is one DIY project that can make a difference. To see how you can do this yourself, read How To Replace A Toilet.

Improve Your Entryway

9. Enhance Your Curb Appeal

If you have a green thumb and are looking to spruce up your entryway, planting some flowers can be just what your home needs. A few colorful flowers either in the ground or in planters can make a huge difference when it comes to curb appeal. Depending on how much planting you plan on doing, this can take as little as a Saturday afternoon or the whole weekend. Don’t forget sunscreen!

Mount A TV

10. Mount A Flat Screen TV

Get your TV off the ground and a part of your living room décor. Mounting a flat screen TV may need more than one person to accomplish, but can be easily DIYed in a few hours with the appropriate hardware. Don’t forget to hide unsightly cords. If you want your TV to make a statement, consider building a decorative frame around it.

Conclusion

Doing home improvement projects yourself not only results in a wonderful update to your house, but it’s also a great way to learn new skills and try new things. Get creative witth your next DIY project and truly make your house unique.

9
Apr

Dining Room Chandeliers That Create Conversation

Dining Room Chandeliers That Create Conversation

By Jaclyn Crawford on Mar 15, 2017

Dining Room Chandeliers That Create Conversation

Project

A dining room is a place where company can gather and enjoy a meal together. Unlike kitchens, dining rooms are a place to rest and relax with those you love. The décor of the room can also impact the conversations around the table. That’s why it’s so important to include items you love in your dining room.

One feature that takes center stage in the dining room is the chandelier. Valued for both function and décor, it’s an item that can easily enhance the space. If you’re looking for a piece to talk about over dinner, look up! See a few chandelier ideas that will inspire conversation.

Are you ready to change the look of your dining room with a new chandelier? Contact an electrical pro today for up to four leads from contractors in your area for free.

Light Fixture Installation Costs

The good news is that statement lighting is hot this year. If you want to update your dining room without spending a fortune, replacing a light fixture with something new could be just what’s needed. However, installing on overhead light fixture on your own is not recommended. Unless you have a background in electrical work, you could be putting yourself and your home in harm’s way. As a general rule, leave electrical projects to the pros. The average cost to install a light fixture is $418, with most homeowners spending between $176 and $375.

Linear Dining Room Chandelier

Linear Dining Room Chandelier

Dining rooms come in all styles and often, you’ll have to match your lighting to the décor that already exists in the space. A simple solution that matches all styles is a linear or rectangular dining room chandelier. This feature spans horizontally and looks great over a long table. From mid-century modern to farmhouse style, there is a linear dining chandelier that will fit any look.

Lantern Chandelier

Lantern Chandelier For The Dining Room

If you’re looking for a traditional look but want still want a decorative element that pops, a lantern chandelier is a great choice. While it hangs vertically like a traditional chandelier, the lighting is usually surrounded by a metal frame. They also come in various sizes, so a lantern chandelier can be the perfect addition to a small dining room.

Modern Chandelier

Modern Dining Room Chandeliers

For a style that really stands out, modern dining room chandeliers are the way to go. This style of chandelier comes in many variations and sizes, but is often characterized by its straight lines and geometric shapes. Look for metallic and chrome finishes. Due to the unique look of modern dining room chandeliers, it’s sure to be a talking point for all who enter the room.

Rustic Chandelier

Rustic Dining Room Chandeliers

For a warm and cozy feel to your dining room, a rustic chandelier might be the way to go. Dark wood and cast iron come together to create a light fixture that’s worth looking at. This décor element often looks good over a wood table to match. While many rustic dining room chandeliers come in a linear variety, globe and vertically hanging chandeliers are also representative of this style as well.

Traditional Dining Room Chandeliers

For some homes, the traditional look is just what it needs to bring the room together. Traditional chandeliers have a few bulbs and sometimes adorned with hanging glass pieces. They bring a look of elegance to a room. If you’re planning to sell your house soon, replace your dining room light fixture with a timeless option as it blends well with any style.

DIY Chandelier

DIY Dining Room Chandeliers

With sustainability efforts at the forefront of homeowners’ minds, it’s no wonder more and more people are turning to DIY options for décor items and repurposing old for new. Nothing creates conversation quite like an item you made yourself!

Mason jar chandeliers have become more popular for farmhouse styles and can be a fun project to do with the right materials. Some simply repaint an old chandelier. My favorite is the DIY string chandelier. This modern-looking chandelier is an easy DIY project for anyone to make, with many items you can find at your local craft store. See this tutorial from Carey Creates on how you can make one for your dining room.

Small Dining Room Chandeliers

For those with small dining rooms, never fear. You can have a light fixture that effortlessly adds style to your space. While most styles of chandeliers come in various sizes, you may want to have measurements of your room on hand while you’re looking at options. Linear chandeliers might not be the best choice for your small space, as the rectangle shape may make the room look smaller.

Conclusion

A dining room provides a space for you to welcome your guests, both with your hospitality and décor. A new chandelier can instantly update the look of your room and provide a conversation piece that may have been missing.

9
Apr

Types Of Water Filtration For Your Home

Types Of Water Filtration For Your Home

By Jaclyn Crawford on Mar 19, 2017

Types Of Water Filtration For Your Home

Project

Water is vital. We use it to drink, cook and clean with. Of course, we want the best for our families and that’s why having clean water is so important. It impacts the health of all those who enter.

Do you stop to consider where your water comes from? This all differs on where you live, but tap water is treated with chemicals to eliminate bacteria and other contaminants. Some of these chemicals, however, you may not want in your body when you reach for a glass of water. If you’re ready to take control of what’s coming into your house, see a few water purification options for your home.

Installing a home water filtration system isn’t a DIY project to take on. Contact a plumbing pro today for up to four quotes from contractors in your area for free.

Whats In Your Water

What’s In Your Water?

While you may be comfortable drinking water directly from the tap, depending on where you live, you could be ingesting harmful materials. You might not be able to taste or see it, but your tap water can contain chemicals, bacteria, debris and more from your municipality. Here are few contaminates you can find in tap water according to the EPA:

  • Chlorine
  • Fluoride
  • Lead
  • Nitrate
  • Viruses

Water Filtration System Costs

The best way to eliminate unwanted chemicals and contaminants from the water is with a filtration system. This helps rid tap water of impurities and can provide peace of mind that the water you’re drinking is safe. There are many ways to treat tap water at home. The average cost to install a water treatment and purification system is $1,517, with most homeowners spending between $997 and $1,742.

Pitcher & Faucet Filtration Systems

The most common and cheapest option for your home is a pitcher or faucet filtration system. These use charcoal filters to remove contaminants from tap water. The pitcher must be refilled when used while other methods involve a simple faucet attachment. The filters must also be changed regularly.

The drawback to this system is that it does not remove all the chemicals and contaminates from the water. It will reduce the amount of added chlorine and may improve the taste. These tend to be the budget-friendly options for homeowners, with systems costing between $30 and $100 as a first investment, but will require more filter changes and purchases over time.

Reverse Osmosis Filtration System

As a more permeant filtration solution, some homeowners opt for a reverse osmosis system. This system includes a tank that is typically situated under the sink. While osmosis is a naturally occurring process, reverse osmosis requires a pump that is used to reverse the effects. Water molecules will pass through the semi-permeable membrane and contaminates stay behind. It can remove up to 99% of salts, bacteria and pollutants in water, however, it also has been known to remove vital minerals water carry that our body needs. Additionally, most systems include various filters to remove other impurities. Often, a reverse osmosis system must be installed by a pro to guarantee it works properly

However, this system is a low maintenance and will result in better tasting water. It’s a great option for those looking to easily improve their water quality.

Carbon Block Water Filters

Another common option is a carbon block water filter, typically sitting near the sink on the countertop. This is a safe and natural way to filter water, retaining all the healthy minerals. This affordable option will also remove any bad tastes from tap water. However, if fluoride is a concern, you should know that it will not remove this from the water. You’ll also have to actively fill up this container, though some models will carry enough for a week’s worth of water, depending on the size of your family.

Entire Home Water Filtration System

After learning about the harmful impurities tap water can contain, you may decide that all the water entering your home should be filtered. This ensures peace of mind as you shower, cook and clean and that it’s only the best water coming into your home. Most water filtration systems are installed directly to the water tank, so no need to worry about bulky top-of-counter systems. While there are many styles available depending on your water purification needs, most offer a multi-filter system. This allows multiple chemicals and bacteria to get caught as the water flows through each chamber.

Unlike the above options, an entire home water filtration system is a costlier investment and must be installed by a pro. However, it has less long-term maintenance outside of routine filter replacements and could improve the value of your home.

Conclusion

When you’ve discovered that there may be impurities and pollution lurking in tap water, it can be a shock. But no need to fear, with the latest advancements in water filtration technology, you can have a system that fits your family’s needs and gives you peace of mind.

9
Apr

What You Must Know About Vent Covers

What You Must Know About Vent Covers

By Jaclyn Crawford on Mar 23, 2017

What You Must Know About Vent Covers

Project

Vent covers are small but mighty items when it comes to both your HVAC system and your home’s décor. While most of your HVAC is hidden, the vents allow comfortable air to pass through your home. They are an important part of the system that heat and cools your home.

Often, we don’t put too much thought into these areas unless they stand in the way of a room’s décor, which sometimes they do. Coming in all shapes and sizes, it can either be a neutral look or an eyesore. They also can impact the overall health of your home. Here’s what you need to know about vent covers and how they function in the HVAC system.

Like the rest of your HVAC system, your ducts and vents may need an update to function optimally. Contact an HVAC pro today for up to four quotes from local contractors in your area for free.

Wall Vent Cover

Understanding Your Vent System

In your home, you have two types of vents, return and supply vents. As your HVAC system works to keep air in your home at a comfortable temperature, the return vents help get the air back to your system to continue regulating the temperature.

Cold Air Return Vents

Return vents can either be larger and more centrally located or they can be in every room. Most pros recommend that each room has a return vent. You can usually find these higher off the ground on an interior wall.

Return vents help to control the air pressure and flow throughout your household. Cold air return vents can help you save on energy costs by drawing in air that’s closer to the home’s temperature, as opposed to the hot summer air.

Supply Register Vents

Similarly to the return vents, all rooms in the home should have a supply register vent. These pathways allow the air from your HVAC to enter the room and change the temperature to your desired setting. These can be found on outer walls, under windows or on the floor. Keep in mind, the supply vents should be spaced separately from your return vent, so the air coming from the supply is not recirculated.

Vent Covers Or Grills

While both types of vents have an important role, they simply cannot be an empty hole in your wall or flooring. Air vent covers have an important function, to maintain airflow to a room and in some cases, remove impurities from the air. They also come in a variety of styles to help blend in with your room’s décor.

Cleaning Your Vent Covers

Regardless of style, a clean vent is important for the air quality and efficiency in your home. It’s recommended that you professionally clean your air ducts and vents once a year. The average cost to clean ducts and vents is $327, with most homeowners spending between $278 and $364. This will give your vents a thorough cleaning and ensure all bacteria, fungi and dust that can build up over time, is removed.

However, in high traffic areas, you may want to add vent cleaning to your weekly home maintenance routine. Here are some ways you can keep your vent covers free of debris between professional cleanings.

Floor Vent Covers

When thinking of high traffic areas, if you have vent covers on your floor, this may come to mind first. After all, people walking through are bound to move around dust and dirt that settle into the floor vent cover. If the vent is made of metal, unscrew it and you can simply put it in your dishwasher through a normal cycle. However, with new innovations in vent design, some are made in wood or vinyl to disguise themselves in the floor. These should not go in the dishwasher but rather, removed and manually cleaned with a floor cleaner.

Baseboard Vent Covers

In my home, most of our vents are located on the baseboard. Similarly to flooring vents, people walking in and out of a room can move debris towards the baseboard, ending up with dust bunnies inevitably around my baseboard. To start, vacuum or sweep the area to remove any additional dust. If you’re able to remove the vent covers, do so and follow the steps above. Older homes may have them permanently attached. If so, use a small cloth with cleaning solution to remove the dust between slats.

DIY Vent Cover

Vent Cover Décor

When I moved into my home, I had old, brown vent covers that didn’t add any style to the room. I decided to switch a few of them to a contemporary white and what a big difference this small detail makes! The room looks cleaner and more stylish compared to before. If you’re looking for a décor upgrade for your room, but don’t want to spend a lot, consider changing your vent covers.

In-Store Options

Often, your local hardware store will carry a selection of vent covers for standard sizes; some more decorative than others. But if you’re looking to simply freshen up your look, this is the way to go. Don’t forget to measure your vent before you shop!

Vent Cover DIY

For those with unusual-shaped vents or who want something truly unique, you can DIY your new vent cover. This works best with return air vents. A simple doormat can be used to transform the look. See this tutorial from Debbie Doo’s on how you can complete this project.

Decorative Vent Cover

Conclusion

Your vent covers are an important part of your HVAC system. They require proper care and regular maintenance like other areas of your home. Use a few of these tips to keep them looking and working their best.

9
Apr

How To Finance A Roofing Project In Houston

How To Finance A Roofing Project In Houston

By Joel Schaumburg on Mar 26, 2017

How To Finance A Roofing Project In Houston

If you’ve been following our ongoing series: The Texas Roofing Chronicles, you know how to find Texas roofing companies in various cities, what you need to look for in said companies and what to ask your new roofing contractor. We’ve pointed out how much you could expect to pay for a roofing project, but you may be wondering how you’re going to pay for it. Luckily for you, there are various financing options available to ensure you can keep a roof over your head without costing an arm and a leg. Here’s how to finance a roof project in Houston.

If you’re ahead of the game and know how you’ll be paying for your roofing project, you can find your ideal roofing contractor here.

Financing Through A Roofing Company

Due to the pricy nature of major roofing renovations, many Houston and other Texas-based roofing companies offer financing themselves. This could be as simple as a monthly payment based on the cost of the roofing project. Also, the length of the loan can affect the monthly payments, but the overall cost of the project could be higher due to interest payments.

For example, a short term loan (usually paid off within two years) could calculate a monthly payment of 1% of the project cost plus 5.9% interest. So, a $10,000 roofing project would have a $100 minimum principle monthly payment plus $5.90 in interest. Obviously, this payment plan would take more than two years to pay off the loan, so usually the interest rate would increase after a certain amount of time to encourage a borrower to make higher monthly payments. Also obviously, your roofing project’s cost and financing rates may vary.

A long term loan would feature a higher monthly payment and interest rate but have a set period of time to pay off the loan. If you prefer consistency in payments, this option would be a better choice for you. To attract companies, roofing companies that offer financing tend to have multiple options to entice potential customers.

Modern Green Roof

Cash-Out Mortgage Refinancing

Project

Since having a roof is pretty much an imperative for your home, financing a roof repair project is a necessary expense. If you’re paying off a mortgage, additional funds may be hard to come by so you can use Cash-Out Mortgage Refinancing as a way of financing a new roof.

While you’ve been paying off your mortgage, you’ve been building up your home’s equity. While it may look like your monthly payments are staying the same over time (hopefully), you’re probably paying less in principal and more in interest. Therefore, the principal you’ve already paid off will allow you to essentially redo your mortgage and take out cash as the difference.

For example, if you owe $50,000 on a $100,000 house and owe $10,000 for a major roof repair, you can refinance your mortgage to $110,000. Your mortgage provider will simply give you $10,000 for the repair and you continue to pay off your mortgage at the higher total amount. This will sacrifice some of your home’s current equity, but allows you to use your mortgage to access emergency cash. However, if interest rates have risen (like they have in 2017), then this option might end up costing you more in the long run. There are other options for roofing financing available.

Home Equity Loans & HELOC

Instead of refinancing your mortgage, you can also opt for a home equity loan where you take out a second loan on top of your existing mortgage at a different rate. This is ideal if you don’t want to refinance your mortgage to a potentially higher rate and if you can afford additional monthly payments.

Similar to a Home Equity Loan is a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). A HELOC is a revolving line of credit which allows you to borrow cash up to a limit whenever you need it. This is similar to a credit card in the sense that there is a credit limit based upon the value of your home and a minimum monthly payment.

While both loan types have their advantages and disadvantages (you can learn more here), they’re both great alternatives to pay for a new roof.

Conclusion

Having to fix or replace a roof may be a major pain, but luckily you have several options to ease the hurt to your wallet. Hopefully, you now know your financing options, and that’s half the battle.

9
Apr

Deck Painting Ideas

Deck Painting Ideas

By Jaclyn Crawford on Mar 30, 2017

Deck Painting Ideas

Project

Your deck is an outdoor space that’s made to enjoy. It allows you to enjoy time in the backyard with family and friends comfortably. But our decks could use an upgrade like many other parts of the home.

One solution many homeowners turn to is painting their deck. This is an easy way to refresh your look and bring color to the exterior of the home. It’s also a fun DIY project if you choose to go that route. See a few deck painting ideas to inspire your next project.

Are you ready to transform the look of your deck? Contact a painting pro for up to four quotes from contractors in your area for free.

Budget Your Paint Project

Like any paint project, it’s important to plan ahead for what you can expect financially. First, you’ll need to account for any paint and supplies you’ll be using. One gallon of paint can cover up to 400sf, but don’t forget to add about 10% waste allowance.

What you may not account for before beginning your project is any repairs. If a part of the deck is rotting or cracked, that needs to be replaced before you start painting. A decking pro can help with this. The average cost to repair a deck is $1,353, with most homeowners spending between $859 and $1,406.

Best Deck Paint

Selecting the proper deck paint is another important part of this project. Since this paint will be exposed to many elements. You may be choosing to paint to give your old deck a fresh look. It’s a good and budget-friendly choice to do so. It covers up imperfections that stain simply can’t. The best deck paint is specifically formulated for your projects. In fact, the only paint you should be using for a paint project like this is a specific deck paint. Regular paint can trap water in the wood, while specifically formulated deck paints will allow moisture to escape, reducing the risk of rot.

There are many brands available that sell deck specific paint that can withstand weathering and is durable to foot traffic. These paints will often also reduce the risk of splintering and cracking, creating a smooth finish for your deck.

Pool Deck Paint

When painting a pool deck, water damage can be a huge issue to consider. Not only do pool decks have high traffic, but they may stay consistently wet during the summertime. For pool decks, it’s a good idea to seal them first.

When it comes to color, keep with the décor of your current setting. A white or beige will go great in this area to differentiate from the pool edge and the deck. Since safety is key around the pool, consider using a textured deck paint in a different color to avoid any slips.

Deck Paint Ideas

Solid Color Deck Paint

Often, homeowners opt for a color on their deck. This can be a mostly neutral wood tone to give it a refreshed look. A solid color deck painting project will result in a clean looking deck with fast results. This is a great option for anyone looking to refresh their deck or preparing for a home sale.

Paint Stripes

Striped Deck Paint

For a modern look that stands out, try a striped pattern for your deck paint project! This can be two neutral tones, like a beige and white or two-toned hues like different shades of blue. Some choose to paint in the direction of the boards while others prefer a chunky vertical stripe. Paint to fit your taste and add a unique style to the backyard!

Pop Of Color Deck Paint

If you’re looking for a bit of color but not ready to commit to painting the entire deck, try painting a few geometric shapes on the deck for just a pop of color. This will give you a unique look without sacrificing the natural look of the deck. With lighter colors, beware that it might be more sensitive to scratching and damage. This may have to be touched up once a season to keep the color looking great.

Abstract Design Deck Paint

For a truly unique deck, you must get creative. While it might take more time, you can DIY your favorite pattern or design right on to the deck. Use stencils and painter’s tape to get the pattern you love. Chevron stripes in various colors are hot right now. You can easily create the popular Damask pattern with a few stencils. If you need pattern inspiration, check out Alisia Burke’s decking project, where she created her own painted deck pattern using various shapes, colors and patterns. A little extra effort is worth the beautiful result!

Conclusion

A fresh coat of paint for a backyard deck can truly transform it into something new. If you’re looking for a DIY project to complete in the backyard, this is it! Take a sunny weekend and refresh the look of your deck.

9
Apr

6 Tips To Ensure A Clean & Organized Kitchen Countertop

6 Tips To Ensure A Clean & Organized Kitchen Countertop

By Jaclyn Crawford on Mar 29, 2017

6 Tips To Ensure A Clean & Organized Kitchen Countertop

Project

As a prominent feature in your kitchen, the countertops see a lot of traffic. For most of us, the counter is a place for more than just food prep. Children may sit here during homework time or it can be a gathering place for weekend entertaining. With so many daily functions, it’s important to guarantee a clean kitchen countertop for your health and aethstetics.

Finding what works to keep your countertop clean might be a challenge. But we’re here to share solutions to ensure a clean and functional kitchen countertop for all to enjoy.

Could your counters use a refresh? Contact a kitchen remodeling pro today for up to four quotes from contractors in your area for free.

Refresh Your Countertop

1. Refinish Your Countertops

In some cases, your countertops can look old and worn. No amount of cleaning product can bring your countertop back to life again. Many homeowners worry they must replace their entire countertop, but refinishing can make it look new again for a lower price. The price largely depends on the type of finish you choose. Here’s what you can budget for:

  • Epoxy Finish: $2.92 to $7.17/sf
  • Laminate: $1.67 to $4.18/sf
  • Paint & Sealant: $1.17 to $2.33/sf

Maintain Your Countertop

2. Know Your Countertop Material

Before you start cleaning the countertop, know what material it is and what solutions will work best. From butcher block wood to ceramic tile, a cleaning solution that works on one may not work on another. Here are a few tips for your specific kitchen countertop:

Ceramic Tile Countertops

One of the biggest issues when it comes to cleaning ceramic tiles is the grout. While day-to-day maintenance will help with aesthetics, most of the bacteria and staining can be found in the grout. Using grout cleaner two to three times per year for a deep clean will help keep your countertops in the best shape.

Glass Countertops

While most cleaning solutions will work on glass countertops, be sure to not use a scouring pad or any other rough cleaning tools. This can cause scratches in the surface.

Laminate Countertops

Similarly to glass, laminate countertops also can’t withstand rough cleaning tools. A simple rag with soap and water will do the trick. Always wipe up spills as soon as they happen on laminate countertops, as they are more likely to stain this surface.

Natural Stone Countertops

While natural stone countertops look great, they can be sensitive to staining based on how absorbent they are. Natural stone countertops should be sealed regularly depending on the stone to prevent stains. Additionally, never use citrus cleaners on natural stone.

Quartz Countertops

Engineered stone, or quartz, countertops might be the easiest to clean and keep stain-free. Spills wipe up easily with a damp cloth and cleaner.

Stainless Steel Countertops

While stainless steel countertops are making a comeback, it can be harder to keep this material from streaks. While clean-up tends to be easier than most, to get a streak-free shine, buff with an olive or mineral oil regularly to maintain a beautiful shine.

Wood Countertops

For the home chef, wood countertops is a must in the dream kitchen. However, this type of countertop can’t handle water-based cleaners like other materials. A wood cleaner is needed to keep wood countertops in the best shape.

Clean Kitchen Countertop

3. Create A Maintenance Schedule

Countertops of any type need to be cared for regularly to maintain their look and cleanliness. Create a schedule you and your family can stick to. Do a deep clean once a month and set reminders for when your counter may need to be resealed.

4. Get Organized

As you may know, countertop space isn’t just used to prepare food. Sometimes, your counter might look more like a storage area, homework station or charging area than anything else. In order to maintain your countertop regularly, you need to clear the clutter. Create an organization system for any mail or papers that might be important. Hang hooks and shelving nearby for storage, so the counter is avoided. A charging station can help you avoid crisscrossed wires across the surface. By putting organization systems in place, you can create a clean and functional counter for all in your home.

Know Your Countertop Material

5. Use Natural Solutions

Having a clean cooking space is essential for your family’s health. Whenever I can, I choose to use natural cleaning solutions as opposed to commercial products. This is especially important in an area where food is prepared. Additionally, natural cleaning solutions often can be made from ingredients in your home. While baking soda, vinegar and essential oils are what many go to when it comes to DIY cleaning products, always check to see if your countertop material can handle those combinations.

Sink And Counter

6. Don’t Let Spills Sit

In the kitchen, spills are bound to happen. The key to a clean countertop is to ensure all spills are cleaned up promptly. The longer a spill sits, the more likely it can stain your countertop. Keep a damp cloth nearby to pick up spills quickly as they happen and wipe down the surface area when you’re done preparing food.

Conclusion

A clean kitchen countertop can make for a happier and healthier space. Develop a countertop cleaning routine to keep your countertops looking good as new!

9
Apr

The Boomer’s Ultimate Guide To Adding Value To Your Home

The Boomer’s Ultimate Guide To Adding Value To Your Home

By Andrea Davis on Mar 31, 2017

The Boomer’s Ultimate Guide To Adding Value To Your Home

Whether you’re a senior looking to sell your house in the near future or are looking for practical updates that will make it more appealing to buyers later on, there are all kinds of ways to increase your home’s value. Some changes can be made quite easily by homeowners themselves, and certain projects will take no more than a weekend to complete. Other updates are better left to a professional, be it due to safety precautions or special training that’s required to do the job. This guide will discuss the best value-boosting modifications to consider for your home so that when the time comes to sell, you’ll get the highest return on your investment.

Keep in mind that every homeowner’s needs will be different, and you may want to ask a real estate agent or local interior designer to evaluate your home. They can offer valuable insight on the areas of your house that would best benefit from an update, as well as when to preserve the integrity of a particular style of home, some modern renovations may detract from a colonial home’s appeal, for instance. Getting personalized advice about how to best add value to your home is never a bad idea!

Update Your Kitchen

Kitchen

An updated kitchen is the number one wish list item for young buyers and an excellent place to start when boosting your home’s value. The best part is that your budget doesn’t have to be a limiting factor. Even small changes can make a world of difference in giving an outdated kitchen a facelift. Of course, if you do have a large budget to work with, you may want to consider investing a good amount in your cooking space.

Cabinets

Consider your basic kitchen hardware: cabinet door knobs and drawer handles. If they’re the same as when you moved in, and especially if there’s visible wear and tear, it’s likely time to switch them out for a fresh, modern look. Changing them is simple and often low-cost. This small change can completely transform the look of your cabinets and create cohesion in the space, particularly if you opt to match the hardware to your appliances.

If your cabinets are in need of more than just a minor update, you can still make alterations to update them without breaking the bank. A good scrubbing is a great first step! Sanding out rough or worn spots, new contact paper lining, and a fresh coat of paint are all simple ways to elevate old cabinets. If the cabinet boxes are in good shape, you can remove and refinish the doors and drawers for a brand new look without the overhaul of a total remodel.

Replacing your cabinets completely might end up being the best option for a particularly worn-out kitchen. Most home improvement stores come with entire units you can install yourself, but it does require significant time and skill, after all, you have to rip the old ones out first! Keep in mind, however, that if your home is on its way to market, it’s wise to be conservative with brand new cabinets. New homebuyers will certainly appreciate seeing an updated kitchen, but they still may opt to make their own changes. Shanty cabinets can be a major distraction to would-be buyers and prevent them from seeing the space’s potential, but you shouldn’t devote your entire budget to new cupboards that may ultimately get altered.

Sink

Sink hardware is another easy update to consider. Does your kitchen have:

  • A modern faucet?
  • A spray nozzle for easy dishwashing?
  • A garbage disposal?

Even new drain traps can make an important difference. No one wants to think about years of grime and buildup in their “new” kitchen sink!

If the sink is porcelain or acrylic, consider switching it out for a more durable material like stainless steel for both a practicality boost and an updated look. You also might want to consider the depth and division: if yours is a shallow, single sink, then a deep, double unit is a more modern alternative. Sink installation can be more complicated, so unless you have experience with home contracting it might be best to hire a professional for installation.

You should also check your kitchen plumbing to ensure it’s in good working order, especially if your home is or will soon be on the market. Replace broken hoses, repair faulty disposals, and make any other small fixes, even if they don’t directly affect your way of life right now. It’s better to nip problems in the bud to avoid their escalation, especially in a room you’ll always use. Plus, even if you don’t normally use your garbage disposal, for example, having it operational while still living in your house might end up being a major convenience for you!

Update Your Countertop

Countertops

A kitchen’s countertops can be a major indication of an older, worn-down space, but it can be a costly update to make. Laminate is one of the least expensive material options, but you lose durability, which could be a significant downside for potential buyers. Ceramic tile comes in all colors and sizes and is easy to clean, though you may want to opt for dark-colored grout to conceal stains. Corian is a great, albeit more expensive, alternative, because while it’s stronger and easier to clean, it can come in varieties that look identical to expensive granite or marble countertops. Consider your budget and how long you’ll be in your home before selling it; if you’ll be living there a few more years, go with what will meet your culinary needs best.

If you do opt to install new kitchen countertops, your main focus in choosing a material should be practicality. Keep in mind your area’s climate. For instance, if you’re near the coast, choose a material that holds up well with high humidity and salty sea air. Most buyers will appreciate something that’s easy to clean, and ideally, a surface that’s at least somewhat heat resistant.

Update Your Light Fixtures

Light Fixtures

A kitchen’s lighting can be a dead giveaway for the era in which it was built. Fluorescent soffit lighting in particular screams the 1970s. A large budget will allow you to update however you like, ideally with a balance of natural, ambient, and task lighting. Undercabinet additions can do wonders for a dim kitchen, especially if there’s little to no natural light to work with.

Because the kitchen is one of the most utilized spaces in the house, it’s also worthwhile to consider making it more energy efficient with lighting. Look for ways to maximize the sunlight it receives during the day, and consider adding a single, bright overhead light for nighttime use. Be conservative with your choice in fixtures if your home is headed to the listings page: buyers tend to be turned off by those that are overly ornate. If your budget allows, have different fixtures linked to different switches so lighting can easily be adjusted according to the task at-hand. Perhaps the easiest lighting update to make is to switch to LED bulbs that not only last longer, but actually use significantly less energy than standard bulbs.

Appliances

Updates you make to your kitchen appliances will greatly depend on your budget, and it’s important to consider the investment. If you’ll be living in your house for several more years, it’s probably worth it to spend the money to replace an old refrigerator or stove since you’ll use its replacement. Even a new microwave can make an older kitchen look more modern, so if you’ve been putting off replacing yours, it can be a handy home value-booster; best of all, if it’s not mounted, you’ll get the elevated look and still get to keep the unit once you move out!

If you’re not looking to replace the appliances, simply swapping out the front panel of your stove or dishwasher can elevate the room’s overall appearance. Some dishwashers actually come with two-sided face panels that you can easily switch without professional assistance. If you’re buying a completely new panel, stainless steel tends to be one of the more contemporary options.

If you do opt to replace any of your kitchen appliances, look for those that are Energy Star certified. This will keep your energy bills lower while you’re still living in the home and can be incredibly attractive to new homebuyers looking to reduce their carbon footprint.

Update Your Bathroom

Bathroom

Bathrooms are often the second most important room to update in the interest of home value. The changes can be as simple as replacing the toilet seat, installing a new faucet, adding modern tap handles, or updating the hardware on cabinets. If the plates on your electrical outlets and light switches are old and dingy, spend a few extra dollars on fashionable new plates for easy accents. If you’re planning ahead, make gradual changes over time so the work will feel a lot less overwhelming. Plus, your wallet won’t face any major blows!

Flooring

No one wants to see a dirty bathroom floor, especially in a home they’re contemplating buying. Replacing it is actually a lot easier these days than it used to be. Many vinyl tile coverings can be fitted directly over existing floor. Half-bathrooms can even be fitted with laminate or hardwood, but for full bathrooms, you’ll want to ensure the material is water-resistant and won’t warp from humidity in the air.

If a new floor isn’t an investment you can make, a major scrubbing might be enough to make bathroom floors look like new again. Make sure to wear protective eye and breathing gear as needed, especially with bleach products. You can hire a maid or cleaning service to do the job for you if you have limited mobility, depending on the size and number of bathrooms, you’ll likely only need to hire them for a few hours at most.

Update Your Sink

Countertops, Cabinets & Storage

Bathroom counter trends have seen significant changes in recent years, with a shift away from tile and toward materials like marble, granite, and quartz. Laminate is a low-cost option that can give a truly elevated look, but it isn’t always incredibly durable against heat and humidity; if you’re not planning to sell your home anytime soon, it may not look very new once the house does go on the market. As with the kitchen, the bathroom should have an easy-to-clean surface.

Your options for updating bathroom cabinets will be similar to those for the kitchen. Scrubbing the interiors and re-lining surfaces with fresh contact paper can be low-budget wonders. Refacing the outside can be as detailed as you like, from new hinges to a fresh coat of paint to stenciled accents. Decorate with neutral tones and simple features; the goal is to create a soothing atmosphere.

Make sure each bathroom has adequate storage that allows you to keep the space organized and clutter-free. Adding a small pantry or hanging cabinet can help maximize the space, but make sure you don’t store anything heavy up high and create a hassle for yourself in the process. Some people prefer to keep their storage completely out of sight, but others embrace the chance to get creative by repurposing other items and making the storage double as décor. Do make sure you keep the floor clear of as many tripping hazards as possible, especially in small bathrooms.

Showers & Bathtubs

Again, the first step is to give your shower and tub a good, thorough cleaning (or hire a cleaning service to do so). The cleaning process might even give you insight into smart updates to make: if, for example, you realize what a hassle it is to clean around the grout of tiny tile, perhaps switching to large subway tile can give the space both a color boost and make it easier to maintain. Keep in mind that buyers will be looking with a critical eye, so the more “cons” you can keep off their list, the better!

Replacing tile can be costly and usually requires the hiring of a professional. Instead, re-grouting and replacing chipped tiles can help give your bathroom a fresher appearance. Installing a shower door in place of a curtain can not only reduce the tripping hazard for you now, it can add a permanent sophisticated touch.

A new shower head, a contemporary faucet, and new handles can also help modernize even the most old-fashioned of bathrooms. Don’t underestimate classic looks, however, especially with pedestal sinks and clawfoot bathtubs. Replacing worn items is still important, but don’t choose modern hardware if it will clash with the tub it’s going on.

For those with large budgets, consider installing a walk-in shower. A wide enough space will make it wheelchair friendly should you need it now or as you age, but keep in mind the lip should be flush to the bathroom floor. Not all potential buyers will want to completely lose their bathtub, especially in master bathrooms, so consider hiring a contractor to install both a walk-in shower and an adjacent tub if you can.

Update Storage

Closets & Storage

Adding storage to your home can make your life a lot easier now, as well as add important value to your home in the long run. Budget will play a major role in the kinds of expansion you can make, but every minor improvement can make a difference. Seek every opportunity to create more storage space in every room, especially bedrooms.

Many homes, both old and new, have opportunity when it comes to storage. If you have the budget and space to create a few extra closets throughout your home, take advantage. It can be an especially beneficial addition to a den. Adding a closet means creating an extra bedroom.

A walk-in closet is a luxury many people dream of, and often a detail included in real estate listings. Rolling pocket doors can be a major help in maximizing the space, and shelving both above and below clothes rods can allow for even more storage. And don’t forget the lighting. A simple hanging fixture or several bright sconces can both brighten and elevate the look!

For the closet space you currently have, organize and maximize it. Installing new shelving is a straightforward task if you’re handy, and even just adding a few additional shelves in underused space can make a big difference. If you’re a novice, it’s better to hire a professional for this task; if the shelves aren’t installed correctly, they could collapse and cause expensive damage to the wall.

Update Your Bedroom

Bedroom, Living Room, Common Areas & Other General Considerations

While there’s no need to remodel your entire home prior to selling, there are a few considerations to keep in mind with the rest of the home. Start by making sure furniture and décor allow for sensible pathways throughout the home, creating as much open space as possible. Mirrors can be an excellent way to make small spaces look bigger while still being a pleasant accent to a room or hallway. Lighting should also be evaluated throughout the home; the brighter the home, especially in natural light, the better!

As you start to look ahead to selling your home, consider painting bedrooms, hallways, and living areas in neutral tones if they aren’t already. Your entire home doesn’t have to be bland and colorless, but opting for pops of color with your décor and furniture may be wiser. Buyers like to imagine their own touches being added to the houses they visit, so you want to make it easy while still presenting them with a cozy environment.

Replacing old carpet tends to be a given when it comes to selling your home, and you might want to consider opting for a different surface altogether. Laminate or hardwood floors are not only beautiful, they’re easier to clean and don’t have the tendency to hold allergens like carpet does. Additionally, choosing these materials instead of particularly hard ones like granite or marble makes it easier to move around as you age, especially as your mobility needs evolve, with less danger of serious injury if you do fall.

Popcorn ceilings are another telltale sign of your home’s age and can be a serious turnoff for buyers. They’re relatively easy to remove yourself, but because the process requires extended periods standing on a high ladder while scraping, you’re better off hiring a professional. Make sure you’re aware of your home’s risk for asbestos and advise your contractor as necessary.

Find opportunities to make your home more energy efficient, be it with a new, Energy Star certified central air conditioning system or re-insulating exterior doors. Ceiling fans are an excellent way to keep homes cooler in the heat without driving up electricity costs, while thick-paned windows can better preserve heat in the winter. Self-regulating thermostats are slowly becoming an expected quality, and some models can even synch to a smart home system. Don’t go too overboard with specialized technology modifications, however, as the rate of new advancements can make them obsolete in just a few years.

Finally, don’t be afraid to make aging-in-place modifications to your home. Accessible homes will be appealing to other seniors looking to buy, those with disabilities, and families with an aging loved one to care for. Many alterations can even help guarantee the safety of small children, adding textured gripping to the shower floor, for instance.

Update Your Exterior

Exterior

Finally, don’t forget the first thing potential buyers see: your home’s exterior. Perhaps the easiest way to identify opportunities is to stand outside and view your house with the critical eye of an inspector: Is anything broken? Does anything immediately look old? Is your yard attractively decorated and well-kept? Again, simple changes can make an important difference, but there are a few major ones to consider, as well.

An often overlooked quality to consider changing in your home is the garage door. If it’s broken, dented, rusted, or otherwise visibly aged, replacing it can bring as much as an 84% return on investment. Simply adding a fresh coat of paint in a neutral, inviting color can help your house stand out in a good way if your budget is limited, and can be completed in the course of an afternoon.

Your home’s entryway is another important consideration. You want potential buyers to feel eager to enter your home, so creating a beautiful pathway to the front door can be all the difference. Stone pathways, especially those with decorative inlays, offer a beautiful, memorable entry. Take the material you use into special consideration, avoiding those that will be especially slippery in the rain and any with uneven surfaces; not only is this a walking hazard for you, it might be a turnoff to parents with young children still learning to walk or buyers with mobility issues.

Make repairs and improvements to any windows, shutters, siding, and exterior doors that are easily visible from the street. A single broken window frame can be a distracting eyesore, and loose or crooked shutters immediately make a home look worn down. Depending on the age of your home and the kind of damage, many repairs may be simple to complete. For lengthier processes, however, take into account how much time you’ll spend outside in the elements and consider hiring a professional for big projects; dehydration can be especially tricky in older adults, so leaving the manual outdoor labor to others is often wise.

There’s no need to completely restructure your yard’s landscape, but making some aesthetic improvements can really elevate your home’s curb appeal. Adding evergreen shrubs and a few potted plants are simple, easy-to-maintain improvements that can beautify just about any yard. Planting a shade tree in the front or backyard can give you a cozy spot to picnic under, and placing it strategically can even keep your house cooler and reduce energy costs. Fill in bare patches in the grass as you see them, and keep your lawn trimmed and weeded.

Conclusion

If you’re still a few years away from selling your home, make value-boosting alterations as you have the money and opportunity. Talk to your neighbors about improvements they’ve made to their homes and any deal-makers or breakers they had on their wish list. With the right insight and strategy, you can make the most impactful adjustments to your home and see it sell at the top price.

9
Apr

A Scent-Sational Bathroom: How To Make Your Bathroom Smell Great

A Scent-Sational Bathroom: How To Make Your Bathroom Smell Great

By Jaclyn Crawford on Apr 2, 2017

A Scent-Sational Bathroom: How To Make Your Bathroom Smell Great

Project

At the end of the day, where do you go to unwind? A spa-like bathroom can be the remedy for a stressful day. Your bathroom is beautiful, so it should smell beautiful too! Mold, mildew and waste can make this a daily challenge. With use and over time, these smells seem to grow stronger.

Majority of unpleasant bathroom scents grow stronger with time. So it’s important to take care of them as soon as you recognize it. Never fear, there are solutions to create a great smelling bathroom. Eliminate odors and freshen up with these bathroom tips.

Could your bathroom use some serious freshening? It might be a job for a professional. Contact a cleaning pro today for up to four quotes from contractors in your area for free.

Change Your Towels

Clean It Up

Bathrooms tend to have a lot going on that can easily cause a mess. If you don’t have one already, create a cleaning routine for the bathroom. Clean the shower, bathtub, sink, toilet and floors thoroughly. Using a daily shower spray can help.

Fabrics in the bathroom like towels and shower curtains tend to hold the moisture and can create a musty smell. Be sure to wash these regularly to keep the bathroom smelling fresh.

Once a year, it’s a good idea to get a professional cleaning. This is a great way to scrub all the corners and small areas you may not be able to clean on your own. The average cost to hire a maid service is $157, with most homeowners spending between $122 and $167.

Clean Bathroom Costs

Use Your Bathroom Fan

Mold and mildew can be the biggest culprit of unpleasant smells in the bathroom. This is due to the sitting moisture within the room from showers and baths. That’s why all bathrooms must have a bathroom fan. This helps the moisture escape the room and reduce the musty smell. It also helps protect your bathroom from water damage over time. While newer homes already have bathroom fans installed, you may find many older homes without. The good news is that you can get a bathroom fan installed for an average cost of $344.

Scented Candles For Bathrooms

Scented Candles

For instant relief from unpleasant bathroom smells, a scented candle can go a long way. If you have company coming over or just want to create a pleasant bathroom environment, a candle can give you the scent and look you desire. While there are many scents out there, some brands offer odor eliminating effects that can help take care of any bad smells in the moment and after the candle has been blown out.

As always, practice appropriate fire safety techniques whenever you burn a candle. Never burn a candle near anything flammable, such as curtains or towels. Always blow out the candle before leaving your home and keep away from small children.

Essential Oils For Bathrooms

Essential Oils

If you’re not using essential oils in your home yet, you should be. Not only do essential oils aid in long-lasting odor elimination but often they have anti-microbial properties that are much needed in the bathroom. There are two ways you can use essential oils in the bathroom for the greatest impact.

  • Use a diffuser to clean the air and add an instant fresh scent. This is a great and safe alternative option to candles, with the scent lasting just as long.
  • Use essential oils in your DIY cleaning products for a natural solution with a great smell.

You can use both options or just one, but whatever you choose, be sure to add to your regular cleaning routine for the biggest impact. The best part is that essential oils are a natural alternative to other chemical air fresheners, so you’ll be doing the best for the bathroom and your health.

Bathroom Air Purifier

Air Purifier

While you may not realize it, there are impurities in the air you can’t see that may be contributing to the smell. Pet dander, indoor smoking and other pollutants can create a lingering smell throughout the home, including the bathroom. Look for a model with e HEPA air filter to help with odor control. If you have a small bathroom, you may be questioning if you even have room for this. There are many compact models available, and a few plug-in models that would work great in a small bathroom.

To have the most impact on air quality throughout your home, you may want to consider installing a whole house air purifier. The average cost to install is $2,526 with most homeowners spending between $752 and $2,799.

Baking Soda For Odors

Baking Soda

Sometimes, the solution to odor elimination can be found directly in your kitchen. Baking soda is a powerful natural cleaning ingredient that we often use alongside vinegar to scrub surfaces and eliminate stains. But, there’s another powerful benefit to baking soda. You may know already that it eliminates odors in the refrigerator, but it can also remove them from the bathroom. Simply stick a box in a corner where it will go unnoticed and it will begin to absorb odors. Be sure to change out the box at least once a month to maintain freshness.

Conclusion

Your bathroom is a place to rest and relax, not to be distracted by unpleasant smells. The first step is to find a cleaning routine that works for you. Then, try one or two of these tips for continual freshness and a scent that’s pleasant for your home.

9
Apr

Landscaping Where Grass Won’t Grow

Landscaping Where Grass Won’t Grow

By Jaclyn Crawford on Apr 3, 2017

Landscaping Where Grass Won't Grow

Project

Every homeowner dreams of an outdoor space with lush, green grass. But the reality is that for many of us, that doesn’t exist. Maybe you haven’t quite found time for proper lawn care maintenance or there’s a patch of grass you can’t bring back to life. Dead grass reduces curb appeal and can simply be a reason not to spend time in your yard.

The good news is that there are other options besides grass as a ground cover. It’s time to get creative and replace that dead grass with something new. See a few ideas to landscape where grass simply will not grow.

You can revive your yard with a new landscape design. Contact a landscaping pro today for up to four quotes from contractors in your area for free.

Why Grass Wont Grow

Reasons Why Grass Won’t Grow

While grass seems to be everywhere, it’s not exactly the easiest ground cover to keep healthy. Regular maintenance is a key factor in healthy, growing grass. If you’re not watering regularly or cutting your grass too short, this can contribute to dead grass.

Soil nutrients are another factor in green grass. If you have a regular lawn maintenance schedule but the grass is still unhealthy, consider a soil test. This can detect if the grass is getting the right nourishment it needs or it can result in patchy, brown spots in the lawn. The average cost to test soil is $1,142, with most homeowners spending between $947 and $1,550. When the results come back, you can find the appropriate fertilizer to improve the nutrient levels in the soil.

Now, if you’ve tried it all, but grass simply won’t grow, it’s likely due to not enough sunlight. Your lawn needs six hours of daily sunlight to truly thrive. If you have grass on the side of a house, under a tree or any other area of partial sunlight, it’s time to consider alternatives.

Create An Outdoor Living Area

1. Create An Outdoor Living Area

If you’re ready to start enjoying your backyard again, an outdoor living area could be the fix you need. A patio takes much less regular maintenance and is there to enjoy whenever you want to relax outside. The average cost to install a patio is $2,844, but you could lower these costs by making it a DIY project.

A patio is great, but to really turn it into something for all to enjoy, you’ll need comfortable outdoor furniture to complete the look. Invest in quality items that are weather-resistant. An outdoor fireplace is also a great patio addition where all can gather. Whatever you choose, it will certainly give the backyard a new look you’ll love.

Install Turf

2. Install Turf

Some homeowners love the look of grass, but simply can’t grow it. As an alternative, turf can give the healthy grass look with far less maintenance. Since synthetic grass is designed to last a lifetime, the upfront cost will pay for itself in time. The average cost to install turf is $4,211.

Invest In Mulch

3. Invest In Mulch

If your grass is patchier in some areas than others, mulch can be a great-looking alternative without removing the healthy chunks of the lawn. This is a great solution for grass in shady areas such as under trees or near a house. As mulch breaks down, it fertilizes plants as well, making it a great spot to grow flowers. Mulch is low maintenance, needing to be replaced only once a year, usually in spring.

IInstall A Pond

4. Install A Pond

Water features are hot in landscape design and is a unique solution for almost any area, boosting curb appeal instantly. A small pond can be just what your backyard needs to make it a relaxing oasis. Pond liners in fiberglass or concrete are the best option for low-maintenance. The average cost to install a pond is $2,837, with most homeowners spending between $1,609and $3,462.

Plant Low Maintenance Ground Cover

5. Plant Low Maintenance Ground Cover

Thinking outside the box, a no-mow lawn could be just what you need. Ground cover isn’t just limited to grass. There are many other plants that spread quickly for ground cover and add a pop of color. If you have a spot where grass won’t grow, this could be a great addition. Here are a few variations to consider:

  • Creeping Thyme
  • Periwinkle
  • Moss
  • Pachysandra
  • Liriope
  • New Zealand Burr

Install A Playground

6. Install A Play Area

If you have children, this might be the best use of a space where grass can’t grow. A permanent area for playtime can help encourage your child to get outside more often and increase their creativity. What better way to do so than with a playground? Sand or rubber mulch is a safe choice for ground cover under a swing set or playground. It’s also low maintenance, just needing to be refilled as needed and cleaned of any debris. The average cost to install a playground or swing set is $574. This cost does not include the cost of swing set.

For families without children or are looking for a spot to entertain, consider adding a permanent spot in the backyard for horseshoes, bocce ball or another lawn game. A new ground cover or turf can replace the area where grass won’t grow and become the setting for an outdoor entertainment fixture.

Conclusion

While many homeowners struggle to find ways to grow their grass, you have solutions that can save you the time and hassle. Start enjoying your backyard again by trying one of these great alterative landscaping tips.