Container Gardening Upgrades for a Fresh Spring

If you’re a gardener, you most likely have some old pots and containers in your garden shed or even your garage. And you probably didn’t get rid of them because you figured you might have a use for them eventually. While prepping for this spring, instead of buying replacements pots and containers, go through the ones you already have stored. With a little imagination and some supplies, your pots will look better than new in no time!

Clay Pots

A good clay pot can be expensive and if dropped, the fall can put a decent size crack in it. If it’s chipped or broken but is still durable, here’s what you can do to fix it:

  • You’ll need all-purpose joint compound, spray paint or textured spray paint in a desired color, and fine-grained sandpaper. Clean off the damaged area with the sandpaper. Remove any loose clay as you’re sanding and carefully blow on it to remove the dust. This will let you get a good bond when filling it in.
  • Next, using the joint compound, fill in the cracks using a popsicle stick, spreading both inside and outside the pot. Make sure the cracks are well-covered. It dries relatively fast, so spread and smooth it out as you go. It can also be sanded down later if it’s not super smooth. If needed, add more layers until it’s filled. Let it dry for 24 hours and run the sandpaper over it to smooth it out one last time.
  • Seal the pot with the spray paint or textured spray paint, let dry, and it’s good to go.

Plastic Pots

Plastic pots are another type of container commonly used for gardening. The problem with these containers is that the weather can cause them to weaken, discolor, and sometimes crack. Have no fear, these containers can easily be fixed and your favorite plastic container can be used time and time again.

  • For this you’ll need clear gorilla tape, spray paint, textured stone paint, and fine-grain sandpaper. First, lightly sand all the areas which you’re planning to tape, so the tape has a good grip when applied. Be sure to remove all the dust from the surface of the pot. If you don’t, when you use the gorilla tape, it will form bubbles because it won’t seal. If you apply some rubbing alcohol before applying the tape, the surface will be clean.
  • Next, tape both sides of the crack with strips of gorilla tape. Rub it firmly to get a good seal but don’t use more tape than you need. For edges or curves, use small pieces, that can overlap about a ¼ inch. Try to avoid forming air bubbles.
  • Finally, spray the pot with the base paint and then spray it in thin layers with stone texture paint. Allow each coat to dry thoroughly. If the paint bubbles, let the paint cure for 24 hours. Spray it with the textured paint if desired for a different look.

Repurpose With a New Design

You can also repurpose an old pot with designs, like adding a mosaic design. You’ll need a terracotta pot, some broken tile pieces, pot shards or vase filler chips, spray paint and glue. Paint the pot with the spray paint and let dry, then gently glue the tile, shards or chips on one by one in the design of your choice.

You can also add a new design by using lace on a pot or container. All you’ll need is lace of the color of your choice and transparent adhesive. Varnish the pot with the adhesive and paste the lace over it. Let dry and use as desired.

As you can see, upgrading your container and pots for spring can be both fun and easy. What ways have you revamped old containers?

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

Posted on March 1, 2018 at 3:37 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: backyard, outdoors | Tagged , , , , ,

Everything You Need to Know About Mowing

There is more to mowing grass than just pushing the mower back and forth. Did you know there are correct ways to mow your grass? Plus, knowing what the proper cutting length is and what to do about lawn clippings are important in keeping a healthy lawn.

Mow at the Right Frequency

There is a correct way to mow a lawn to get the cleanest, well-kept look. By keeping the grass at the right length, it keeps your grass stress-free and healthy. Grass should be a little longer during the hot summer months, especially in places that are in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 9b like Houston, Phoenix, New Orleans, and Tampa. When grass is permitted to grow a little longer, the roots grow deeper, and the grass gives the soil cover from the hot sun. It forms an insulation that lets the soil better maintain its moisture.

Mowing at the right frequency is key. During fall, the most common lawn mowing frequency in Houston is bi-weekly, or every two weeks, with 83 percent of Houstoniteschoosing this option. However, if you get lawn treatment and water more frequently, you may want to consider weekly.

Plus, the blade of the mower needs to be sharp. If the blade is dull, then it will shred the tops of the grass. Shredded grass tips can leave grass susceptible to diseases.

The Correct Way to Mow Your Grass

The first thing to do is to adjust the height of the mower so that the mower doesn’t butcher the grass. Also, if the lawn is shady, then it will benefit from setting the mower blades at a higher height. Because photosynthesis helps grass grow, a longer blade of grass has more surface for conducting photosynthesis. This is one secret to developing a healthy lawn when parts or all of it stay in the shade.

Also, don’t scalp the grass by cutting it too short. When a lawn is scalped, it becomes vulnerable to disease and invites weeds. By scalping a lawn, it exposes the soil, and the grass becomes sparse and weak. Plus, this gives the sun an opportunity to feed the weed seeds in the soil so that they start to grow. A lawn that is cut too short will have a system of poorly developed roots and this will cause damage to a lawn from hot days or drought.

The best rule of thumb is to follow the one-third rule: If more than a one-third of the grass blade is cut off, it can damage the grass.

Another tip is to mow when the grass is dry. When grass is mowed when wet, it’s not harmful to the lawn, but the results can look mediocre. This is because grass that’s wet will clog the mower and this makes it more difficult to mow. The grass also clumps and causes an uneven cutting pattern. In addition, if clumps of wet grass are left on the lawn, then it can kill the grass under the clumps.

When you mow in the middle of the day in the sun, it causes the lawn stress. The individual blades of grass will lose water quickly and recover more slowly. You can either mow in the cooler part of the day or mow the area when it’s covered in shade. This will let the grass rebound quicker. Also, when mowing, don’t always follow the same pattern. This can create ruts and compacts the soil. Compacted soil and ruts can cause unhealthy grass, which can provide places for weeds to start growing.

What to Do With Grass Clippings?

One problem that crops up is what do you do with the grass clippings when finished? A solution to that is called “grasscycling.” This is when you let the grass clippings lay on the lawn after it’s cut. When this is done, it can provide up to 25 percent of what the lawn needs as fertilizer. It also saves money on fees and yard waste bags. A specialized mulching mower isn’t necessarily required, but you can put a mulching blade on the mower that you already have. Grasscycling works well if your grass is mowed often. It can be done on grass that is cut when it’s longer — if you don’t have a mulcher, rake the piles of clippings flat after mowing and then run the mower back over them.

As you can see, there is more to mowing grass than just pushing the mower around the yard. If done correctly, it can revitalize your lawn.

Katie Kuchta is a marketing guru, gardening and outdoor living expert, and self-proclaimed foodie. She can often be found cooking in the kitchen or on the hunt for the best tacos. Follow her on Instagram @atxtacoqueen.

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

Posted on November 13, 2017 at 8:59 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: backyard, curb appeal, Homeowners, lawn, outdoors, real estate | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Find the Right Focal Point for Your Room

Not sure what element to make the attention getter in your room? Find some great choices here.

Houzz Contributor, Gabrielle Di Stefano

Well-designed rooms often have a focal point — the first thing your eye sees when you enter. Choosing the right item to emphasize sets the tone and mood for a space. Whether it’s an architectural feature, a texture, a color or a light fixture, putting the spotlight on one of these elements will help create a visually interesting and pleasing interior. But what’s the best way to do this? Here are some ways to create a focal point that doesn’t dominate or compete with other objects in a space.

 

Architectural feature. A central element, like this fireplace, can help you position your furniture in a room. Notice how the furniture in this space revolves around the fireplace. The stone surround also sets the color tone for the sofa, chairs and drapes.

Getting the size of the architectural element right in the room is vital. If it’s too big, it can look and feel uncomfortable. If it’s too small, your furniture will become the focal point, taking away from the main feature.

Read more about scale

 

Artwork. This painting is positioned perfectly — centered between the two doors, above the console — to create an instant focal point that allows the rest of the room to shine.

The size and tone of your art are important. Choose a painting with the appropriate scale for your space, in tones that stand out and draw the eye in but don’t clash with the rest of the room. One large, bold piece of art looks fantastic against a neutral wall and furniture. A series of prints can make an impact too, whether they’re framed identically or have an eclectic mix of frames.

 

View. When you have a view like this, use your home’s architecture to emphasize it and make it as big and grand as possible. This oversize window instantly makes the forest view the best focal point this room could have.

Choose simple furniture to complement a dream view like this. The minimalist bed and furniture allow the window to truly shine.

Revamp your space with a new bed

 

Texture. Add texture to create a focal point in a monochromatic color scheme, giving your room character and depth. Smooth, shiny objects will give off a cool vibe, while soft, raised textures add more warmth. This kitchen’s neutral, minimalist palette immediately draws the eye to the texture and color of the counter-to-ceiling backsplash. The tile finish glistens against the stainless steel appliances.

Find new tile that makes a statement

 

Pattern. Pattern can be a striking focal point. If a room is lacking in architectural features, use a more permanent, patterned finish — like tile or stone — as a bold statement.

The organic, flowing pattern and subtle color of the granite feature wall carries this powder room — no need for other decorative elements. Clever backlighting highlights the stone and emphasizes the floating vanity top.

Highlighting the ceiling with wallpaper adds interest and character to a room. Directing the eye upward also makes the room look bigger.

 

 

Color. Narrow hallways can feel dull, but painting the doors a gutsy color and adding texture with studs created multiple focal points in this one.

Pay attention to how you can use color on your home’s architectural elements to draw the eye to or away from certain parts of your home. Notice how emphasizing the skirting in this hallway with bright turquoise leads the eye from door to door.

One bold item, such as a colorful striped rug, instantly sets a playful mood. This look works particularly well in contemporary rooms with little or no architectural detailing.

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blog

Posted on September 11, 2017 at 8:23 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: appliances, Buyers, buying, curb appeal, Homeowners, interior decorating, kitchens, Location, maximizing space, outdoors, projects, real estate, selling, staging, views | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Summer Fridays: Urban Yards and Terraces

Living in a big city doesn’t mean you don’t have great outdoor spaces. Take a look at some of our favorite urban backyard and terraces on coldwellbanker.com tailor-made for summer entertaining.

How alive the city is, how alive, how alive, how alive.”

– Alfred Kazin

Contrary to popular belief, there is no better time of year to be in a big city than during summer.  Sure, the subway stations feel like they’re 123 degrees, but apart from sweltering train commutes, the city is a magical place during this time of year.

In a big city anything can happen, especially during summer – and only in the best ways. A trip to the farmer’s market can lead to day long expeditions to unexplored neighborhoods in town, and a cup of coffee with friends can lead to great conversations with strangers at a rooftop party later in the day. The great weather and relative calm that comes with a less congested city make summer a time for coming together, meeting new people and discovering new reasons to fall in love with your city and your home.

While we may not have sprawling residences or acres of backyard space, we do in fact have outdoor areas tailor-made for entertaining come summertime. Our yards are our little havens from busy city life, and our terraces are where we sit and admire the ingenuity of man.

In honor of summer in the city, our latest “Summer Fridays” post pays homage to a few of our favorite urban yard and terraces from homes listed for sale on coldwellbanker.com. Let’s take a look!

$12,500,000 – Seattle, WA

This urban refuge offers up sweeping views of Puget Sound, Mt. Rainier, The Olympic Mountains and downtown Seattle! Featuring not just one but two outdoor terraces, this home gives you plenty of space to enjoy beautiful Summer nights with good company.

$3,499,000 – Hoboken, NJ

Sometimes the best views of New York City come from just outside New York City. This meticulously renovated brownstone on the Hudson River features a sprawling terrace that offer up some of the best Manhattan skyline views you’ll find anywhere!

$1,980,000 – Chicago, IL

This home really does have it all. You’re located in the heart of Chicago, but it also feels like you’re tucked away on your own little private island. It doesn’t get more zen and restful than this sprawling rooftop terrace with ample spaces for relaxing and enjoying that great Chicago summer weather.

$12,000,000 – Chicago, IL

This penthouse residence at the Park Hyatt has the tallest balcony in the prized building, offering you unobstructed water and glitzy downtown Chicago views.

$6,700,000 – Miami, FL

Miami!! The city where you can at once feel like you’re living in a city and right on one of the finest beaches in the world at the very same time! This beautiful home offers up stunning waterfront views and even a pool out on the terrace..because it is Miami.

 

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Join us next Friday for another installment of our “Summer Fridays” series.

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blog

Posted on August 4, 2017 at 8:57 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: backyard, BBQ, community, curb appeal, decorating, Fixer Uppers, Homeowners, interior decorating, Location, maximizing space, neighborhood, outdoors, Privacy, projects, real estate, remodeling, staging, Uncategorized, views | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Summer Fridays: Outdoor Seating Areas That Wow

This isn’t your Grandmother’s veranda!  Take a peek at these great outdoor seating spaces. Enjoy!

If you have to sit, you might as well do it outside and during summer! Here are a few of our favorite outdoor seating areas from homes for sale on coldwellbanker.com

In limited web research, I’ve gleaned that on average, we’re seated for an astonishing 7.7 hours per day. Those almost 480 daily seated minutes are mostly spent at our desks as we type away diligently, in our cars as we sit in traffic, and on our couches as we binge watch our “shows” – because you know, it’s the golden age of television…we have a duty to watch these things.

Today I boldly proclaim that it is summer and if you have to sit, you might as well do it outside! You can catch up on Game of Thrones another day! Do you smell that? It’s called non-recycled air. Enjoy it while the weather is great. Here are a few of our favorite outdoor places to sit from homes listed for sale on coldwellbanker.com.

$22,800,000 – Kailua, Hawaii

Locals call this house Hale Palekaiko, or House of Paradise –  and for good reason. The home is located on world renowned Kailua Beach, but who would want to leave home when your home is basically a resort?

$9,750,000 – Santa Barbara, CA

This exquisite home in Santa Barbara transports you to the Mediterranean. Kick back with some local red wine, some good friends and enjoy those sweeping mountain views. This is how you summer!

$1,050,000 – Las Vegas, NV

As the saying goes, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…well if I were to ever visit this awesome 37th floor residence and all the amenities the building offers – I’d stay in Vegas too. Forever.

$6,888,000 – Bellevue, WA

Take your pick. Sit on one of the numerous terraces and balconies as you look out at your three acre kingdom, or get closer to the action by taking to the pool and patio areas to soak up some Vitamin D.

$5,850,000 – Roslyn Harbor, NY

What’s better than an all-brick restored roaring 20s estate resting on over 3.9 pristine acres of land? Not much. One of my favorite parts of this seriously hip turn of the century home is this seating area surrounded by lush gardens and vegetations all around.

Source: CB Blue Matter

 

Posted on July 26, 2017 at 3:18 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: backyard, decorating, outdoors, real estate, seating, staging, Uncategorized, views | Tagged , , , , ,

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