Protect Your Yard From Pests


Honey bee flying away

Recent showers combined with warmer weather will create the perfect habitat for pesky summer bugs. Here are some effective ways to prevent the common bites, stings and nuisances.

 

Bees

To prevent bees from establishing a colony in or around your house, it’s important to remember these three things: food, water and shelter — bees’ keys to life.

As with any other summer bug, stagnant water must be kept to a minimum. Drain pots and repair any faulty irrigation systems. And if you have bird baths or pet bowls outside, mixing in 2 tablespoons of vinegar per gallon of water will discourage any bees from setting up shop near your house.

Plan an exterior inspection and eliminate any potential nesting sites. Cover holes, chimneys and animal burrows. Make sure windows and screens are tightly fitted and sealed. If you have any debris in your yard, such as old tires, cardboard boxes or old appliances, throw them out. Bees seek out such items for nesting sites.

Removing flowers as a source of food is not recommended. In fact, it’s very important for bees to pollinate many plants, including crops. If you have a colorful garden, not to worry. As long as you have their other two resources tamed to a minimum, you’re in tip-top shape for the summer.

 

Gnats

Although relatively harmless, these small creatures create quite the inconvenience with their constant swarming. Plus, you never know what germs they may be carrying as they travel from place to place.

If you garden, you want to make sure your fruits and veggies are staying fresh outside. If you happen to notice rotting or mold, act fast and pluck them out, then turn your soil or mulch to allow any moldy layers to dry out.

As with mosquitoes, be diligent in draining any standing water and drying out any moisture. With Texas humidity, the drying process may take a while. In this case, sprinkle a bit of sand on top of your soil, something very discouraging to gnats.

 

Mosquitoes

Unfortunately, Texas’ No. 1 culprit is here to stay. Aside from the traditional insect repellants and home remedies, it’s best to treat this problem at its source — water.

Turn over empty pottery to prevent from collecting water, drain plant saucers and fix any leaking outdoor faucets. Mosquitoes often lay their eggs in stagnant water, so the less the better.

 

Slugs

Like humans, slugs seek out shade on sunny days. And like many other bugs, they love moist areas.

To prevent slugs from damaging your plants and leaving their slimy evidence, get rid of any hiding places. Think cool, dark and moist. Try irrigating your lawn in the morning instead of the evening, allowing plenty of time for plants and soil to dry before the sun sets.

To protect plants, spray surrounding areas with soap and water. You can also create barriers around your plants, such as rocks, wire or anything rough and abrasive to slow them down.

Lastly, slugs have no bones. Therefore, they can fit in any crack or crevice they set their eyes on. Seal any cracks and cover any holes you notice throughout your house. By doing so, you not only eliminate the potential for slugs, but for other bugs as well.

 

If you’re experiencing bug problems not addressed here, contact your local nursery for expert advice.

New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home


Multifunctional interior with green chair

 

At the start of every year, we set goals for our health, well-being and even finances. But what about for the home?

 

These home-improvement resolutions will help make your home cleaner, more gorgeous and enjoyable in 2019.

 

laundry room

Clear Clutter

Take the time post-holidays to clear items you no longer wear, use or love. Start room-by-room to keep it manageable, stay organized to avoid duplication and donate any excess to charity. Lightening your home’s load will make it look instantly cleaner and support less-fortunate families in your community with those items taking up precious living space.

 

High Angle View Of Weekly Cleaning Plan Form

Cleaning Schedule

Divvy up daily and weekly tasks for maximum tidiness. Complete chores daily, like dishes in the dishwasher, dirty clothes in the basket, clean clothes in the closet — everything in its place. Clean the entire house weekly with ease using a portable cleaning caddy stocked with supplies, an apron for easily accessible tools and focusing on one type of cleaning task at a time.

 

smart screen with smart home with modern dining room

Safety + Efficiency

Ensure your home is safe by replacing smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries. Don’t forget to test for radon and check bathroom, attic and dryer vents, also. Lower your bills and lessen your footprint by installing LED bulbs and low-flow showerheads, adjust or schedule thermostats, run only full loads of dishes and laundry, power down or unplug items not in use, water less and compost more — to name a few tips.

 

Angle view of living room

Rearrange to Entertain

Get a fresh new look for hosting friends with a few updates. Adding plants is a cost-effective update that also helps clean the air. Pick an accent color for your entertaining space and add it throughout with a vibrant rug or a stylish throw pillow. And, of course, the timeless trick of rearranging furniture brings new energy to any space.

 

Summer Bug Solutions


Close up of bumble bee pollinating wildflowers in the meadow

Recent showers and 100-degree days have created the perfect habitat for pesky summer bugs. Here are some effective ways to prevent the common bites, stings and nuisances.

 

Mosquitoes

Unfortunately, Texas’ No. 1 culprit is here to stay. Aside from the traditional insect repellants and home remedies, it’s best to treat this problem at its source — water.

Turn over empty pottery to prevent from collecting water, drain plant saucers and fix any leaking outdoor faucets. Mosquitoes often lay their eggs in stagnant water, so the less the better.

 

Gnats

Although relatively harmless, these small creatures create quite the inconvenience with their constant swarming. Plus, you never know what germs they may be carrying as they travel from place to place.

If you garden, you want to make sure your fruits and veggies are staying fresh outside. If you happen to notice rotting or mold, act fast and pluck them out, then turn your soil or mulch to allow any moldy layers to dry out. As with mosquitoes, be diligent in draining any standing water and drying out any moisture. With Texas humidity, the drying process may take a while. In this case, sprinkle a bit of sand on top of your soil, something very discouraging to gnats.

 

Bees

To prevent bees from establishing a colony in or around your house, it’s important to remember these three things: food, water and shelter — bees’ keys to life.

As with any other summer bug, stagnant water must be kept to a minimum. Drain pots and repair any faulty irrigation systems. And if you have bird baths or pet bowls outside, mixing in 2 tablespoons of vinegar per gallon of water will discourage any bees from setting up shop near your house.

Plan an exterior inspection and eliminate any potential nesting sites. Cover holes, chimneys and animal burrows. Make sure windows and screens are tightly fitted and sealed. If you have any debris in your yard, such as old tires, cardboard boxes or old appliances, throw them out. Bees seek out such items for nesting sites.

Removing flowers as a source of food is not recommended. In fact, it’s very important for bees to pollinate many plants, including crops. If you have a colorful garden, not to worry. As long as you have their other two resources tamed to a minimum, you’re in tip-top shape for the summer.

 

Slugs

Like humans, slugs seek out shade on sunny days. And like many other bugs, they love moist areas.

To prevent slugs from damaging your plants and leaving their slimy evidence, get rid of any hiding places. Think cool, dark and moist. Try irrigating your lawn in the morning instead of the evening, allowing plenty of time for plants and soil to dry before the sun sets.

To protect plants, spray surrounding areas with soap and water. You can also create barriers around your plants, such as rocks, wire or anything rough and abrasive to slow them down.

Lastly, slugs have no bones. Therefore, they can fit in any crack or crevice they set their eyes on. Seal any cracks and cover any holes you notice throughout your house. By doing so, you not only eliminate the potential for slugs, but for other bugs as well.

 

If you’re experiencing bug problems not addressed here, contact your local nursery for expert advice.

9 Ways to Rework Your Kitchen for the Holidays


Expecting family over for the holidays? According to a recent survey by WalletHub, D-FW ranks No. 9 on the list of top warm-weather destinations during the holidays.

 

Whether your family books a room at your place or pops in throughout the length of their trip, you want to make sure your kitchen is spot-on, and now is the perfect time to get started. Following are nine fixes for an impressive refresh.

 

1. Cabinetry

1477060873_485156-1925-fairmount-ave-fort-worth-tx-High-Res-16.jpg
1925 Fairmount Avenue | Fort Worth | $530,000

Dated cabinetry can serve as the biggest eyesore. Liven yours up by sanding them down, adding fresh paint and then installing snazzy hardware.

 

2. Countertops and Sink

1475769862_484086-10.jpg
2255 Forest Hollow Park | Dallas – Stonegate at Forest Hills | $559,000

Newer countertops provide a stunning look. Consider changing your sink as well. And, if there’s still wiggle room in the budget, look at updating your faucet – it can really complete the new look.

 

3. Appliances

1476981733_485106-13.jpg
6735 Kingsbury Drive | Dallas – Merriman Park | $470,000

If appliances aren’t working properly, it’s obvious they need to be replaced or fixed before family visits. It’s best to change out the refrigerator first – an appliance that is used daily. Then, match the replacement to existing equipment.

 

4. Backsplash

listing_36
7229 Yamini Drive | Dallas – Jan Mar | $939,000

Subway-tile backsplash adds an updated yet classic look. Going for neutral colors adds brightness and leaves room for more versatility.

 

5. Lighting

listing_27
4642 Edmondson Avenue | Highland Park | $1,395,000

Who wants a dark kitchen? Not your family. Consider purchasing and installing recessed ceiling cans. Although small, they highlight, brighten and add a modern touch.

 

6. Paint

1466801430_478097-1750-trace-bella-ct-westlake-tx-High-Res-9.jpg
1750 Trace Bella Court | Westlake | $5,798,880

Probably one of the easiest and least expensive ways to spruce up a room. Neutral shades allow for brightness and more versatility, but soft greens and blues add a nice twist.

 

7. Flooring

listing_24
5007 Purdue Avenue | Dallas – Briarwood | $849,000

Dated linoleum or vinyl isn’t the most attractive. Opt for real-wood planks, which add a classic addition to any kitchen.

 

8. Statement Piece

listing_35 (1)
2260 Hermitage Drive | Allen – Shaddock Park | $699,999

Similar to what it does for fashion, a statement piece serves as an interesting, attractive and relatively eye-catching item that reflects your style. A pot rack or a unique light fixture can easily be installed by homeowners, adding a big impact for a small price.

 

9. Openness

1476981986_485108-07.jpg
3207 Parkrise Court | Garland – Spring Park | $360,000

With good reason, the open floor plan trend continues to grow. Overcrowding in the kitchen is the last thing you want. Opt for knocking down a wall, allowing the central hub of your home to be a part of your living and dining areas.

How-To: Interior Lighting


Did you know that lighting is one of the most important elements in your home? When natural light isn’t available, due to lack of windows or time of day, the mood and brightness of your home is dictated by interior lighting. Additionally, light fixtures are a large part of design and personal style.

 

Following are a few tips to get the most out of your interior lighting:

 

Diversify

Use multiple sources for light so that the ambience is just right. Think about a mix of recessed ceiling lights, chandeliers, sconces, floor lamps, table lamps, and under mounted lighting solutions. A combination will throw light in different directions and create a more generalized glow.

 

listing_37
5730 County Road 471 | McKinney | $648,000

 

Focal Points

Use task lighting and directed light to highlight desks, plants, art, and unique decor.

 

listing_23
4428 Greenbrier Drive | Dallas | $1,750,000

 

Dimmers

Consider installing dimmers in entertaining spaces like dining areas, media rooms, and living areas. Being able to set the mood for a meal, movie or cozy night by the fire makes all the difference.

 

1457372482_470161-18media
6436 Sudbury Road | Plano – Kings Gate | $2,399,900

 

Read the Room

Different rooms call for different light fixture heights, sizes, and illuminations. For example, overhead lighting makes more sense in a kitchen than it does in a bedroom. Smaller lamps, sconces and delicate chandeliers are better suited in bedrooms than large living spaces.

 

23.jpg
5330 Pebblebrook Drive | Dallas – Russwood Acres | $1,569,000

 

Wattage

Always follow the instructions on your light fixture for maximum wattage, but don’t be afraid to take it down a notch. If the light fixture is more for decor than actual illumination, consider using low-wattage bulbs, which use less energy. Typical wattages range from 40 (for reading) to 80 (for putting on make up). However, utilizing multiple fixtures will allow for something in between.

 

1457730316_470596-20.jpg
4340 Shenandoah Street | University Park | $1,450,000

 

Decor

The fixtures you choose have a visual impact on your space. Make sure to keep the overall look and feel of the room in mind when selecting fixtures, but don’t be afraid to go bold. Statement floor lamps or chandeliers are the perfect way to add a punch of style with just one or two pieces.

 

1449697798_465363-14kit.jpg
3804 Villanova Street | University Park | $2,675,000

Get Your Fireplace Ready for Winter


Colder weather is here and it’s time to get your fireplace roaring again (check out 14 of our favorites here). Before you fill your home with the warmth and scent of a crackling fire, there are some precautions to take.

 

Check the Chimney

Have you called a chimney sweep recently? Experts recommend having your chimney cleaned once a year. A fireplace is only as good as its chimney, so inspect the exterior structure to make sure there are no issues there as well.

 

Open the Flue

Ever started a fire and had the room fill with smoke? If you’re new to fireplaces, you may not realize that this happens when the flue is closed. Many people close them in order to keep out small animals when their fireplaces aren’t in use. Simply look up and reach for a chain or lever to open it up before you light the fire.

 

Vacuum 

A quick vacuuming of the flue, smoke shelf and the surrounding hearth is the last step in preparation for fabulous fires in the coming months.

14 Fireplaces to Warm Up to This Holiday Season


Can you believe Thanksgiving is a little more than two weeks away? Believe it.

 

Although cozying up by the fire isn’t on the top of everyone’s to-do list right now, we can’t help but acknowledge that the holidays are just around the corner. And, if your expecting guests, it’s about that time to get your fireplace roaring again.

 

Following are 14 fireplaces that will have you curling up to warmth in no time.

 

listing_26
6318 Turner Way | Dallas – Preston Club Estates | $1,575,000

listing_40
400 Travis Court | Irving – Cottonwood Valley | $1,260,000

listing_26 (1)
6205 Azalea Lane | Dallas – Preston Royal | $1,200,000

listing_24
5833 Portsmouth Lane | Dallas – Cambridge Place at Preston Trail | $1,045,000

listing_22
11720 Forest Court | Dallas | $935,500

listing_22
5802 Kenwood Avenue | East Dallas | $899,000

listing_26 (2)
9005 Meadowknoll Drive | Dallas – Town Creek | $849,900

listing_23
6065 Star Trail Drive | Frisco – Starwood | $789,900

listing_40
400 La Paz Court | Irving – University Hills | $680,000

listing_23
3513 Springhouse Way | Celina – Light Farms | $599,999

listing_27
7351 Glendora Avenue | Dallas – The Meadows | $579,000

44147036-3
6901 Flintcove Drive | Dallas – Prestonwood | $539,000

listing_25
6018 Spring Flower Trail | Dallas – Preston Port Estates | $419,000

listing_28
18024 Carrollwood Drive | Dallas | $359,000

9 Ways to Rework Your Kitchen for the Holidays


Expecting family over for the holidays? According to a recent survey by Orbitz, 71 percent of Americans are expected to travel this holiday season, with Dallas ranking No. 9 on the list of top Thanksgiving destinations.

 

Whether your family books a room at your place or pops in throughout the length of their trip, you want to make sure your kitchen is spot-on, and now is the perfect time to get started. Following are nine fixes for an impressive refresh.

 

1. New Cabinets

listing_29
Dated cabinets can serve as the biggest eyesore. Liven yours up by sanding them down, adding fresh paint and then installing snazzy hardware.

3513 Springhouse Way | Celina – Light Farms | $599,999

 

2. Change Countertops and Sink

listing_29-1
Newer countertops prove a stunning look. If those change, consider changing your sink as well. And, if there’s still wiggle room in the budget, look at changing your faucet – it can really complete the new look.

4403 Rawlins Street | Dallas – Perry Heights | $959,500

 

3. Replace Equipment

listing_26
If appliances aren’t working properly, it’s obvious they need to be replaced or fixed before family visits. However, if upgrades are on the mind, it’s best to change out the refrigerator first – an appliance that is used daily. Then, match the replacement to existing equipment.

201 Sir Brine Drive | Lewisville – Castle Hills | $408,000

 

4. Update Backsplash

15.jpg
Subway tile backsplash adds an updated yet classic look. Going for neutral colors adds brightness and leaves room for more versatility.

7306 Mimosa Lane | Dallas – The Meadows | $679,500

 

5. Improve Lighting

listing_31
Who wants a dark kitchen? Not your family. Consider purchasing and installing recessed ceiling cans. Although small, they highlight, brighten and add a modern touch.

18007 Old Preston Court | Dallas | $599,000

 

6. Paint

listing_26
Probably one of the easiest and least expensive ways to spruce up a room. Neutral shades allow for brightness and more versatility, but soft greens and blues add a nice twist.

520 Laredo Circle | Allen – Twin Creeks | $510,000

 

7. Flooring

1444921507_462955-4312-hyer-st-dallas-tx-High-Res-14.jpg
Dated linoleum or vinyl isn’t the most attractive. Opt for real-wood planks, which add a classic addition to any kitchen.

4312 Hyer Street | University Park | $1,195,000

 

8. Statement Piece

listing_28
Similar to what it does for fashion, a statement piece serves as an interesting, attractive and relatively eye-catching item that reflects your style. A pot rack can easily be installed by homeowners, adding a big impact for a small price.

 

5833 Portsmouth Lane | Dallas – Cambridge Place at Preston Trail | $1,095,000

 

9. Openness

listing_28-1
With good reason, the open floor plan trend continues to grow. Overcrowding in the kitchen is the last thing you want. Opt for knocking down a wall, allowing the central hub of your home to be a part of your living and dining areas.

1037 Brigham Drive | Forney – Devonshire | $310,000

13 Ways to Add Value to Your Home


Whether you’re selling now, planning to sell in the future or just want peace of mind, there are always steps you can take to increase the value of your home.

 

Following is a list of items that will attract buyers and make the place you call home even more special.

 

1. Home Office

1442852947_461538-4428-greenbrier-dr-dallas-tx-High-Res-5.jpg
The growth of technology has made it possible for people to work from their homes more often. By updating your current home office or designating a space to create one, you show your home’s full potential.

4428 Greenbriar Drive | Dallas | $1,798,000

 

2. Master Suite

43493973-11
A master bedroom with its own bathroom is an expected amenity. If you don’t have one, try to find the budget (and space) to create one, focusing on amplifying storage space.

2630 Misty Meadow Drive | Propser – Gentle Creek | $829,000

 

3. Family Room

1443459749_461442-1095-arches-park-dr-allen-tx-High-Res-13.jpg
Everyone needs a comfortable, open space to fill with family and friends. Make sure your room looks and feels inviting, and filled with plenty of natural light. Also, a fireplace is always a plus.

1095 Arches Park Drive | Allen – Waterford Parks | $464,900

 

4. Kitchen

1442600278_461444-7337Blairview7337-blairview-dr-dallas-tx-High-Res-10.jpg
The kitchen can either make or break your home. Staying reasonable with materials and design will almost always guarantee your money back on a remodel.

7337 Blairview Drive | Dallas | $529,500

 

5. Bathroom

1441143779_460317-829-melba-st-dallas-tx-High-Res-20.jpg
Have you ever heard of a home having too many bathrooms? How about too few? If your home has fewer bathrooms than bedrooms, it’s time to think about adding another full or half-bath. Additionally, if your current bathroom has seen better days, consider an update that’s simple and clean.

829 Melba Street | Dallas | $389,900

 

6. Windows

19gmroom.jpg
Did you know, on average, 30 percent of your home’s energy is lost through its windows? If your windows are in bad shape or you’re looking to impress buyers, upgrading to energy-efficient windows will not only save time and money for you, but also for your buyer.

3804 Villanova Street | University Park | $2,675,000

 

7. Basement/Subterranean Level

20orangeroom.jpg
Though it’s not the most common feature in D-FW, a subterranean level can add major value to your home. If the ceilings aren’t too low, a subterranean level is an ideal space for an office, playroom or media room.

4626 Dorset Road | Dallas – Strait Lane Estates | $6,500,000

 

8. Deck

unknown
These days, outdoor space is a premium. On average, the edition of a deck provides a 76 percent return on investment. Typically, they’re not too expensive to build and create an entirely new living space.

4600 Stanford Avenue | Dallas – Briarwood | $850,000

 

9. Landscaping

6739-lupton-dr-dallas-tx-High-Res-1
An overgrown and poorly maintained yard isn’t appealing to anyone. Liven it up with some color, height and possibly a designated seating and/or entertaining area.

6739 Lupton Drive | Dallas – Preston Hollow | $2,575,000

 

10. Paint

1442931817_460841-13DSCN_13-livingroom.jpg
A few coats of paint is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to update your home. If you’re selling, keep things light and neutral so that buyers can easily imagine their things in your space.

4415 Woodfin Drive | Dallas – Rockbrook Estates | $1,625,000

 

11. Flexibility

1443540144_462037-5192-havasu-dr-frisco-tx-1-High-Res-9.jpg
Your house is yours to make your own. If you think you may sell in the future, try not to over customize. Buyers need to be able to see themselves and their things working in your home, so try not to pigeonhole your spaces.

5192 Havasu Drive | Frisco | $469,000

 

13. Exterior

1443555734_454078-5009-spanish-oaks-dr-frisco-tx-High-Res-2.jpgThough we’ve been told to do otherwise, people do judge homes based on curb appeal and first impressions. Put the best foot forward by sprucing up your home’s landscaping, exterior paint, siding, and garage doors.

5009 Spanish Oaks | Frisco – Starwood | $2,798,000

 

 

 

 

Tackle Summer Bugs


Tackle Summer Bugs

Recent showers and flooding have created the perfect habitat for those pesky summer bugs. Below are some sure-fire ways to prevent the common bites, stings and nuisances.

 

Mosquitoes

Unfortunately, Texas’ number one culprit is here to stay. Aside from the traditional insect repellants and home remedies, it’s best to treat this problem at its source — water.

Turn over empty pottery to prevent from collecting water, drain plant saucers and fix any leaking outdoor faucets. Mosquitoes often lay their eggs in stagnant water so, the less, the better.

Gnats

Although relatively harmless, these small creatures create quite the inconvenience with their constant swarming. Plus, you never know what germs they may be carrying as they travel from place to place.

If you garden, you want to make sure your fruits and veggies are staying fresh outside. If you happen to notice rotting or mold, act fast and pluck them out, then turn your soil or mulch to allow any moldy layers to dry out. As with mosquitoes, be diligent in draining any standing water and drying out any moisture. With Texas humidity, the drying process may take a while. In this case, sprinkle a bit of sand on top of your soil, something very discouraging to gnats.

Bees

To prevent bees from establishing a colony in or around your house, it’s important to remember these three things: food, water and shelter — bees’ keys to life.

Again, with any other summer bug, stagnant water must be kept to a minimum. Drain pots and repair any faulty irrigation systems. And if you have bird baths or pet bowls outside, mixing in 2 tablespoons of vinegar per gallon of water will discourage any bees from setting up shop near your house.

Plan an exterior inspection and eliminate any potential nesting sites. Cover holes, chimneys and animal burrows. Make sure windows and screens are tightly fitted and sealed. If you have any debris in your yard, such as old tires, cardboard boxes or old appliances, throw them out. Bees seek out such items for nesting sites.

Removing flowers as a source of food is not recommended. In fact, it’s very important for bees to pollinate many plants, including crops. If you have a colorful garden, not to worry. As long as you have their other two resources tamed to a minimum, you’re in tip-top shape for the summer.

Slugs

Like humans, slugs seek out shade on sunny days. And like many other bugs, they love moist areas.

To prevent slugs from damaging your plants and leaving their slimy evidence, get rid of any hiding places. Think cool, dark and moist. Try irrigating your lawn in the morning, instead of the evening. By doing so, you’ll allow plenty of time for plants and soil to dry before the sun sets.

To protect plants, spray surrounding areas with soap and water. You can also create barriers around your plants, such as rocks, wire or anything rough and abrasive to slow them down.

Lastly, slugs have no bones. Therefore, they can fit in any crack or crevice they set their eyes on. Seal any cracks and cover any holes you notice throughout your house. By doing so, you not only eliminate the potential for slugs, but for other bugs as well.