June Outdoor Living Ideas
The trend of turning outdoor areas into an extension of daily living space is still going strong, and no one's complaining! Boosting your home's functionality in this way increases its appeal, and ultimately its value too.
Here are some popular ideas for outdoor spaces of all sizes.
Mood Lighting that Works Magic
Creative exterior lighting is a worthwhile upgrade to any home. Soft light creates a relaxed and intimate feel, enhancing quiet evenings and festive occasions alike. You can use this to your home's advantage in a number of ways.
- Solar-powered stair lights and post cap lights:
Lighting incorporated into a deck, walkway, or stairs makes for an elegant evening look that's gorgeous and useful at the same time. Solar power means this decor is eco-friendly and cost-efficient too.
See Exterior Deck Lighting Design Photos
- Decorative string lights:
String lights come in all shapes and colors, and create an inviting atmosphere for evening gatherings. (This is partly why it's not uncommon for lights that were hung for a party to end up staying permanently.)
- Battery-powered flameless candles:
Flameless candles provide surprisingly realistic and attractive light, with most models flickering like a real candle. You can use them on their own, or put them in hurricane lanterns as decor for a deck, balcony, or patio. Many even come with a timer and remote control, like these ones for sale on Amazon.
- Fire pit table:
Nothing beats gathering around a real fire, and a fire pit table allows you to do this almost anywhere. Models run from around $70 into the thousands.
See Fire Pit Table Design Photos
Trellises that Tempt the Eye
Say "trellis," and many people think of a traditional flower garden - along with all the space and work it requires. A trellis can actually be used in many areas around your home to create visual interest, even indoors.
- On balconies, decks, and patios where plants are not rooted in the ground, you can insert a trellis stand in a planter box or large flower pot.
- Some people attach trellises to interior and exterior walls in the same way they would a painting, then use strings to guide a climbing plant from its pot to the trellis. (If you do this, just be careful to allow around three inches between the back of the trellis and the wall.)
Tip: Wire hog mesh panels make excellent trellis material for climbing vines, as shown here.
See the following articles for more trellis tips:
15+ Ways to Make a Trellis
The Best Trellises for Vegetables
Colorful Plants that Attract Wildlife
Why not spice up your surroundings with appealing plants that attract interesting visitors such as hummingbirds and hummingbird moths? It's quite easy to do in even a small outdoor area, and some varieties give off appealing fragrances as well.
The link below gives a list of ten hardy plants that hummingbirds love, including the Cardinal Flower shown here, which grows in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 9.
Top 10 Plants for Hummingbirds
You can find the official USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map at this link, although an easier map to read is on the Burpee website.
Greenery that Doubles as Seasoning
Many herbs are attractive and do extremely well in pots, which means they're a good way to introduce appealing (and useful) greenery to small spaces as well as large. Try growing mint, basil, thyme, rosemary, or parsley, and see how quickly you get used to having fresh herbs on hand at a moment's notice.
For tips on getting started with container herb gardening, check this article:
Best Herbs for Container Gardens
Gardening that Puts Safety First
You may have heard about a recent study that connected the use of pesticides such as Roundup to the onset of Parkinson's disease. The methodology behind the study is being hotly contested, but regardless of who eventually wins that battle, the fact remains that "green gardening" is increasingly perceived as valuable by the general public.
With that in mind, here are some tips on natural plant care and pest control:
How to Make Natural Garden Pesticides
Tips on Yard Care Without Harsh Chemicals
(Regarding the second link, who knew you could get a motion-activated sprinkler? Good for predatory rabbits, and potentially other pesky visitors as well. :)
Recent Housing Market Highlights
- U.S. home prices rose 10.9 percent year-to-year in March, according to May's S&P/Case-Shiller report.
- The national average 30-year fixed mortgage rate is around 4 percent as of early June, down slightly after bumping up to over 4 percent during the latter half of May. (Data from BankRate.com.)
- The median market time for all homes in April was 46 days, down from 62 days in March. In April of 2012 median market time was 83 days, according to the National Association of REALTORS«.
Are you planning to buy or sell a home, or do you know someone who is? Please call or email me - I'm never too busy to help you and the people you care about with real estate.
(What the lawyers make us say: The information in this newsletter is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Please always consult a qualified expert before making decisions based on this content. Nothing in this article is meant to be taken as expert legal, financial, or medical advice.)